According to different reports, the global software testing market is around $30B and is looking at growing at about $50B in 2020. Not too shabby! It is estimated that around 30% to 40% of this market is taken by offshore testing services (these days located in India, Eastern Europe and South America for the most part). I have nothing against outsourcing testing services as long as they bring the best value to the development organization. The problem with these services (from my own experience) is the fact that they still operate the same way than 20 years ago. Basically performing manual testing at the end of the whole development phase and have still a lot of difficulties to embed within an agile environment. I’m thinking that a lot of testing services company (especially the largest one) are doing everything they can to keep software testing in a status quo, in a dormant state for their own benefit. I don’t see a lot of these companies trying to invest in automation offering. How long will they keep fooling customers?
A new study by ABI Research is bringing me some hope. According to them:
The revenues from mobile application testing tools will exceed $200 million in 2012, finds a new study from ABI Research. About three-fourths of the current revenue base comes from tools that enhance manual testing, yet over the coming years the market will be driven predominantly by test automation.The growth from the automation segment will push the revenues close to $800 million by the end of 2017.
What makes testing mobile software more demanding than testing computer software is the sheer complexity of the environment, which stems from the diversity of relevant devices, operating systems, and networks. Furthermore, for consumer-facing apps the low barriers to entry and the intense competition over users’ attention mean that the first impressions are critical for any app’s success – and there can’t be good first impressions without adequate, rigorous testing processes. For employee-facing enterprise apps the cut-throat competition isn’t an issue, but in their case a poorly conducted quality assurance can result in user inertia and productivity losses.
What’s driving more a more companies toward test automation is also the ever shrinking release cycle they’re facing for their mobile apps. Whether it’s a mobile web app which can see multiple versions per day, or a native/hybrid app which can be released any other week, the need for continuous feedback is critical.
I was at the Appcelerator Codestrong event where I had a chance to discuss with dozens of developers. Their main concern with traditional testing is the lag between a new build and the feedback they will get from testers. They want to be able to fix their bug within hours of their code check-in, while their mind is still in the code. This is why more and more developers are looking at investing some of their time to automate their own tests, making testing part of the continuous integration process and one of their responsibilities. They are writing unit tests for their mobile apps but from what I’m hearing at such conferences is the fact that they’re ready to expand their testing , bridging the gap between unit testing and what traditional testers can offer. I truly think this is one of the reason the automation market is going to grow so fast. I still don’t see traditional offshore testing services investing into these kind of services, still trying to protect their very lucrative manual testing market. But I do expect to see a lot more tools and services built around developers requirements rather than traditional testers requirements.
There have been a lot of articles stating that “Test is Dead” over the past year (Ever since the keynote at GTAC 2011). I don’t think testing will ever disappear (nobody does) but it looks like the explosion of mobile could (finally) change the game on how we perform testing and will bring a lot of innovation to this “bastard child”. What’s very interesting is the fact that developers will probably be the driving force for this innovation. My money is on them!
What do you think? Do you think there is a shift in the software testing market toward developers?
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