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Business systems analysts and quality assurance analysts are colleagues in information technology. These professionals work together to improve business process performance by providing business users with more efficient technologies. The business systems analyst gets things started by identifying business user needs and developing viable software or hardware solutions. The quality assurance analyst takes things from there, testing the new technology before it’s released for use to make sure it can function effectively and reliably.
Business Systems Analyst
Business systems analysts link business users with IT services. These analysts work with subject matter experts in the business community to gain an understanding of the types of data driving or resulting from business processes. Data inputs and outputs are documented and then used to build specifications for new software or hardware or improvements to existing technology systems. The goal of a business systems analyst is to help the business perform better through efficient information technologies.
Quality Assurance Analyst
Quality assurance analysts work with existing or newly developed systems rather than building specifications for better technologies. A large part of the quality assurance analyst’s role involves software testing. These analysts study specifications to establish the best methods for testing new or upgraded software before it’s released for use. Test cases are created and run, and results are carefully documented for reporting. Quality assurance analysts also troubleshoot problems with systems already in use.
Business systems analysts need to be both tech savvy and business savvy, while quality assurance analysts are more technology driven. Also, while business systems analysts focus on what can go right, quality assurance analysts focus on what can go wrong. Quality assurance analysts try to break the system to see if it can be broken. If a business systems analyst missed something during requirements gathering or a programmer missed something during development, the quality assurance analyst’s job is to discover what’s missing so fixes can be made before real data problems occur in the business community.
Both of these professionals work with colleagues inside and outside the IT department. While business systems analysts are the principal link to business users, quality assurance analysts also work with business colleagues to create test cases based on real scenarios. Both must be strong communicators who are able to explain technical concepts to nontechnical thinkers. Hiring companies typically require candidates for both roles to hold undergraduate degrees in computer sciences.
A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.
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