Most Popular Software Testing Trends You Must Know

The software development landscape is constantly evolving, and software testing needs to keep pace. To deliver high-quality applications and products, organizations must stay updated on the latest testing trends and best practices. This article explores the top 15 software testing trends that teams should follow in 2023. Adopting these innovative approaches, strategies, and focus areas will enable enhanced test coverage, efficiency, and overall software quality.

Top 15 Software Testing Trends For 2024

  1. Shift Left Testing
  2. Automation Testing
  3. AI-Based Testing
  4. Crowd Testing
  5. Testing Microservices
  6. API Testing
  7. Security Testing
  8. Performance Testing
  9. Mobile App Testing
  10. Internet of Things (IoT) Testing
  11. DevOps Alignment
  12. Accessibility Testing
  13. Exploratory Testing
  14. Continuous Testing
  15. Test Data Management

1. Shift Left Testing

Shift left testing involves moving testing activities earlier in the development life cycle. Rather than relegating testing to the end, defects are caught and fixed faster. This is achieved by integrating testing practices starting from requirements gathering. Testing shifts “left” across design, development, and deployment stages. Shift-left testing brings greater collaboration between testers and developers. It results in accelerated testing, reduced rework, and enhanced software quality. Organizations will increasingly shift testing left in 2023.

Benefits of Shift Left Testing

  • Finds defects earlier which are cheaper to fix.
  • Reduces rework and saves time.
  • Increases collaboration between testers and developers.
  • Enables faster feedback on quality.
  • Promotes building in quality from the start.

2. Automation Testing

Test automation will continue gaining traction in 2023. Automated testing delivers faster test execution, expanded test coverage, and enhanced efficiency. AI and ML are incorporated into test automation frameworks to further boost speed and accuracy. Testing mundane, repetitive tasks manually is inefficient and time-consuming. Automation frees up QA resources for higher-skilled, value-add testing. However, automating ineffective test cases provides little value. Teams should strategically determine what to automate based on ROI, not merely automate for automation’s sake. Hybrid automation leveraging both manual and automated testing provides the right balance.

Benefits of Automation Testing

  • Increases testing speed and efficiency.
  • Enables greater test coverage.
  • Frees up human testers for more complex testing.
  • Improves test accuracy and consistency.
  • Facilitates regression testing.

3. AI-Based Testing 

AI and machine learning have pervaded software development, and testing is no exception. AI brings intelligence and predictive capabilities to test automation. It also enables test case prioritization and optimization. AI compares code changes to identify ideal test cases to execute. Overall, it enhances testing speed, efficiency, and coverage. AI test assistants can perform exploratory testing and provide recommendations. AI also brings smarter test reporting and analytics. It identifies patterns revealing the likelihood of bugs. In 2023, expect greater adoption of AI across the testing lifecycle.

Benefits of AI-Based Testing

  • Automates test design and prioritization.
  • Provides predictive insights into application quality.
  • Enables smarter test reporting and analytics.
  • Simulates human exploratory testing.
  • Handles test data generation and management.

4. Crowd Testing

Crowd testing leverages a diverse, decentralized crowd of testers beyond the internal QA team. It provides on-demand access to testers with specialized skills and diverse devices. Organizations connect with crowdsourced testers via crowdsourcing platforms. After submitting apps or software builds, test cycles are completed rapidly. Utilizing the crowd delivers enhanced test coverage, defects detection, and end-user feedback. User acceptance testing also benefits from crowdsourcing’s real-world testing. The global crowd testing market is forecast to grow as organizations supplement in-house testing.

Benefits of Crowd Testing

  • Leverages diverse real-world devices and use cases.
  • Provides scalability on demand.
  • Delivers broader test coverage.
  • Enables faster feedback from end users.
  • Brings in specialized skills and experience.

5. Testing Microservices

Microservices architecture continues gaining popularity given its agility, flexibility, and scalability. However, microservices testing brings complexities. Shift left testing and automation are crucial when dealing with vast microservices and frequent updates. API testing ensures reliable communication between individual microservices. Observability techniques like logs and traces monitoring are also essential. Because microservices enable continuous delivery, test data management and service virtualization optimize testing. Performance testing at scale and security testing are also paramount for microservices. Testing tools and processes require enhancement to address these challenges.

Benefits of Testing Microservices

  • Verifies independent functionality of individual services.
  • Confirms reliable integration and communication between services..
  • Enables granular monitoring of performance.
  • Allows separate and parallel testing of services.
  • Promotes loose coupling between services.

6. API Testing

Application programming interfaces (APIs) have become ubiquitous in enabling integration between apps and systems. Robust API testing is crucial given APIs’ central role. API testing involves unit testing, functional validation, load testing, security testing, etc. Test automation and service virtualization address API testing complexities. Mocking services and simulating real-world API usage conditions during testing is also key. Teams will increasingly focus on shifting API testing left, Contract testing also gains prominence given the need to validate that APIs perform as intended per specs. 

