Experts believe that no software is without its share of errors. The US economy alone loses about $60 billion annually because of errors. Permeation of informatics has resulted in increased dependency on software with the requirement that software and IT-supported systems work error-free and reliably under all operating conditions. Therefore, it is important that they are systematically tested in order to prove and guarantee their consistency before use.
Pressures of deadlines, finances, uncertain results, and increased competition in software development, are factors that have necessitated software testing.
Theoretically, testing has always been a part of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). About a decade and half ago testing as a practice didnâ€™t exist. Developers created software and delivered it. Steadily, quality control and assurance demands initiated the trend of testing, and professionals called â€˜testersâ€™ came into the picture. Testers are responsible for detecting defects in the application before it reaches the customer, and are a much needed resource in todayâ€™s business scenario. Today the distinction of being certified by International Software Testing Qualification Board (ISTQB) located in Mumbai is considered as authentic and certified testers are sought after for testing the software.
While developers can be potential testers, these days, there is an increased emphasis on specialized software testers. In business, the use of personnel with specialized skills enhances an organizationâ€™s ability to be successful at large, complex, or difficult tasks. It allows for stronger skills, and for the contribution of differing perspectives. Hence, it is important to have a tester who looks at the developed product from a different angle altogether. In fact, the past three to four years have witnessed an inflow of testers into the IT world, with testing gaining widespread acceptance.
Testing is a challenge due to the complexity of software products, nature of the software, and due to the large amount of information required.
Software testing broadly involves testing of software products, product components, systems, systems integration, communications hardware, enterprise networks and communication network infrastructures in technical and commercial arenas like aviation, production planning defense, financial services, insurance, healthcare and others that employ IT solutions.
Testing software for functionality, performance, security, usability, integrity, etc are some distinct test services. Testing as a process starts right from the requirement till the final product is delivered. It involves the creation and execution of test scripts and reporting of anomalies. Also, the various parameters of the product or system like performance, compatibility, portability are tested.
There is no specific mandatory or accepted certification program in place to certify software testers. Nonetheless, different global certifications exist which companies often require their candidates to be armed with. Prominent certifications include those from: ISTQB, International Software Education Board (ISEB), Quality Assurance Institute (QAI), and the International institute for Software Testing (IIST). In addition, the Computer Society of India (CSI) and Standardization, testing and Quality certification (STQC) provide testing certifications.
Presently, there is a void as far as university courses are concerned. Hence, private players provide professional training services. In the course of training one is taught techniques that in practice lead to a systematic, structured process for inspection and testing. Independent trainees too are supported by placement programs.
Software testing is a sunrise industry with an estimated global market of $13 billion, of which Indian companies account for one billion dollars. Market opportunity for Indian offshore testing services is currently at $2 billion and this is expected to rise to $8 billion by 2008.
The estimated number of Indian testers required in the coming year are16 to 18,000.