Last week we released our list of the top 10 things that broke the Internet in 2014 (Kim Kardashian excluded). As always happens this time of year, we had fun looking back on the previous 12 months, and it can be hard to believe how much actually happened through that period.
Now, however, we get to turn our gaze towards the future. The New Year is just about upon us. So what is it going to hold for software testers and QA specialists? This post is the first in a 2-parter detailing our predictions for the world of web & mobile application development in 2015.
1. The line between mobile and web will almost disappear
It’s going to be a “one web” world in 2015, as the distinction between mobile applications and web applications fades away. Web application shops need to cater to all their users equally, no matter what kind of device they are using. In fact, we already saw what happens if you don’t think about your user base holistically. Remember Best Buy’s Black Friday crash just a few weeks ago? That happened because of an unexpected spike in mobile users – but this is exactly where things are going.
Even as we entered 2014, 90% of American adults had cell phones – and 58% of American adults had smart phones, according to research from the Pew Internet Project. According to that same research, over a third of adults use their phone to go online, and not some other device like a PC or laptop. We’re interested to see how that number changes in 2015, but we are pretty confident it will only be going up.
2. Smart QA teams will own quality across the entire development process
Agile development groups pride themselves in their ability to quickly get new code into production. They foster high-functioning teams and execute tight sprint cycles to continually improve the product they offer to their customers. However, in this type of organization, QA has a different purpose than in traditional software production. Instead of finding bugs, like testers used to do, they are responsible for overseeing the entire process that ensures software makes it into production without bugs.
Quality is critically important to modern, agile software teams because the entire goal of the process is to get high-quality changes out the door as fast as possible. That means they place a big emphasis on test automation, and work closely with peers in Development and Operations to make quality a part of everyone’s job. They recommend process changes and monitor the overall performance of the whole endeavor. Big changes are happening right now, and 2015 will be a great time to be a QA specialist.
3. More companies will standardize testing in production
The pace of software development is speeding up, requiring environments to regularly adapt to code changes. This can be especially difficult if you maintain multiple environments for functional testing, load & performance testing, and production. Test environments that aren’t exact clones of production can render test results meaningless. Plus, the cost of keeping each of these environments current up-to-date is getting harder to justify.
So QA organizations will place a big focus on building test procedures directly in their production environments in 2015. Code will be released into controlled areas in the actual production environment, using test automation, real users, and simulated users to validate functionality and performance characteristics. Operations teams will review test results alongside QA, with the same performance monitoring tools they will use when the code goes live. This way, teams can leverage existing infrastructure and organizational processes to streamline deployment and improve quality.
4. A celebrity will rock social media in an unexpected way
On social media, you can always expect the unexpected. So we predict that in 2015 some celebrity is going to push the limits of social media in a way that no one is prepared for. Like we’re seeing with the last-minute streaming release of The Interview, there is bound to be a game-changer this year that will reset the playbook for online media.
We don’t know what form it will take. Perhaps an Instagram account gone crazy, or a viral Facebook game that swamps everyone’s feeds. All we know is that whatever happens will be organic and spontaneous. Kim Kardashian learned this the hard way when she tried to break the Internet (she was not successful). But Ellen and a bunch of smiling actors were successful at the Oscars earlier this year. These events can’t be choreographed – but they do happen, and they take the world by storm.
Come Back Next Week for More Predictions
Have a Happy New Year, and stay tuned for our next batch of 2015 predictions!