Test lead

Alternative titles for this job include Senior test lead, lead test analyst, test manager, digital test lead

Test leads check new computer systems and applications that are being created or upgraded.

Average salary (a year)

£34,000 Starter


£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Test lead

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


You could do a degree or postgraduate course in:

  • computer science
  • business information technology
  • software development
  • software engineering
  • maths

You may have an advantage when you look for work if your degree includes a work placement, internship or a year in industry.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You could do a software tester higher apprenticeship or a digital technology solutions degree apprenticeship.

Then you'll need to get more experience as a software tester or similar job to become a test lead.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information


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.

Direct Application

You could apply directly for jobs if you have 3 to 5 years' experience in software testing and quality assurance.

You may also find it helpful to have:

  • experience in software development or systems engineering
  • managed a project
  • a professional certificate from an organisation like The Chartered Institute for IT

More Information

Career tips

You'll find it useful to understand different types of project management, such as agile delivery.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in computing from The Chartered Institute for IT and techskills.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • maths knowledge
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

On a typical day, you may:

  • learn about the products being developed
  • create tests for each stage of a product's development
  • plan time and resources needed to complete the testing
  • manage what the testing team is doing
  • carry out manual and automated tests within deadlines
  • identify and record faults or 'bugs' so they can be fixed
  • review completed tests and analyse the results
  • check that new systems and upgrades are working correctly
  • write reports for the project management team

Working environment

You could work in an office, at a client's business or from home.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You can be a test lead in any industry or sector.

With experience, you can:

  • specialise in a particular area, such as finance or telecommunications
  • move into IT project management
  • become a manager
  • work as a freelance contractor for IT and business services

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

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