Benefits of API Testing

  • Validates functionality and conformance to specs.
  • Verifies integration, error handling, security.
  • Confirms performance under load and volume.
  • Facilitates testing without dependency on other components.
  • Enables early shifting of testing left.

7. Security Testing

App security is more critical than ever given escalating cyber threats. The shift left for security testing will gain momentum in 2023. Rather than just penetration testing later, organizations are building security into the SDLC starting with secure code reviews and scanning. Static application security testing (SAST) and dynamic application security testing (DAST) are incorporated from the outset. Fuzz testing addresses risks by subjecting apps to invalid, unexpected random data. Attack simulation and risk analysis provide greater security insights pre-release. Security testing training and expertise will be in demand to keep organizations secure.

Benefits of Security Testing

  • Identifies vulnerabilities like code injection, data leaks.
  • Safeguards applications from cyber threats.
  • Builds in security starting from design phase.
  • Increases attack detection and prevention.
  • Verifies compliance with security standards.

8. Performance Testing

With complex, data-intensive applications, optimizing performance is crucial for business success. Performance testing practices will evolve to match modern architectures using shift left principles. This entails earlier load, stress, and scalability testing rather than later. AI capabilities help generate more realistic test data for modern apps. Observability techniques expand performance monitoring and optimization abilities. Automation applies to API monitoring, synthetic script execution, and results analysis. Teams focus on optimizing speed, stability, resource usage, and ensuring apps perform well under load.

Benefits of Performance Testing

  • Optimizes speed, scalability, stability under load.
  • Identifies bottlenecks and areas for optimization.
  • Ensures optimal resource utilization.
  • Provides baseline metrics to measure against.
  • Delivers smooth user experience.

9. Mobile App Testing

Given mobile’s dominance, mobile app testing grows more complex with device fragmentation and faster release velocities. Emulators and real device access expand test coverage. Focus grows on 5G and location simulation to mimic real-world mobile usage. Automated testing addresses the repetition needed for multi-device testing. AI-based testing handles test case prioritization and optimization for mobile. Visual testing with image recognition addresses UI and UX flaws. Crowd testing leverages consumer devices and use cases. Overall, organizations now realize mobile app testing warrants specialized tools and processes.

Benefits of Mobile App Testing

  • Validates functionality on diverse mobile devices.
  • Confirms usability, UI/UX specific to mobile.
  • Verifies performance on cellular networks.
  • Address’s location services, battery usage testing needs.
  • Handles validation across iOS, Android, tablets, etc.

10. Internet of Things (IoT) Testing

IoT introduces daunting testing challenges given the diversity of connected devices, platforms, networks, and operating conditions. Testing focuses on performance, reliability, security, upgrades/migrations, and device compatibility. Test environment virtualization is essential to simulate sensors and cloud integration pre-production. Automation handles repetitive testing across devices and scenarios. AI supports test optimization for complex IoT ecosystems. Model-based testing uses simulated components where physical devices aren’t feasible. Testing IoT products and integration demands specialist skills and methods as IoT expands.

Benefits of Internet of Things (IoT) Testing

  • Verifies connectivity and integration of sensors, devices, networks.
  • Confirms system reliability and uptime.
  • Addresses performance, security, upgrades for complex systems.
  • Handles vast, dynamic test environments.
  • Leverages virtualization to simulate components.

10. Internet of Things (IoT) Testing

IoT introduces daunting testing challenges given the diversity of connected devices, platforms, networks, and operating conditions. Testing focuses on performance, reliability, security, upgrades/migrations, and device compatibility. Test environment virtualization is essential to simulate sensors and cloud integration pre-production. Automation handles repetitive testing across devices and scenarios. AI supports test optimization for complex IoT ecosystems. Model-based testing uses simulated components where physical devices aren’t feasible. Testing IoT products and integration demands specialist skills and methods as IoT expands.

Benefits of Internet of Things (IoT) Testing

  • Verifies connectivity and integration of sensors, devices, networks.
  • Confirms system reliability and uptime.
  • Addresses performance, security, upgrades for complex systems.
  • Handles vast, dynamic test environments.
  • Leverages virtualization to simulate components.

11. DevOps Alignment

To reap benefits like speed, collaboration and quality, testing teams must align with DevOps transformation. Testing activities interleave within integrated DevOps pipelines spanning code development to deployment. Testing tools integrate with CI/CD and provide rapid feedback. Testers develop automation expertise to prevent bottlenecks. Virtualization and test data management provide access to dependent systems and data. There’s greater focus on exploratory testing and shift left security. Quality culture and shared responsibility takes hold. Testing under DevOps requires dramatically new mindsets, roles and approaches.

Benefits of DevOps Alignment

  • Promotes collaboration between testers and developers.
  • Facilitates continuous testing practices.
  • Enables rapid feedback on build quality.
  • Automates execution within pipelines.
  • Supports Agile development lifecycles.

