Introduction to Software Testing
Software Testing is an essential step in the software development life cycle, which is carried out to maintain and ensure the software quality along with the validations required to match the customer’s specifications on the application functionality. Software testing types can vary in various stages of the development phase like unit testing is done on the source code by the developers, integration testing is done on each module for confirming its overall functionality, system testing is performed to verify the system’s performance, speed and functional behavior as a whole, and Acceptance testing is carried out by the client-side in order to test for the user acceptance criteria.
Understanding Software Testing
When we talk about testing software, we need to talk about the various tests and their performance ease. Unit tests are simpler to write and execute; therefore, we should have more unit tests in our testing process. Second, integration tests are comparatively more expensive than unit testing; therefore, we should have fewer integration tests. Finally, end-to-end tests are the most complicated; therefore, we should have very few of these.
Let us talk about the testing levels in a little more detail.
1. Unit Testing
Software developers do unit testing to check whether the individual modules of the source code developed by them are working properly or not. They test the stability of each and every unit of the application separately. It is a cheap and the least time-consuming test.
2. Integration Testing
Integration testing is the process of testing two or more unit-tested modules together to check the connectivity and data transfer between them. This level of testing can be done by a QA tester for black-box testing and by the developer for complex integration of software modules.
3. System Testing (End to end testing)
While unit testing and integration testing test parts of the system, system testing tests the fully integrated application. It targets the system as a whole to ensure that the software works in all the intended target systems. This testing is performed by QA testers and is done from the user perspective. It is the most involved and time-consuming testing.
4. Acceptance Testing
Acceptance testing is where the system is checked for acceptability. This test evaluates the software’s compatibility with the requirements we have and evaluates whether it is suitable for delivery. In simple words, it is done to obtain customer sign-off so that the software can be delivered and payments can be received.
Now that we have looked at Test Levels, let us quickly look at the Test Approaches in Software Testing.
White box Testing: In this testing, we examine the source code and check whether it works according to the requirements. In white-box testing, an inner view of the system and programming knowledge is used to design test cases. This testing is usually done at the unit level.
Black box Testing: In this testing, we cannot access the source code, and we only test the outer interface produced by the code using automated tools. Here testers evaluate the functionality of the software under test without looking at the internal code structure.
Why is Software Testing Important?
Software testing is important because software bugs could be expensive and even dangerous. They can potentially cause monetary and human loss. For example, Nissan cars had to recall over 1 million cars from the market due to software failure in the airbag sensory detectors. Two accidents have been reported due to this software failure.
Listed below are a few more reasons why testing is necessary:
- Software testing helps to identify and fix bugs before the software becomes functional, and therefore the risk of failure can be lessened considerably.
- Software testing assures that the application will work properly and that its performance will not get affected due to integration.
- Software testing is done keeping in mind the scenarios that the end-user may face.
- The reliability of software can be measured by its conformation with any technical standard or certification. This helps in creating confidence and a healthy business relationship.
The Testing can be of great use when it is done at the right time, as it enhances the efficiency of the products by keeping the end-user in mind.
Why should we use Software Testing, and what is its need?
As a software tester, many automated and manual tests would be conducted to ensure the software created by developers is fit, which in turn would eliminate any bugs or issues in software before it would get deployed to everyday users.
Software developers identify the business requirements and match them with the software that has been developed. They monitor applications and software systems. They write and execute test scripts and run manual and automated tests. They test in different environments to ensure functionality. All this is done to provide quality assurance of the software and to mitigate risk. As mentioned earlier, software bugs can be potentially harmful.
What are the skills required?
Regardless of how you prepare for a software testing career, here are the skills you should have or plan to develop:
- Create and document automated and manual test plans and procedures, execute tests, analyze results, and report test problems and bugs.
- Perform software testing in all phases of the design-develop-test-release-maintain software life cycle
- Understand various development methodologies, such as Agile and Scrum
- Possess thorough knowledge of several testing tools
- Be fluent in UNIX, Linux, and/or Windows, as well as scripting and command-line tools
- Be an excellent communicator (written and verbal)
Some positions require programming skills and an understanding of databases. You don’t necessarily need years of programming experience to be a tester, but it wouldn’t hurt to go through the basics.
How can these Testing skills help in career growth?
You can start your career as a software tester with an entry-level position. The speed with which you grow will depend on your exposure to different technologies, your experience, and your awareness of testing methods. Professional training and technical expertise will help to speed up your growth.
You could choose to specialize in a specific sector, for example, the media sector or financial services, or you may decide to branch out and develop a knowledge of many sectors.
Moreover, as software testers essentially work with business teams, you could move into business-fronting roles as well.
Advancement in software development roles is another possibility.
Some of the trending testing technologies that a tester may find helpful for better career growth are:
- Big Data testing
- Mobile testing
- Testing with TDD & BDD
- Automation with Continuous Integrations
- Visual Validation testing
- Internet of Things and Hardware testing
Now that you have a better understanding of Software Testing, its benefits and the course you can take with it, the decision lies in your hands to pursue it. Of course, you can always start with the basics of software testing and either get an understanding of a wide range of testing techniques or go deep into one particular technology. As they say in the software testing world, you can’t always avoid making a mistake, but there are ways to catch that mistake before it goes live!
This has been a guide to What is Software Testing?. Here we discuss the understanding, career growth, skills, and advantages of Software Testing. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –