After the 2020 Curveball – What’s in Store for QA?
On the 18th of February 2020, the London Heathrow airport erupted in chaos. There was widespread panic about a new, highly infectious, potentially deadly virus and businesses were either being shut down or had moved to remote work. As a result, an unusually large number of people wanted to travel back home, to a safer place. However, the airport’s check-in software could not handle the extra load, and thousands were stranded, scrambling to find flight and boarding information.
This incident underlines the importance of continuous testing. Periodic checks and frequent load testing could have averted the chaos. There are many such software failures strewn across recent history that serve to remind how important it is for quality assurance teams to stay updated with the latest advancements in the field.
Ever since 2020 sent us hurtling towards an uncertain future, businesses have faced a more pressing need to keep up with the trends in software testing. Here is our assessment of the future of software testing and quality assurance. Read on to be prepared and proactive.
QA all day, every day
Testing & Quality Assurance (QA) is no longer an activity carried out towards the end of the software development life cycle. The scope and scale of the function and its prominence in the CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Development) approach of engineering have increased exponentially. One of the many reasons for this dramatic uptick is the SaaS industry. The SaaS industry, which adheres to some of the most stringent standards of product quality, has seen cut-throat competition for the last few years, and is pegged to generate a revenue of USD 141 Bn. This race to develop and sell flawless customer experiences necessitates the adoption of the ‘shift left’ approach and the incorporation of testing at a much earlier stage in the SDLC.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added fuel to this fire and forced teams to test early and often with exhaustive QA processes covering all aspects of the product or service offering.
Bigger teams, bigger roles
According to the State of Testing report, QA teams are getting bigger and better. QA is increasingly becoming business-critical. A tester’s role is rapidly evolving beyond simple product testing. Data from the report also suggests that QA professionals conduct security testing; validate and simplify user stories and carry out CI/CD activities; collaborate with business analysts and customer success professionals; and work for production deployments.
Businesses all over the world have been pivoting to a more cloud-based infrastructure, porting their applications, processes, and data on the cloud since the latter part of the last decade. The pandemic, which compelled businesses to hunker down and adapt to remote work, gave this trend a significant impetus. However, for some QA teams, ramping up the speed & scale of testing in a swiftly changing landscape led to biting off more than they could chew.
Consequently, innovation in the QA domain was fast-tracked. The introduction of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) in the testing process helps break down the testing of cloud-based applications into chewable bites. AI also remarkably shortens the testing life to cater to the fast-paced nature of customer-facing applications and the need for sound infrastructure that supports them. Research from Emergen backs this observation; the global automation testing market is estimated to reach USD 29,525.87 Mn by the end of 2025.
Testers should equip themselves with cutting-edge tools and languages that work efficiently with AL and predictive QA automation such as Apache Spark, Python, R, or invest in top-notch expertise that will help their organizations do so.
Usable, accessible, secure
The last decade saw a ginormous influx of consumer-facing applications. Popular research suggests that about 3 million apps are available on the Google Play Store and roughly 2 million on Apple’s App Store as of 2020. These consumer-facing apps have made life markedly more convenient while also increasing the touchpoints in a typical customer journey. These touchpoints offer businesses genuine ways to interact with their customers and make these interactions mutually rewarding customer experiences – but they also expose customer data to unscrupulous elements like hackers.
For businesses to keep winning new customers and retaining old ones, the interfaces the customers interact with need to have a streamlined usability flow and security of sensitive behavioral and personal data. This calls for accessibility testing. Accessibility testing or usability testing ensures that the software is user-friendly and maintains quality across operating systems, internet platforms, and devices.
Customer-facing applications that have great usability scores are preferred by users and help build customer and brand loyalty. Therefore, accessibility testing is key in determining the success of an application and its importance and popularity will continue to surge in the coming years.
Software testing and development – on the cloud, for the cloud
Since the world re-routed to remote work, businesses required scalable, bankable, secure, and cost-effective cloud-based solutions. A recent study from the Synergy Group revealed that in the first quarter of 2020 itself, cloud-spending rose by 37%, reaching $29 Bn. These findings indicate that businesses need to invest resources in cloud-based development and quality assurance.
High-performing businesses have started to leverage cloud-native test tools, cloud-based intelligent test automation tools, and tools that enable remote collaboration for testing and sharing test artifacts. Cloud-based quality assurance also helps remote software development and testing teams genuinely embrace agile development and testing. As more and more teams go permanently remote, experts predict an inflow of cloud-native test automation tools.
Automation turned up to the max – Scriptless testing
Test automation has been around for quite some time. As businesses progress on their path towards digital transformation, the degree of automation keeps increasing too. Traditionally, test automation includes writing code to test various software functionalities against pre-set standards. It involves ground-up development of code for the creation and maintenance of automated test suites. But this approach is getting phased out given the amount of time and resources required to generate the code for automation.
Instead, businesses are opting for scriptless automation, an effective advancement to traditional test automation. It easily automates large test suites, halves testing cycles, and improves test coverage by maintaining the traceability of all reusable components throughout the product development lifecycle. But the appeal of scriptless testing comes from its user-friendliness. It enables cross-functional teams to fully leverage their multifacetedness by bridging the gap between non-technical stakeholders and technical experts with easy deployment of blocks of pre-built, reusable automation code. Scriptless automation testing tools will continue to be hot items in the next couple of years.
QA is fast becoming business-critical, leaner, and more agile. Businesses need to rise to the occasion and invest resources to ensure an efficient test automation pipeline.
Calsoft has been a reputed player in the software development & testing domain for 20+ years and can help you bring your QA efforts up to speed with a team of experts ready to assist you immediately.