Test analysts design and carry out tests for computer software and systems, analyse results, and identify and report problems.
Test analysts usually earn
$80K-$200K per year
Source: Recruit I.T., 2021.
Pay for test analysts varies depending on skills, experience and where you work, with pay in Auckland being higher.
- Test analysts usually earn $80,000 to $110,00 a year.
- Senior test analysts usually earn $100,000 to $130,00.
- Lead test analysts and managers can earn $120,000 to $200,000.
Sources: 'Recruit I.T. Technology and Digital Salary Update Auckland', July 2021, 'Recruit I.T. Technology and Digital Salary Update Wellington', July 2021.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Test analysts may do some or all of the following:
- design and develop tests for software and systems to detect faults
- keep written records of defects and bugs that are discovered during testing
- analyse the defects and bugs to identify what is causing them
- develop or recommend solutions to fix any problems discovered during testing
- track the success of the solutions
- keep software and systems documentation up to date.
Skills and knowledge
Test analysts need to have knowledge of:
- programming methods and technology
- computer software and systems
- project management.
- usually work full time and often work evenings and weekends, or might be on call
- work in offices in conditions that may be stressful because they sometimes work to strict deadlines
- may travel locally or overseas to meet clients.
What's the job really like?
It can be like investigating a crime scene
Test analyst Alice Till-Carty says she sometimes has to work like a detective.
"For example, today I was trying to reproduce two different [software] bugs and we have no idea where they came from. It's a bit like a crime scene – you have pieces of information and you have to take the little bits of evidence and figure out what caused the errors."
A good job for people who like to solve problems
"It's a good job for people who like exploring programs, to see how they work. It's often said that if a tester does their job properly, no one will know we were involved.
"I like to know why something's broken. Not just fixing a bug, but what caused it, and talking with developers to find out how the system fits together," Alice says.
Clear communication is essential for test analysts
"You have to be able to reproduce a problem and then explain to someone step-by-step how you managed to make the error appear, because if you can't explain it, it's very difficult for the developers to fix it."
There are no specific requirements to become a test analyst. However, you usually need at least one of the following:
- a tertiary qualification in computer science, information systems or business computing
- a relevant industry-based certification such as International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) Certified Tester
- on-the-job training through internships and graduate recruitment programmes
- experience in related entry-level IT roles such as systems administrator or helpdesk/support technician.
You can also learn through online courses and tutorials, and work on your own projects.
- NxtStep website - find IT internships and graduate programmes
- Summer of Tech website - information on the IT internship programme
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include digital technologies, maths, physics and English.
For Year 11 to 13 students, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain industry experience.
Test analysts need to be:
- methodical, accurate and patient
- able to work well under pressure, and meet deadlines
- able to work well as part of a team, and with minimal supervision
- skilled at problem solving
- skilled at verbal and written communication.
Useful experience for test analysts includes:
- work with computers or programming
- research and analysis
- quality control or assessment work
- IT internships and graduate recruitment programmes.
Test analysts spend a lot of time using computers, so it is important that they know how to use computer equipment properly to avoid occupational overuse syndrome (OOS).
Test analysts may choose to become certified through professional associations such as IT Professionals or the Australia New Zealand Testing Board.
- IT Professionals NZ website - information on becoming certified
- ANZ Testing Board website - information on ISTQB certification
Find out more about training
What are the chances of getting a job?
Test analysts in demand
Demand for test analysts is high because organisations rely on computer systems and networks.
These organisations need test analysts to make sure changes and new software and networks work properly.
Shortage of experienced test analysts
There are not enough experienced test analysts to meet demand. Nearly two thirds of IT employers report skills shortages, and there aren't enough information technology (IT) trainees.
As a result, software tester, ICT systems test engineer, ICT support engineer and ICT quality assurance engineer appear on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled test analysts from overseas to work in New Zealand.
According to the Census, 2,283 test analysts worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Types of employers varied
Employers of test analysts include:
- private companies including software and web-development companies that work with film, games, and animation
- marketing and advertising companies
- government departments
- educational institutions.
Fifteen percent of test analysts are self-employed.
- Hays, 'IT Salary Guide and Recruiting Trends', accessed November 2021, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Recruit I.T., 'Technology and Digital Salary Update Auckland', Recruit I.T., 'Technology and Digital Salary Update Wellington', July 2021, (www.recruitit.co.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Long Term Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Test analysts may progress to become lead testers or testing managers, or move into a general management role.
Last updated 16 August 2022