Business analysts and Quality Assurance Analysts are attractive IT jobs with good prospects. Business analysts are responsible for gathering and understanding the business requirements, while QA Analysts are responsible for validating the quality of the solution built.
So which is better, Business Analysts and QA Analysts both have essential roles and responsibilities and are very valuable to the software development cycle. However, Business Analysts have better salary compensation, job satisfaction, and scope of growth when compared to QA Analysts.
There are different factors to be considered in the debate of Business Analysts vs. QA Analysts. This article compares both against elements that influence the quality of a career.
BA And QA Compared
Business Analysts are responsible for gathering, analyzing, and documenting the requirements, while QA Analysts check for the quality of the service or the product delivered to the customer.
QA stands for Quality Assurance and QA professionals have job titles such as Quality Analysts, Quality Engineers, Testers. In this article, I use QA Analyst to represent these roles.
Here is a brief comparison of how business analysts and quality analysts differ in their job roles, career potential, and other factors.
1. Job Role, Responsibilities, and Requirements
Business Analysts and QA Analysts work collaboratively on a project but have different roles and responsibilities.
A typical software development cycle has 6 phases:
- Planning phase
- Design phase
- Implementation phase
- Testing phase
- Deployment phase
- Maintenance phase
This will vary in different organizations but largely follow a similar pattern.
Both Business Analysts and QA analysts are involved throughout these phases but in different capacities and more areas than others.
During the planning, design, and implementation phase, the business analyst’s role is to gather, understand and analyze the requirements, and translate them to the developers to clarify any ambiguities where necessary.
At this stage, the QA Analysts are not too involved. They might support the Business Analysts to write the test case, but that’s it. Support not necessarily get involved.
The QA Analysts get involved in the test phase, where they validate the quality of the solution built against the requirement provided by the Business Analyst.
Business Analysts are more involved in the Deployment and Maintenance phase than QA Analysts.
The core responsibility of the QA Analysts is to validate that the software solution built by the developer satisfies the specified requirements.
The job responsibilities of a Business Analyst require different skills at the different phases of the software development process. In contrast, as a QA Analyst, the skills required are all centered around testing.
If you enjoy investigating problems, speaking to many people around the business, conducting workshops, and facilitating meetings, then a Business Analyst role is better for you.
If you would rather focus on ensuring the software developed is of the best quality, and you enjoy finding defects and problems in software solutions, then a QA Analyst career is for you.
This section is a tie because both roles are involved in the lifecycle of the project but in different capacities. If you like to be involved in everything, then yes, BA, but if you’ll be rather involved in just a single aspect, then QA is for you.
Moreover, it’s all down to individual preferences.
Winner: Business Analyst & QA Analyst
2. Compensation And Benefits
Both Business Analysts and QA Analysts earn a good salary.
However, salaries vary by location, business industry, and experience level.
That said, let’s compare salary ranges from the three salary comparison platforms.
From the tables above, QA Analysts earn more than Business Analysts in the US, but in the UK and India, Business Analysts earn better than QA Analysts.
I have done the comparison using the job title Quality Assurance (QA) Engineers as this fetches more salary data. It encompasses all the other job titles for QAs, including QA Analysts, Software Testers, etc
Business Analysts have an edge on salaries as they generally get better wages than QA Analysts.
Winner: Business Analysts
3. Job Satisfaction
According to this academic research, the top 5 factors that influence job satisfaction levels of employees are
- Atmosphere at work
- Stability of employment
- A good relationship with coworkers
- A good relationship with superiors
- Communication with management
For Business Analysts and QA Analysts, these factors will entirely depend on their organization, so it is hard to quantify for everyone.
Furthermore, this might also depend on the industry. Working in charity will be an entirely different experience from working in Finance.
Glassdoor insights which rate job roles on a scale of five based on reviews from real employees, rate Business Analyst to have a job satisfaction score of 3.8 while QA Analyst had a score of 3.6.
Business Analysts had slightly better job satisfaction than QA Analysts.
Career Explorer, which conducts an ongoing survey with millions of professionals and asks them how satisfied they are with their careers, reported Business Analysts and QA Analysts have a similar job satisfaction score of 3.0 out of 5 stars.
Drilled further, Business Analysts rate the enjoyment of their work environment as 3.7 out of 5 stars. In comparison, QA Anlayts rated theirs as 3.6 out of 5 stars meaning BAs have a more enjoyable work environment.
Business Analysts have a slightly better job satisfaction score than QA Analysts in terms of job satisfaction levels.
This might be attributed to many different factors, but overall, the nature of the work of QAs is one where they are constantly looking for bugs, errors, and problems in the software solution.
Winner: Business Analysts
2. Future Career Potential And Opportunities
The Business Analyst job market is expected to grow by 14%, while the QA Analysts job market is expected to grow by 9% between 2016 and 2026 in the US.
The scope of growth for both job roles is impressive as more and more organizations recognize the importance of digital transformation.
When writing this article, there were 14,667 job search results for Business Analysts and 6,700 job search results for Quality Assurance in the United Kingdom.
CareerExplorer rates business analysts with an A- employability rating, meaning this career should provide significant employment opportunities for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, they rate Software Quality Assurance engineers with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future.
Both careers have a good scope of growth, but Business Analysts have a far greater scope of development. This might be because the future of software testing might be taken over by automation, AI, and Machine learning.
Winner: Business Analysts
5. Value of Content of Work
As a Business Analyst, the content of your work is documentation and analysis. It’s the clear requirements you are able to gather and translate to the Software developers.
The clearer your requirements, the better the solution built.
As a QA Analyst, the content of your work is the production quality of the solution. The ability for users to use the solution error-free.
This is a tricky one because the QA Analyst depends on the Business Analyst’s requirement document to test the solution that has been built to specification.
At the same time, BUsiness ANalysts trust the QA Analyst to uncover errors that could negatively impact the user experience or cause the software to fail in production.
That said, though, while not ideal, some organizations use Business ANalysts to test the software and don’t employ dedicated QA Analysts.
As a Business Analyst, I derive satisfaction from how well developers have translated my specification document into working software. Furthermore, ensuring the software solution solves the problem of business.
According to a friend QA Analyst, QAs get satisfaction from the number of bugs and errors they detect in a software solution.
Without BUsiness ANalysts and QA Analysts, the software will be entirely useless. FOr this reason, this section is a tie. Both careers have important content value.
Winner: Business Analyst & QA Analyst
Which Is Better- Business Analyst or Developer?
Business Analysts and QA Analysts have important roles to play in the software development cycle. Both are incomplete without one another.
In this article, we looked at different important areas that make a career worthwhile to any individual, backed up by research.
Both careers are important and very valuable to the software development cycle. However, Business Analysts have better salary compensation, job satisfaction, and scope of growth when compared to QA Analysts.
This article has compared Business ANalysts and QA Analysts against their roles and responsibilities, salary compensation, job satisfaction, growth scope, and work content.
However, both careers are great career paths and are in high demand in the IT industry.
It is also entirely down to personal preference, skills, and personality.
Following this result, if you’re interested in becoming a Business Analyst, read this guide on actionable steps to transition from any career to becoming a Business Analyst.