Software testing today is very different in many ways from how it was a few years ago. It continues to be a misunderstood area for many people – even, in some ways, for some people working in or closely alongside the industry.
Misconceptions and Difficulties
As well as a general lack of understanding, there are also some specific misconceptions and areas of uncertainty surrounding software testing as an industry. For instance, there is a significant underappreciation of the amount of technical expertise that software testing requires. This is not helped by the fact that even within the industry, there are still debates about whether software testers really need to know how to code. Some believe that being fully competent programmers means that testers will be, well, programmers instead of testers and also reduces the helpful distance they have from the production process. Others believe that code cannot be tested effectively by somebody who does not understand it.
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In fact, the question of how much coding expertise is required may not even be a truly answerable one, as it depends on what kind of testing is actually being carried out. There are many different kinds of software testing and while this is important and necessary if testing is to be effective across all software types and projects, it probably does not help to either improve understanding outside the industry nor to reduce debates and uncertainties within the industry.
A Time of Change
However, part of the uncertainty that surrounds software testing today is an unavoidable result of the fact that software testing is in a period of rapid change. This is a period where automation is becoming increasingly prominent and increasingly effective, and an age where crowdsourced testing allows many eyes to join together and make it harder for bugs to hide. These kinds of innovative techniques are highly evident in the services of modern companies and numerous others.
As such, even those who test software professionally are sometimes having a hard time working out where they stand and what they should and should not be doing in the modern landscape. It is a period of adjustment, and when that period is over then things may start to look a little clearer both inside and outside the industry.