12. Accessibility Testing

With web and mobile accessibility regulations, compliance is now a key testing consideration. Organizations avoid lawsuits and enhance their reputation by ensuring apps meet accessibility standards. These include ADA, Section 508, WCAG 2.1, etc. Automation and AI address repetition involved in functional testing across screen readers, magnifiers, captions, etc. Crowd testing provides input from differently abled consumers. Overall, accessibility testing practices require enhancements to avoid compliance gaps, especially for global apps.

Benefits of Accessibility Testing

  • Validates compliance with disability access standards.
  • Improves experience for vision, hearing, motor disabled users.
  • Avoids legal risks associated with non-compliance.
  • Removes barriers to access for diverse users.
  • Enhances brand reputation as inclusive.

13. Exploratory Testing

In contrast with scripted testing, exploratory testing relies on a tester’s skills, intuition, and judgement to approach testing without predefined cases. It enables discovering defects scripted testing would miss. Exploratory testing better handles modern apps’ dynamic nature. Testers develop charters focusing testing on high-risk areas. Session-based exploratory techniques add structure. AI-based testing enhances human testers’ abilities during exploratory testing. Visual testing aids in documenting issues. In 2023, exploratory testing will see a resurgence given its agility and flexibility advantages.

Benefits of Exploratory Testing

  • Uncovers defects missed by scripted testing.
  • Better handles modern app dynamism.
  • Leverages tester skills, and intuition over predefined cases.
  • Enables creative on-the-fly investigation.
  • Complements automated testing.

14. Continuous Testing

Aligned with shift left testing, continuous testing breaks testing into ongoing activities spanning the SDLC. Requirements validation, real-time code analysis, unit testing, build verification, etc. run continuously. Test automation and virtualization enable continuous testing. It provides rapid feedback on app quality to developers and testers. Rather than traditional testing at the end, continuous testing modes match modern DevOps practices. It also supplements intermittent regression testing to ensure features don’t break. Continuous testing gains hold as the optimal approach for Agile and DevOps teams.

Benefits of Continuous Testing

  • Shifts testing left across the entire lifecycle.
  • Provides frequent feedback on quality.
  • Enables early defect detection.
  • Reduces bottlenecks before release.
  • Keeps pace with rapid iterations.

15. Test Data Management

Complex apps require access to dependent systems, test environments, and production-like test data to test fully. Test data management techniques like synthetic data generation, masking, sub-setting, on-demand provisioning, and virtualization help. These approaches provide accessible, high-quality test data to improve coverage and defect detection. Lacking the right test data leads to inadequate, ineffective testing. The shift left relies on test data availability earlier. Test data management, done manually or using dedicated tools, becomes a key focus area.

Benefits of Test Data Management

  • Provides complete, high-quality test data.
  • Improves real-world testing scenarios.
  • Masks sensitive data for security.
  • Enables flexibility and automation in provisioning.
  • Reduces dependency on production data copies.

Our Final Thoughts on Software Testing Trends

This new year brings accelerated change as software testing continues adapting to modern development practices and emerging priorities. To stay ahead, smart teams will embrace innovative approaches like AI-based testing, crowdsourcing, automation, and shift left testing. Keeping a pulse on software testing trends, they will prioritize areas such as security, accessibility, and performance. By incorporating the latest advancements in software testing, including the integration of cutting-edge technologies, teams ensure that their testing strategies align with the evolving landscape of software development. With a focus on software testing trends, organizations are poised to release higher-quality, better-performing software in 2024.

FAQs on Software Testing Trends

Why is shift left testing gaining popularity? 

Shift left testing brings testing earlier into the development lifecycle leading to faster feedback, reduced defects, and increased quality. Fixing bugs earlier costs less.

What benefits does test automation provide?

Test automation increases execution speed, test coverage, accuracy, and efficiency, and frees up tester time. It facilitates regression testing and continuous integration.

How is AI transforming software testing?

AI enables test case prioritization, optimization, automated test design, predictive analytics, automated exploratory testing, and smarter test reporting.

What is crowd testing?

Crowd testing leverages a diverse, on-demand community of testers to provide broader test coverage, devices, use cases, and faster testing.

What challenges arise in testing microservices architectures?

Microservices introduce complexity in testing integrations, end-to-end flows, and handling vast, dynamic systems and rapid updates.

Why has API testing become critical?

APIs now serve crucial integration roles necessitating robust API testing, automation, performance testing, and security validation.

How is accessibility testing evolving?

Accessibility testing is growing to address compliance mandates, enhance inclusion, and avoid lawsuits through standards validation.

What is exploratory testing? 

Exploratory testing relies on tester skills to dynamically investigate an app without predefined test cases and scripts.

How does test data management optimize testing?

Test data management techniques like masking, synthetic generation, and on-demand provisioning improve test coverage, productivity, and outcomes.

Amelie Lamb

Amelie Lamb

Amelie Lamb is an experienced technical content writer at SoftwareStack.co who specializes in distilling complex software topics into clear, concise explanations. She has a talent for taking dense technical jargon and making it engaging and understandable for readers through her informative, lively writing style.

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