Software Testing: A Social Responsibility
In the late ’90s I authored an article about the accelerated pace of software development driven by better development languages, tools, and reusable code, and the fact that we were producing more software than we could test. While this may be just as true today as it was more than a decade ago, there's another critical dimension contributing to the software risk equation: the ubiquitous deployment of software.
Think about it: How many computers, running one or more software programs, have you interacted with today? There are few waking hours not highly dependent on technology working correctly and reliably. Marc Andreessen famously wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2011, “More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense.”
This trend will continue to accelerate as we embrace more cloud capabilities and move toward the Internet of Things, where information and software capabilities will be more "push" (the information automatically shows up and the tasks get automatically done) than "pull" (we invoked apps to do those actions).
As businesses and consumers embrace big data and analytics, mobile, cloud, the IoT, social media, and many other rapidly emerging technologies, the expectation that "it just works" is rising exponentially. Equipping our existing technical workforce with the capabilities to build and evaluate software is crucial to protecting our software-driven global economy.
Consequently, those who specify, develop, test, and deliver software have a tremendous accountability, and they must be supported and equipped with the best education and training, tools, and approaches.
Further, there is tremendous opportunity for those considering roles as developers and testers to acquire these skills and contribute to the continued health of software. We need more experts to mitigate the risk in our software, and there are a plethora of opportunities.
The employment search engine Indeed listed software quality assurance engineers and testers as one of the top ten jobs in demand for 2015. Interested, qualified people could become part of a company that needs their expertise, join a professional software services firm, jump on the crowdsourcing bandwagon as a freelancer, work with a software tools or methods supplier, or other possibilities.
If you're already a member of our critical software economy workforce, keep learning. And if you're considering a software career, now is the time.
Software is now a social responsibility. The demand has never been greater, the opportunity has never been better, and the reason for action has never been more compelling.