Test Lead

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
IT Industry

What you will do:

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


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • maths knowledge
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • organisational skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
  • persistence and determination (drive)
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • excellent verbal communication skills


Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

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.

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.

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 a organisation like The Chartered Institute for IT (in the UK)

Working Hours and Environment:

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

Career Path & 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