Industries require quality products in today’s fast-paced world. Software quality assurance is a crucial technique to assure quality products. As Wikipedia illustrates Software Quality Assurance (SQA) as a “Means of monitoring the software engineering processes and methods used to ensure quality.” SQA generally includes the whole software development life cycle (SDLC) which encompasses requirements collecting, software testing, coding, design, release management, and the ultimate product launch. Software testing being a component of Quality Assurance (QA) has become a significant step during the SDLC. This software testing is a substantial gatekeeper for companies to determine when the code could shift into the final steps of user acceptance testing (UAT) and more to produce. This QA confirms that the developed software meets and complies with the standard pair of quality specifications for a delivered product. This type of QA testing deals with checking the software to recognize bugs or defects if any, and assures a quality product is provided to end-users.
The QA function confirms that the product fulfils the requirements and ascertains the product quality is accomplished. In the initial waterfall model, the QA testing was adopted at the end of the SDLC which led to deferred project timelines, and at times, even the quality was not properly fulfilled. The QA team was further involved only in the identification of bugs and errors and retesting them to confirm a quality product is launched. Earlier, even the products were not so complicated and QA testing could deal with the requirements specifications and check the product. However, in recent times, the products and applications are problematic in their outlook and require much more action from the QA teams to ensure quicker releases and at the same time maintaining software quality. Hence, there emerged a desire to transform from Quality Assurance to Quality Engineering i.e. QA to QE.
Why Quality Engineering?
In modern times, the method of software development has shifted towards agile and DevOps processes as industries require quicker releases to get to market faster. Clearly, with agile and DevOps processes on the go, the software testing method has taken a shift-left approach through which the testing is performed parallel to software development to ensure quicker identification of quality releases and bugs. The QA in the agile process tests the whole system established on the sprints to cater to software features advancement. The QA teams utilize software testing along with the development procedure, from the preliminary stages of the DevOps process to ensure continuous integration(CI) and continuous delivery(CD) to ensure rapid releases.
The DevOps, CI/CD and agile development processes have altered the world of quality assurance. The QA teams possess less planning time due to continual releases during sprints and therefore they attempt to achieve regression testing on time. Today, the QA teams are needed to think more realistically and creatively than ever before. Therefore, the QA has taken a change from QA to QE, to ensure quicker releases implemented with DevOps CI/CD and agile processes. Software quality engineering (SQE) ensures high standards during a software development process and particularly carries well for agile and DevOps procedures. Even in Quality Engineering, the main role is played by the quality engineers who build, execute and maintain systems to ensure quality strategies.
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Why do Quality Engineering Roles Evolve?
- With the connected and complicated systems and APIs in place, checking the backend services has become complex as there is no noticeable UI which led to Quality Engineering emergence
- Today, with the products being continuously developed as smart products and applications, QA teams don’t often have weeks to analyze requirements and build test cases in isolation. They have to think smartly on the go and quickly develop test plans as the products evolve
Why QA to QE Transformation?
- QA team in close alliance with the developers and the systems (DevOps) teams assure faster and continual releases by implementing test automation initiatives and shifting QA efforts towards quality assurance by alienating silos.
- QA teams pursue a shift-left approach of testing to expose defects first and speed up the time to market. The shift left enables developers to fix flaws more rapidly and at a much less cost, speeding time to market, and enhancing customer satisfaction.
- QA is involved today to think like end-users and assure to provide great customer experience irrespective of the business they govern particularly while testing mobile applications.
- With the increasing complexities of mobile apps and with IoT devices in place, testers should be more aware of several real-time scenarios and should be skilled to find real-world defects effectively
All the above-mentioned points have concluded into a shift from QA to QE and this shift assures integrating quality into the whole SDLC to engineer adequate quality. Moreover, this QA transformation has also overseen a modern role of SDET (Software Developer in Test) responsible to create test infrastructure, recognize test scope, and define quality norms. These SDET’s begin with unit testing and expand to all extra tests and should even create a mitigation technique in case the situation demands.
They are accountable to maintain and manage CI/CD pipelines to assure the code keeps moving through the pipeline. They work closely with all teams of operations teams, developers, and product owners. They should also keep a deep eye on what should be automated and should be able to plan rapidly and efficiently established on the application under test. As a last thought, though there has been a wider role provided to the QA in the agile and DevOps processes with shifting towards Quality Engineering, however, they are responsible for validating requirements and analyzing, executing and developing test cases placing beneficial efforts on automation QA and helping in the resolution of bugs.
Software quality assurance by the QA teams plays a vital role in the SDLC to facilitate a quality product. Earlier, as the products and applications were fairly simpler in their outlook, the QA teams analyzed the products and ensured quality is maintained. Nevertheless, today with agile and DevOps processes on the go and with the development of smarter and complex products, there has been a requirement for the QA automation services to grow as QE to support smarter and quality testing. This development from Quality Assurance to Quality Engineering (QA to QE) ensures quicker releases with DevOps CI/CD processes and assures quality is provided to end-users.
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