Seasoned software developers know the struggles of trying to complete software programming under tight schedules. Programs and applications designed to enhance life or help businesses become more efficient. While there are many important aspects of program and application development, one area which frequently is overlooked is software testing. An important phase essential to the success of a program as well as the credibility of the developer.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
As the old saying goes, measure twice, cut once. An analogy especially syncs well with those in the business of creating software. Tasked with creating the latest programming to help end users meet their primary objectives, program developers can help boost a company’s efficiency and profits. Software developers play a key role in the success of a business. It’s their work which enables co-workers or clients to perform certain tasks effectively. Not only do they build the software, they must ensure it has no defects before it’s made available. While developers focus on ensuring the software is successful upon completion, they also need to fully understand the implications it can cause if it fails. While software developers are technology intelligent, they are also human and make mistakes. Some trivial and remedied quickly, others more expensive and dangerous. The very reason why software testing is vital phase of program / application development.
Focus Of Testing
The testing phase ensures the program / application …
- Meets the purpose for its design
- Responds correctly to all kinds of inputs
- Performs functions within a reasonable timeframe
- Can be easily installed and ran within its intended environment
Testing software helps in finalizing applications / programs against the business requirements. During this phase developers are checking the program’s overall functionality, its compatibility with the end user’s technology, how it performs, and its reliability. Plus, that the program / application can be installed without any issues and is easy to learn and use. In the end, testing provides objective, independent data which indicates the overall quality of the software.
There’s Always A Rush
Every boss and client wants it yesterday. When opportunities arise to improve a company’s bottom line, executives are eager to implement it. However, rushing to create and implement new software can be costly. In fact, software errors are linked to multiple problems throughout the world each year, costing the U.S. economy over $59 million dollars annually. A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology estimated $22.2 billion could be eliminated from that figure with improved testing. It goes without saying, rushing to meet deadlines can often result in important details being overlooked. For example, errors could be made as a result of confusion in the functionality of the software or because of a misinterpretation of values. It’s important to have others reviewing code and other components of a program before launch. A second and third set of eyes have a better chance of catching potential issues. The more bugs identified up front, the less headaches both developer and the end user will have to correct. Remember, the end user is expecting a quality program / application which is easy to understand and master. One which does not require hours of training and retraining.
Errors Cost Money and Lives
No software should ever be made available without sufficient testing. While meeting deadlines is important, sufficient time should also be granted to testing and validating software. Timelines should be extended if testing reveals more bugs and potential issues exist. Programming issues can become a huge financial burden on companies. A few of these examples include …
- A software bug which caused the failure of a $1.2 billion military satellite launch in 1999. An error which is still considered one of the costliest to date.
- 2013’s Nissan recall of over one million cars from the market due to software failure in the airbag sensory detectors.
- The 2015 Bloomberg outage where a software glitch caused an outage which affected over 300,000 traders on the financial market.
However, software issues have also been responsible for catastrophic events. Examples include ….
- In 1980, faulty software reported the U.S. was under a missile attack. Then in 1983, a Russian satellite reported incoming missiles from the United States. Thankfully, in both cases, the reports were never acted upon. If they had been, World War III may have erupted.
- The Therac-25 radiation therapy machine used between 1985 – 87 which gave patients massive overdosages of radiation.
- In 1994, China Airlines Airbus crashed due to a software bug killing 264 people on board.
It’s About Reliability And Quality
In the age of rapidly changing technological advancements, software is present in almost every faucet of daily life. Developers are constantly creating new and improved programs and applications, making life easier and businesses more efficient. All of it, a result of high quality programs and applications. Developers not only have the exciting opportunity to take part in the next big innovation, they also have the important task of ensuring all bugs and defects are identified. Failures cost money and, in some situations, lives. Failures which can destroy a developer’s credibility or the company where they’re employed. Reliability and quality are two important components the end user wants in the end. Two components which can only be achieved with sufficient software testing.