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What Is a QA Analyst?

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A QA analyst is the person who analyzes the QA process. And that makes sense. After all, an analyst analyzes and, in this case, the analyst is analyzing a process. But what exactly is a QA analyst looking for? And what do they do when they find it? Do they do more than analyze?

It’s a lot to think about, but this guide breaks it all down. We’re covering:

Definition of a QA Analyst

Quality assurance (QA) is the checking, fixing, and rechecking of a software program to ensure it works properly and is bug-free. The overall QA function is broken down into a series of steps, each with a specific process and procedure that must be followed to make sure nothing is overlooked.

Though the entire QA team is responsible for the overall quality of the product, most people focus on their part. For example, the QA tester tests the software but doesn’t create a fix for the bugs they find. 

The QA analyst, though, is involved in the software development cycle from start to finish. They evaluate the tests, analyze the overall testing process, and find ways to make quality assurance more efficient and effective.

QA Analyst Salary 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups software developers, QA testers, and QA analysts together. In May 2021, the average pay for this job category was $97,710 annually.

However, self-reported salary information from Glassdoor finds that QA analysts with zero to one year of experience have a total average pay of approximately $73,000 per year across all industries. Someone with seven to nine years of experience makes approximately $85,000 per year.

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Salary.com estimates that the average QA analyst’s salary is around $65,000, with a range of about $58,000 to $72,000 per year for all experience levels and locations. 

What Does a QA Analyst Do?

A QA analyst’s primary responsibility is ensuring the overall integrity of the product and QA process. The job doesn’t generally require them to create code for a program or squash bugs. Instead, QA analysts are responsible for optimizing the process, making sure it runs smoothly and efficiently.

How do they do this? By:

  • Analyzing and revising current testing plans
  • Creating and documenting processes and procedures
  • Helping design and execute testing plans (both manual and automated)

Though a QA analyst considers the product as a whole, this is not a user interface (UI) or user experience (UX) role. QA analysts need an understanding of how UI and UX impact the product, but they aren’t responsible for correcting any issues that arise from UI or UX issues.

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What Industries Do QA Analysts Work In?

The employment prospects for QA analysts and testers is promising. As more companies design and use products and services that rely on complex code, the need for QA analysts will increase. As a result, the BLS predicts that employment in this field will grow 25% between 2021 and 2031 across all industries.

QA Analyst Jobs

Rebecca Arrenius, QA manager at Forage, says that while you may have varying titles, the duties of a QA analyst are generally similar no matter where you work.

“I feel like various companies label the role differently,” she says. “I have been a test analyst, QA analyst, and QA engineer. But nothing is different. It’s just how fancy you want the label to be.”

How to Become a QA Analyst

Many QA analysts start as testers, but that’s not always the case. People with a degree and certain transferable skills can begin their QA analyst career without tester experience. For example, if you have a background or degree in coding and project management experience, you might be able to start as a QA analyst.

You can also consider obtaining a certification to demonstrate your commitment to the role and that you possess the right skill set. For example, the Global Association for Quality Management (GAWM) has a Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA) certification you can pursue.

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What Skills Does a QA Analyst Need?

As the job title implies, a QA analyst needs strong analytical skills. Much of the role involves identifying what is and is not working with the testing process, so you’ll need to be able to take raw data and information and use that to help you refine and improve QA testing cycles.

However, you’ll also rely on your problem-solving abilities. Identifying what doesn’t work is only the first part of the job. The second is proposing solutions that work for the process and the team.

Additional hard skills that will benefit you include being detail-oriented and having strong organizational and time-management skills. While a it’s often a “big picture” role, you also need the ability to see the finer details that may be overlooked. And because QA test cycles are often time-sensitive, staying on top of things to ensure nothing is forgotten or falls behind are crucial.

A QA analyst also needs a strong set of soft skills. For example, you’ll spend time writing reports and findings, which means you’ll need to communicate changes and feedback with tact and grace.

And because the QA analyst works with others throughout the process, you’ll need excellent collaboration skills to help you build relationships and contribute to the improvements you suggest.

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Rachel Pelta is the Head Writer at Forage. Previously, she was a Content Specialist at FlexJobs, writing articles for job seekers and employers. Her work has been featured in Fast Company, The Ladders, MSN, and Money Talks News.