Built In: What does a QA Analyst Do?
Tests Are the Tools of the QA Trade
Getting products to work as expected means all QA analysts spend a majority of their time on testing and fixing bugs.
Testing is so fundamental to the QA analyst role that some QA analysts are often just referred to as testers or have “tester” in their title. But testing is not just about running tests.
The process starts with gathering testing criteria for a project. The product team or a business analyst will generally outline a new product or new functionality on an existing product, including what it will need to do. The QA analyst will take this information and must figure out how to test that product or functionality to make sure that it meets requirements.
From there, the QA analyst — or a QA engineer or the analyst’s manager or team lead, depending on a company’s QA approach — draws up a test plan, which covers their test strategy, their objectives and associated timelines and resource needs for a project.
There are many different types of tests that can be run — for example, functionality tests, reliability tests, security tests — depending on a test objective. Testing can also be manual or automated.
Automated testing basically turns the process of testing code into a program that must be coded out by testers. Automated testing usually falls into either unit testing or integration testing. Unit testing focuses on individual pieces of a software product while integration testing looks at it as a whole and makes sure all parts work together.
The benefit of automated testing is that it is fast and can be prepped before the code it is investigating is done. It’s also fun, according to Ray Vitatoe, QA Engineer at 84.51°, a retail data and analytics company.
“I almost enjoy writing tests as much as I enjoy writing code,” he said. But he’s not just writing tests to validate or fine-tune the products, he’s also turning that same attention to the tests themselves. He investigates how often tests fail because of the test itself or because of the code. Basically, he figures out if the tools he is using are the right ones for the job.