Check out the results of our poll where we asked practitioners what software testing trends they think will dominate in 2019.
You can barely go online today without being asked to respond to a poll. Many have a hook to a sale or to win a free phone. But, to cut to the point, many other organizations, like ours, create polls and surveys to find out what is going on in your world. Polls and surveys provide us with the opportunity to understand people’s attitudes on practice adoptions, gaps, lagging practices, misperceptions, and much more. They’re very valuable to us and we appreciate anyone who takes the time to respond.
To achieve this goal, LogiGear Magazine also provides a forum for observation, reflection, and discussion. Rather than have industry thought leaders present their views on where they see things shifting and changing, for this article, we wanted to hear directly from practitioners about where they see their business practices moving.
The “Why” Behind this Survey
We did this in 2017 and 2018 in our “State of Software Testing Survey Series”. Today we are building onto this trend with a poll that is more forward thinking. Our most recent poll asked respondents to choose what trends they thought would be popular in 2019. What we wanted to do was see at a real-level (not an idea, theoretical or “best practice” level), what is really going on in software development. This is why we designed this particular research survey.
The setup of this online survey was simple. We hunted, searched, and conducted our own research to see first, what prognosticators say the trends are in product development. Our goal was to simply validate their ideas or opinions and find out what you, the practitioners, are actually seeing in the real world through analyzing data.
The Results – See for yourself!
The Most Popular Trend Was…
The first thing I see here is that there is no clear #1 winner or even a couple far ahead of the others. I thought CI/CD and Unit Testing from Devs would be the most popular since I get more requests and consulting in these areas than any other. There is so much written about AI, but from what I see, it’s still in its early phase of adoption.
What we do know is that software development and testing is quite diverse. Clearly, the region where you work has an impact here, more importantly the product architecture and tool chain probably have the biggest impact on where people see development trending.
Also, the product and company type attributes a large industry of software development into splinters. The state of practice for firmware and devices from internal software to robots, entertainment and games, to aerospace, automotive, and financial services to government and military applications, barely keep us all in the same software industry.
The trend leaders were AI, CI/CD, and Security. The only surprise to me here is that security is part of that top list. Security had been relegated to the end of the Dev process and was tool and skill dependent. With the focus on DevSecOps; based off of these results, it does seem that security testing has finally become mainstream and shifted left. We can conclude that AI will be adopted, all over, and all the time. When that time arrives for everyone is still unknown. It has arrived for some people, but not for most. It is a trend I predicted would be the leader by far, but it was not.
Security Testing has always been illusive to functional testers, as something that other people, such as IT teams, but not test teams do. I am a bit surprised that it’s one of our top responses.
Coming In At A Close Second
Microservices are here to stay. The modern extension of SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) has been set to take off for a while but adoption has been slowed by legacy system transformation. IoT is growing, maybe not as pervasive yet as forecasters a few years ago thought, but it is happening. To add to this, just a few years ago, IoT would not have shown up on this list. As always, a demand for more skills from test teams is picking up. Testers are asked to do more varied tasks faster and leveraging more tools than ever. This trend is constant. I would not have been surprised if this was the leading response from our audience.
There has been talk forever in development about more unit testing from developers. The change today from my view, is that with so many companies trying CI/CD where unit testing is a necessity not an option, speedier release trends are mandatory, and there’s a higher expectation for more and better tools. I thought a critical mass had finally been achieved where the trend was to be more formalized and repeatable, and where unit testing was universal. Not the case.
Blockchain: Still an idea, maybe in the future, but not the global reality for new products and services.
Shorter delivery cycles may be how people feel but, again, maybe not the immediate trend people face day-to-day. Developer in Test: Maybe this trend has already arrived so it’s not a trend, or it is not as widespread as people thought!
Finally, exploratory testing. With the requirement for more Test Automation, faster release cycles, and more developer testing, I often get asked for training and consulting on more effective and better exploratory testing skills and management. This is to balance the Automation which may speed up delivery, but also to free testers to focus on the unforeseen and seemingly random nature of software systems and how users operate. Whether or not this is a widespread reality, it does not seem to be a trend.
It does seem like there is a disconnect between where many people think the software industry is today and where we actually are based on what prognosticators are saying and what practitioners are validating .
From popular media today, one could get the idea that everyone is using AI, doing blockchain, thinking Developer Unit Testing is omnipresent, and that the microservices trend was so complete and fully adopted that it is no longer a trend. Clearly, as seen here, this is not today’s reality.
It’s great to look ahead, but it’s more important to make sure you have the skills for what we need today, have the best tools, and are doing the best job you can with the needs we have today.