A Software Testing Primer | TechWell

A Software Testing Primer

A tester exploring their software

When development teams are pressed for time or budget, testing is often the first activity squeezed out. While testing might add some costs to the overall budget, it will save you money in the long run.

If you incorporate testing early on in the software development lifecycle, you will be able to catch bugs earlier, when they are easier and less costly to remediate.

Also, if a problem goes unnoticed and the product is released to users, it can result in poor reviews and bad word of mouth. A damaged reputation can be hard to recover from, especially if your product or company is not well known.

Another reason is security, especially if your product requires users to enter personally identifiable information. A lot of hacks are easily preventable if they are discovered early on, but if they go undetected, you will lose user trust and may have to pay fines.

Finally, think about product quality. If you are not testing at every stage of development, how do you know if the product will work as intended?

Let’s take a look at some of the types of testing you should be conducting.

Types of Testing

Unit testing is where each individual component is tested separately. This tests the smallest unit of development, which increases the odds of finding a bug. It also expedites the entire process because you write the script and run the test.

Integration testing is where all of the individual components that were tested individually are now tested as a group, to see how all of the various components interact with one another. This can be through white hat testing—when the QA engineers have a document that details all of the product designs—or a black hat approach—testing without this document, which allows QA engineers to take the user’s perspective.

Penetration testing is the best way to find out how secure your product is. Just like with white and black hat integration testing, the team might have all or some knowledge about the product architecture, or none at all. You should consider testing both ways to make sure that your product has the best security possible.

The final stage is user acceptance testing, where volunteer users try out the product. This will give you insight into how the product will be received when it is released, along with how well you have satisfied the business requirements. This form of testing should be done right before the release and is your last chance to catch any bugs before your real users see it.

Get Proactive against Bugs

It is not enough to perform cursory testing and then wait until users start reporting bugs. You have to take a proactive approach by implementing testing early and often.

In addition, consider performing both automated and manual testing, especially if this will be the first release of your product. While automated tests will be able to identify obvious bugs in the code faster than humans, ultimately you will still need manual testing to ascertain that everything is working as intended.

It’s crucial to have a security level that your users trust. Give your users peace of mind and avoid any issues that will cause them to second-guess your product.

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