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.
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.