With ChatGPT here, what’s next for the Testing Industry?
Hey there, tech enthusiasts and passionate testers! For the last one year, our industry is flooded with material on how ChatGPT and other AI models will transform the future of testing. I promise you that this article will be different and would not talk about the capabilities of ChatGPT but would instead talk about the myths in testing industry that ChatGPT has busted.
Brace yourselves as we unveil the myth that ChatGPT, the AI language model, has finally shattered: the notion that coding is the primary “super” skill for success in testing. Believe it or not, coding is not the be-all and end-all of testing prowess. Let’s explore why and discover what lies ahead for the testing landscape.
For years, the belief that coding skills are paramount for testers has sustained in the industry. Many aspiring testers or mid-range experienced testers felt compelled to hone their programming abilities, and even practice competitive programming assuming it was the golden ticket to excel in the industry. But ChatGPT has emerged as a game-changer, challenging this long-running assumption.
With ChatGPT, it has become increasingly easy and simple to generate test framework codes, sample scripts, test data generation utilities, and whatnot. Just a simple search on YouTube, and you will find a plethora of video tutorials on how to generate code samples using ChatGPT. In most cases, the code generated by the AI model needs basic to no modification for most simple to basic use cases of test automation.
This article is not against coding or programming as a skill. Coding is undeniably valuable in testing, especially when it comes to creative and custom automation needs. However, it is merely one piece of the puzzle. Testing is a multidimensional craft that demands a diverse skill set to deliver fruitful results.
With the rise and boom of AI & No Code tools in the market (Ex: Testsigma), it’s clear that basic framework generation or scripting work will get easy and simple. As the testing landscape evolves, it’s essential for testers to embrace this transformation and continue to nurture their diverse skill set. By focusing on the key testing skills, testers can adapt to the changing industry and remain at the forefront of delivering exceptional value.
So, what are these key testing skills that deserve your attention? Let’s see some of the essential abilities that testers have not been focusing much but should be focusing on:
- Risk Analysis: As a tester, we primarily test to find information about the risks and help the team reduce their risk gap. Your ability to assess risks and prioritize them is crucial. Identifying potential issues, the risk gap associated with them as well as their impact on the system under test helps the team make well-informed decisions and drive the project effectively.
Here are a few resources to get started and understand risk analysis in testing:
- Effective Communication: As a tester, we are often the bearer of bad news. Conveying such news is socially difficult. Being able to articulate such thoughts in verbal as well as written forms, report bugs with advocacy, collaborate with developers, and interact with stakeholders are all vital aspects of a tester’s role. If you are looking for a long-term career in tech, communication is one skill that you should master early in your career.
Here are a few resources to learn the art of persuasive and influential communication:
- Top 7 Ways to Communicate Software Testing Insights Better (testsigma.com)
- How to communicate better | Manas J. Saloi (manassaloi.com)
- Tester Tested !: Emailing skills and its power to influence for software testers (no, just me)
- Bug Advocacy: Bug Reports are high-visibility items for project stakeholders. As a tester, simply reporting bugs is not enough. Bugs that are not acted upon do not translate into actual value. Testers should learn the art of advocating for the bugs they discover. This skill involves presenting clear evidence, explaining the impact of the bug, and conveying its risk and importance to the stakeholders.
Here are few resources to learn the art of bug advocacy & beyond:
- Bug Advocacy: Report Bugs that Get Fixed, Like a Pro (thetesttribe.com)
- Bug Advocacy by Rahul Parwal et al. [Leanpub PDF/iPad/Kindle]
- Crash Course on Reporting Bugs in Software Testing by Santhosh Tuppad – Issuu
- Exploring Requirements: Requirements are often unclear, ambiguous, and inconsistent in most software projects. Also, not all requirements will be in written form. Just like development, requirements need to be tested as well as explored too. Testers need to be skilled at diving deep into the project context, understanding the scope, and exploring the missing parts of the requirements. This key skill will determine your ability to cover and target the right areas.
