- Test and co-ordinate new computer systems
- Develop an understanding of computer operating systems, hardware and software
- Work in all parts of industry and commerce, or specialise in a particular area
As a test lead, you'll plan and co-ordinate the testing programmes when new computer systems and applications are being developed or upgraded.
- Understanding what the products being developed are meant to do
- Creating test plans for each stage of a product's development cycle
- Estimating time and resources needed to complete the testing process
- Co-ordinating the tasks of the testing team
- Carrying out manual and automated tests within deadlines
- Identifying and recording faults or 'bugs' so they can be fixed
- Reviewing completed tests and analysing the results
- Checking that new systems and upgrades are working correctly after they have gone 'live'
- Writing test reports for the project's management team
You could work in an office or at a client's business.
To be a test lead, you'll need thoroughness and attention to detail; knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software; analytical thinking skills; flexibility and openness to change; persistence and determination; the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues; maths knowledge; and excellent verbal communication skills.
You could do a degree or postgraduate course in computer science, business information technology, software development, software engineering, or maths. Courses that include work placements, internships or a year in industry may give you an advantage when looking for work.
Or, you could start by doing a software tester higher apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship in digital technology solutions. With experience and further training, you could go on to become a test lead.
You could join a company as a software tester, for example through a graduate training scheme. Once you have built up enough experience, you could apply for jobs as a test lead.
You can apply directly for this role if you have 3 to 5 years' experience in software testing and quality assurance. Experience in software development, systems engineering and project management could be helpful. You'll also find it useful to have professional certification from an industry organisation like The Chartered Institute for IT.
Knowledge of Agile IT project development methods is beneficial for this role.
You can work in all parts of industry and commerce or specialise in a particular area, such as financial services, telecommunications or cyber security. With experience, you can move into IT project management or become a test manager, co-ordinating several testing programmes. You can also work as a freelance contractor in the IT and business services industry.