7 Myths about Testing
Very few people outside of the IT industry, and even some individuals within it, know exactly what the responsibilities and daily duties of a tester are. Yet, many individuals have heard about the many misconceptions and myths surrounding testing. So much so, that some of these myths discourage some individuals from taking up a career in testing. Today we will put to rest a few of these myths, so that you can all see that testing is actually a very promising career.
Read on to find out more.
- Software testing and quality assurance are the same thing
Software testing and quality assurance are not the same, and they are in fact, two separate professions, but very few people can distinguish between them.
If you read up on either of these professions you may see that the terms are muddled, and occasionally the two roles are referred to as a ‘tester’ or a ‘QA engineer’. Even employers make this mistake when looking to hire someone!
So, let’s discuss the differences between the two.
Those who work in quality assurance are actually interested in seeing if a piece of software is performing as it should do, and to a high quality, hence the name ‘quality assurance’. They are concerned with quality control and they want to ensure that a piece of software meets its requirements before it gets to an end-user!
Further to this, quality assurance is a very process oriented approach, that looks at preventing issues along the whole development life cycle, so that the final product is virtually flawless and is of exceptional quality.
On the other hand, software testing is about testing the software to see if any issues pop up and they try to fix these issues immediately. You could say they have a very corrective approach to their activities at work, unlike quality assurance engineers who’ve adopted a preventive approach to work.
Furthermore, unlike an individual working in quality assurance, whose focus is to assure quality throughout, a software tester’s purpose is to actually control the quality. This is done by finding all the possible bugs and correcting a piece of software, so there are no further problems.
The next big thing is, you won't find the word "tester" or "testing" in the Quality Management Systems’ glossary. You can check the official ISO website to make sure that only the terms ‘quality assurance’ and ‘quality control’ are mentioned there.
Quality assurance engineers also help to deliver top quality products as quickly as possible, for a reasonable fee.
- Automated testing will completely replace Manual testing
This myth has been around for a while, but there’s not much truth in it.
Manual testing will be here for many, many more years!
While it’s cool to think of everything in our world being automated, the reality is we’re a long way off being 100% automated.
This is particularly true in the field of testing, because an automated system just can’t live up to Manual testing in some areas. Take UX and UI for example, no computer is ever going to behave exactly like a human. A computer cannot experience emotion, it doesn’t change it’s mind at random, and, although this may be obvious, auto tools just don’t have the human touch!
Therefore, to ensure software works as well as it should for its human end-user, you need a human, who has the required human touch, to test the software.
There is no doubt that automated testing is great, it can run thousands of tests a day, it is able to repeat tests over and over, and it can pick up bugs that could be missed by a human. All that aside, auto tools just can’t go beyond their code, and they can’t think independently like a human. I mean, a human can actually think up a totally random scenario on the spot, to check the software for quality purposes, which is invaluable!
- Testing is boring
Any job can be seen as monotonous and dull, but work is what you make of it. The truth is, there are days when testing can be very monotonous, there are other days when you’re writing code over and over, and other times you take ages trying to figure out a really difficult bug!
But on the flip side, testing is incredibly creative! You are continuously problem solving, you have to be able to think independently, you get to work in a great team, and you can see how your efforts are helping the end product.
What’s more important is that as a tester you have to get into the head of the end-user! That’s an incredibly fascinating task to tackle!
- Testers only ever look for bugs
True to an extent, as the main task of a tester is to detect and eliminate bugs.
However, the scope of a tester's duties are much wider, in fact, their work resembles the work of a detective. A tester is actively searching out defects in a piece of software, and they’re trying to figure out why it’s happening, and how to stop it continuously. This requires a lot of concentration and creativity!
However, it’s actually not enough for a tester to just check a piece of software for errors, because the ultimate goal is to ensure that the software meets the customer's needs and requirements. This means that the tester has to think and act like the customer! The tester simulates the actions of the customer to see what happens, and if there are errors then they can be fixed. This requires a particular empathetic and innovative mindset, and you could say that a tester needs to regularly ‘think outside of the box’!
Furthermore, testers are at the center of the software development process. They are involved in almost all of the stages in the software life cycle, and they’re responsible for ensuring that the quality of the product meets its requirements. Generally all of this is done as a team too, so testers also have to manage group dynamics at work, so it's a lot more than just doing a bug search!
Additionally, testers have to work with and analyze huge amounts of data, and draw conclusions from this data on a daily basis. As well as, working to tight deadlines. So, as you can see a tester’s job is far more than just looking for bugs.
- Only finished products are tested
It is sensible to track errors and eliminate them as they occur. This saves time and money!
More so, testers should be involved in every stage of the development process, so when it comes to testing at the end of the product development cycle, most major issues are no longer present because they were eliminated earlier on in the cycle.
Teams should perform regular checks at each development phase, they should make sure the product complies with its requirement often, and they need to utilise DevOps and Agile at work.
- Testing is too expensive
An absolute myth!
Just imagine how much more expensive a product would be if you didn’t carry out any testing on it before it reached the market! You could end up with a product that is so horrible that people don’t want to invest in it, and people could write negative comments about your product and your business online. That could be fatal!
Testing is fundamental to the success of any product. It would be very silly to not test something. In fact, testing often proves to be invaluable to most people!
Yes testing might seem like a tiresome process, and it obviously does cost money, but it is absolutely necessary. Plus, it could save you loads of money and time in the long run.
Should you wish to proceed without testing your product you are taking a major risk. But it is your choice.
- Testing is hard
Some people think that testing is hard. Some people think it is easy.
The truth is, learning something new is often challenging, and yes, there are moments when you think the subject isn’t for you. But this is true for anything in life.
Testing is not difficult but it’s not easy. If you learn to test properly, and with the right support, you can become a world class tester. Anything is possible when you put in some energy, effort, and you persevere.
Why do people think that testing is hard? Because people think of testing as programming. And because there are lots of programming languages and tools to learn about, they assume the same thing applies to testing. This isn’t actually the case, as testing and programming are different things!
If you Google "myths about testing" you'll find many, many more myths out there. Some might be more accurate than others, but you should always do your research before you believe wholeheartedly in a myth!
We’ve covered some of the biggest myths here, and we would like to think that we’ve cleared up some confusion you might’ve had about testing.
Don’t listen to all the myths because they aren’t all true, and if you do listen to them you may never take a leap of faith into the amazing world of testing - and that would be a big shame!
Here at Careerist we specialize in testing, and we’re always running new courses. So, if you think that testing could be for you pop over to our website to learn more about us. We are also available to chat with you if you have more questions.
Let’s bust the myths surrounding testing together.