Looking ahead to testing trends for 2016
The new wave of challenges that testers will face in the New Year
As we close the door on 2015, it’s time to look at what the next 12 months might bring. Testers need to plan ahead and prepare new strategies to cater for the latest trends in development and IT. If you can get ahead of the curve, you can build a foundation for future success.
Let’s take a look at some of the major issues testers will face in 2016 and discuss how to go about tackling them.
Internet access is trickling down into every interaction we make. The mobile category is widening to incorporate a new wave of wearables. Software and wireless connectivity are combining to spread the “smart” from our phones into our cars and homes. As it becomes cheaper to put sensors in more and more devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly growing. There will be as many as 6.4 billion connected things in use in 2016, up 30% from this year, according to Gartner.
There are serious challenges for testers in this new, interconnected world. It’s important to employ a wide variety of devices and take the time to investigate how they interact. The logistical difficulty and expense of having all the physical devices in hand can be prohibitive. Testers need to look at emulation services and mobile device farms to make comprehensive testing affordable and practical.
As personal data is collected from an ever-growing variety of devices and stored in the cloud, validating that the data is synchronized properly becomes vital. It must be encrypted, stored in the right place, and only retrievable for authorized users. During testing, it may also be necessary to take precautions to ensure that no sensitive data is exposed to testers. Regulatory requirements and compliance must be observed.
Security testing will become increasingly important as the potential consequences of any breach hit home. More connectivity brings many potential benefits, but there are serious risks, and consumer confidence in the quality of software rests partly on its security credentials. Dedicated testers will consider the differences in how devices handle data and look for loopholes that cybercriminals might exploit.
Performing to expectations
It’s not enough to determine whether something works or not. Testers should be examining the performance to ensure that load times are fast enough, no data is lost behind the scenes, and that some analytical insight into performance is gained. Many devices might form entry points, but the infrastructure behind them is cloud-based, and testers need access to take a look under the hood.
Finding the root of issues with a diagnostic assessment can drastically cut down the time and effort it takes to fix a defect. This may require a new methodology or the development of new tools, but as the enterprise comes to rely on hybrid solutions that combine the cloud with legacy systems, it will become more and more important that testers understand what’s happening behind the scenes.
No time to waste
More and more companies are building continuous delivery pipelines, driven by agile methodologies and DevOps. There are lots of business benefits to delivering software earlier and releasing more frequently, but it does put an additional burden on the test department. The quality still has to be as high as possible, but manual testers can only do so much.
Test automation is a vital part of the equation if organizations want to release faster and more frequently, but it takes the right mindset and set of skills to pick out the key repeatable tasks and isolate the best candidates for automation. Testers need a good level of understanding of the business value of the software in order to prioritize effectively.
Ambitious testers should look at how they might develop their programming skills, so they can write test automation scripts. As the DevOps movement breaks down the walls between departments, people with cross-over skills will be highly sought after.
The software development scene continues to evolve, and though the landscape for testing is shifting, it’s every bit as exciting and challenging as it has ever been. If you want to distinguish yourself and get ahead, then it pays to be forward-thinking.