Is New Technology Taking Us Back to Grassroots Software Testing?
Advancements in technology and what they continue to bring on a day to day basis are mind boggling. In the last decade, there has been unprecedented growth in almost every domain thanks to key technology advancements in the Internet, mobile and cloud computing, and social networking. This growth touches all walks of life globally—and the current decade will be no exception.
It is amazing to see high-end gesture-based gaming consoles such as Kinect—and it is equally exciting to see the mobile devices penetration in developing countries such as India, where just a few years ago even a wired phone wasn’t something that everyone had.
It is very exciting to read news items on some of the upcoming products and features—touch screen walls in hotels, potential growth avenues in the mobile space, hi-tech glasses, and driverless cars. The list is endless.
Every time something that was done manually is taken over by an automated system, there are reasonable concerns about the adverse impact such changes may have on employment opportunities. Advances in technology, while welcomed in one sense, almost always create concerns that jobs may get eliminated. Driverless cars that are being researched already create such concerns.
What do these new technologies mean to us from a software testing standpoint? As always, with newer products entering the market, the scope for testing is only going to grow. There is no denying that all of these products will need to be tested thoroughly before release.
In fact, the testing scope, coverage, and rigor is only going to increase, because anything that works in an automated manner may have serious consequences in case of failure.
Think of the scenario of the driverless car where the impact of failure could be huge. There is no question of the scope and importance of testing. What is going to be interesting is to see how these technology advancements will potentially take us back to our grass roots in testing—testing the manual route.
Some of these growing technologies around gesture-embedded software (including touch screen and biometrics) will increasingly need the human element to verify, especially in the areas of functionality, usability, and accessibility. To keep pace with the advances in computing, the testing community will have to rethink its strategy and start to leverage more manual testing to achieve the desired levels of test coverage.
As testers, it makes complete sense for us to rethink our testing niche and appreciate the future of manual testing. After all, both strategies—manual and automated—are equally important in shipping quality products. The prevailing market, business, and technology forces at play will continue to determine what the balance between these two test areas needs to be.