Still wondering why big tech players outsource software testing services? You’re in the right place to find the solutions to the implications of quality assurance!
Software Testing Services: QA, MVP, UX, and Other Frightening Abbreviations
You never know until you try, correct? What looks like a finished and polished product may prove replete with flaws coming out into the open when you delve into details. An apple resembling an attractive fruit at first sight can turn out to be wormy or unripe afterwards. The same principles work with software development. Before letting a product freely float across the market, furnishing yourself with Quality Assurance (QA) tools is just what the doctor ordered.
Primarily, what lies at the core of QA involves Quality Control (QC) and Testing. Today the central pillar of success in the IT area upholds the concepts of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and User Experience (UX). As long as a product’s prototype meets these principles, it’s ready to be upgraded for the market game. Fundamentally, it should consist of basic features that would show the final product’s functionality to the target audience. That’s exactly where the user experience (UX) standards come into force. When a software product passes the MVP stage, and a company is equipped with sufficient information on how to make it out right for the end-user, developers need to tweak the features to turn them into user-friendly functions.
Therefore, QA, MVP, and UX are your best friends on the road to success. According to Statista, about 23% of the organisational annual IT budget was allocated to fund testing and QA in 2019, with forecasts that these numbers would grow immensely throughout the next few years. And this is actually happening right now! There’s no way to disregard the testing phase and hope for the best. Now as you’ve got the main ingredients, it’s time to make the soup. Want a recipe? Simply read on!
Why Does Any Software Development Team Need a Tester?
The history of human evolution bristles with examples when a few sprints of software testing could save billions of dollars, let alone precious time and effort. Merely remember NASA’s failure to launch the Climate Orbiter spacecraft after forgetting to convert imperial units to metric! How many billions could have been saved if they had run more tests before the project’s inception?
In software development, experts distinguish between functional and non-functional software quality levels. Whereas the former presupposes a product’s conformity with specifications and requirements (practical aspect), the latter encompasses a system’s interiors, including architecture, security, code maintainability, etc. (scalability and further support aspects). These levels reflect the multidimensional nature of QC, which, in turn, is part of QA, a broader umbrella term.
So, why do all IT companies require a testing department or need to have QA pipelines incorporated into their workflow? Mainly, testing helps identify mistakes, errors, bugs, inconsistencies, disbalance, bad UX, poor user interface (UI), and other flaws that are inevitable for any project. They appear at each stage of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Whether it’s Agile, Waterfall, or DevOps SDLC model, the standard remains untouched — testing has to be executed after product backlog, planning, and design (with some minor changes).
Software testing is one of the most cost-effective practises your company must adhere to, inasmuch as it saves money, time, workforce, reputation, and brand identity. At any rate, the endpoint of all software products presupposes customer satisfaction, which your app can guarantee only after a few sprints of QA processes.
Software Testing Types
Each organisation may want to focus on a separate chunk of testing types, but there’s a relatively standard classification. Most often, it looks as follows:
- Acceptance testing. Since any software product has to be developed with certain goals and requirements in mind, determining whether your app meets the customer expectations is of paramount significance. This type of testing ensures that the final product succeeds at delivering the predetermined value for the end-user.
- Accessibility testing. As evident from the title, for a variety of reasons, you should ensure that your web or mobile application is easily accessible from various perspectives. Ask yourself whether the final product implies any hearing, vision, cognitive, or other limitations that complicate its functionality for people with disabilities.
- White Box testing. You can refer to this testing type when there’s a need to evaluate the code, architecture, usability as well as input-output flow of your app.
- Black Box testing. The purpose of this method is to test how the product performs within its environment when both paths and code remain unseen.
- Functional testing. As simple as it sounds. This testing type is executed to check whether an app under development does what it’s meant to do.
- Integration testing. To make sure that the whole system performs accurately, testers check its integration properties inside the native software and hardware environment.
- Stress testing. Whenever it’s necessary to assess an app’s stress resistance and performance stability, developers refer to this type of testing.
