QA Analyst vs. QA Engineer
You may see that most software testing job postings are for QA Analysts or QA Engineers. There are other software testing job positions out there, but these two are the most popular. So what’s the difference between a software QA Analyst and a QA Engineer?
The truth is that there’s no evergreen description of the differences between a QA Analyst and a QA Engineer. Certainly, you might find articles with well-thought-out specifications for each position. However, in real workplaces, the truth can be very different. Read on for the standard descriptions for each. In addition, you’ll find out what you can assume (or not expect) on a more practical level.
QA Analyst Job Description
The “QA Analyst” job title normally refers to a manual QA job testing software like websites or mobile apps. As a result, these are some of the duties you can expect from a QA Analyst role:
- Writing test cases (or applying test cases written by others)
- Manually testing software
- Reporting bugs
- Recognizing user experience issues
- Colluding with developers and project managers (often in an Agile QA process)
- Implementing QA estimates to help the team plan out release timelines
QA Engineer Job Description
The title of “QA Engineer” can be vaguer than that of “Analyst.” While the word “engineer” may bring to mind the idea of a programmer, many manual QA testers hold this job title.
However, proceeding with a more by-the-book description, a QA Engineer does automated testing. These are some of the tasks to assume in the automated tester (or SDET) role:
- Writing test cases (or using test cases created by manual QA)
- Generating automated test scripts for an app or website employing a programming language (like Java)
- Integrating automated scripts into the build release process
- Creating technical bug reports
- Maintaining existing automation framework
- API testing (manual or automated)
- Performance testing (manual or automated)
What’s the Difference Between a QA Analyst vs. QA Engineer?
Although the job descriptions above may seem quite different, many organizations use “QA Engineer” interchangeably with “QA Analyst.” In fact, the title of Senior QA Engineer can be given to software testers that perform 100% manual QA. Notably, the opposite is not true – the Analyst job title is unusually used for automated testing positions.
When looking at the descriptions above, this difference may not make sense. But it’s helpful to recognize the on-the-ground reality in the workplace, so you can present informed career decisions.
Which Job Title is Better?
Neither position is essentially better or more important than the other. They provide different aspects of software quality assurance, but both are necessary for a good QA strategy.
However, when it seems to the titles themselves, “QA Engineer” is a more suitable title to have than “QA Analyst.” The analyst job title is seldom associated with more junior positions (despite not always being the case). If you can have an option of your resume giving a QA Analyst or QA Engineer, the latter will be a greater boost for your QA career – even if the posted job duties are identical.
Which is Easier to Get Into?
When hunting for your first QA job, it’s almost always easier to take a QA Analyst position. This doesn’t imply you shouldn’t apply for a QA Engineer job if you have the required skills. But without much experience, it will be easier to get your foot in the door below the Analyst title.
Which Job Pays More?
Although there are specific discrepancies, as a general rule, QA Engineer jobs pay higher salaries than QA Analyst roles.
Which Has More Job Stability?
QA Engineer jobs are increasing at a higher rate, while manual QA Analyst jobs have been (relatively unfairly) trending towards being recognized as less valuable.
What Personality Traits Are Better for Each?
The QA Engineer role would be an excellent fit for you if you have these features:
- Math-based brain
- Interest in programming
- Passion for working out issues
- Perseverance for overcoming challenges
On the other hand, you may be the ideal QA Analyst with these features:
- Creativity-based brain
- Interest in investigating details
- Passion for discovering ways to improve user experience
- Ability to buckle down and power through rote work
QA Analyst vs. QA Engineer
“QA Analyst” and “QA Engineer” don’t always have regular interpretations in practice. But now you know the official descriptions and the benefits of both.
A trained QA Engineer maximizes results by making sure that potential risks are identified at an early stage of software development and by addressing very particular technical issues.
At TestUnity we have an expert team of QA Engineers. This enables us to give our clients the support they require to make sure that their software hits the market in the right circumstances.
When it comes to QA, nothing is better than having the correct people in charge. That’s why we make sure that everyone in our team is qualified and accredited on some of the industry’s best practices.
Contact us for a free consultation and see for yourself why TestUnity’s QA approach is the best choice for your software.