7 Software Testing Myths You Need to Stop Believing
Though software testers get paid to bust the myths about the “perfect software,” it looks like they themselves are living with some software testing myths for a long time.
For most developers and testers, some myths about software testing came embedded from the student life itself, mainly because software testing is not being taught as comprehensively as software development. A secondary reason can be the glamorization of software development.
Software testing, especially automation testing, is growing like never before. Inevitably, following a career path in testing is also becoming more and more lucrative, because of increased software production around the globe.
With an estimated CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of more than 6%, the software testing industry will touch $60 Billion in 2026. As the industry is attracting more and more talent in the field, such need for quality assurance in the wake of Agile development practices is blurring the boundaries between developers and testers.
Overlapping work and new tools and techniques are defying standardized practices (like, a developer will only develop and a tester will only test) of software building.
This is the right time for developers and testers to bust some major myths, unlearn them, and grow faster than ever. In this post, I’ll share with you the seven software testing myths you need to stop believing, so that you can unleash your full potential.
Software Testing Is all About Random Clicks
If “random clicks” is testing, then my nephew is the best software tester I have ever seen. (Though I feel a tester should do this “frustration testing” at least once before the deployment of software)
Testing is a well-researched, well documented, predefined process for ensuring the quality of a software product. It includes various testing tools and techniques, and requires a deep understanding of the product and business goals. And that is why no one uses a beta version of any software for their mission-critical work.
You Need to Automate Everything
Every newbie tester wants to automate the tests. Especially if you have no background in manual testing, you are bound to fall into that trap of automating everything, as everyone is talking about automation, and, indeed, automation testing presents better career opportunities, but wait.
Always remember:100% automation is a myth.
We can not automate everything. A final product has many coded units that all need to work together in hundreds and thousands of cases—if the software is small. Automating tests for all is an unnecessary and time-consuming task. Some units are dynamic, some may not make it into the final product, and if your tests have dependencies on those units, you’ll need to modify test suites frequently.
And even if we can, we should not automate everything. Ultimately, humans will use the software; thus, it needs to be checked by humans. Automation will be able to get all the permutation and combinations of test cases. But, quality parameters like usability and user experience are captured by human interaction and Manual testing is precisely that.
Usability guru Jakob Nielsen once said “The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford”
Intuitions of experienced testers are worth more than the process of automation. A good software tester has a keen eye for finding the test cases and guiding the team, to deliver the best quality to the customer as fast as possible.
Only Software Testers Are Responsible for Product Quality
It was true in the time of the waterfall method of developments, where the roles of the team were defined clearly. So, don't fall for this myth. In the contemporary time of Agile development and CI/CD pipelines, the job of the testers is not limited to the quality assurance team.
As a developer/designer, you know all the hidden treasures and traps of your code, and you must test it before passing it on to the QA team. Take basic responsive web design testing. It can be easily done by web developers.
In fact, as a developer, you must pass on the information to the testing team about all those fishy areas in the code and the product in general, that you think can be a cause for concern. This information exchange will improve the quality of the product and reduce the deployment time by a considerable margin.
I faced the need for these small communications in 2020 as the outputs were getting slower because of the remote working scenario, and internal communication was not flowing smoothly because of the same reason. The developer's simple practice of making a side note helped us to achieve an overall 15% faster delivery, which was even faster than in the hay days of a corona-free world.
Testers Can Only Test a Completely Developed Product
Finding a finished product is one of the biggest software testing myths, as even the best pieces of software will have a bug yet to be found. Apple releases one of the most stable pieces of software for consumers, and they are still giving bug fixes. Why? Because any final product is made of multiple units, and a good test engineer grabs this opportunity to test these early developed units.
By doing so, you will help shorten the deployment time, but more importantly, you will get better communication of unwritten expectations between testing and development teams. Developers continuously get a more and more clear picture of the final product expectations. Better picture not only solves the problem, but it makes sure there will be minimal surprises.
Testers Do not Need Technical Skills
Initially, software testing was limited to checking the various functionality, by only using the software. This does not require having a lot of technical skills. But testing is becoming more and more complex with the advent of complex software.
Now, a tester without technical skills is like a soldier with a blunt knife. You can get the job done, but you will never reach high in the career of software testing. One related myth is that a tester with knowledge of coding can automate the testing. Yes, they can, but it is not limited to automation only.
A tester is the last line of defense for the IT company's reputation, and good knowledge of tools, coding, and product architecture will help build a better product. I remember one of my mates was able to troubleshoot an extremely critical piece of code just one hour before the final product launch. She was able to do it because she knew the product and the coding related to it by heart.
A QA Engineer Is a Software Developer, Just not Qualified Enough
QA engineering is a whole different tech area in software testing, which requires knowledge of various frameworks like selenium, appium, ranorex etc. along with coding languages.
In fact, automated and API testing needs a very skilled coder to make it perfect. There are tools for different areas of testing like Test Management Tool, Automated Testing Tools, Cross-browser Testing Tools, Load Testing Tools etc. Test engineers require a hawk-eye view of the software, whereas a developer can be limited to their piece of code. A tester is the middleman for the high-quality product.
Software Testing Is Boring
Software testing is anything but boring, though your mileage may vary, because it entirely depends on the tester.
Exploratory testing—that is, a quest to find new bugs by testing the software in all possible ways, regardless of the intended way using—is the essential practice a tester can develop. If you limit yourself to a given template and go by the checkbox handed to you, then the testing is nothing more than an attendance register, and you will definitely feel bored and aimless for checking the same thing over and over.
Curiosity is the essential quality of a software tester. Testers are paid for their curiosity first; everything else is secondary. Anyone can check the software with a template of instructions. A good tester is expected to find new test cases and bugs. Developing new test cases is no lesser than the treasure hunt. And we all know how exciting a treasure hunt can be.
Stop Believing and Start Testing
We all know that software testing is essential for every business to avoid suffering, as even small errors can prove fatal. So, if you want to avoid these errors, you need a clear vision and a detailed strategy.
I understand sometimes it is hard to change the ways we are working for a long time. But to develop good software faster than ever and build a good career in testing, adaptation of these realities is necessary.
Start with only one mistake or the myth you are believing and see the change. After working with tens of teams I can say that “the software is as good as the team that is building it” and a software tester is the last line of defense for that team.