- Unit testing. This QA practice is responsible for identifying the workability of separate parts of an application to ensure that the smallest details function properly.
There are other important QA techniques, such as security, regression, performance, load, interactive, and other software testing types. Nevertheless, the main purpose of this procedure involves preventing major and minor flaws from emerging in the final version of your software product. You definitely don’t want your users to get stuck in the menu interface without an ability to move any further, right?
QA Testing Process: Cutaway View
1. Analysing the Requirements
As the first stage of the QA process, the analysis of requirements allows testers to get insight into what the future software product will look like and what functionality it must feature to respond to the market demand. Therefore, developers single out specific requirements to tailor the further testing procedure to spot the related issues more effectively throughout the next stages.
2. Planning & Outlining the Test
In this phase, QA experts avail themselves of the previously acquired knowledge to elaborate on a step-by-step testing plan. More specifically, they develop a test strategy, estimate a project budget, identify deadlines, delegate responsibilities, and choose testing types.
3. Designing the Test
Here, QA specialists design test cases along with checklists to match the previously established requirements. Moreover, each case needs to include data, conditions as well as steps to assess every function’s work.
4. Executing the Test and Reporting Detected Defects
Starting from the unit level, this stage implies executing tests at the UI and API levels. Interestingly, QA teams may choose between manual and automated testing, depending on a company’s budget and the scale of a product being tested. Usually, automated testing is needed for large pieces of software containing big data. In such cases, testers refer to certain frameworks, be it Appium, Selenium, or anything else.
5. Running Re-Tests and Regression Tests
As soon as all bugs are spotted and fixed, QA teams repeat the testing processes to make sure nothing is missed. In turn, regression tests help them verify that the changes being made don’t affect the already-functioning features.
6. Executing Release Tests
After submitting a release notification with all bugs fixed and features implemented, QA professionals ensure that the deployed build matches the formerly identified requirements. In addition, their mission lies in running the final sprint of testing to feel reassured about all functions and performance stability. Then a product is ready for the long-awaited deployment!
What Does It Take To Become a Good Software Tester?
Now as you know the importance of QA for any software development team, it’s essential to dot the I’s and cross the T’s regarding how to become a good tester.
As a rule, big tech employers look for software testers who have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or related field, with at least superficial knowledge of programming languages, yet having profound expertise in test management software. A good QA specialist knows perfectly all methodologies and frameworks, as well as is aware of in what case to apply manual or automated testing techniques. Also, employers usually expect 1+ years of experience to make sure that a person is ready to jump right into the work without long onboarding.
Just like any expert in the IT area, a software tester should be a good team player and critical thinker. Attention to detail is another crucial skill because manual testing remains the most widespread practice. Nobody wants to miss a bug after a few sprints of testing. That’s why all QA experts are also stubborn and patient. They often work with software documentation, planning, and reporting. Perseverance is undoubtedly the best skill for a tester. At any rate, you should always distinguish between soft and hard skills as QA specialists require both. Communication within teams is what brings the most value to the final product.
Those who start as software testers may eventually find themselves in the position of a QA manager. History also knows examples when testers become full-time software developers, given the right approach, experience, and knowledge. No one would argue that the IT industry is multifaceted and interconnected. Once you and your teams get enough experience within their areas of expertise, it’s easier to switch the seats and try out new hats. Depending on a company, QA testers may have a wide range of career prospects, from managers to business analysts or even full-stack developers. As the saying goes, you never know until you try.
Can You Make a Successful Product Without QA?
Considering the amount of time and financial resources allocated to support the QA departments in most IT companies, there’s no way to release a software product without testing it. Just like a new car model can’t be offered for an end-user without dozens of crash tests, no software development company should try releasing an app full of bugs, lagging, integration issues, poor performance, and bad UX. Your audience deserves a polished product that matches the requirements and fills in an empty market niche. Follow your ambitions but better don’t try the leap of faith blindfolded. Stay safe and sound!