What is Software Testing, and How Does it Work?

You’ve spent time gathering requirements and developing your product, application, or new functionality, and now you need to make sure there are no bugs, and everything is working as expected. How do you do that? By testing your software.

In this blog, we’re going to talk about the importance of software testing and the different software testing types, so that you can get started testing. So, what is software testing?

What is software testing, and how does it work?

Software testing is a critical element of the software development process. The objective of software testing is to identify and fix bugs, and there are lots of software testing techniques that you can use depending on the nature of the changes (we’ll talk about this in more detail later!).

The most effective software testing process requires collaboration between colleagues, teams, stakeholders, product owners, and end-users. Each group will naturally test the software from their own unique perspective, and this increases testing coverage and improves the chances of finding bugs.

Why is software testing important?

When completing a daily task like writing an email (or even writing this blog), we all know how easy it is to focus on a specific paragraph or point and lose sight of the wider context, tone, and structure. It’s in our nature as human beings.

This same principle applies to software development, often on a larger, more complex scale. It’s not uncommon for a developer to miss a requirement or not appreciate the impact of one process on another.

A fresh set of eyes helps to identify and eliminate these common mistakes. It’s critical that even a simple software change or fix is subject to a large number and variety of tests. Afterall, more testing means there’s a greater chance you’re going to deliver a reliable and high-quality product.  

Ultimately, the quality of your software will directly impact your brand and reputation. If your software consistently includes bugs and defects, you are likely to lose customers. Nobody wants that, which is why software testing is so important! 

How does software testing work?

Generally, all software is subject to three core testing elements.  Each element includes different types of software testing, and, in most cases, a new test cycle is required for each round of bug fixes.

Developer testing

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The first element of testing requires the developer to test their own code to make sure the product, application, or new functionality works as they expected. If it doesn’t work as expected, they’ll need to make changes and restart the testing process.  

Peer testing

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The second element of testing is carried out by a colleague (or peer). This colleague will usually be a developer or a dedicated tester, depending on the structure of your organisation. If the changes aren’t working as expected, the developer will need to fix any issues and restart the testing process.

User acceptance testing

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The final element of testing is carried out by the end-user or client. Again, if any bugs are found, they will be reported back to the developer, who will make the necessary changes, and restart the testing process.

Different types of software testing

As mentioned above, the are many different software testing types.

Each software testing technique will have a different objective, strategy, and deliverable. Depending on the nature of the product, application, or new functionality, you may include all or some of the software testing types summarised below.

Unit testing

A unit is the smallest testable component of an application, such as a field or button. Unit testing validates that each software component works or behaves as expected.

Acceptance testing

Acceptance testing verifies that the whole product, application, or new component works as intended. A component could be a new form or a change to an existing process. 

Integration testing

Integration testing makes sure that software components or functions interact together as expected. This is particularly important when working with third-party APIs and may relate to capturing data or processing a payment.

Functional testing

Functional testing involves checking software functions by replicating specific business scenarios, for example setting up a new product on an e-commerce platform. Functional testing can be carried out by experienced users or users with no prior knowledge of the system (known as black-box testing).

Performance testing

Performance testing is used to evaluate how the system performs under expected workloads and is designed to make sure your system can cope during busy periods. Software vendors sometimes need to comply with non-functional requirements relating to performance.

Stress testing

Taking performance testing to the next level, stress testing pushes your software to its limits and establishes the hypothetical breaking point. This is important in high growth businesses. For certain enterprise systems, you may need to work in a specialist lab to properly stress test your product.

Usability testing

In its simplest form, usability testing makes sure it is easy for a customer or end-user to use your product or system to complete a task.

Regression testing

Regression testing checks if a new feature breaks existing core functionality. Commonly, regression testing will follow the full end-to-end process of your product or system and may include creating a user, creating a customer, adding stock and pricing, and making a purchase.

These are just some of the most common software testing types that you may use. You can find a comprehensive list here.

Now that you understand what software testing is and how it works, you’re ready to create a test plan and evaluate the types of testing software that best suit your needs.

If you’re looking for a test management platform, Qucate will allow you to create fully audited test plans for compliance, visibility, and transparency, whilst improving quality and testing coverage. Head to our Qucate page for more information, or feel free to contact us.

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Craig Kennedy

Craig Kennedy

Chief Executive, Craig Kennedy, is a Certified Accountant with 20 years’ experience. Craig joined Koderly in 2011 as Finance Director and took on the role of Chief Executive in 2019. Craig oversees strategy, finance, and compliance, working alongside the Board of Directors.