Software testing trends to watch in 2014
By Aldo Rall, principal consultant at IndigoCube
While trend-spotting is an inexact science, a bit of analysis does help determine what's likely to be coming in the year ahead, and which trends from 2013 will become more mainstream, be forgotten or remain fringe.
Anyone paying attention to the tech world in 2013 will know that security, and security testing, will gain increased focus from organisations this year. What will emerge on the back of this is the need for organisations to be able to measure and report on the maturity and capability of their software security initiatives.
A strong theme that came out of the 2013 testing summits and conferences, and will receive a lot more focus this year, is the continuous demand for increased effectiveness and efficiency in testing, says Aldo Rall, principal consultant at IndigoCube.
Closely tied to this will be the need for testers to justify the costs they incur, and monetise the value of the disasters they prevent through testing. Testing Centres of Excellence (TCOEs) offer a solution to this need for more effective and efficient testing, and we expect to see more organisations implement these this year.
With more content and experience being generated around DevOps, disciplined agile delivery, scaled agile framework and the likes (all attempts to bring business and IT closer together), it is clear that testing will need to adapt to the changing business landscape.
An important aspect will be context, and how it impacts testing - a 'one-size fits all' approach is often not the most effective, and this will emerge strongly in the years to come. This will impact skills development (as experience dealing with different contexts is a learned skill) both from a formal training and a mentorship or coaching perspective.
Organisations will increasingly question the practical value of the training their testers undertake, as well as seek expert mentors or coaches to guide testers as they develop new skill sets (or contexts).
Context-driven testing requires a very broad set of skills. The most successful testers in the future will be the ones that can bring the most skills to the table for any given context. The true value (and skill) they bring will be to interpret differing contexts and, like any specialist, draw upon a combination of their broad skills and combine them uniquely to suit a given situation (or context). The testers that can do this most effectively will be the ones that survive the changing landscape of testing most comfortably (and even more so in the longer term).
Something we believe that will increasingly start emerging this year is continuous testing. It will become common to see testers doing testing in production systems and even grilling business (the actual client) on the business value that a function will or will not provide.
Along with that, outsourcing testing to expert companies (not the kind that prey on clients' ignorance of testing procedures), while touted as a growing industry by some commentators, other commentators argue that it will actually decrease in the medium term as companies in-source testing in order to remain agile and to retain the IP they develop, training testers on their specific contexts. What remains to be seen is which way the industry develops from this fundamental difference.