2020 Vision: 4 Key Insights into the Future of Software Testing
  October 18, 2017


Your peers have spoken. SmartBear surveyed over 5,000 software professionals around the globe who are doing some form of software testing (including developers, QA engineers, managers, consultants, and more), for their take on where the industry is headed over the next few years.

Their input makes it clear: the need to automate tests and deliver faster will continue to grow in the coming years.

Testers are tasked with doing QA at both the UI and API level

With 82% of those surveyed testing both the front and back-end of their applications, it’s clear that testing the API layer is just as important as the UI layer. It also indicates that it’s critical for testers to have the tools they need to test both with ease.

Key takeaway: With the responsibility for testing multiple layers of an application, testers should be equipped with tools that allow them to quickly create test cases at the point and click of a mouse – without the need to write scripts.

Automated testing remains a vision of the future, but it’s not totally here yet

With just 44% of UI tests, and 59% of API tests, being automated, our respondents made clear that automation is a key challenge - and a growing one too. When asked about where automation will be two years from now, the outlook appears to be quite bright.

  • The number of API testers automating >50% of their tests is expected to grow by 30% (from 59% to 77%)
  • The number of UI testers automating >50% of their tests is expected to grow by 61% (from 44% to 71%)

Key takeaway: If you’re automating more than 50% of tests you’re ahead of the curve, but don’t expect to be there for long as automation continues to surge forward in an effort to keep up with faster release cycles. A test automation tool has the ability to find APIs and quickly generate test structures for them, using a feature called "API discovery."

Release cycles will continue to shorten

While 63% of those surveyed said they follow an agile development model, how agile are they really? One key indicator of true agility is the ability to deploy frequently and regularly. At the time of this survey in 2017, just 41% of the nearly 3,400 surveyed indicated that their release cycles occur weekly or daily.

When asked how frequently they would release in two years however, this number grew to 67%. In other words, while teams aren't quite as agile as they think they are right now, they're continuously trying to move faster and deploy more often.

Key takeaway: As release cycles continue to move faster, and testing continues to shift left, those doing the testing need to be equipped with the proper tools to fit their Agile testing workflows.

Mobile, hybrid, and APIs are the future

Desktop and web apps, along with APIs, make up the current majority of applications tested. Yet, in the next few years, developers and testers across the globe expect mobile web and mobile native apps to overtake desktop apps and pull even with web applications. APIs are also expected to continue to grow, along with hybrid and packaged apps.

Key takeaway: Users expect the diversity of the applications they test to continue to grow, meaning those doing testing will have to learn and adapt in order to keep up.

So, what does this all mean?

Right now, your average tester is handling the testing of both front and back-end applications, while being asked to automate more in order to keep up with shorter release cycles. Simultaneously, organizations are adopting new technologies like mobile and hybrid applications, requiring testers to learn more and more.

With all of this going on, those doing the testing— could be a developer, could be a QA engineer, or someone in between — need something that is going to allow them to automate and be more efficient. That's where SmartBear comes in.

From a tooling perspective, SmartBear is perfectly positioned to help your team in that journey to testing all types of applications and automating and delivering faster. CrossBrowserTesting allows you to test across 1500+ browsers and real devices. With TestComplete you can run scalable, automated UI tests on mobile, web, and desktop applications. SoapUI Pro allows you to test the functionality, performance, and security of REST and SOAP APIs and web services without writing any scripts. Integrations across each of these platforms make it easy to move between front and back-end testing, and stay ahead of the curve.