This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Test analysts design and carry out testing processes for new and upgraded computer software and systems, analyse the results, and identify and report problems.
Test analysts earn an average of
$70K-$98K per year
Source: AbsoluteIT, 'Tech Remuneration Report', January 2018.
Pay for test analysts varies. According to AbsoluteIT, test analysts in the:
- lowest-paid group earn an average of $70,000 a year
- middle pay range earn an average of $82,000
- highest-paid group earn an average of $98,000.
Test analysts working on contract earn an average of $75 to $95 an hour.
Source: AbsoluteIT, 'Tech Remuneration Report', January 2018.
- AbsoluteIT website - January 2018 Tech Remuneration Report (PDF - 3.17MB)
- PAYE.net.nz website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job 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 security administrator or helpdesk administrator.
If you are a graduate from other fields, you can gain a fast-tracked IT-related qualification through ICT Graduate Schools.
Self-learning through online courses and tutorials, and working on your own projects, are other ways of gaining IT-related knowledge.
- ANZ Testing Board website - information about ISTQB certification
- NxtStep website - find IT internships and graduate programmes
- Summer of Tech website - information on the IT internship programme
A tertiary entrance qualification is needed to enter tertiary training. Useful school subjects include digital technologies, maths, physics and English.
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?
Demand for test analysts is high because organisations are increasingly relying on computer systems and networks to operate effectively. Test analysts are needed to make sure changes and developments to software and networks work properly.
Shortage of test analysts
While demand for test analysts is expected to remain strong, the number of people training in this field is insufficient to meet demand.
A survey of IT employers in 2017 reported that 79% of employers were planning to hire additional staff. However, 29% of employers also said their biggest problem was finding and retaining staff.
Although the number of test analysts has grown rapidly there are not enough to meet demand.
As a result of these factors, test engineer, software tester 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.
Types of employers varied
Employers of test analysts include:
- private companies that have large websites or provide computer, database and network services to clients
- 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.
- AbsoluteIT, 'Employer Insight Report', March 2017, (www.itsalaries.co.nz).
- AbsoluteIT, 'Tech Remuneration Report', January 2018, (www.itsalaries.co.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Long-term Skill Shortage List', February 2018, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, ‘2006-2014 Occupation Data’ (prepared for Careers Directorate – Tertiary Education Commission), 2015.
Progression and specialisations
Test analysts may progress to become lead testers or testing managers, or move into a general management role.
Last updated 23 February 2018