Starting a career in the technology sector right after graduating from university opened my eyes to a very vital topic: the importance of testing. I completed both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computing-related courses. However, I was never introduced to testing the way I have been since breaking into the sector. So, why aren’t universities talking about testing more? I’m writing this article to help others learn more about testing and to understand its vital importance in the world of development. But first, we should get into what testing actually is…
What is Testing?
Once developers create something, testers receive it and begin performing their tests. These fall into different categories and can be frontend or backend. Frontend involves a lot of manual and exploratory testing, whereas backend focuses on API testing. This is different from unit testing, which is something developers perform to test their own code.
Manual testing of software applications aims to identify bugs and whether the desired functionality has been achieved. This is done by following a test plan that describes a set of “test scenarios,” which are objectives a user may wish to achieve when using the program.
Exploratory testing is more free form. With it, testers really get into the mind of an end user to look at the program with fresh eyes, exploring and testing things that may not have been laid out in a test case. Every person is unique, and every person who accesses a new site or program for the first time will find or do something that the previous person did not. It’s a tester’s job to cover as many end user scenarios as possible to track down bugs and determine if the desired functionality is present.
Application Programming Interface (API) testing is used for testing the backend of a program. A popular tool used for this is Postman, which is used to “ping” APIs for response codes to ensure that they are set up correctly. This is important as the backend of a program may not be seen, but it plays a vital part in the functionality of an application.
On top of these types of testing, there is also automation testing. Let’s take a look at that.
What is Automation Testing?
Automation testing allows a program to automatically run through the test cases that a tester has previously done manually. Automation is vital in the maintenance of a program. Tests will need to be run again and again, and automation is a way to help speed the process up and eliminate human errors that a person may make by repeating the same tests over and over. It also frees up time to allow a tester to focus on something else. There are several tools that allow a tester to do this, such as Selenium and Cypress.
Testing doesn’t finish when a system is live. Automation allows the same tests to be run for maintenance and to ensure quality is consistent. Implementing good automation is a way to ensure great maintenance of a system.
The Importance of Testing
In the working world, it’s important to deliver quality to the client to promote growth and maintain a great relationship with them. Also in the working world, people make mistakes—it’s human nature to do so. Testers help identify bugs and errors early, allowing fixes to be made before a final product is pushed. With testers, our focus is attention to detail. It becomes a mindset and is your main source of success in the role. A high quality, well tested and well-maintained system ensures security and customer satisfaction for a client.
So, Why Aren’t Universities Teaching This?
Rarely do universities offer anything to do with software testing. This isn’t just a shame, it’s a problem. I completed both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree without any real exposure to testing. I was never the best developer during my time in university and I can guarantee there are plenty of other students and graduates out there who, like me, felt that there was something missing. I knew I had a passion for technology but wanted to do something other than developing.
Teaching testing at university can open tech enthusiasts up to an entirely different world of possibilities. Additionally, there can often feel like a divide between developers and testers due to the different focuses. But if both roles understand each other, it can greatly strengthen the quality of working relationships, as well as the resulting product. Teaching testing at university can help bridge this gap.
Prioritising Testing in Universities
The world of technology is ever growing. With the main priority being on development, it can sometimes feel as if testing is an afterthought. I had first-hand experience with this. It wasn’t until I applied for my current role that I really heard of software testing. It’s the thing I was searching for during my time at university without even realising it; the thing I wish I’d been taught about in university so that I knew what career I wanted to pursue. So. if you feel testing is something you’re passionate about or even just have an interest in, please, look into it! The world could always use more testers, and I’d be glad to have you on the team.
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