I was at STARWEST, California earlier this month and it was interesting to hear some of the industry experts talk about current challenges software testers face. Even though, I could not make it to all sessions given the fact that we were presenting the last keynote; the ones I did attend were pretty good.
Most of the talk I heard was around how testing and testers today find themselves in a state of flux.
Development cycles are getting shorter and the ability to test rapidly in an agile mode going forward is what companies want. There was some talk around how testers need to also look at developing programming skills to stay ahead of the curve. I heard a few speakers say that you can’t dedicate time specifically to test, a few mentioned how you need to throw it out to users and let them test while others talked about how crowds could be sourced to find defects. I think this entire line of thinking was coming from one section of the software testing industry; i.e., the ones who are developing apps for mobile, web or cloud.
Take the case of our business, software testing in banks is an extremely critical activity. Not only does it involve large financial data but also invariably will have a lot of elements of regulation and compliance in it. If I had to tell my customer, I will use a crowd to test your application which you can give your users to validate and all of this will save you 20 days- they’d just go elsewhere…To a bank the risk of losing 20 million is far greater than saving 20 days. Having said that, here’s what I feel. Going forward software testing will evolve into 2 areas; i.e., agile testing and traditional testing.
In the agile mode, most companies will be looking at optimizing, automating and crowd testing in a big way. The ideal scenario here would be to have a system which tells the developer whether he is breaking the code while developing and where he is breaking it. Companies will have a crack team of testers who can test and fix on the fly and the crowd will be used to see if anything got through.
Traditional testing will evolve to be a process wherein regression suites will be automated, business users will manually test releases with an automation engineer automating on the fly. Hybrid test automation frameworks will drive the change in this direction. Areas like performance testing and security will continue to remain specialized areas.
Be it the agile or traditional modes, testers will not be able to survive without one of the three skillsets; i.e., test automation, domain knowledge and the arguable one programming.
What do you think?
Hari Raghunathan | AVP | Zen Test Labs
Follow me on Twitter: hariraghunathan