The Future of Software Testing

We don't know the future. Nobody does. However, I have been involved with software testing since 2008 and I have seen changes taking place. It used to be simple earlier. We received the requirements and designed simple test cases based on these requirements. Then we received the latest build of the application, execute our test cases and report discrepancies in bug reports. We did all of this as carefully and as fast as we could. As I experienced software testing first hand, I began to learn it. There were multiple approaches available to perform testing tasks. Each approach had its own pros and cons. There were multiple types of testing that we could do. Each of my team members had a different set of skills, strengths and weaknesses. It was not simple anymore. 3 or 4 years ago, I started following the online software testing communities. I read a lot of material and comments on hundreds of topics in software testing. I saw thought leaders in software testing repeatedly pointing us test practitioners to the basics. Over time, I have begun to consider software testing as quite complex and challenging. The good news is that software testing still has a long way to go before it truly matures.

Here is the list of my predictions. These are not revolutionary changes that are going to catch you all of a sudden. In fact, you can see some of these changes today. But, if you are aware that these changes could speed up or intensify in the coming future, then you have a better chance to prepare yourself to take advantage of them.

Prediction #1. Companies will demand more value for the testing resources they put in.
The recent downturn has shaken everyone. We have been forced to become savvier with our investments. The same is true for companies. Companies will demand a better testing service from their resources (in-house testing team or a vendor providing testing services). The companies will now demand:
a. Faster turnaround time
b. Greater coverage of specified and implied requirements
c. Testing in more perspectives (functional, performance, security, usability and so on)
d. Increased collaboration with all other teams involved in sales/ product development, software development, deployment and support
e. Lower costs (of test infrastructure (test environment), test tools and testing personnel)
f. More transparency of the test process

Prediction #2. Software testing will become more complex.
Keeping in mind the increased expectations of clients, the increasing complexity of applications and the increasing knowledge of test practitioners, software testing will become more complex. In future, testers will need to find answers to the following questions among others:
a. What are the most important business objectives of the application that I am testing?
b. What technologies does my application employ? How do I test each of those?
c. What test infrastructure will I need to test my application? How can I set those up with the least cost (of setting it up, using it, maintaining it and tearing it down)?
d. What tests would provide the best value against the cost of creating them?
e. How is my application integrated with other systems? How do I test various aspects of each integration?
f. What is the best test methodology that I can use?
f. Which of my communication provides the best value to other stakeholders?
g. How do I utilize my natural strengths in testing? How do I circumvent my natural weaknesses?

Prediction # 3. Crowd-sourcing will continue to become popular.
uTest is becoming more popular by the day. Today, uTest has more than 20,000 testers and a client list that includes Google and Microsoft. The clients of crowd-sourcing companies can buy just the testing services they need when they need them and even select the individual testers for the test. No wonder, many companies consider crowd-sourced testing services as viable alternatives to large in-house testing teams or inflexible testing services vendors.

Prediction # 4. In order to get hired and stay hired, testers will need to distinguish themselves from the crowd.
Today, there are masses of software testers. Their profiles and resumes look similar. If I were going to hire someone for my team, I would not like to just go for someone with the basic knowledge and skills. I would like to get the details. And, I would probably like to interview someone with substantial achievements. Someone who has "walked the extra mile". Someone who has achieved more than their counterparts at the same level. Be it extra-ordinary knowledge, uncommon or advanced skills or a solid recognition from testing experts.

Prediction # 5. Social skills and working style will become important.
Other than software testing knowledge and skills, testers will be required to be socially adept. They will be required not only to plan and test well, but also communicate well. They will be required to establish themselves as part of a team, support the team, speak up when required and influence others when required. In future, just testing won't do for the testers. They will also be required to collaborate effectively and strive to maintain long-term relationships with their extended teams. Further, testers will be required to show align themselves to the (stable or changing) business objectives and the team.

What do you feel? Do you think that you are ready for these changes? Are you going to take advantage of them? What other changes do you see on the horizon?

Thanks & Regards ,

Prashant Vadher | QA Engineer


Roshan Patel said...

Yes, I am ready for these changes. In fact these changes are inevitable. :)

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