The IT world never slows down. Every year brings new trends to focus on or catch up with. The most recent shift in software is testing with the use of AI, which eliminates the human factor from quality assurance. This puts additional pressure on executives and product teams to offer world-class solutions. The same pressure drives software development partners to enhance their ability to deliver. Here’s a list of the latest trends in software testing and best practices to follow.

There are several areas where new market developments define business processes and approach to software and elimination of bugs. All of them are important and at least to some extent—interconnected. All of them need intensified activities in the upcoming 12 months. The year 2021 will be marked by the complexity of platform solutions, new tools for testing, and a growing emphasis on security, especially in the FinTech industry.

The trends are:

  • the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) testing
  • new requirements for software development teams
  • new testing techniques
  • bigger role of software development in a widely understood business environment
  • bigger impact of additional procedures in FinTech software development

Let’s talk about all of them.

Artificial intelligence is taking over

Recent trends in software quality assurance techniques show that humans will be slowly replaced by applications testing other applications. Companies like Test.AI offer tools to speed up testing processes by eliminating human knowledge, experience, and real-life context along the way.

The ultimate goal is to create software that is capable of self-testing and self-healing. Meaning, that the more code samples the AI gets, the more bugs it finds and the more “aware” it can become. When it’s trained enough, it would be able to autonomously find bugs in the code and eliminate them. All without human intervention, which raises justified concerns among many testers.

The situation exploded in 2020 and everything points to further developments next year. In fact, there’s already a saying: “AI testing is the new automation”. Automated software quality assurance was a hit a decade back, now it’s the autonomous testing’s turn.

Enthusiasts say that the current complexity of software (of any kind) eliminates human factor no matter what. It is increasing at an exponential rate. Today, there’s an app for everything and on anything. More apps, more features, increasing connectivity between applications, software platforms, and ecosystems. All this doesn’t make life easier for bug hunters. The solution, as evangelized by some, lays in silicon intelligence.

Industry-wide prediction is that companies like Test.AI will soon pop-up around every corner.

Quality assurance is about quality testing

Sounds gibberish? I’ll explain. Since artificial intelligence is just around the corner, it’s human intelligence on the line. People have to use their skills to uniquely position themselves. The X-factor that wins the match is called a bird’s eye view. It’s about understanding the context of users’ demands.

To do that, software testers have to know a bit more about coding. A lot more, actually. Diving deep into the code and supporting automation tests with extensive knowledge of the software architecture is what makes people unique.

That’s not all. Quality assurance specialists need to know blockchain inside and out. The latest software testing industry trends clearly show that security bugs take the longest time to fix. Interestingly enough, almost 36% of performance bugs are fixed in over a year. That’s a staggering amount. Blockchain became a big thing and the ability to secure it—from simple smart contracts to complex payment or lending systems—is a must-have skill.

The last thing: automation testing. People are not yet obsolete, therefore the old ways of doing things are still around. And that means testing in Java and C Sharp (C#). These two are still big hits in 2020 and it’s not likely to change in the upcoming year.

Quality assurance is not only about bugs. When properly designed and implemented, it helps companies introduce products to market way faster than before. According to PractiTest’s report on software testing trends, the most popular tools in 2019 and 2020, with a strong possibility to be popular in 2021 as well, were:

These are well-known applications but the emerging trend is all about JavaScript and React. More and more specialists use these languages to free their applications from bugs. Here are the tools they’re using:

We observe a strong shift, especially in 2020 towards desktop applications, like Cypress and Protractor. They are the most used, specialist tools in that category. For mobile apps, Detox is not supported by most test devices farms e.g. BrowserStack, Microsoft App Center, AWS Device Farm. Appium is still needed there. Once it’s out of the way, Detox will run over Appium like a bulldozer.

It’s a man! It’s a plane! It’s a cloud!

Cloud is everywhere, important to virtually every industry out there. The growing adoption of cloud solutions helps businesses maintain infrastructure. It also allows for the quick exchange of data. Besides, it helps in testing the software. The “cloud migration” isn’t new but in 2021 it will rapidly expand beyond what we know now.

It’s because the user became the central focus for many companies. Simulating user behaviour from multiple locations was historically always expensive. The majority of applications were running on client/server architecture, while data was coupled with applications in the same client/server scheme. The Internet revolutionized the software development industry by giving us the N-tier application architecture. It meant the creation of flexible applications in the end-to-end software development model. Ready, among others, for simulation of user’s presence and activity.

It works. So much in fact, that Gartner estimated that by the end of 2021, 75% of midsize and large organizations will adopt a multi-cloud or at least a hybrid strategy.

Performance testing gives out to performance engineering

Being able to control how an application is behaving on any given device is crucial for market share. If it works below expectations, users will leave. The more users you have, the more you have to invest in maintenance. Ergo, performance testing is the key to sustainability and business scaling.

It was especially important in 2020, when people were locked in their homes and bought a record number of goods. According to Digital Commerce 360, 36% of responders shop online weekly. That’s an 8% increase compared to the pre-COVID-19 world. It means more Internet traffic and bigger pressure on application infrastructure. In this context, performance is paramount.

But it’s not only it. To secure good revenue, managers have to think boldly. The year 2021 will be all about customer experience and satisfaction. And that’s directly driven by convenience, everyday value, and the app’s configuration quality.

Continuous integration continues to rock

At least the testing world, that is. The 2021 trend is clear: the in-depth knowledge of the method will be required even from manual testers. That was previously unheard of. It’s because continuous integration (CI) has many benefits.

One of them is a shortened feedback loop for all team members about code quality laying in the repository. Because of that, potential bottlenecks (bugs) can be found quicker. Naturally, that means easier and cheaper fixing. The second advantage is easier change/feature implementation: the more information the team has, the lower the risk of introducing something new into the code. It’s called “faster mean time to resolution” (MTTR). In other words, adoption is smoother. Thirdly, communication between team members is faster: they can synchronize the work with the main code branch as often as they want.

Taking all into the account, it’s not strange that continuous development is among the hottest QA trends for 2021.

Analyse the analyst

I’m talking about the test analyst, of course. He will be the person responsible for the demand analysis of the future software. Test design, edge cases, and much more—these complicated pre-productions are important for the next software development steps to go smoothly.

Why am I mentioning that? Because the test analyst is a key role in a team. Quality assurance specialists are much more than “guys on the hunt for bugs”. They closely cooperate with the client to understand business aspects of software development. They can advise on architecture, features or the project complexity.

The growing role of the test analyst goes beyond mere software optimisation. This position helps you understand how the scope of the project impacts development and what can be done to simplify it. Without losing the main objectives, naturally.

The finance world is open to open banking

That’s why testing open banking application programming interfaces (APIs) is so important. The emphasis has been put on open banking APIs because FinTech currently is all about connectivity and user experience.

That forces the implementation of advanced security measures. The dust after the 2019 Monzo’s massive mistake still hasn’t settled. 480,000 customers had to change their PIN because of the storage bug. Something similar still might be possible in 2021, but companies are working their tails off to not let this happen.

The future is (fairly) known

All these latest trends in software testing prove one point—the reality has become even more complicated. You can create advanced software solutions but the truth is, they will become too hard to bear. That’s why professional quality assurance is the way to go.

Based on automation and human experience, with the latest software and business priorities in mind, QA proves to be indispensable.