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Top QA and software testing trends in 2021

We’ve put together this guide to the key software testing trends for 2021 such as QAOps development & CI, AI & ML, IoT & Blockchain testing, testing in production, DevTestOps and more.

July 2021

Software testing is a rapidly growing market, with constant refinements and new innovations to keep up with ever-changing technology. In 2020, the U.S. software testing market alone reached $13.5 billion, and Technavio predicts that the global market will grow by another $34.49 billion by 2025.

It is vital that enterprises implement and follow modern software testing best practices. So, we’ve put together this guide to the key software testing trends for 2021.

QAOps development & CI

As a combination of QA and DevOps, QAOps allows for faster releases, without sacrificing quality. With QAOps, companies can automate more processes and improve workflows between separate departments.

In short, QAOps combines a DevOps approach and continuous testing. Instead of having a QA team that operates independently, the QA engineers work alongside the development team, executing testing and QA processes with CI/CD. As a result, QAOps allows developers to get thoroughly tested, quality products on the market faster.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Like most modern tech advancements, the latest trends in software testing are also being influenced by advances in AI and ML. According to the 2020-2021 World Quality Report, 88% of companies surveyed plan to make AI a part of their QA development strategies.

AI allows QA teams to speed up testing by removing unnecessary scripts. In addition, AI gives engineers the ability to expand test coverage and build new tests from scratch. While ML utilizes user behavior data to predict potential issues, allowing testing teams to proactively eliminate problems and threats. Together, AI and ML allow companies to deliver high-quality products faster.

IoT testing

Internet of Things usage has grown exponentially over the last several years, and with the rollout of 5G, it will continue this sharp upward trend, since 5G will greatly boost network speed, reliability, and bandwidth.

Software testers must be ready to work with the thousands of new IoT devices that will soon be entering the market. Security is crucial for IoT devices, especially since they typically collect significant amounts of user data. In addition, these connected devices must be verified for safety, usefulness, performance, scalability, and compatibility.

UI testing

QA teams must test every element of the UI to ensure that applications are user-friendly and function properly. UI testing can be done manually or with automated tools and processes. However, regardless of the testing methods used, QA engineers commonly face the following challenges:

  • Constantly changing UIs – a steady stream of updates and new releases can make thorough UI testing difficult
  • Maintaining test scripts – as the UI changes, it becomes harder to maintain functional test scripts
  • Increasing complexity – as apps become more and more complex, UI testing becomes more challenging
  • Lack of time – it takes time to build and execute effective test scripts, especially when the optimal QA testing tools are not used
  • Fixing errors – when so much time is spent creating test scripts, engineers are often not left with enough time to properly fix uncovered errors
  • Unknown ROI for automated testing – continuous UI updates results in continuous testing, resulting in delivery delays. So it is difficult to accurately calculate the ultimate ROI.

API testing automation

APIs are increasingly used over multiple applications and, when this is the case, they should be tested independently from the products that use them. However, knowing the best API testing tools greatly simplifies API testing automation. We recommend the following:

  • Postman – a lightweight API testing tool beneficial for API developers, API integrators, and QA teams.
  • Apiary – uses a markdown language to guide API testing and development. It offers testing scripts, validations, and code samples.

These tools allow QA engineers to ensure that the API works as expected, and they also allow other developers to test the API before integrating with the products that utilize it.

Mobile application automated testing

In 2018, the global mobile app market was valued at $106.27 billion, and it is projected to reach $407.31 billion by 2026. Since these applications are expected to work flawlessly across multiple devices and operating systems, automated testing is also on the rise. Mobile app automation testing technologies provide advanced testing capabilities for increasingly complex applications, without significantly lengthening the time-to-market.

