IT-based systems are critical tools for businesses and individuals alike. Therefore, you can reasonably expect jobs specific to this industry to mushroom. Software applications are prevalent in just about every area of modern life, and to function appropriately, these applications must be deemed ready for individual and business use. As a quality assurance analyst, your goal is to make sure that software applications meet certain standards and are ready for production.
As a quality assurance analyst, you'll assess and test newly developed or modified software applications. You'll then determine if the software works according to customer specifications and meets performance criteria. Next, you'll suggest improvements that are necessary to bring the software in line with customer requirements. You'll need to document your results and work with the customers to successfully develop or implement the software. These are functional goals that you need to achieve as part of your daily routine.
For success as a quality assurance analyst, you must achieve certain performance goals. Appraisal is a subjective issue because different companies have different evaluation approaches. The basic gauge for performance reviews includes the number of defects you find and the solutions you provide for these defects. The software enhancements you suggest must increase the usefulness of the application and the customer must like and want to use your software. Functional goals are linked directly to your performance goals, which means that your work must be of good quality to achieve performance goals.
You’ll need a bachelor’s degree for the QA analyst position, although an associate degree suffices for some entry-level positions. You can advance your career by obtaining a master’s degree. It is also useful to obtain credentials such as certified test manager or software tester. Once you begin your job as a quality assurance analyst, you’ll need to define your career path. Be assertive in the kind of assignments you want, and then use those assignments to deepen your knowledge of a particular niche. If you’re well versed in a specific area, you can increase your chances of advancing with companies that specialize in that area.
Salaries and job outlooks also impact your goals as a QA analyst. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups QA analysts with computer system analysts. It reports that the median salary for these professionals was $83,800 as of May 2012. Employment in the field is expected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, above the 14 percent average for all occupations. Growth will be driven in part by increasing demand for advanced systems.
- Testing IT: An Off-the-Shelf Software Testing Process; John Watkins and Simon Mills
- CareerPlanner.com Inc: Quality Assurance Analyst
- Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute: Software Assurance
- Onet Online: Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, Computer Systems Analysts
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer Systems Analysts, Job Outlook
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images