The Key Areas Where Testers Need to Grow

(This content originally appeared on TechWell Insights)

Testing continues to evolve from year to year. With exclusively focusing in manual testing becoming less and less viable, software testers have been forced to learn new skills and become more adaptable in order to maintain relevance in the development lifecycle.

And for the most part, they’ve stepped up to the plate and met these challenges. More testers understand how to properly automate, effectively code when they’re asked to, and shift their processes left in order to help spot bugs earlier than ever before. Testers are making great strides toward involving themselves even more in application creation.

But there’s still plenty of room for growth. With new methodologies, technologies, and innovations constantly being introduced, testers need to continue to push forward with an open mind and an understanding of different disciplines to make sure they have a rock-solid standing in the process.

Adam Auerbach, the vice president of quality and DevOps engineering at Lincoln Financial Group, recently spoke to StickyMinds about how testers can continue to develop in order to not only contribute to software, but become real leaders of their entire teams.

And it starts with using the right tools.

“The first part of that change is moving to more open source tools. Moving away from some of the big third-party automation tools and adopting the open source like Selenium, Cucumber, Expresso, and Appium,” Auerbach explains. “Really using them, because that’s how you’re going to be able to automate in real time and keep pace with developers.”

Next, Auerbach encourages testers to focus on learning how to use continuous integration tools. Understanding products like Jenkins, Bamboo, and Circle CI can help you deliver results to the developers faster.

Lastly, test data management is a key area that testers need to focus on. Learning how to procure data in an automated fashion that can be hooked into your pipeline, as well as understanding service virtualization for downstream constraints, can contribute to more reliable, continuous testing.

If you’re looking to better yourself as a tester, there are always new avenues to turn to. Understanding how to leverage the cloud, focusing on performance and security, and knowing when and how to shift left can change your testing culture. But most importantly, testers need to know that they can be the driving force of their software teams if they commit themselves to learning new skills.

“To me, it’s how a tester can get an understanding of that full DevOps ecosystem to be able to build the tools and capabilities that they need in order to do this,” Auerbach continues. “A lot of times, you’ll see that the focus is just on the automation aspect, but I think getting a full-rounded picture, to your point earlier, really will then help them open up more doors. I’ve seen it where a testing group is leading the way for docker implementations, because they’ve learned that skill and they’re using it for their environment.”