What are the different types of QA testing?
Quality Assurance (QA) testing is a fundamental part of software development. For a product to work effectively and consistently at the highest standards it needs rigorous testing before it is released. And it pays to get it right: a recent CISQ report found that the cost of poor quality software in the US alone was around $2.84 trillion in 2018.
The CISQ report noted that one of the best ways to improve software quality is to prevent problems from occurring in the first place via continuous testing. The Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) defines the stages of QA testing throughout the development process, from a review of the initial software design and requirements to the planning, execution, and reporting of tests.
In practice, under the Agile methodology, the software is being developed and test-run simultaneously, so users/engineers are able to interact with the iterations of the product and provide quick feedback to developers. This should mean that any deficiencies are quickly identified and corrected, avoiding delays and more costly fixes down the line.
Types Of Testing
The types of QA tests that are most suitable will ultimately depend on the specific objective of the developer, but they are typically categorized as either functional (does it work as it should?) or non-functional (checking efficiency, reliability, security). Testing is performed first on individual units or components, then at an integrated level as these units interact with each other, and finally at a system level before the finished product is delivered.
There’s also a distinction between manual and automated testing, though both play a key role in QA today. Automated testing can save money and time, especially on large projects that involve many repetitive procedures, while also offering enhanced reporting capabilities. However, a manual approach remains crucial for exploratory tests and as a way to gauge the true human user experience of new software.
Here are some of the most common and important types of specific QA tests used today:
The database is at the heart of any data-driven software program and therefore needs rigorous testing at all stages. This includes checking for any errors in accessing the database or any corrupt data within it. QA specialists will also ensure all front-end actions and inputs are mapped correctly in the database.
Graphic User Interface (GUI) Testing:
This is performed on the front end and is largely focused on making sure all menus, links, buttons, and images function correctly and adhere to the defined design requirements.
You need your software to be safe from internal or external security threats such as malware or hackers. This includes checking how strong the program’s authentication and authorization processes are, in addition to tests for data security and confidentiality. QA specialists will also look for any vulnerabilities in the software, hardware, or network that hackers could exploit.
This is a regularly performed test to make sure that any changes or updates to the software haven’t affected the functionality of existing features. It is increasingly performed using automated tools or programs.
This is one of the final stages and is crucial to detect any performance issues once all system elements have been verified and integrated. It usually incorporates load testing to gauge how the product performs under any expected workload, and stress testing to ensure it can cope with a sudden spike in users or data. It also includes systems testing to make sure a product functions correctly on different platforms or in different locations.
This is quite self-explanatory, but is essential to the final customer experience. You want your software to be accessible, easy to understand, and engage with - ultimately, it needs to satisfy user expectations. This phase of testing is typically manual as specialists can freely explore the program to search for bugs and deficiencies in the overall experience. They can then provide qualitative feedback that can help in the design of future products.
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