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15 Test Automation Trends of 2016

January 19, 2016

15 Test Automation Trends of 2016

So the year 2015 has come to an end and as we step in the year 2016, it’s interesting to look at how the test automation industry grew in 2015 and where it’s heading in the new year.

If we look at the Google Trends for 2015, it has brought various advancement in the test automation field. We heard more and more companies embracing agile testing methodologies and many buzzes around mobile testing, big data testing, cloud testing, and everything Agile. Now, as we move ahead, let’s find out what 2016 has on cards for all the test automation fraternities and enterprises out there!

In a recent podcast by TestTalks on test automation trends, Joe Colantonio, a leading test automation thought leader, shared some interesting insights on what he perceives to be making a mark in the next year based on the findings from Google, Indeed, Github research trends and by analyzing industry reports such as World Quality Report and Zephyr.

According to the seventh edition of the World Quality Report, co-sponsored by Capgemini, Sogeti, and HP based on a global market research study conducted with 1,560 senior IT executives and testing leaders from 32 countries-

  • Continuous and automated security testing will be a key strategy
  • Agile and DevOps will take a front seat in testing
  • Predictive Analysis will be a major enabler to ensure on-time and efficient application delivery
  • Customer and business assurance will be the focus area

Based on the other key indicators, expert’s predictions and industry reports, here are the top test automation trends that we think will make waves in 2016.

1. Mobile Testing

Like last year, mobile testing will continue to remain at the top of test automation trends owing to the remarkable shift in the adoption of mobile devices and technology in business. Mobile application testing will undeniably have the major impact on the software testing industry, which will comprise of functional, performance, compatibility, usability and security testing as the major areas. Experts also predict that mobile test automation will cross web test automation if the market for mobile continues to rise at the same pace, which we believe is going to happen sooner or later. Chances are that Open-source frameworks, Mobile DevOps, and app markets will increase to a great extent leading to expansion of mobile test automation landscape.

According to Gartner, by 2017, over 268 billion downloads of mobile apps will generate cumulative revenue of $77 billion.

mobile testing automation trends

2. Testing of Big Data & Predictive Analytics

With the rise of Big Data and Predictive Analytics, quality management for Big Data implementations will emerge. Devices, applications, and networks generate a huge source of unstructured and broken data ultimately leading to faulty and costly decisions if quality management is missing. Testing and pushing the quality ahead will continue to remain as one of the hottest trends. Also, with big data and analytics testing, businesses will aim to get indicators to whether the application’s behavior will meet the customers’ demands or not.

3. APIs & Micro Services Testing

Further to Big Data investment, we will see enterprises investing in Micro Services which makes it easy to test and deploy an independent piece of functionality without altering other applications and processes, making go-to-market faster for products & applications. This trend will inevitably rise up in the coming years since it ensures testing of complex applications which contain small, independent processes and architectures. On the other hand, to test applications comprehensively, API testing will be one of the top requirements of enterprises to test the dependencies of application with other applications.

4. Web Services & SOA Automation

Alongside API and micro services testing, testing of the web services and SOA architectures will be equally important to check the end-to-end performance of the applications. The complex application integrations in today’s time necessitate that the systems with which it is connected communicates correctly and delivers the right response. Hence, we will see more and more enterprises investing in SOA and web services test automation.

5. Lifecycle Testing

With APIs, web services, and data becoming important trends, it is obvious that test automation will not be confined to functional automation in the coming year. Enterprises will be looking for end-to-end lifecycle automation requiring you to automate anything across the entire software lifecycle be it unit test, system test, or integration test. This trend will definitely give opportunities to testers to groom automation skills from start to finish and not just enhance the functional testing skills.

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6. Configuration Management Automation, Chef & Puppet

To achieve the end-to-end testing goals and make the most of QA automation, we also see configuration management automation grabbing the attention of QA enterprises. Configuration management is all about making software product infrastructure, functions, operations and physical attributes more manageable, versionable and testable. There are several tools which help achieve the configuration management automation such as Chef, Puppet, and Docker.

According to Indeed.Com trends, Chef and Puppet are among the top 10 skills that enterprises will be looking for QA jobs.

Further to this trend, it is expected that the new test automation tools in testing market can automate the configurations testing to control the performance, improve maintainability and reduce risks of the software will be high in demand.

7. Shift Left Testing with TDD & BDD

With configuration management automation to improve performance, there are chances that shift left testing trend would also be among the top adoption. Shift left testing is about starting the testing process early in the development cycle rather than waiting for the completion of development processes and QA tester to identify and report the bugs.

