The 21st century has seen many changes in different walks of life, and more so in the technical and digital space. Mobile apps that came into existence just about 4 decades ago, will probably take the cake in the ‘rate of transformation’ contest! As recent as 1983, we had Steve Jobs envisioning a very basic version of the modern App Store, followed later by the launch of the iPod and soon thereafter, the iTunes store – which heralded the modern Apple App Store. However, it is said that the first mobile app was probably the Nokia’s 6110 built-in version of the basic arcade game – Snake.
Fast forward to Q1 of 2022 and the combined app strength on Google Play and Apple App Store has hit the 5.4 million mark! That’s how fast paced the mobile app world is. Obviously then, those involved in the mobile app world can never rest on past laurels, but need to keep upgrading their knowledge and skills in order to stay relevant in this fast paced digital world. Technologies, methodologies, tools, etc. have all evolved and will keep evolving to ensure that mobile apps are developed and tested in the shortest possible time, but most importantly with all security checks in place. After all, the one that wins the ‘time to market’ race enjoys the first mover advantage whether it is the first launch of an app or its frequent updates.
The traditional manual software development and testing cycles gave way to automation and DevOps, where development and testing take place simultaneously and continuously, and teams work in conjunction with each other, to deliver mobile apps and services at the high velocity that the industry demands – without compromising on app safety and security. It is therefore important that mobile app testers also upgrade themselves with the skills required to work in this speed-driven, automated, competitive environment.
Let’s now focus on the Technical skills required by Software Testers.
1. A Good Understanding of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)
As we have seen, testing is now an integral part of the SDLC and takes place as the software develops, in order to provide early detection and rectification of errors. It is therefore essential for software testers to have good knowledge of the SDLC and the development schedule. Testers are the ultimate link to ensuring that the app provides the end user with superior viewing experience, and consequently play a vital role in helping developers and other stakeholders work towards this goal. It is therefore important for testers today to hone their SDLC management skills and be decisive participants throughout the SDLC.
2. Ability to Create a Comprehensive Test Plan
A good test plan is one that covers all aspects of testing in terms of budgets, resources, strategies, time-frames, process sequences, deliverables etc. A well thought of, and well documented plan can greatly help in achieving the important goal of perfection in app testing within the shortest possible time. With a test plan in place, deviations, missing out on small but important details, delays etc. can be reduced. Today diverse teams have to work in close co-ordination with each other and here’s where good documentation, communication and planning skills can go a long way in bringing in the required synergy.
3. Familiarity with Devops , Agile and other Current Methodologies
The 21st Century software environment has seen the widespread use of Devops and Agile methodologies. In simple terms, Devops implies that Development, Operations and Testing teams work in tandem with each other. Long gone are the days when testing would begin when development was complete. Today all teams must work simultaneously on the app throughout the SDLC. Another important advancement in the software world is the shift from the Waterfall model to Agile methodology. The modern tester must be familiar with this new methodology whereby the project is broken up into several phases with multiple deliverables. These new methodologies encourage a collaborative approach and emphasize continuous development and testing to ensure continuous improvement and early detection and fixing of bugs.
4. Holistic Knowledge of Automation Tools
Automation in the software world is as vital today as air is to a human being. Testers that do not embrace automation will not survive in this speed-driven digital world. True there are a few areas where manual testing still holds sway, but the bulk of mobile app testing has moved over to automation in order to achieve speed and security in testing. Hence mobile app testers must update their knowledge of the available test automation tools, their advantages and disadvantages, and be able to discern which automated tool best suits the project on hand.
5. Appropriate Test Allocation Ability
This is yet another skill that mobile app testers must acquire. As mentioned earlier, there are a few areas where manual testing scores over automated testing and hence, the tester should be able to clearly distinguish between which tests to automate and which to allocate for manual testing. Generally speaking tests that require keen human perception should be reserved for manual testing. These include areas like Exploratory Testing, Usability Testing and Ad-hoc Testing. The majority of tests are repetitive in nature and these must be automated. For example in performance testing, speed and performance of a mobile app is tested for thousands of concurrent users. This will definitely need to be automated for best results.
6. Accuracy and Clarity in Reporting
Testers need to have good communication and reporting skills, to report the problem in unambiguous terms, so that appropriate action follows. While it is imperative to quickly and correctly identify issues in the software, it is also important to report them in crisp and clear terms, so that there is no confusion or miscommunication which can be a waste of time and resources. Mobile app testers need to frequently interact with developers, clients, other stakeholders and even end users. Hence communication and reporting skills are very important for the 21st century mobile app tester. Reporting skills include ability to generate reports manually, as well as being adept at using tools that have been equipped to generate test reports.
7. Continued Technical Education
As mentioned at the start of this blog, the changes in the digital world and consequently in the mobile app testing space is constant and rapid. Hence testers need to update their knowledge to be familiar with the latest in mobile app testing technologies and methodologies. A good tester needs to upgrade his/her knowledge using self-learning sites, reading up on the latest in the industry, attending seminars, keeping in touch with relevant peer groups etc.
In conclusion, mastering the seven technical skills mentioned above, will generate confidence in mobile app testers and will give a fillip to their careers. However, testers must never lose sight of the fact that the mobile app testing world is constantly evolving. Ensure that you choose a testing platform that constantly upgrades and incorporates the latest in the industry, so that your mobile app testing automatically reaps these benefits.
One such platform that provides ease in testing and also has the latest in mobile app technology is BOTm. Avail of our free trial and explore the latest in mobile app testing technology including specialized new features like audio interaction with Alexa; CICT using Jenkins; Death of Device Cloud option to enable users to use their own devices in BOTm’s environment; Appium Converter feature which can convert Appium Script Logs into BOTm Script format. Visit botmtesting.com to experience quick error-free mobile app testing across spectrum – on a single platform, upgraded with the latest in technology.