2019 Software Testing Trends: Our Top Predictions for the Year Ahead

2018 will go down as an important year for software testing: Forrester declared it “The Year of Enterprise DevOps” and Agile adoption hit 97%. But the change is only just getting started. As we head into 2019, we can expect to reach even more critical milestones as several new software testing trends take hold. With that in mind, here are the 2019 software testing trends the QASymphony team expects to see take shape in the year ahead.

To learn how the qTest roadmap aligns with these trends to meet testers’ evolving needs in 2019, check out the following webinar, in which our product team reveals their insights for the year ahead and how they’ll play out in product innovations.

1) Software Quality Becomes a Cross-Functional Goal

In 2018, we saw a growing number of organizations create cross-functional committees to evaluate software quality. One of the organizations leading the pack in this regard is Global Payments, which created a cross-functional QA Center of Excellence to strengthen partnerships and trust with everyone involved in the software delivery process. As Global Payments has seen, this type of partnership helps ensure ongoing collaboration and coordination, even as release cycles pick up speed.

We can expect this trend to continue full force into 2019 as it becomes clear to organizations that quality needs a seat at the table. Notably, making software quality a cross-functional goal does more than give QA teams a seat at the table; it allows them to lead organization-wide initiatives to improve how software is developed, delivered and consumed.

2) Quality Assurance Shifts to Quality Engineering

To date, quality assurance (QA) has been the approach of choice in the software testing world. But QA is now an increasingly complex field that encompasses a wide variety of skills and technology. From test automation and DevOps to pipeline integration and the need to embed quality from the outset of every development project, QA has evolved well beyond its initial scope.

To keep pace with this growth, we’ll see a strong shift from QA to quality engineering, as the latter better reflects the growing responsibilities that now fall under the quality umbrella. In 2019 and beyond, we can expect quality engineering to emerge in a big way as teams embed quality throughout the entire development process and expand the number of people with whom quality engineers must collaborate.

3) Organizations Democratize Load Testing

Load testing was once a very specific discipline, but the emergence of new tools has made this practice far more accessible and intuitive. As a result, we expect to see more testers who come from a traditional QA background get involved with load testing in 2019.

Previously, load testing required very specific hardware that was difficult for testers to get their hands on. And even when they did, they often had to schedule tests months in advance due to scheduling conflicts that stemmed from multiple teams sharing a single server. The growth of cloud-based distributed load testing platforms like Tricentis Flood has changed the game, as these tools not only offer a platform that any tester can master, but they also make it possible to spin up multiple servers at the same time to eliminate scheduling issues. Thanks to these advancements, we’ll see quality professionals of all kinds taking on load testing and even doing so in a continuous way as their teams further embrace DevOps.

4) Levels of Test Automation Increase

As more teams embrace Agile and DevOps, they’ve also needed to adjust their testing strategies to keep pace. Chief among these adjustments is supplementing manual testing with automation. While we saw progress here in 2018, it’s clear that test automation will really pick up steam in 2019.

According to a recent study on test automation trends, 44% of organizations expect to automate 50% or more of all testing in 2019. Organizations that reach this level of test automation see numerous benefits, including faster testing cycles, improved test coverage and the ability to catch bugs earlier. As a result, we expect that as test automation levels increase and organizations reap these benefits, they will continue to double down on automation.

5) Continuous Testing Goes Mainstream

Continuous testing isn’t new, but we will see it go mainstream in 2019 alongside increasing levels of test automation. Automation rates must exceed 85% to enable true continuous testing, and we will see many organizations reach this tipping point in the year ahead.

Once organizations do embrace continuous testing, they will be in a much better place to control business risk coverage for today’s complex applications. Specifically, continuous testing will enable testing teams to provide feedback on risks quickly and on a regular basis, all without creating bottlenecks. This type of coverage will have an enormous impact on both the end quality of software and how testing and development teams deliver new software.

6) Behavior-Driven Development Reaches a New Level of Maturity

Another byproduct of increasing levels of test automation will be a more mature approach to behavior-driven development (BDD), as the two often go hand-in-hand.

The 12th Annual State of Agile report finds that only 16% of organizations employ BDD currently, but we can expect this number to increase in 2019. Alongside that shift, we will see teams flow through the BDD maturity model. This model includes five levels of maturity: Embracing BDD collaboration, implementing BDD frameworks and tools, connecting systems for development and automation, making CI and systemic collaboration standard and reporting on BDD success.

7) Testing Takes on an IoT Lens

Gartner predicts the number of IoT devices globally will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. That’s a lot of connected devices, and with those connections come serious security risks. We’ve already seen flaws emerge, and 2019 must be the year that testers get ahead of the trend.

Over the coming months, testing teams need to take on an IoT lens if they want to maintain their end users’ trust. Three of the most critical steps to doing so will be introducing continuous security testing, being clear about what doesn’t need to get tested with each release in order to hit aggressive timelines and tapping service virtualization to improve test automation strategies.

8) AI and Machine Learning Continue to Come Into Focus

AI and Machine Learning hit buzzword status years ago, but recently we’ve started to see very practical applications of these up and coming technologies. 2019 will double down on this trend.

In the year ahead, AI and Machine Learning will influence software testing by allowing for more automation, augmenting the capabilities of human testers to meet aggressive quality and timeline demands and helping keep tabs on the increasing complexity of connected IoT software. We can also expect to see more cases where AI and machine learning help optimize analytics.

To learn about a new product qTest is releasing to accommodate IoT testing in manufacturing, watch the webinar: The Top 9 Testing Trends We’re Anticipating in 2019.

9) Adaptability Becomes Even More Important for Testers

As release cycles continue to pick up speed and new trends take hold, adaptability will become an even more important skill for testers.

With the rise of DevOps, we’ve seen the benefits of testers learning how to code and the move from testing specialists to testing generalists. These types of changes are only the beginning though. As QA becomes a cross-functional goal and the role of traditional QA teams expands, testers will need to work in new environments and employ new skills to succeed. Along the way, adaptability — including a willingness to embrace change and an eagerness to learn about new areas of the software delivery process — will continue to move up the ranks of top skills for testers.

10) Opportunities for Growth Abound

All of the predictions above paint a clear picture of QA as a rapidly evolving, highly engaging and critically important component of the software delivery lifecycle. When DevOps first took hold, questions about whether or not software testers would have a role in the future were rampant. Going into 2019, we can say the exact opposite is true.

In fact, the most obvious prediction about the future of software testing is that the field will only grow in importance. We’re already seeing QA play an outsized role in the software delivery process as it becomes a cross-functional priority, and this trend will only continue. One of the most important byproducts of that change will be enormous growth opportunities for everyone involved in QA. This growth will not only propel careers forward for experienced testers, but it will also drive growth in the field as more people starting out in their careers decide to pursue a future in QA.

To learn how qTest will drive these trends and evolve to meet organizations’ changing needs in 2019, watch the webinar recording: The Top 9 Testing Trends We’re Anticipating in 2019.

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