One Step Ahead: Software Testing Trends to Watch In 2021
Modern testing solutions are evolving and revolutionizing. QA is not just about finding bugs and errors anymore; it is a complex technical philosophy that also includes evaluation of a product idea, behavioural predictions, analysis of opportunities and threats, etc
So can we use only traditional and well-known testing methods to achieve progressive results? Of course, they remain the cornerstone of the software testing process. However, if you want to become more competitive in the QA field, you should stay one step ahead of your competitors and continuously enhance your professional skills. For this, you should keep up with software testing challenges and trends. So what is the future of software testing in 2021?
In today’s era as technology is evolving, the software development and the testing world is also innovating ways to incorporate emerging technologies such as Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, big data, etc. to provide quality software to customers. IT enterprises must keep pace with the emerging software testing trends to keep innovating processes and stay at par with technological innovations.
1.Agile and DevOps
Agile is a software development approach that emphasizes the need for team collaboration, continuous planning, and learning leading to incremental delivery. Therefore, for Agile, software testing is an integral and inevitable part of SDLC.
DevOps looks to shorten the SDLC and enable end-to-end process management by combining two key verticals of Dev or development and Ops or operations. By erasing the existing boundaries between development, operations, and testing, it:
- Increases speed of deployment
- Cuts downtime to market
- Promotes better ROI
Thus when adopted, these processes help shorten SDLC and enable the release of qualitatively superior apps. These are not relatively new, but adopting these practices to adapt to the current times will certainly be a software testing trend worth watching.
The digital world is effectively in need of software applications that are released faster and with no compromise on the quality of the applications. Earlier, the need for testing teams was limited only for performing application testing, but now the importance of QA is effectively increasing. QA is playing a crucial part across all phases of the products software development. Moreover, with DevOps taking a leap, this approach brings about a collaboration between the development and the operations teams with no silos. Thus, the combination of QA and DevOps brings a new practice called QAOps or DevTestOps which is likely to lead the trends.
With this practice, the testing, development, and operation teams can be on the same line by effectuating proper collaboration between all these teams. Hence, with this QAOps approach, continuous testing can be combined with DevOps, and thus assures software changes are made effective with the practice of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD). Therefore, software testing is not practised at indefinite intervals and the applications are delivered with quality and without delays continuously as businesses can go to market with new features more quickly than before.
3.AI and ML
The potential of AI and ML has yet to be fully realized. Hence, the trend of incorporating AI and ML to automate business processes will continue in 2021. Statistical predictions when putting the popularity of these in absolute terms state that:
- AI is to grow at a CAGR of 36.6% from 21.5 billion dollars in 2018 to 190.6 billion dollars by 2026
- The ML market is slated to grow at a CAGR of 44.1% from 1.03 billion dollars in 2016 to 8.81 billion dollars in 2022.
This growth is primarily because they:
- Facilitate the use of real-time data for better business decision making
- Enhance the quality of automated software testing by enabling quick error detection etc.
Leveraging AI and ML enables QA teams to keep up with frequent app releases and improve automated software testing strategies. By using redundant test case detection, AI-powered test apps optimize test suites. Additionally, analysis of keywords present in the RTM maximizes its test coverage.
Currently, AI is being developed for use as part of the self-healing and visual testing mechanisms present in automation testing tools. With AI-enabled visual testing, fewer written tests would be required for functional testing of the user interface.
The development of the AI-powered self-healing mechanism will reduce costs incurred in automated test creation, decrease test maintenance, and effectively fix test script issues quickly.
Intelligent automation is impossible without ML. While human intelligence is still the ultimate tool available for forecasting consumer behaviour patterns, predictive analytics from ML-enabled apps can be used to amplify human intelligence by detecting unexplored areas within the app.
For now, the use of ML in software testing is just an exciting possibility. The future will, however, witness analytics-based initiatives gaining traction. This will further enhance the identification of problematic areas and bring them under test coverage.
4.Usability Testing to lead the charts for user experience
With the rapid influx of mobile apps, especially eCommerce, banking, insurance applications, etc. it has been seen that the significance of software testing has been witnessed more to effectively test these apps across operating systems, platforms, and devices, etc. Undoubtedly, today, mobile apps continue to be the major business enablers; an effective and great user interface with a streamlined usability flow is the need of the hour for all these apps. Mobile users continue to show a preference for apps that have great usability embedded in them. Poor usability can affect customer and brand loyalty; hence usability testing identifies all the flaws if any before the app is actually released into the market.
According to Statista – there are almost 2.87 million apps available on the Google play store followed by 1.96 million apps available on Apple’s App Store as of the 3rd quarter of 2020. For an app to stand out in the crowd, the app should provide seamless navigation and user experience to end-users. With the increased usage of mobile apps, user experience continues to remain the primary focus for all businesses and enterprises. Therefore, usability testing continues to hold more importance in determining the success of an application as it helps in assessing the application’s navigation flow and ensures to deliver a seamless and great user experience for such usability-tested apps.
