What Does a QA Analyst Do? (With Skills and How-To Guide)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

It's important companies meet their quality standards while upholding compliance and regulatory standards. Quality assurance analysts or QA analysts are often responsible for helping companies achieve this objective by testing products. Understanding the role of a QA analyst can help you decide if it's the right career path for you. In this article, we explore the duties of a quality assurance analyst, outline how to become a QA analyst, discuss their work environment, and highlight their skills.

What does a QA analyst do?

If you're interested in pursuing quality assurance analyst jobs, you may wonder, "What does a QA analyst do?" QA analysts focus primarily on testing, troubleshooting, and solving problems associated with a product or process. Their activities extend to ensuring high-quality products. In technology-related industries, QA analysts are relevant during the testing phases of the software development lifecycle. They perform duties such as testing software and applications, documenting their findings, communicating relevant issues, troubleshooting, and correcting software errors. QA analysts often test software against possible problems that can impact the success of the software launch.

While the responsibilities of a QA analyst can depend on the organization and their domain, their primary goal is usually to increase consumer confidence in a product by ensuring that the organization meets user expectations. They also improve business reputation, encourage higher efficiency, reduce wastage, and improve the general morale of company staff.

Related: Ten Technology Careers (With Salaries and Primary Duties)

How to become a quality assurance analyst

You can follow these steps to become a quality assurance analyst:

1. Complete your education

The first step is to complete a relevant bachelor's degree. Usually, a computer science degree is advisable as it equips you with the right technical skills, such as software testing. A science-related bachelor's degree usually covers statistics, logical design principles, data management, and architecture. You also learn about computer science theory, physics, files and databases, information management, fundamentals of network technology, operating systems software, and programming languages. In addition, you can also take optional courses in business and management to prepare you for managerial and executive positions.

2. Gain experience

It's advisable to gain experience to improve your chances of getting a job in your preferred industry. One way to obtain relevant experience is through an internship during your undergraduate studies. You can speak to your advisor to identify organizations they partner with to offer internships. You can also contact desirable professional organizations about the possibility of interning in their quality assurance department. Ensure you take your internship seriously and discharge your duties and responsibilities effectively.

3. Apply for a job

After completing your education and gaining relevant experience, you can apply for a QA analyst position in your preferred organization. Your network of family and friends can help you identify available job opportunities that align with your interests. You can also use online resources and job boards to filter jobs based on your preferences. After identifying opportunities, you can create your resume and cover letter.

Ensure your resume is brief and easily readable so hiring managers can quickly identify your primary qualifications, highlighting the most important. You can also include keywords to ensure it can pass applicant tracking systems. Your cover letter identifies why you want to work in the organization and your value to the company. You can keep both documents within a page and send them following the hiring manager's instructions.

4. Get certifications

You can get additional certifications to improve your value to your employer. While there are general certifications, specialized certifications from the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) can be an impressive addition to your resume. You can also specialize in full-stack testing and opt for certifications within the field. In addition, you can use online resources to become certified, although it's advisable to get internationally recognized certifications.

The work environment of a quality assurance analyst

When asking "What does a QA analyst do?" it's helpful to understand their work environment. Quality assurance analysts work across a wide range of industries that require detail-oriented experts to confirm the quality of their processes. Popular industries that employ the services of a quality assurance analyst include restaurants, software publishers, insurance carriers, and computer systems design services. Management, scientific and technical consulting services, depository credit intermediation, and aerospace manufacturing are other industries you can work in as a QA analyst. You can also work for government agencies to use resources and tools to ensure an efficient product testing phase.

Due to the nature of these industries, the work environment is fast-paced, requiring consistent attention and flexibility. A QA analyst's job often involves sitting for long periods, usually during regular business hours. When necessary, you may work overtime to respond to emergencies, like completing testing following cyber attacks. Working as an in-house quality assurance analyst is a popular choice, although you can work with a consulting firm or offer consulting services directly to companies.

Quality assurance analyst skills

Here are some relevant technical and soft skills for success as a quality assurance analyst:

Communication skills

Strong communication skills are vital to ensure you can inform others of the best practices to achieve identified quality standards. For instance, excellent writing skills are essential to document processes and improve them. You also require impressive verbal skills to inform relevant stakeholders to take action when it's necessary to improve business processes. After implementation, your writing skills become relevant to create a quality assurance report for future reference.

Read more: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

Time management skills

As a quality assurance analyst, you often handle a wide range of tasks, such as testing software and applications and troubleshooting them to ensure the success of a project. When handling these tasks, it's crucial to manage your time efficiently to ensure you complete them within their deadline. It's also important that you have adequate time to maintain the desired quality and specification. Time management is essential as it allows you to deliver on your duties and ensures others who collaborate with you can have adequate time to complete their tasks.

Teamwork skills

Quality assurance usually involves team activities, so success as a quality assurance analyst requires exceptional collaborative ability. It's necessary that you understand your responsibilities, those of your teammates, their relevance, and how they impact each other. This understanding can help you collaborate more effectively on different projects. Associated skills include empathy and communication. For instance, displaying empathy to help your teammates under stress handle some of their tasks can help maintain the required quality standards.

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills involve identifying existing problems, analyzing them to determine their scope, and developing viable solutions. As a quality assurance analyst, it's important that you can constantly find solutions to meet the relevant quality standards. You can build your problem-solving skills by regularly brainstorming solutions to minor problems. Associated skills such as critical thinking, creativity, logic, and analytical thinking are essential for problem-solving.

Knowledge of quality standards

As a quality assurance analyst, an in-depth understanding of quality standards is vital for success in your role. While working within a company's standards is usually compulsory, understanding other relevant standards, such as domain knowledge and frameworks, can ensure flexibility when the need arises. For instance, where there's a business expansion, different standards can become relevant and understanding them ensures you can incorporate them into the quality control process.

Cognitive skills

Cognitive skills involve completing assigned tasks according to a client's specifications. They also include recognizing minor details and the relevant part they play to ensure that the project succeeds. As a quality assurance analyst, it's essential you ensure there's no issue in the further stages of the project. Your cognitive skills can help you avoid re-doing tasks or spending unnecessary money and provide business and customer satisfaction.

Research skills

Industry standards and practices often change and evolve. To ensure you can comply with relevant standards, it's important quality assurance analysts identify these changes. Research skills allow you to effectively identify the scope of these changes and how to implement them in an organization. It also helps you identify possible areas of improvement based on past data within an organization and implement strategies for improvement.

Technical skills

It's also essential you possess relevant technical skills as a quality assurance analyst. These involve specialized skills that allow you to complete your duties related to the role. Relevant technical skills include automated testing, programming language, project management strategies, software testing, software development, and quality assurance and control. You can develop these skills during your undergraduate studies or take additional online courses and certifications. Ensure you develop high-level proficiency in different technical skills to improve your workplace performance.

Read more: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

Multitasking skills

As a quality assurance analyst, your daily responsibilities involve many tasks. It's essential to know how to perform or manage many tasks simultaneously to record success on each project, aid your transition between each project, help you prioritize effectively, and ensure you maintain quality standards. Your time management and organization skills play an essential role in your multitasking ability, so improving these associated skills can help you multitask more effectively.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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