The Age Of DevOps: What’s In Store For QAs When Old Rules No Longer Apply?


As the lines between developers, DevOps team members and software testers get increasingly blurred, the biggest talking point seems to be uncovering future opportunities for QA testers.

There’s no doubt that, with Agile becoming the norm, testers are expected to play a much more assertive role than the traditional QA specialists have played in the past. The crisscrossed nature of work in DevOps is pushing all stakeholders – engineers, testers and operations specialists – to encroach into each other’s territories, making testing less and less the testers’ exclusive duty. As a reminder, 99% of respondents in the “World Quality Report 2018-19” said they were using DevOps in at least some part of their business.

Building on these transformations, I believe that the Agile framework will further expand the perimeters for testers toward the design of automatic testing infrastructure – while tracking quality across the systems development life cycle. The rewards of this shift are plenty: Testers will be able to take part in more diverse projects and have greater chances for career development in the long haul.

There are many aspects of software testing that will grow exponentially in the years ahead. Here are a few areas that testers can focus on so they can stay on top of industry changes and market requirements:

Refining Time Management Skills

In the context of braided roles between developers, DevOps members and testers and the speed of delivery required in real time, testers can’t afford to be the bottleneck in the process. This calls for learning whatever is necessary that would make the developers’ job as smooth as possible — and taking immediate action once a test suite begins producing invalid outcomes. Not reacting straight away may compromise the integrity of the test cases.

Second, testers should spend considerable time performing noteworthy exploratory tests while the automated tests are running. For completely new features, QAs should keep in mind that automated scripts may take longer to write than testing the feature manually at first.

Third, testers need to develop effective brainstorming techniques in order to think of all possible scenarios that could play out. Anticipating future consequences helps testers avoid risks related to the testing process and reduce the time it would take to fix the ramifications of those risks. The more creative and precise the scenarios, the better.

Fourth, once all the automated tests have been performed, testers must be able to spot the factors behind all the failed cases. Unless this analysis is done accurately, automated tests could result in legitimate defects that slip unnoticed or end up masked by other underlying problems.

Boosting Creativity

Testers will have to recognize which automated checks should be run by hand and which can be scripted. Deciding to run too many checks by hand could result in a significant waste of team resources, which isn’t cost-effective in the long run. Good testers should know the fine gradations in testing for leaner and practical execution. For example, the smart tactic would be to begin with one check that runs from beginning to end across the continuous integration server. Then, they can slowly add secondary scripts with caution and precision. Instead of automating 100% of coverage, testers should know that the process of acquiring assorted testing tools leads to ongoing maintenance expenses, which is why they should aim to automate only the most dominant samples.

As changes happen on the fly in the DevOps culture, testers need to be comfortable with the curve balls thrown at them. Tests won’t always be consistent with the specifications, requiring testers to manage ambiguity amid fast changes. With this trend gaining more traction, QA professionals will be asked to shoulder greater responsibility and think of solutions while rapidly switching between different tasks.

Wrapping up

In the end, automated tests are only as good as the people who write them. In an environment where developers are expected to contribute automated test scripts for writing and configuration by QA specialists, while the operations side monitors and performs smoke tests in production, testers will have to branch outside of sole testing activities. It will take more than just technical knowledge to test application quality – it will require insight, intelligence and a degree of adaptability. QA professionals who are able to adjust to these changes will be on the winning side of the equation.

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