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Everyone in IT is under pressure to improve quality whilst reducing the time and cost required to deliver. We conducted a survey of Acutest consultants to identify the areas in software testing that will contribute most to meeting these goals in 2015 and beyond. The top five software testing industry trends they selected were:

Test automation: More automated tests, fewer automation specialists

Test automation has seen significant investment and change and this will continue. Simple to use automation frameworks, new tools and new techniques are making the benefits more accessible and reducing the support costs. We believe one of the most significant trends will be more automated tests written by manual testers or subject matter experts rather than automation specialists. Organisations getting the most out of test automation will be automating first, not simply automating manual tests. They will also be automating tests throughout the software development life-cycle (SDLC) from requirements testing through to operational support.

Mobile: Greater diversity of mobile testing

Smart mobile devices have arrived in a variety of guises and their use is now pervasive. But with this variety has come the complexity of multiple screen sizes, operating system and versions, coupled with signal and performance issues. There is also the need to conserve power. Testing mobile devices and their apps will require new tools and techniques as well as an increased emphasis on non-functional testing.

Agile: Tailoring testing to each flavour of agile

An increasing number of organisations are implementing derivatives of agile as a way to increase their rate of IT delivery. In addition to the test execution, the involvement of the tester is key in product backlog refinement, defining done and story / task estimation. However, on agile projects more testing is done by people who do not consider themselves testers. These people need to collaborate closely with developers as well as to find more innovative, efficient and rapid ways and tools for testing. Because derivatives of agile are being adopted in many forms, one approach will not fit all projects.

Cloud: Testing the cloud and testing using the cloud

The cloud has impacted almost every industry, which impacts both the way we deliver testing, and the systems we undertake testing on. The cloud enables more flexible and cost effective test environments to be set up and managed with ease; allowing rapid deployment and environment customisation. For performance testing, cloud scalability allows high levels of network traffic to be readily simulated. Cloud-based, hosted test and requirement repositories are becoming the norm.
At the same time, businesses are moving their data and business process to cloud solutions. These solutions introduce additional areas for testing and non-functional testing that are sometimes forgotten such as data integrity, compatibility, integration with other services, performance, business continuity, security and regulatory requirements. Also, nearly all mobile apps store their data in the cloud, so cloud testing techniques are critical for mobile app testing.

Low cost to no cost tools: Picking winners in a crowded field

The range of low cost or open source tools available to testers has increased significantly over the past few years, and this trend is continuing. Rather than the enterprise approach used to deploy the traditional heavy weight and expensive testing tools, these new tools can be deployed with relatively little cost and great ease. Many of them are designed for agile environments or solving niche issues. Tool selection is suddenly an issue and, paradoxically, free tools may not be cheapest to own. For example, test teams with thousands of tests that only work in a proprietary environment might spend much of their budget on support. An understanding of the best tool for the job is going to be of increasing importance.

Future weeks

Over the next few weeks we will take a more in depth look at each software testing trend. Next week, we start with automated testing.

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