In a recent webinar, Back to the Future: exploring how software testing is going to change, Alan Richardson (EvilTester), Joe Colanontio (TestGuild) and Adil Mohammed (CEO, Virtuoso) sat down to discuss their thoughts on the long- and short-term trends that they envisaged for the testing community and the testing industry as a whole.
We all know it's not possible to predict the future with any degree of accuracy but being mindful and open to changes in the way we go about our work is imperative to staying ahead of the game. This includes those of us within testing and quality assurance.
It wasn’t long ago that AI and Machine Learning were buzz-words/phrases that vendors told testers they should be wary of but without tangible reasons. This has changed in the last few years, meaning there are new meaningful technologies and modernised testing techniques, like Virtuoso, that can really help a tester find issues that they never would have found through manual testing.
Our webinar began with Alan’s predictions, two of which were particularly reassuring to hear. Firstly, the need for testing won’t diminish. “As long as there is risk and the need to detect it, then there will be the need for testing” he explained. Great news for testers as this means the need for your skills will always be there, as is the need to invest in and develop your department
Secondly, the focus is still very much on the individual/team, in essence, the human side of testing. Alan highlighted how individuals are the key to the future. “There are those that take action or those that simply allow the future to happen”. What is apparent is that the testing community needs to take control of its future, and a crucial way of doing that is learning how to embrace the technologies available to them that will help accelerate the great work they’re already doing.
The very foundations of a tester haven’t and shouldn’t change from those that started out in the 90s or even before. As a tester, you have an investigative mindset and care about the quality of your work and are a big team player. This is what gives you interest and passion in the work you’re doing and establishes your purpose within the business as a whole.
Building on soft-skills like curiosity though, the tester of the future needs to be able to adapt and embrace the culture and learning from each sprint. We’re not suggesting that everyone in the team needs to be able to code but things are moving incredibly fast nowadays so the tester of 2021 is going to need to be increasingly open to the assistance of tools to get software delivery out the door faster.
As mentioned you’re not going to thrive if you can’t adapt. You’ll need to be able to take forward learnings from each sprint that are going to give you and your team the ability to continuously develop. What you’re going to really need to change in a world where working remotely is becoming more commonplace and the market for skilled people opens up to the whole world, is the need to make your work more visible.
So much of a tester's work is about having ideas and modelling some of these ideas and they don’t necessarily always equate to tangible results. In exploratory testing, you’ll need to make yourself visible through note-taking and if you’re automating you’ll need to check in code more frequently so people can see that you’re actually doing something.
Fortunately, with the rise of SaaS and cloud offerings, the ability to make yourself more visible is becoming easier. Testing can often be reactive as testers receive features or build to test. New technologies encourage you to be more proactive particularly in how you work with other functions, get involved earlier and consequently be increasingly recognised in the team.
Test teams often fail at automation, simply, because they don’t know how to automate or more accurately, they approach the whole thing with the wrong expectations. Colantonio observes that testers frequently think automation is regarded as something that is easy and therefore neglect to implement a real plan according to best practices. You’re then at risk of seeing teams become discouraged and tools are invested in without proper consideration for leveraging the skills that already exist within the team. Richardson and Mohammed agree that not enough managers are thinking about what’s best for their teams when selecting tools. Colantonio advises that you keep an open mind and consider the whole team when you evaluate tools for your automation.
For more information about how you and your team can best plan for the future watch the full webinar here, or click here to learn how Virtuoso can transform the test automation of a varied skillset team.