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What Does a Quality Assurance Analyst Do?

Quality assurance analyst at work.
Quality assurance analysts often test and improve software.
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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2014
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The title of quality assurance (QA) analyst is most often used to describe a professional who tests and tweaks program applications in a software development company. An analyst may also work in a manufacturing plant or service facility, overseeing production and suggesting ways to improve overall quality. In any setting, it is important for him or her to be highly detail-oriented and have excellent communication skills. He or she must be able to explain necessary changes to products and procedures and provide feedback to workers. Most QA analysts are involved in all phases of research, development, production, and distribution.

A quality assurance analyst at a software firm tests programs to make sure they are reliable, fully functional, and user-friendly. He or she inspects thousands of lines of code to make sure they are entirely error-free. The analyst also looks for weaknesses in the program, such as an unappealing interface or a slow loading speed. An employee with the proper training may be able to make adjustments personally, but most professionals explain their findings to technicians instead so the correct tweaks can be made. Once a program is completed, the analyst reviews it once again before it is released to the public.

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Professionals who work in other industries typically share many of the same responsibilities. Instead of reviewing code, they may inspect engineering schematics and product prototypes. A QA analyst might help engineers identify shortcomings in current products and plan ways to improve new models. He or she also works alongside production specialists to make sure items are built according to specifications. Analysts also work with marketing experts to research customer satisfaction and consider feedback to determine if their products meet expectations.

The qualifications to become a quality assurance analyst can vary. Most manufacturing plants and corporations prefer to hire analysts who have taken at least some college coursework in business administration and demonstrated their skills in entry-level quality control or assurance technician jobs. A degree in programming, computer science, software engineering, or network administration may be needed order to work for a software development firm. Most new analysts spend several weeks in training with experienced workers to learn about company-specific policies and procedures.

An experienced quality assurance analyst usually has many opportunities for advancement in a large company. He or she may be able to become a supervisor over an entire quality control and assurance division. With continuing education, a professional can move into a top administrative or executive position.

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Discuss this Article

anon350283
Post 7

I've been a software analyst for three years now. There are many different methods to testing. Rather than painstakingly searching through the actual lines of code, you can "put something in" and then observe "what comes out".

If your results are what is expected, that code does not need to be reviewed. With that being said, you do need to cover a series of scenarios in an efficient way so that you can get a thorough coverage of functionality. Wow that sounds really nerdy.

QA helps prevent costly bugs/defects from making out into the real world. Some defects can cost a company hundreds, thousands -- even millions -- if left not found for years. It can cause inventory troubles, tax issues even incorrect profit/loss numbers.

QA/QC should not be overlooked. It can sometimes be thankless and difficult, especially since a large portion of what you do is report bugs (point out errors in code/functionality) and "broken stuff" so it's not the most appreciated work. This makes it *very* important to be positive and celebrate the "wins" where there are no defects in coding.

anon328714
Post 6

There are so many titles for the same position these days that one does tend to get confused at times. Whatever the designation, it always helps if you have a certification like ISTQB Certification that shows your employer that you are qualified for your job.

Monika
Post 5

I'm always amazed at how many different jobs a degree in computer science can prepare a person for! Sometimes I regret majoring in art when I was in college and wish I had majored in something more marketable, like computer science.

Anyway, I can see how a degree in computer science would help a QA analyst. I mean, most people don't know how to read computer code, but it sounds like you need to be able to do that for some of these jobs.

ceilingcat
Post 4

@indemnifyme - I see what you're saying, but it sounds like actually fixing software problems isn't a part of a software quality assurance analysts job. Their job is just to find the problems, not find and fix them!

Anyway, sometimes I wonder how much education and experience software quality assurance analysts for some companies actually have. I've used too many pieces of software that aren't user-friendly to have too much faith in these quality assurance analysts! I wonder if they get so used to using certain kind of software they forget about the perspective of the general public.

indemnifyme
Post 3

Quality assurance analyst jobs in the software industry sound extremely nit-picky and detail oriented. I can't imagine looking through all those lines of code to make sure everything is correct!

Testing out the actual software would probably be ok though. I think most people inherently understand what makes a piece of software user-friendly or not. However, it sounds like it would be a bit frustrating not to be able to fix the errors yourself. It also sounds kind of time consuming, because after the errors are fixed, the quality assurance analyst has to go over the software again!

anon132240
Post 1

is computer knowledge necessary? if so, what are the topics involved in computers?

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