What Is a Quality Assurance Analyst? 2023 Career Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on

In this quality assurance (QA) analyst career guide, you'll learn more about job titles, requirements, career paths, and salaries.

[Featured image] A quality assurance analyst analyzes software for a company.

Quality assurance is vital whether you sell products or high-ticket items, software, or medical devices. In this article, let’s take a closer look at what QA analysts do, different career paths, and how to get started.

What is a quality assurance analyst?

As a quality assurance (QA) analyst, you’re responsible for analyzing and ensuring the quality of software, products, and systems. You confirm that products or services meet the standards set by the company or the industry that you’re working. Quality assurance has become synonymous with software and technology products. However, jobs in quality assurance are available in various sectors, including manufacturing, food and beverage, health care, and software development. 

What do quality assurance analysts do?

In technical QA analyst jobs, you’ll develop and implement testing plans, create test cases and test scripts, and execute tests. You’ll also report defects and track resolutions. This may involve focus groups with customers and monitoring ongoing customer feedback to identify product issues. 

Quality assurance analyst job description

The role may involve:

  • Planning and implementing product testing

  • Establishing procedures and scenarios for quality control

  • Reviewing products for defects and errors

  • Regression testing

  • Conducting software compatibility tests

  • Analyzing test results

  • Assisting with product designs

  • Tracking progress on product issue resolutions

  • Ensuring that the final product is fit for its purpose

  • Evaluating software for release readiness and reporting defects to software developers

  • Driving product improvements

  • Analyzing competitors and the current market

Read more: How to Write a Quality Assurance Resume (Step-by-Step with Examples)

How much do quality assurance analysts make?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual quality assurance analyst salary in the US is $109,020. The job outlook for quality assurance analyst jobs is expected to grow 25 percent from 2021 to 2031, which is much faster than average [1]. This figure translates into an estimated 411,400 new jobs.

QA analyst degrees and graduate certificates

Sixty-five percent of QA analysts have a bachelor’s degree, 15 percent have a master’s degree, and 11 percent have an associate degree [2]. Typically, QA analysts study computer science, business, or electrical engineering. Examples of relevant degrees and graduate certificates for QA analysts to pursue include:

Professional Certificates and certifications

Whether you’re looking to transition into a new career or are graduating from college, certifications or certificates are a great way to enhance your resume and increase your earning potential. When considering your certification options, it’s a good idea to look at the competencies required in your target jobs and determine which certifications best convey those skills. LinkedIn can be a good source of information and for networking.

Here are a few certificates that QA analyst employers may prefer:

QA analyst skills

You can develop various skills that help you perform well in a quality assurance role. Here are some key skills and traits for QA analysts to master:

  • Expertise in a wide range of software applications as well as hardware and networking

  • Extensive experience in quality control

  • Strong programming skills

  • High regard for safety standards and quality control

  • A good understanding of business

  • Ability to think abstractly and see how small details relate to the bigger picture

  • Creative and innovative thinker

  • Knowledge of operating systems and network environments

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

  • Strong IT skills

  • Keen attention to detail

  • Diligent and meticulous

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills

Is quality assurance a good career?

A career in quality assurance can be rewarding for several reasons. The salary is above average, the job outlook is promising, and QA analysts play an essential role in businesses. Here are 5 reasons quality assurance is so important:

1. QA helps protect brand reputation. Protecting your brand and reputation is the most important reason to invest in quality assurance. If your products or services don't meet customer expectations, it can damage your brand and make it harder to attract new business. Quality assurance can help ensure your products or services meet or exceed customer expectations.

2. QA ensures compliance with ISO standards. Complying with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is another vital reason to invest in quality assurance. ISO 9001 is the world's most widely used quality management system standard, and compliance can be a requirement for doing business in some sectors. Quality assurance can help you meet all relevant ISO standards, opening partnership and sales opportunities.

3. QA analysts help identify what customers want. Knowing what customers want is key to quality assurance. Understanding customer needs and expectations ensures that your company designs its products or services to meet them, which can improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and help increase sales.

4. QA can enhance productivity and team performance. By streamlining processes and eliminating waste, quality assurance can help boost efficiency and productivity levels across your organization. This can save you time and money and free up resources for other priorities. Quality assurance can also help you develop training programs, implement process changes, and identify areas where team members need improvement. By improving the performance of your teams, you can improve the quality of your product while reducing costs.

5. Businesses plan more efficiently and realistically with QA analysts. By investigating potential risks early in the product or project lifecycle, quality assurance can help you plan more efficiently for contingencies. Having a quality assurance plan, you can help efficiently and realistically allocate your resources to get the best results from your team.

Where do QA analysts work?

QA analysts typically work in various industries, including health care, manufacturing, and software development. You’ll typically work in an office setting but may travel to different locations to conduct inspections or audits.  You may also find work in these types of organizations:

  • Independent testing and QA consultancies

  • IT departments in large companies

  • Software development companies

  • Web development agencies

QA career paths

After working in a QA role and learning skills such as attention to detail and problem-solving, you may be able to move on to management positions or find opportunities in consulting or auditing. Here are some related roles and their average annual salaries:

Note: All US salary information was sourced from Glassdoor in January 2023. It includes the average base salary and the reported annual additional pay. Additional pay may include profit sharing, bonuses, and commissions.

  • Project manager: $127,839

  • DevOps engineer: $133,363

  • Customer experience leader: $63,868

  • Enterprise architect: $213,489

  • IT manager: $109,334

  • Quality engineer: $84,650

  • Quality assurance manager: $107,901

  • Director of quality: $195,060

  • Vice president of quality: $272,071

Alternative titles for quality assurance jobs

Many different job titles fall under the term quality assurance and each of them has its own set of responsibilities and requirements. Here are some additional QA roles and their average annual US salaries: 

Note: All US salary information was sourced from Glassdoor in January 2023. It includes the average base salary and the reported annual additional pay. Additional pay may include profit sharing, bonuses, and commissions.

  • Quality technician: $43,917

  • Quality auditor: $46,453

  • Quality coordinator: $57,487

  • Quality assurance tester: $68,925

  • Quality control supervisor: $54,615 

  • Quality analyst: $59,767

Start your career in quality assurance with Coursera

You can start building job-ready skills to enhance your resume today. Consider the Information Systems Auditing, Controls and Assurance course offered by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology on Coursera. You can learn about subjects like information security (INFOSEC), information technology (IT) management, auditing, risk management, and change management.

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Information Security (INFOSEC), Information Technology (IT) Management, Audit, Risk Management, Change Management

Article sources

1

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm." Accessed January 20, 2023.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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