Training and Certification Are Essential Ingredients for High Quality APIs
APIs have been in existence for decades. They've always been important software assets, but with the advent of Service Oriented Architecture, APIs – and the underlying services that run behind their facades – are now considered to be essential resources, not only in support of internal applications, but also for external users and systems. In fact, businesses have begun using the scope and reliability of their APIs as competitive differentiators in the market.
Quality Assurance Is Essential for Optimized APIs
Although there was a time when an enterprise could publish an API and hope for the best without conducting extensive testing, that’s no longer the case. Today, the burden is on the software development organization to deliver high quality, well-optimized APIs, and the quality assurance process is a natural and essential part of that responsibility.
Comprehensive API quality assurance incorporates multiple inspections, from well-understood unit and functional tests to performance, load, and security probes. Accountability for API testing is distributed across several distinct constituencies, from the traditional SQA team to developers and even DevOps personnel. Given the complexity and importance of modern APIs, ad-hoc manual testing is no longer an option: today’s APIs are too big, and the build cycles are too fast to permit leisurely assessments.
Fortunately, the software tooling necessary to properly evaluate API quality has been steadily maturing, with Ready! API serving as a great example of what a modern, all-inclusive testing platform should offer. It supplies a massive amount of functionality in a single, integrated solution that supports the entire API quality assurance lifecycle.
Allocating Time for Powerful API Tool Training
As is the case with any powerful technology, it’s wise to allocate the time to get trained on the full collection of Ready! API’s capabilities. This lets users extract maximum value from their software tooling investments, and thus increases the chances of successfully deploying and supporting an API that will stand up to the challenges of a demanding production environment.
Training is particularly essential given the tight schedules, heavy expectations, and limited staffing resources that are facts of life in the modern software development environment. Spending a day or two in a concentrated class is much more efficient –and ultimately effective – than weeks or months of experimentation through trial-and-error. To further enhance the learning experience, private classes can be customized to match the client’s precise requirements.
Constructing the Foundation of Software Testing Skills
If detailed product training on a solution such as SmartBear’s Ready! API and SoapUI NG Pro can be viewed as constructing the foundation of solid testing skills utilizing that platform, certification can be thought of as an independent external validation of those product-specific aptitudes. The entire organization benefits when certification is part of the training mix.
Developers and QA personnel realize these advantages from certification:
- Independent, third party validation of their knowledge of Ready! API and SoapUI NG Pro
- Helps enhance and maintain skill levels
- Enables more senior team members to provide leadership and mentoring for more junior colleagues
- Increases their marketability
The employer profits as well, reaping these rewards:
- Trained, certified staff guarantee higher quality APIs
- Sets meaningful yet attainable goals and improves team dynamics
- Measures readiness for promotion and career advancement
- Demonstrates commitment to employees and their skills
- Augments and validates the organization’s competitive position, especially for consultancies
About the Author: Robert D. Schneider is a Silicon Valley–based technology consultant and author. He has provided API design/testing, database optimization, distributed computing, and other technical expertise to Global 500 corporations and government agencies around the world. Clients have included Amazon.com, JP Morgan Chase & Co, VISA, Pearson Education, S.W.I.F.T., and the governments of the United States, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Robert has written eight books and numerous articles on database technology and other complex topics such as cloud computing, Big Data, business intelligence, security, and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). He is also a frequent organizer and presenter at major international technology industry events.