Creating new software is a daunting task that takes many hours to complete. By the time a final product is created, it can feel like each line of coding has been gone over with a fine-tooth comb. But, there’s still one more necessary step it has to go through—quality assurance.
Find out more about what quality assurance in software testing is, why it’s essential for any software development program, and what quality assurance looks like.
What is Software Quality Assurance?
Good developers will self-check for bugs and errors while coding, but even the best developer can miss an issue. This happens most often when dealing with complex lines of code.
To the developer, their coding’s intention makes perfect sense and works for them, but the user does not have the same amount of knowledge or experience with the program. This may result in a program that doesn’t perform the way the developer intended. This is why quality assurance becomes a necessary part of the development process.
The role of quality assurance in software development is to detect and report issues in a program. This helps prevent issues, bugs, or failures when the software is released to the public. QA happens before a final product is created and focuses on prevention.
Some people confuse quality assurance with quality control, but they are actually two different things. While both quality assurance and quality control focus on catching any bugs or issues in a program, quality assurance focuses on completed sections of the larger project, and quality control focuses on the entire completed project.
Why is Quality Assurance Important?
The benefits of software quality assurance include:
- Saving time – QA anticipates and prevents bugs and flaws. Typically, the errors that do surface are minor and are easily repaired.
- Maintaining product quality – QA helps ensure a final product works reliably and is stable. It helps guarantee the program will work as intended.
- Saving money – Identifying and fixing errors after production is costly. It is cheaper to create a quality final product before release.
- Protecting your reputation – Your software can directly reflect on your company and brand. A final product that is prone to crash and riddled with bugs will reflect poorly on your reputation.
- Improving customer satisfaction and retention – Users do not want to work with a program that does not meet their needs. QA makes sure that customers get exactly what they expect when the software works smoothly and without any problems.
What Does Quality Assurance Look Like?
Professional quality assurance in software testing is more than just running a code and seeing if it works or not. It is a detailed process that has multiple stages that test the functions and stability of software to ensure its quality. QA will include:
- Documentation – QA will always have detailed documentation. This will include information about what a function is intended to do, how it performs, any modifications made to it, and any additional notes about the revision and QA process.
- Code inspection – Usually one of the first tests performed is a code inspection. This test ensures each line of code functions properly, finds any bugs, and resolves those issues before continuing with QA.
- Design inspection – If a program has a difficult interface or does not function as expected, they are caught in design inspections. This step also includes optimizing run speeds and identifying any issues with loading or running times.
- Functional and non-functional testing – Functional testing focuses on making sure a program is able to work as intended. However, just because a program is able to perform a function does not mean that it is optimized—that’s where non-functional testing comes in. Non-functional testing focuses on how well a program is able to perform its job and looks to identify ways to improve the process to reach functional goals.
- Audits and Reports – The QA process double checks its own work and performs audits to discover what went well in the process and how to improve in the future.
Quality assurance in software testing is a necessary step for every software development project.
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