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Software testing 101: Get started with software testing types

Oct 20, 2020 - 16 min read
Ryan Thelin

As software becomes more advanced, software testing must evolve with it. Software testing is how we check if the actual software product matches requirements and runs properly once distributed.

Knowledge of different testing methodologies can help build your resume and land a high paying jobs like a quality assurance engineer in top FAANG companies.

Today, we’ll look at these modern methodologies and how they lead to more polished software products.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a strong foundation of different software testing methods and be ready to take your next steps toward a promising career in software testing.

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What is software testing?

Software testing is a cyclical process used by developers to continually evaluate and correct the functionality of the features during the development process. Software testing compares the current build of the software with software requirements to confirm there are no missing requirements.

It also verifies that software can function correctly across different mediums or with existing integrated software.

Without software testing during development, you’d only know if your software worked when it reached the end-user!

How does it work?

There are many ways to test software. In general, developers first decide a behavior or feature that needs validation, create a test that confirms the feature, then either correct the feature or move on if it passes.

In early software design philosophy, testing was undervalued and often completely ignored. Now, programs have become more complex, are implemented at a greater scale, and to a more diverse array of devices and operating systems.

Software testing has become an essential part of the modern development cycle. It acts as an ongoing form of quality assurance and verifies that the software can respond to all possible use cases or environments.

Here are some of the benefits of software testing:

  • Ensures full functionality: Ensure all targeted features are included in the final product.
  • Early warning: Warns of program defects during development, before they negatively affect user experience.
  • Verified Device Support: Test software functionality on all targeted devices to ensure consistent user experience.
  • Incremental development: Testing frameworks allow you to track measurable progress toward fulfilling all program requirements.

Black Box vs. White Box Testing

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Black box vs White box testing from tester's perspective

There are many different types of software testing, each specializing in testing for certain defects. All testing types can be broadly described either as Black Box or White Box testing. This distinction describes the background knowledge needed by the software tester.

Black Box Testing: The internal structure of the software is hidden from the tester. In other words, the tester knows what the software product is supposed to do but not how achieves that.

The tester witnesses only the results or behavior of the programming and does not need to be a programmer themselves.

This tester is often someone outside the development process to give an outsider opinion. Black box testing is primarily used to test program behavior and assess user experience.

White Box Testing: White box testing is the opposite of black-box testing; the tester does know the internal structure of the software. These testers evaluate the logic of the program in the source code through the use of specific test-case inputs.

By tracking the flow of the test inputs, the tester can verify that test cases are being handled correctly behind the scenes.

White box testers are often programmers within the development process and are used to check source code efficiency.

Automation vs. manual testing