What is QA Testing?

And why it’s important.

Songtham Tung
Sep 25 · 3 min read

Quality Assurance (QA) is making sure that something works as intended. Whether hardware or software, or even writing (hint: editor), having a QA process is critical to the success of a company and customer satisfaction. After all, isn’t it better to find out if something is broken before your users do?

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” -Murphy’s Law.

In most product companies, QAs are often the gatekeeper in determining whether or not the feature is ready for release. While some may reduce QA to simply testing, there’s a lot more to it. In this article, we will go over two of the main practices in the world of quality assurance for software products: Manual Testing and Automated Testing.

I’ve also included a bonus section for QA lingo near the end of the blog 😉.

Manual Testing

Done by humans.

  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT): having users test the product to make sure that it works as intended.
  • Smoke Test: making sure that the most important functions still work.
  • Regression Test: verifying that new features did not break existing ones.
  • API Test: testing application program interface (see WTF IS AN API?)
  • Load Test: testing the performance of your system e.g. simulating 10,000 requests in 10 seconds and measuring the response.
  • White Box Testing: when the internal system is known to the tester.
  • Black Box Testing: when the internal system is NOT known to the tester.
  • Usability Testing: UX related test to see how easy it is to use something.

Automated Testing

Done by robots.

Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash
  • System Integration Test (SIT): overall testing of the whole system.
  • Unit Test: individual tests at the code level (mostly done by developers).
  • Test Driven Development (TDD): software development practice where unit test is written before code.
  • Continuous Integration (CI): runs automated build and tests, allowing teams to detect problems early.
  • Continuous Delivery (CD): automatically prepares code to be released.
  • CI/CD Pipeline: automated software delivery process, such as initiating code builds, running automated tests, and deployment (see example).
  • Selenium: web browser automation tool.

QA Lingo

How testers speak.

  • Acceptance Criteria: a set of conditions that must be met in order for a feature to be considered ready to release.
  • Bug: error.
  • Blocker: something that blocks another thing from happening.
  • Code Coverage: a metric that shows how much of your code is tested.
  • Deprecated: no longer used.
  • Edge Case: an issue that occurs in rare conditions.
  • Endpoint: url.
  • Hot Fix: a quick fix to a major bug.
  • Not Reproducible: a bug that is not easy to recreate.
  • Steps to Reproduce: instructions to discover a bug.
  • Test Case: requirements with steps for testing.

Wrapping Up

In the world of QA, no news is good news. When you’re doing a great job, few will notice. However, when you’re doing a bad job…everyone will notice.

QA testing a tough position that is often overlooked and under appreciated. Nevertheless, it is an important role that can make or brake the reputation of a company (imagine what would happen if Google stopped working?). It’s not a coincidence that the best organizations take QA seriously.

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” -John Ruskin

Thanks for reading! If you have something that you would like to add, drop a comment below and I’ll include it in the list.

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Songtham Tung

Written by

Technical Product Director @ Geddit | SF ✈️ BKK

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +527K people. Follow to join our community.

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