Ensuring Software Quality in the Modern Age: 8 Trends

The number of organizations that have 16 or more software testers increased to 34% from 2020–2021. It’s clear QA is a critical component of software development.
January 5, 2022
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The number of organizations that have 16 or more dedicated software testers increased to 34% over 2020 to 2021, the latest State of Testing Report reveals. This is a total increase of 10%, a statistic that may not sound dramatic in the grand scheme of things, but that highlights a clear trend: organizations are increasingly prioritizing quality assurance (QA).

Businesses that produce software are recognizing that the QA process, encompassing testing both during and after development, is paramount for ensuring excellence in technology. It’s not only critical for putting forth quality products but also for solidifying brand reputation.

What does QA testing mean in the modern age? Here are 8 key trends we’re seeing.

1. An Eye on Digital Transformation

An overwhelming number of organizations, including those not specifically focusing on software and technology, are embracing digital transformation. Thus, they’re infusing digital processes and innovative technologies into their procedures, software testing, and changing course.

Many businesses are approaching the QA process from a perspective of digital transformation, ensuring that their activities are aligned in order to formulate a more cohesive strategy. The end goal is guaranteeing continuous delivery and high-quality products, as well as a more efficient process.

2. Embracing Agile and DevOps

Agile is about collaboration and satisfaction of the end user. This approach is consistent with QA testing, emphasizing quality throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC). But testing isn’t wholly separate from development itself — these phases are intertwined, such that the roles of developer and tester aren’t wholly distinct. QA and software engineers work together closely to meet rigorous standards.

Meanwhile, DevOps is a philosophy applying several of the same principles as agile to the SDLC but emphasizing the speed of delivery. Together, these approaches mean that testing is a priority when it comes to software development.

3. Relying on Automation

The 2021 State of Testing Report also finds that test automation is being implemented at a rate of nearly 90% among organizations surveyed, while 85% are adopting CI/CD practices.

Automation itself, of course, is a routine practice among businesses that use QA testing. But now, there is a shift toward new QA tools, technologies, and practices. For example, organizations are increasingly adopting open-source testing tools over licensed tools, which not only reduce cost but also facilitate faster execution and a more community-centric approach.

Selenium is one of the main tools used for this purpose, but it joins several other projects in popularity.

4. Exploratory Testing, too

At the same time, organizations are combining efforts, recognizing the need for manual testing, too, particularly exploratory testing. This process involves delving into all aspects of the product, examining each facet, and employing creative strategies to identify defects and spot ways you can make the software even better. 

A solid testing strategy involves this in addition to automation, a holistic means of exploring the entire product.

5. Applying AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is affecting practically every aspect of our lives, from work to shopping. It’s no surprise, then, that AI is becoming a large part of QA testing, too.

While the addition of AI to the testing process is still in its relative infancy, it has become clear that AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms can facilitate the creation of more focused and superior test cases, reporting, and much more. It will also allow QA testers to spot defects and identify areas of concern — ones that the human eye might not be able to recognize.

6. Comprehensive Testing

QA testing is a thorough and comprehensive process. Today, every piece of software you put forth, from mobile apps to computer programs, must meet high-quality standards, especially considering today’s competitive market. And now, there are separate processes for different types of software to support QA. Mobile app testing, for example, has distinct testing tools and procedures. Big data tests, too, require unique strategies.

Moreover, each type of software and each purpose for that technology across industries demands a specialized approach.

7. Starting Early

It’s probably clear by now that development and testing aren’t distinct — they go hand in hand and are both integral to the SDLC. Nor are they separate phases of a software project. Because of this, businesses are recognizing that QA testing must start early on before there’s time for defects to fully materialize, which makes them more difficult to address.

Instead, QA specialists enter the project at the beginning, helping identify bugs and problems before they escalate, leading to lower cost and time investment, as well as an ultimately stronger product.

8. Changing Roles

Agile and DevOps have taught us that software quality is the collective responsibility of everyone. Because of that, roles are shifting and evolving in the QA space. It’s no longer just up to the QA testers and specialists to ensure quality — the developers, project managers, and others must contribute, too.

One role that has emerged as of late is that of the software development engineer in test (SDET). This job effectively combines testing and programming into one, unique position, where the tester is able to spot problems earlier on in the process, performing the dual role of coding and evaluating quality.

It’s clear that quality assurance isn’t an afterthought when it comes to software development. As we move into a new era of technology, priorities are changing. Businesses are looking to develop the best products to earn them a strong reputation — and they are realizing that QA testing is a large part of the answer.

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