Throughout 2019, we witnessed an unremitting evolution of quality assurance (QA) software testing practices across a gamut of segments. Automation levels reached new heights. Continuous testing went full force, and AI and machine learning continued to pick up momentum. Big data testing is now just data testing, and IoT testing came into a sharper focus.
These practices will continue to influence the industry for years to come — especially in the context of expanding DevOps and Agile frameworks based on collaboration, speed and iterative releases. In fact, these approaches have become such indispensable tools at this juncture that they’re no longer considered novel talking points as much as industry staples.
This is why I’ll explore trends that are attracting less hype but will, nonetheless, leave a full-sized dent on the industry next year:
1. Testers’ roles extend beyond testing.
By this, I mean testers will be compelled to develop their knowledge of coding. Understanding automated testing metrics (unit test coverage, cyclomatic complexity, statement coverage, etc.) will be practically impossible without it. In Agile and DevOps teams, testers work hand in hand with developers, which necessitates having a working knowledge of the code base, and it’s a prerequisite for testing centered around AI and machine learning in which intelligent insights fuel the system to perform progressively complex tasks.
2. Cybersecurity testing intensifies.
According to IBM, the average cost to companies affected by a data breach in the U.S. in 2019 was $8.19 million, up from $7.91 million in 2018. Gartner, Inc. put global spending on information security products and services in 2019 at about $124 billion, up from $114 billion the previous year. On the back of this spending, I anticipate that the use of penetration testing, compliance testing, vulnerability scanners, origin analysis and static code analysis will proliferate in 2020 as companies seek to fight hackers’ crafty intelligence and rising dexterity.
3. Test transformation surges.
The increasing omnipresence of mobile, web and cloud applications, coupled with shorter and shorter release cycles, is impelling enterprises to continue to transform themselves. This involves upgrading metrics to better reflect new quality expectations from the perspective of user experience, speed, security, privacy and performance. In the coming years, test transformation will demand a strategic commitment if enterprises are serious about safeguarding themselves from getting disrupted. It will encompass new change management efforts, processes and technologies across the organization on a continued basis.
4. Software quality becomes a cross-functional necessity.
Over the past few years, Agile and DevOps have redefined interconnectedness between departments. For this reason, cross-functional collaboration is no longer just a buzzword; it’s a must for successful product releases. Smooth partnerships ensure that coordination is in sync, and it’s gaining traction in today’s high-speed climate driving faster release turnarounds. When different experts come together to accomplish a common goal, it’s doing more than empowering QA testing professionals; it’s helping companies advance the way software is developed, released and used.
5. The adoption of testing centers of excellence shoots up.
I anticipate that in 2020, a growing number of large enterprises will adopt a center of excellence model as a way of establishing locked-and-loaded frameworks for testing. With DevOps and Agile methodologies driving shorter release cycles, testing will have to be performed at an accelerated speed, which will be increasingly challenging to accomplish without a blueprint. In the past, quality testing was done as needed without much strategy, even on an ad hoc basis. Today, defects must be caught in a streamlined succession simply due to the complexity of software.
6. Behavior-driven development enters a new phase.
An offshoot of automated testing, behavior-driven development (BDD) is another type of testing growing in popularity in the wake of collaboration-based Agile and DevOps methodologies. BDD encourages team dialogue by using examples to reinforce a shared understanding of how the application should perform. Although BDD is still in its infancy, this practice is sure to spike in 2020 on the heels of cross-functional cooperation.
7. RPA is on the rise.
Robotic process automation (RPA) tools are becoming more common for their ability to save time, boost collaboration and structure custom APIs. They’re also used to build QA environments and help enterprises scale and maintain stability. Considering that these tools can be automatically adapted to virtually any system without intense implementation costs, we can expect that RPA adoption will continue to expand in the future.
8. Companies double down on load testing.
Unlike in the past, load testing is now a lot easier to perform. It used to involve specific hardware and had to be planned months in advance due to scheduling clashes caused by multiple teams working on the same server. However, the new generation of cloud-based load testing tools has democratized the testing process, enabling most QA professionals to become proficient at it. These tools also wipe out scheduling conflicts by facilitating the use of multiple servers at once. With the upsurge of Agile and DevOps, it’s safe to assume that even more companies will embrace load testing as part of continuous testing in 2020.
9. Blockchain testing gets a seat at the table.
Blockchain technology has branched outside bitcoin and other decentralized digital currencies, making inroads in various sectors including finance, transportation, academia, healthcare and retail. It’s a popular instrument for eradicating inefficiencies across the supply chain, and it’s improving the way businesses operate by enabling them to create policies for their contract-based applications. Software testing companies are also adopting blockchain testing in response to prospects’ continuous quest for novel quality assurance tools.
10. Usability testing becomes ubiquitous.
With mobile and e-commerce applications rapidly becoming the enterprise bloodline, it’s not surprising that an efficient interface and superior user access are today’s prized business assets. Users are unlikely to even consider products without supersonic load time and apps with superior usability roped into them. Since compromised usability can erode brand loyalty, testing in 2020 will focus much more on justifying client requests and transforming them into functional specifications.