5.Cyber Security Testing to become a foremost necessity
The growth in the security testing market is due to various factors such as increased cyberattacks during the pandemic, increased usage of web apps, and mobile apps requiring high-end security increased focus of organizations towards protecting customer data, and also the increased initiatives by governments and organizations to adopt digitization. Moreover, it is also predicted that the rise in the cybersecurity testing market is likely to leverage the implementation of the latest technologies such as DevOps, DevSecOps, and Agile in the IT industry.
The technology grew at breakneck speed in the past year and this speed is expected to increase in the current year. As a result, huge amounts of data will be generated. While some of it might be inconsequential, most of it would be critical and prone to hacking and tampering. Cyber-security and security compliance testing would continue to get priority in the year 2021 to ensure that:
- Data breaches, code errors, and leaks can be prevented
- You have the opportunity to patch-up your weaknesses and vulnerabilities before the bad guys get the hang of it
- You are better prepared to face downtime when it happens etc.
Performing regular penetration testing is good for building a good reputation. It also strengthens trust between clients, customers, and organizations.
6.Shift Left Testing
Many people have been advocating shift left testing in recent times. The pandemic hastened its implementation by exposing app vulnerabilities when forced to work under stress and duress. Shift left testing is an approach that advocates performing tests early in the SDLC and enabling everyone’s to own quality in their spheres of influence.
Traditionally in an SDLC workflow, requirements occupy the left side while testing and delivering the right side. This proved to be time-consuming, resulted in escalated costs and delayed bug detection. Implementing the shift-left approach helped QA, development, and product teams to collaborate and work proactively in tight coordination to:
- Judge the feasibility of software codes written
- Ensure their proper and bug-free development
Organizations benefit from this approach as it enables them to deliver quality products within reduced timelines.
This is a fast emerging and advanced technology for providing secure encryption. The fact that Blockchain-powered apps enable expansion of the decentralized data structure without changing it makes it extremely resistant to frauds and hacking.
For all enterprises around the globe that need to communicate and store sensitive information securely, blockchain technology implementation is the answer to all their cybersecurity woes.
Simply speaking this technology is a programmable incorruptible digital ledger that can virtually facilitate and record not just economic and financial transactions but everything of value. However, there are certain challenges associated with its implementation like:
- High adoption costs
- Inconsistencies in legacy system integration
- Compliance and privacy issues etc
It also comprises certain intricate steps that involve data validation, encryption, decryption, and successful transmission. A single hitch anywhere collapses the whole system and causes it to stop working. Thus, improvement in blockchain testing is an important business-critical software testing trend for 2021.
8.Performance Testing to shift towards performance engineering
Product performance has earlier been the major segment of testing but now, it has been shifting towards performance engineering which is not an easy process. The performance engineering process involves the collaboration of hardware, software, configuration, performance, security, usability, and it ensures to deliver the highest value that exceeds end-user expectations.
As per Google, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. The increased demand for fast loading and high-performing web and mobile apps necessitates the need for performance testing and performance engineering to be taken up for all apps. Also, since the DevOps teams continuously deploy applications rapidly and quickly, the performance engineering of these applications is in high demand for today’s applications.
9.IoT Testing to boost digitally connected smart devices
It is expected that the number of connected devices will be more than 20 billion by 2020 when compared to the figure of just 6.4 billion during 2016. These figures represent the massive expansion and the need for an effective IoT testing strategy. This IoT testing includes the testing of operating systems, communication protocols, along with the software and hardware of the IoT devices. Most enterprises have already started identifying the need for an effective IoT testing strategy to enable efficient and well-connected smart devices that are much needed for end-users.
Especially, testing for vulnerabilities in IoT devices is an emerging business need as IoT typically encompasses all products that are connected to the internet in one way or the other. IoT systems collect data while in usage from various interconnected devices and share information with their manufacturers without the users being aware of it. Further, manufacturers in their haste to get new design features for smart products continue to overlook the complications arising out of security concerns of the system’s software and hardware.
There is a possibility of vulnerabilities seen in the hardware (chipset) of many new IoT products which is susceptible to multiple threats that need to be effectively tested. It is essential to get all the IoT products and devices security tested to avoid threats and vulnerabilities.
According to GlobeNewswire – the IoT testing market value is expected to grow up to USD 3624.23 billion by 2025. This growth in the IoT testing market is due to the increasing adoption of the smart cities concept initiated by the governments and the keen interest of organizations towards incorporating IoT in their processes. Increased use of IoT in the healthcare sector will be a new trend that can be expected due to the current pandemic. As more and more devices are getting connected and a large amount of data is transferred across these devices, a huge rise in IoT security testing services will be the new trend in the upcoming years to ensure data safety.
10. Scriptless Test Automation
Software testing is effectively seeking many advancements and improvements continuously. Every change and advancement in this field is helping the teams in releasing applications faster with effective quality assurance. Among the many such advancements, scriptless automation is one of the important trends to look at in 2021 that is likely to reduce human efforts and help in accelerating the app quality to achieve quicker ROI.
By using scriptless test tools, testers can automate robust, reusable tests by incorporating AI/ML algorithms within a self-healing mechanism. Today, scriptless test automation is being increasingly endorsed as a very prominent software testing trend because of this process:
- Is user-friendly
- Reduces maintenance cost by requiring less time and effort
- Helps fill technical level gaps
- Gives fast results