What is a test analyst?

How I try to answer this question when people ask me what a test analyst is.

So… what exactly is a test analyst? I get asked this question all the time when I catch up with old uni and high-school friends and to be honest, I do find it a hard question to answer simply.

If you were to google this you’d probably find something along the lines of…
The Test Analyst is responsible for designing, developing, and executing test plans and test cases that verify a software conformance to defined acceptance citeria.”

but then, what exactly does that MEAN?

I then try to explain to my friends, I work in IT and am a consultant on IT projects.

So then they ask- are you a developer? Do you write code?

Nope, sorry. But I do check the code of developers by running tests and making sure the system behaves as it should.

So then how do I answer this (still somewhat dreaded question because it can be a bit hard to describe) might you ask?

I say; we help build quality into software. As software is being built; as the documentation is being written etc etc test analysts need to be there to analyse the documentation to make sure it does meet the requirements (what the business “requires” of the technology) and they need to be there to find defects so that (ideally) things will be smooth sailing once a piece of software goes live (i.e. out to the general public).