Test lead

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

Test leads plan and co-ordinate the testing programmes when new computer systems and applications are being developed or upgraded.

Average salary (a year)

£34,000 Starter


£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 48 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become a 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

Courses that include work placements, internships or a year in industry may give you an advantage when you look for work after completing your studies.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) or above and 2 to 3 A levels
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information


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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More information

Career tips

You'll find it useful to understand Agile IT project development methods.

Further information

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

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

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties, with the product development team, may include:

  • 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 management team

Working environment

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

Career path and progression

You can work in all parts of industry and commerce or specialise in a particular area, for example 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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Software Tester Apprentice (an Arch Apprenticeship)

  • Wage : £18,000.00 Annually
  • Location: London E2 9DR

Software Tester Apprentice

  • Wage : £20,000.00 Annually
  • Location: London EC2Y 9DT

Courses In England

Software Development (App Development) - BSc Hons Degree - Topup

  • Start date: 08 September 2020
  • Location: Blackpool

IT (Software Development) BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (Edexcel)

  • Provider: St Francis Xavier Sixth Form College
  • Start date: 01 September 2020
  • Location: LONDON

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