Software Quality Testing

Most major companies realize that nothing can be worse for their image than delivering faulty products. And the IT industry that churns out complex software creations by the day (and even night) is no exception. Quality is their only obsession and software testing is the solution.

Experts believe that no software is without its share of errors. The US economy alone loses about $60billion 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 result and increased competition in software development have necessitated software testing. Theoretically testing has always been a part of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Even ten years ago testing as a practice, didn’t exist. Developers created software and delivered it. Steadily, quality control and assurance demands initiated the trend of testing, and professionals called ‘testers’ came into the picture. Testers are responsible for detecting defects in the application before it reaches the customers, and are a much-needed resource in today’s business scenario.

While developers can be potential testers, today there is an increased emphasis on specialized software testers. In business the use of personnel with specialized skills enhances an organization’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, the nature of the software and due to the large amount of information required.

In a growing IT industry software creators or developers are preferred. But as the industry matures, testers begin to gain prominence. In addition to establishing itself as a software development powerhouse, the country has taken a step forward and begun catering to global software developers by providing efficient testing services in terms of time, cost and logistics.

With India becoming a preferred destination for outsourcing the development of software solutions, it was inevitable that companies would have to augment their testing resources to be able to deliver to customer satisfaction. Figure-wise the market opportunity for the Indian offshore industry is currently at $2 billion, which is likely to rise to $8 billion by 2008.

The developer to tester ratio is 1:1 at Microsoft at 1:7 at NASA. In spite of being a nascent field, the testing market in India is growing fast. It is projected that around 16,000 to 18,000 professionals will be needed in the coming year. Heavy weight players such as Infosys, Tech Mahindra (formerly MBT) and Wipro among others have committed testing divisions. Leading independent testing providers include RelQ, ThinkSoft, ReadyTestGo, Maveric, Applabs, Polaris Application Certification Enterprises (PACE), IQA Tester and Stage Software.

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.