When speaking about software development, there are a lot of talks about success and quality. Websites of IT service vendors are full of sentences like “We create great apps”, “We help you achieve success”, and “We offer quality custom software services”. However, what do these words actually mean?
To be considered as successful, the product must address the user’s problem. Regarding your area—B2B or B2C—the life of your users must be simplified and improved. They should receive a seamless user experience which implies error-free functioning and high usability of your solution. Furthermore, you should prevent any glitches and make it able to handle high loads. And that’s not all...
A QA engineer is a person who takes care of these and many other things to provide the customer with the best result possible. In this article, you’ll find out why QA is important, what does a QA do, what types of testing exist, and what’s the difference between software testing, quality assurance, and quality control. Let’s get started!
Software testing vs QA testing vs Quality control
A software testing process is about checking mobile and web apps, websites, and complex IT systems for bugs and errors. In fact, it focuses on actual testing.
Quality assurance, or QA testing, is the process of improving internal dev practices and procedures to deliver a great solution. A software development company has to ensure that they are efficient and meet quality standards. Although QA interferes with actual testing, it is more about processes and their enhancement.
The goal of quality control (QC) is to ensure compliance with the requirements that can include performance characteristics, product behavior, appearance, the interaction of different components, and even industrial regulations. Here at YSBM Group, a QA engineer is also responsible for QC. Since a clear understanding of the client’s needs and expectations is crucial for success, we involve a QA at the early project stage.
By QA software testing, people often mean these three notions joined together. The reason is that it aims at removing and preventing defects, comparing the end product with the intended result, and using advanced practices that help accomplish it.
QA testing: goals and responsibilities of a QA engineer
A QA engineer plays a crucial role in a mobile and web development company. Even if programmers wrote truly great code and checked the app or website on several devices, it just won’t always work perfectly in all conditions.
There are plenty of things that should be considered: the product functioning and display on different devices, the ability to withstand high loads (peaks of user activity/influx of users), non-typical cases, security vulnerabilities, and so on. Otherwise, you may receive numerous negative reviews from your customers and low scores on the App Store and Google Play.
So, the main goal of a QA specialist is to achieve correct operation of the site/application and make sure that it works and looks as intended.
QA engineers can have various responsibilities. In our company, they include:
- preparation of test design, test cases, testing strategies
- bug search and reporting
- creation and verification of testing documents (artifacts)
- security auditing
- checking compliance with the requirements
- providing recommendations for the product release and assembly
To ensure that the app/site looks and works the same on different devices, a QA tests it on the necessary screen resolutions, browsers, operating systems, and their versions. A QA engineer also checks the implemented improvements/changes to the product and repeats testing until the desired result is accomplished.
Now, let’s take a look at the main types of QA testing that can be used in software development.
Manual testing and test automation
Manual testing is about manually testing software for bugs and errors. Here QA engineers play the role of users and check the product functionality to ensure its correct behavior. They also pay attention to user experience and make recommendations on how to improve it.
To facilitate the work and avoid missing anything, a QA creates a test plan and test cases and follows them throughout the entire testing process. Ideally, manual tests should be held by qualified specialists who will check an IT solution on different devices, browsers, and operating systems.
We believe that it's better to automate any tests that are poised to be repeated many times. It is also reasonable to use test automation for things that are difficult to check manually. Allowing to dramatically reduce the time for testing software, this practice helps ensure that an IT solution performs well from a technical point of view.
Functional and performance testing
Functional testing is one of the software QA testing best practices that covers two aspects—project requirements and business processes. The main objective is to check the functionality and user interface and make sure that every component works as intended.
QA engineers focus on the verification of functional requirements and validation that the app/site solves a specific problem. As you might have guessed, here our experts take into account the use cases of the product and its target audience as well.
Performance testing is a practice of validating how a software product performs in terms of speed, stability, and responsiveness under a certain workload. Our QA specialists estimate whether the system is able to handle high loads and measure its other attributes like scalability, reliability, network bandwidth, and resource usage. They also pay attention to security and check websites and applications for vulnerabilities to malware and hacker attacks.
Unit and integration testing
Unit testing is performed to check the individual components—features or modules—of the product. The main goal of this type of QA testing is to ensure that each unit works as intended. Generally, most bugs and errors are detected at this stage.
Integration testing is a practice of combining individual units of the system and testing them as a single group. The main purpose here is to check their interaction and identify interface defects.
Unit and integration testing are often used in conjunction: while unit tests allow isolating each component, integration tests are employed to measure how different functionality parts work and interact. This enables our QA team to improve the quality assurance process and reduce the time required for testing.
Alpha and beta testing
Alpha testing aims at simulating the actual functioning of the app/website and detecting critical errors in the code. Usually, it is performed at the early stage of creating the product. When the most serious bugs are fixed, it’s much easier to continue the work. In fact, alpha testing is a form of internal acceptance testing.
It is noteworthy that alpha testing can be held either by QA and software engineers or by connecting targeted users that can be provided by the client’s side. In the second case, potential customers check the system and give their feedback on what should be enhanced and what should be changed.
When the product is being prepared for the release, beta testing is used to fix small things that haven’t been found previously. Since a group or several groups of users outside a software development house participate in beta testing, it is considered as an external acceptance testing.
You can perform beta testing to attract users and convert them into customers. When they participate in software creation and polishing until its launch, they are more loyal to return to you. Offer them some perks associated with your product in gratitude for their time and efforts. This way, beta testing will become a part of your marketing strategy.
To sum up, QA testing is essential for project success. At this stage bugs and errors are defined, specialists ensure that the system complies with the requirements, and the product really works and looks as intended.
The use of software QA testing best practices helps our team deliver truly great solutions that meet your needs and expectations.
If you have any questions or thoughts about QA, feel free to share them in the comments below. You’re also welcome to read our article “Best software development practices to get results, not pain” that provides valuable advice on how to receive a quality product with no time delays.