Blockchain Testing

Cryptocurrency and financial companies’ QA engineers face different challenges than the average software tester. Fortunately, blockchain testing provides them with the specialized, effective testing solutions that they need to ensure the security and performance of their products. These tools are excellent resources for blockchain testing:

  • Ethereum Tester - this open-source testing library, available on GitHub repo, is simple to set up and offers manageable API support
  • Ganache - initially called Testrpc, this popular library is used to test Ethereum contracts locally. It creates a mock Blockchain, providing access to testing accounts
  • Hyperledger Composer - an open-source tool that helps developers build blockchain applications and provides interactive testing, automated unit, and system testing

Agile Automation Testing

Using both automated testing and Agile seems contradictory, but when properly implemented, automated testing in Agile teams can save time and resources, while increasing development efficiency. However, the concept requires effective collaboration among Agile teams. The QA engineers should be deeply involved in every development stage, so there must be a constant line of communication between them and the developers.

If it is utilized effectively, Agile Automation Testing speeds up and simplifies regression testing and also allows for testing across multiple platforms. When the right automation testing tools are used, the Agile QA team gains powerful reporting capabilities and can better provide software testing for continuous delivery.

Cybersecurity testing and risk compliance

As cyberattacks become more and more common, and businesses continue to gather increasing amounts of customer data, security and risk compliance are more important than ever. In 2021, enterprises continue to make secure coding practices a priority and implement proper security testing early in the development process. Security-focused testing is vital to protect both organizations and end-users, so QA teams must keep up with and utilize the latest software security testing methods and tools to ensure that their products are secure.

Evergreen Quality Assurance

Evergreen IT Management often results in an application testing bottleneck, since every annual Windows upgrade means testing thousands of different applications. If each test takes a few hours, it is simply not feasible to test every single application in a timely manner. This is where smoke testing comes in. There are several excellent smoke test management tools available that will help speed up and automate testing processes.

Automated smoke testing takes minutes, not hours, so it is an ideal solution for testing non-critical, low-risk applications. For higher impact applications, you will need to define and bundle 20-50 test cases to form a complete test of the core features. You will also want to create a testing framework that will let you store and manage your test cases, which will make it easy to repeat the tests in future cycles.

Testing in production

Testing in production involves running automated tests after application deployment. While many QA testers have been resistant to this practice, it is, in reality, a necessity and the future of testing. New features are regularly squeezed in at the end of development, and testing in production ensures that these features undergo complete testing, without delaying deployment.

Agile and DevOps have dramatically changed development processes, and testing is no exception. The traditional method of completing all testing before release is no longer realistic. While traditional tests will still be carried out, automation, AI and ML, testing in production, and other modern QA methodologies are providing new ways to ensure quality and performance faster and more efficiently.

Three amigos principle

The three amigos concept strives to strike a balance between complete independent teams working separately and constant meetings where every minor detail must be discussed among everyone. The three amigos are the primary perspectives that must be considered before, during, and after development:

  • Business – What is the problem that we need to solve?
  • Development – How can we create a solution that solves that problem?
  • Testing – Does this solution consistently work as intended?

Effective development requires collaboration between these different perspectives. They must establish a clear understanding of what needs to be done and what the final result will be. As a result, each group understands the expectations and can better define what each increment should entail.

Bug bounty

Bug bounty programs encourage and reward ethical hackers for finding and validating bugs and vulnerabilities. These programs can be implemented internally, within the organization, or through third-party security vendors that offer access to skilled, vetted security researchers.

Large enterprises, such as Google, Facebook, and Apple, are increasingly taking advantage of bug bounty programs to ensure that their critical systems and sensitive data are as secure as possible. Even the Pentagon has used security researchers to help secure their digital assets against cyberattacks.

QA outsourcing at Evrone

Many businesses have used this year to reconsider their quality assurance approaches and implement better testing methods and processes, both to gain a competitive advantage and to optimize their QA budgets. A solid QA strategy uses DevOps, supported by AI and automation testing, to create an effective testing environment and generate more useful test data. 

If you need more information on QA trends in 2021, or you would like a consultation regarding software QA outsourcing, feel free to contact our experts.

Software testing is crucial because it detects problems, bugs before they are delivered to the client, ensuring the quality of your project. It improves and ensures the software's reliability and ease of use. Moreover, thoroughly tested software can save money in the long run.
Tatyana Sukhodolovа
QA Team Lead,
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