An example can be, starting the testing processes right from the requirement phase will prevent the defects to get into the code and prevent hassles arising out of the defects and chaos.

With shift left testing, enterprises are more likely to better off in terms of costs and time since the longer it takes to identify bugs, the more it costs to fix.

Enterprises are also more likely to adopt TDD and BDD to deliver applications as per customer expectation without any defects or delay. By engaging in TDD and BDD methodology, the team can get an actual idea of what is required and there is no misunderstanding right from the requirements phase.

According to Indeed.com, 39% of enterprises use BDD and TDD with a shift-left testing approach.

shift left testing test automation trends

8. Virtualization & Containerization

While shift left testing will ensure there are lesser bugs in the overall software development lifecycle, Virtualization and Containerization will ensure speed.

One of the biggest challenges of automation testing in today’s time is to test and release apps quickly along with keeping track of the environment and maintaining it. Virtualization and Containerization will be one of the biggest trends, which will allow you to isolate your code for testing. This practice will help automate and find issues quicker, eliminating the chaos that is caused to the surrounding environment.

Steven Hazel, the co-founder and CTO at Sauce Labs says “I think, the big trend coming from a technology point of view is virtualization and containerization which is about isolating a piece of code from its surrounding environment.”

9. Agile & Collaboration Tools

Further to cope up with speed and agile methodology, experts predict that developers, testers and operation engineers utilizing the same tools to increase collaboration. Unlike a few years ago when teams were utilizing separate tools as per their roles, it is expected that teams will utilize the same tools and IDEs that help promote collaboration and increase the effectiveness of testing efforts. For e.g. utilizing common issue tracking and task management tools will provide better transparency of the processes occurring at cross-departmental teams. This will also promote better communication and feedback among teams to achieve the agile testing needs.

10. DevOps

On the similar trends like above, chances are that there would be more collaboration among developers, IT professionals and operation engineers leading to increasing adoption of DevOps. With more and more enterprises merging the roles of testers with developers and operational engineers due to overlapping competencies and the need to fit in the continuous agile cycles, DevOps methodology will be the most In-Thing in the year 2016.

As per Google Trends, 67% enterprises engage in DevOps principle to tap the benefits of cross-functional skills and speed up the test project deliveries.

DevOps test automation trends

11. Merger of QA and Developers Roles

The increasing adoption of DevOps principle is expected to break the silos of roles divided in terms of activities between developers, QA/testers, business analysts and production manager. We know, with changing times, the developers and operation managers have started adopting testing activity as a part of their day-to-day job. In fact, they love to test to ensure the defects do not get carried forward in the production lifecycle. Thus, keeping this trend in mind, the experts predict that, the roles of developers and testers will merge in the years to come.

12. Automation with Continuous Integrations

As developers will work in continuous sync with testers, it is likely that they will call for continuous updates and feedback from them to know the quality status of the software and fix the bugs quickly on a continuous basis. With this, it is likely that automation with continuous integration will play a bigger role.

13. IOT & Hardware Testing

We know, Internet of Things is a growing trend and experts predict that approximately 50 billion objects will be connected to the internet which will use some sort of connectivity and sensors to react in the environment. This certainly will require testing of these objects back and forth along with the data that will be generated on a continuous basis. In this regards, it is also said that hardware testing will also become one of the key trends with IOT testing in 2016 and beyond.

According to Jonathon Wright, the Director of Hitachi, “When we talk about the IOT, we are talking more about hardware than software. Being able to also test hardware is going to be a cultural change for testers.”

14. Security Parameters

As the industry is moving towards IOT and headless testing, security is one of the most important aspects to ensure no data and information is hacked, stolen or misused. Thus, in the years to come, security will become a growing trend and it will definitely take an important place in the entire test automation landscape.

According to World Report, 80% of people said that security is one of their top concerns.

security test automation trends

15. Selenium Wrapper Automation

Selenium is skyrocketing in the automation tools industry since enterprises are increasingly using web applications. So, we will see more and more vendor tools providers that will support Selenium technology to automate web application testing. These tools will work around Selenium as a wrapper by integrating Selenium Web Driver with the backend architecture. This integration will not only help test the client applications but also test web applications via-à-is the interactions by pulling the APIs.

Considering the above trends, predictions, and statistics, we see a brighter future of test automation in 2016 and beyond. The areas such as DevOps, containerization, continuous integrations and shift left testing will grab the most attention while QA enterprises and test automation engineers will find exciting opportunities in the area of big data, mobile and API testing.

With this, we hope that all the test automation professionals and enterprises seize the emerging opportunities in the global testing market, which is estimated to reach US $50 billion by 2020 by NASSCOM.


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