Why testing in software engineering is essential (6 reasons)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 23 November 2022
Published 29 April 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Companies frequently check their software to ensure it's up to date and free of defects. Testing in software engineering is essential to maintain healthy computer systems, keep everyone online and provide effective computer programmes. Although, when it comes to testing your software, it isn't always easy to know where to start. In this article, we explain what testing in software engineering means, why it's important and how to work through a range of software testing steps to keep your business computer systems in immaculate condition.
Why learn about testing in software engineering?
Engineers carry out testing in software engineering to help businesses stay productive and profitable. By frequently testing software, you can avoid costly downtime in your business because of computer errors, bugs and inconsistencies. Since technology plays such an essential role in business and society, it's essential that companies update, replace and fix their software to stay successful.
Frequent testing can detect bugs and threats that may have a huge impact on the way a computer system operates. If software testing isn't frequent, bugs may go unnoticed, which can harm your computer system. Software testing measures the efficiency, quality and speed of the software and assesses how well it works before using it in a live operating system.
What is software testing?
Put simply, software testing means looking for defects or anything that may cause problems within your software product. Testing assesses how well the software is likely to work when it goes live. It's usually the final step before you launch a product or system. Software testers use manual testing along with automated tools to check the quality and usability of the software.
Related: IT skills: definitions and examples
6 reasons software testing is important
It's essential to implement testing in software engineering for the following reasons:
1. Identify mistakes
Despite a software engineer's best intentions, mistakes or errors can happen. Some systems may involve complex programs, which is why defects may occur. Testing can detect these mistakes in coding or system functions before they do any damage. Testing is an integral part of developing software and is how you can be sure the system works.
2. Aid security
Keeping personal data safe is crucial to prevent data leaks and security breaches. It's necessary to check that appropriate safety controls are in place before customers key in their personal information. For example, online stores take payment details and if there are any security-related bugs, this may lead to financial loss and hardship. Testing can also prevent hackers from accessing your system.
3. Quality control
By testing the software, you can see how it functions, and how well it works. Businesses can identify any defects and fix these in the development phase of installing new software. Testing then allows you to calculate how many defects might still exist and analyse the software's quality before it goes live.
4. Ensure software is ready
Fix or take out any defects from the product to enable the system to go live without any issues. If you miss mistakes until the system is live, this has a greater impact on the end-user and can create complications when trying to fix it. It's far easier to test the software and ensure it's ready for use before launching.
5. Avoid unnecessary costs
If you don't test the system thoroughly before going live, it can be far more costly to fix any bugs or defects later. It can take more time and be far more expensive to try to fix a defect when you have constructed most of the system already, or when a company has already installed it. It's simpler and more cost-effective to discover mistakes at an early stage to avoid taking the system down later on or being forced to re-build a system that was almost ready.
6. Improve customer satisfaction
All businesses want satisfied customers. By continuously testing and measuring your software before launching a live version, you can build a more stable business and avoid unnecessary downtime. Systems that run without any glitches are more likely to result in smoother business operations. When things go well, you're more likely to have happy customers.
How to set up effective testing in software engineering
Software testers evaluate systems to prevent defects or other risks. Here are some ways to test your software for your business:
1. Look at the functionality
Start with the basics by ensuring the tabs, buttons and fields on your screen work. Try writing text into different fields to make sure the system stays intact and run a few tests to try out the different functions. Check that the basic application programming interface (API) works before testing it more comprehensively. The idea is to assess where problems may exist before a tester takes a look at them.
2. Review your code
Check the source code for any obvious problems. Your code may require performance testing and peer review before it goes to a software tester. Since humans write software, it is prone to human error. Rather than depending on automated testing alone, it's a good idea to manually test it and ask colleagues to test it too.
3. Use static code analysis tools
You can use tools to analyse source code or programme code, known as bytecode. Static code analysis tools search out any problems in the source code, such as security weaknesses. You can use these tools to ensure your software follows coding standards when building your programme.
4. Check how quickly pages load
By looking at single-user performance on the front end of systems, you can check whether the system responds when a single user logs in. If it takes longer than a few seconds to load a web page from a web server, you may consider if client-side code is responsible for the slow load times. It's worth trying to fix that before starting further tests.
5. Check unit tests
Developers use unit tests to check whether the method, component or class unit works well. They then test the units across a range of inputs. Consider running unit tests every time you change the source code repository. Developers often use virtual services to test their units and, if they fail, fix them before allowing others to use them.
Benefits of software testing for your business
Software testing saves a lot of time and effort, but more than that, it makes business sense. Here are a few benefits of taking testing seriously:
Software testing can save you a lot of money. Rather than waiting until the software is already live, it's better to detect problems in the development stage. That way, you can avoid calling in a PR firm to explain to customers why your software has issues. You can also avoid asking employees to work late to fix the software. If you don't test, you may also lose money on lost business as a consequence of the software not working properly.
Boosts customer confidence
If a customer downloads a new software programme and then finds an error message, they may lose faith in your business or software products. Customers are likely to abandon products that don't work the first time around and ask for their money back. By testing and checking the quality of your products in the development stage, you're more likely to produce a quality product that customers trust. They're then more likely to tell their friends about it and to become repeat customers.
Security is a top priority for most businesses. If your software allows a security fault, this can be harmful not only for your customer experience, but you may put their data at risk. By properly testing your software, you can be sure that your customer's personal information is safe and reduce the risk of a personal data breach.
Saves your reputation
Testing ensures your product is quality tested and ready for the market. By taking the time to test your product, you can be sure that it's free of bugs, secure, loads quickly and that it works properly. You may not know how effective it is until you test it on a trial run. Testing means you can be sure you're offering the best possible service for your customers, which is good for your business and for your reputation.
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