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Test Lead vs. Test Manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A test lead and test manager are both responsible for ensuring the quality of a software product. Though their roles are similar, there are several key differences between them. In this article, we discuss the duties of a test lead and test manager, and we explain how their responsibilities differ. We also provide tips for those interested in pursuing a career in software testing.

What is a Test Lead?

A Test Lead is responsible for leading a team of testers in the development and execution of test plans. They work closely with project managers, developers and other stakeholders to ensure that testing is properly planned and executed. Test Leads also review test results and report findings to project managers and other stakeholders. They may also be responsible for training and mentoring other testers on best practices. In some cases, Test Leads may also be responsible for developing and maintaining automated testing scripts.

What is a Test Manager?

Test Managers are responsible for leading and coordinating a software testing team. They develop and implement testing plans and schedules, and they oversee the execution of tests. Test Managers also review test results and report findings to project stakeholders. In addition, they may be responsible for hiring, training and mentoring team members. Test Managers typically work in the IT department of a company, and they may have a background in software development or engineering.

Test Lead vs. Test Manager

Here are the main differences between a test lead and a test manager.

Job Duties

Test leads and test managers both perform a variety of duties related to creating, administering and evaluating tests. These duties can include creating test plans, assigning tasks to team members, monitoring the progress of testing and analyzing results. However, a test lead’s responsibilities are more focused on the creation and maintenance of testing processes and procedures. Test leads work closely with software developers to ensure that the products being tested meet requirements and work with test managers to ensure that all aspects of testing remain consistent.

Test managers oversee many different areas of testing, but they primarily focus on the evaluation of test results. They analyze data from multiple tests to determine how well certain features function and whether certain changes have an impact on performance. This information can be useful for making decisions about future product revisions.

Job Requirements

Test leads and test managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering or another related field. They also need several years of experience working in software development or quality assurance. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many test leads and test managers pursue certifications through the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) or the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use testing software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Test leads and test managers work in different environments. Test leads typically work in an office setting, while test managers may travel to the workplace where their team is testing a product. They also spend time with their teams during meetings and training sessions.

Test leads usually work full-time hours, but they may have more flexibility than test managers because of their smaller responsibilities. For example, test leads may only need to attend weekly meetings or trainings. Test managers often work long hours and weekends to ensure that their team has everything it needs to complete its projects.


Test leads and test managers share several skills, such as the ability to develop test plans, create test cases and execute tests. They also both need to be able to analyze results and report on their findings. However, there are some key differences in the skills each position requires.

Test leads typically need to have strong technical skills so they can understand the products they are testing and identify potential issues. They also need to be able to communicate effectively with developers so they can provide feedback and collaborate on solutions. Test managers usually need to have more managerial skills, such as the ability to lead and motivate a team, as well as project management skills to plan and oversee the work of the team.


Test leads can earn an average salary of $91,642 per year, while test managers can earn an average salary of $108,030 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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