What Does a Test Analyst Do? (With Skills and Career Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 June 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.

Someone with a strong analytical mind might consider a career as a test analyst. Test analysis is an essential part of the technical development process. Learning the answer to the question 'What does a test analyst do?' might help you determine if this is the career for you. In this article, we define the role, describe a test analyst's primary responsibilities, list the key skills they use and share some tips for starting your career.

What does a test analyst do?

A simple answer to the question 'What does a test analyst do? is that they're professionals who test and evaluate technical development components. They might conduct tests on both computer software and hardware. A test analyst identifies flaws and uses measures to correct them, improving the overall result. They test these products and systems after the developmental stage and before they're distributed, ensuring they're of a high quality and free from errors.

Related: What Is Software Development: Definition, Processes and Types

Responsibilities of a test analyst

A test analyst might be responsible for the following duties:

Identifying systems and products that require testing

As a test analyst, you might be responsible for identifying the systems and products that require testing. You can use your experience and technical knowledge to establish and prioritise which ones to test and when you're required to test them. You might also create a schedule and outline for each test, allowing you to organise your work.

Establishing which tests you're required to conduct

Establishing which tests you intend to conduct on each system or product can be an important part of a test analyst role. Creating a strategy allows you to perform the analysis confidently because it helps ensure you're testing correctly to get the required results. A clear plan can achieve efficient work and allow you to manage your time appropriately.

Related: What Is a Software Development Methodology? (With 11 Types)

Maintaining records

Test analysts maintain thorough record keeping. They might create records containing information about the products and systems they test, the tests they complete, the results they achieve and the adjustments they make. Having an adequate records system to refer to can help you accurately define your results and changes.

Communicating with a team

As a test analyst, it might be a requirement to work within a team at times. Liaising with the software or product development team before and throughout the testing phase could be necessary. After the testing is complete, you might again interact with the software or product development team along with the validation team. Ensuring effective communication and teamwork informs all parties involved in the process and helps you achieve high-quality results.

Related: Why Interpersonal Communication Is So Important at Work

Presenting information

Often, the organisation that employs a test analyst has stakeholders. Once the testing phase is complete, part of the role of a test analyst may be giving a presentation to the stakeholders. This presentation might explain the reasoning for the choice of tests conducted, the results of the tests and any adjustments made to improve the system or product.

Related: How to Make a Presentation (With Detailed Steps and Tips)

Recognising and removing redundant elements

A test analyst might find it necessary to remove elements of the system or product that prove redundant. During the testing phase, identifying these elements can be a key step. This is because removing unnecessary elements may achieve greater performance, reduced production costs and increased profits for the organisation.

Understanding and achieving user needs

Understanding user needs helps a test analyst produce optimal results. A product or system supporting user needs may increase sales and profits. You might help yourself understand and achieve these customer requirements by reviewing previous feedback, requesting feedback from colleagues and monitoring current trends.

Following protocols and standards

Following protocols and standards is an important part of a test analyst's role. The systems and products you're testing might have specific protocols and standards to ensure they're considered safe and functional. Having an adequate understanding of these requirements can help ensure you're following them and assist you in creating high-quality work.

Related: What Is Quality Management and Why Does It Matter?

Skills for a test analyst

Here are some common skills that a test analyst might benefit from:

Analysis

An analytical mind can be important for a test analyst because it allows you to gather and articulate essential information. Your analytical mind might help you visualise the predicted outcome from a test, giving you a logical goal. This can help you solve complex issues that arise throughout the testing phase.

Related: How to Present Analytical Skills on a Resume with an Example

Organisation

Organisation is beneficial for both record keeping and creating an efficient workplace. It allows you to achieve effective record keeping practices and creates clarity of activities and a balance of workload. Practising organisation skills can aid in the appropriate use of resources and help avoid potential duplication of tasks.

Attention to detail

A detail-oriented mind can aid a test analyst in identifying risks and problems before they occur. It can help you reach consistency and accuracy in your work. Attention to detail can help ensure you're addressing each necessary element of the system or product and documenting the important information.

Related: Attention to Detail: Definition and Examples

Written and verbal communication

Communication is an important skill as a test analyst because it can significantly improve the quality of your work. This skill helps you give and receive clear directions and explanations. Effective communication can help avoid misunderstandings or confusion, creating a productive work environment.

Related: Types of Verbal Communication (With Importance and Tips)

Teamwork and autonomous work

A test analyst might work both autonomously and as part of a team. They might work alone when conducting tests but often collaborate with teams to identify and verify certain aspects of the system or product. Having the ability to adapt to both working conditions might help you create an efficient schedule.

Related: What Does It Mean to Work Autonomously? (Plus Tips)

Time management

A test analyst might have a strict deadline or schedule to adhere to. For this reason, it can be important for you to have effective time-management skills. Prioritising tasks and creating daily schedules can help you achieve the required duties. Noting how long particular tests often take for different systems and products might help you further improve your time management skills.

Related: Time Management Skills: The Importance of Including Them in Your Resume

Self-motivation

Self-motivation can be beneficial for a test analyst because it can help you complete work efficiently and effectively. It can drive your ambitions and enthusiasm, and result in the opportunity to take part in more projects you're excited about. To improve your self-motivation, you might ensure you're getting proper nutrition and sleep. Monitoring your professional success can also help you increase it.

Tips for beginning your test analyst career

  • Complete relevant education. A bachelor's degree or higher in computer science or a related field might be beneficial to beginning your test analyst career. Although a degree isn't always a requirement for employers, it can give you an advantage when applying for jobs because it proves you have technical knowledge.

  • Take part in work experience. Volunteer work can be a good way to get industry experience from professionals. It can help you build your professional network and has the potential to present opportunities for references on your resume.

  • Create a resume. Build an effective resume that highlights your valuable skills, education and achievements. You can use a pre-made resume template to ensure it's structured and formatted correctly.

  • Apply for jobs. You might find jobs online, in newspapers or through your professional network. You can use the resume you created to apply for test analyst jobs.

  • Prepare for interviews. When you're applying for jobs, you might want to prepare yourself for interviews in case you receive an unexpected phone interview. You can practise common interview questions to ensure you're prepared.

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