Here are a few resources to be good at exploring requirements:
- Exploring Requirements: Part 3 of Requirement Gathering Blog Series (thetesttribe.com)
- Perform Systematic Exploration and Understand Testing Requirement | Rahul Parwal #requirements #test – YouTube
- Exploring Requirements… by Gerald M. Weinberg [PDF/iPad/Kindle] (leanpub.com)
- Test Strategy: Creating and discussing about your test strategy is an important aspect of professional systematic software testing. Crafting a solid test strategy is a vital skill for testers. It involves devising a plan that outlines the testing approach, techniques, quality criteria’s, project environment, and coverage areas to ensure thorough testing.
Here are a few resources and reference examples to learn the art of creating a holistic test strategy:
- Creating a Test Strategy – Magnifiant: exploring software testing (huibschoots.nl)
- Heuristic Test Strategy Model – Satisfice, Inc.
- Test Strategy Checklist (thetesteye.com)
- Product Modeling: The ability to model the product mentally or as an abstract model helps testers gain a deeper understanding of its behavior, interactions, and potential risk areas. By creating a visual model or representation of the product, testers can target effective test scenarios as well as structure their tests better. It also helps in achieving a higher test coverage.
Here are a few resources to learn about systematic product modeling:
- Many Models – Better Test Ideas
- Model a system is critical in software testing (here’s how) (annemariecharrett.com)
- Modeling Testing – Stories from a Software Tester (testerstories.com)
- Biases: Like in any other field, biases, and prejudices can be very risky in software development. As a tester, it’s good to know about them in advance and develop a questioning / investigative attitude whenever you feel you are getting biased. Biases can affect your testing judgments and overall decision-making processes. Often, you will have to consciously de-bias yourself from the diverse set of information and emotions around you.
Here are few resources to learn about biases and how to not let them affect your testing:
- Are ChatGPT Detectors Biased Against Non Native English Speakers
- Are Biases Influencing your Test Results? – Rahul’s Testing Titbits
- Cognitive Biases Codex.pdf (unc.edu)
- Cognitive bias cheat sheet. An organized list of cognitive biases because thinking is hard. | by Buster Benson | Better Humans
- Negotiation: Testers often find themselves in situations where negotiation skills come in handy. Estimations and negotiations go hand in hand. Your ability to negotiate and buy time will play a key role in quality delivery. Collaborating with stakeholders under pressure to address conflicting priorities is an art that will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
Here are a few resources to learn the art of negotiation as a software tester or consultant:
- Gerald Weinberg’s Secrets of Writing and Consulting: Yielding to Pressure vs. Negotiating (secretsofconsulting.blogspot.com)
- Test Estimation Is Really Negotiation – DevelopSense
- Persuasion: Testing is not just about finding information about the product. It also involves helping the team make well-informed and beneficial decisions for the product and team. Often these things are not directly under your control as a tester. Convincing others about the importance of testing, the value of certain approaches, or the severity of a bug requires persuasive skills. Testers who can effectively present their case influence decision-makers positively.
Here is a crisp mindmap to help you understand and implement the art of persuasion as a tester:
- Note-Taking: Just like testing, everyone can do note-taking to some degree. However, professional note-taking requires conscious practice and consistent efforts. Effective note-taking is a skill that often goes underrated but plays a significant role in your testing as well as your credibility as a professional. Taking comprehensive and organized notes helps testers track their progress, document important findings, and maintain a clear record of their work.
Here is a crisp summary of the paper on Exploratory Tester’s Notebook by Michael Bolton that would give you the need and benefits of good note-taking in exploration:
In this article, we covered 10 essential skills that testers should now focus on honing to stay relevant and excel in their testing career. With testers upskilling themselves on these skills, we can soon envision a future where skilled testers collaborate seamlessly with AI models like ChatGPT, combining their human expertise and critical thinking skills with the model’s computational and processing capabilities. This synergy would result in more comprehensive and intelligent testing.
Interested to explore a powerful open-source testing tool that aims to assist you well with your human expertise?
In conclusion, ChatGPT’s disruption of the long-standing myth that coding is the primary “super” skill for success in testing has pushed everyone to look around for a new era of possibilities. By recognizing, nurturing and embracing the diverse skill set required for testing, we empower ourselves to tackle complex challenges, advocate for quality, and drive innovation in the ever-evolving world of software testing.
Happy testing, and may your bug hunts be fruitful and fulfilling!