There Will Always Be a Need for Testers
In the software development world, the pressure is on.
Management teams want software developed yesterday, and developers are struggling to keep their heads above water. The push toward agile methodologies and faster development has falsely suggested that quality assurance would soon become the developer’s responsibility, thus reducing downtime and speeding up the development process—the assumption being that development teams would be the "keepers of quality," testing their own work. After all, this could save organizations a lot of time and money ... right?
Wrong. The cost of testing is minor compared to the cost you’ll pay fixing critical bugs after release, handling customer complaints, pushing a patch, and losing revenue. It won’t save time, either. All the bugs and glitches that are overlooked by developers will need to be handled, patched, and re-released, and who knows if any of your software’s users will stick around until you’re done cleaning up the mess. Overlooking quality can double or even triple development time.
So will QA ever become the developer’s job? As the SD Times editorial board says, “Sorry, that’s not going to happen.” As the software development magazine explains, quality software will always require quality testing:
Sure, dev teams can and should focus on building quality into the product. Of course, code repositories can enforce standards for unit testing. Certainly, business stakeholders should regularly review the software to ensure that it meets their business requirements, just as architects should review against technical requirements.
All of those trends will improve software quality by identifying defects sooner so they can be fixed less expensively. All of those trends will shorten software release cycles and lower software costs.
However, no matter how you slice it, sophisticated software will require sophisticated testing that goes beyond what developers can do.
…someone, somewhere, needs to perform QA prior to release. All the automation in the world can’t eliminate the need for QA. Thank heavens.
The SD Times editorial board is spot on—nothing can overshadow the importance of real-life testers. A recent article on The Codist Blog says that “No matter how careful or artful a programmer might be about small testing the need for big testing is not diminished. Quality applications are built by a combination of skilled people and one of those needed skills is testing.”
In short, real-world QA isn’t going anywhere. Software is so entrenched in the lives of consumers that they have little to no tolerance for buggy software, and they won’t hesitate to abandon an application if it hasn’t been properly tested. That’s a risk organizations cannot afford to take.