Our world is changing before our very eyes. From a moment in time in which a minority of the population used the internet to do their job. Receive educational content, interact socially and consume entertainment. We have shifted to the other end of the spectrum completely. And the online world is now truly at the centre of our daily lives.
While this isn’t completely new for us. We have slowly been shifting into this model for some time now. But It is only recently that we have had to face this new reality. In doing so, we have discovered that the current state of the online world wasn’t prepared for the demands of it. With everyone trying to access some of its services, cracks started to appear.
Services are already feeling the strain
For example. Video streaming providers Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Have all been required to reduce the quality of their videos in Europe to free up much-needed bandwidth and avoid network congestion.
EU industry chief Thierry Breton has urged streaming platforms to free up bandwidth for healthcare and distance learning for thousands of children sent home by closing schools.Source
Plus, I’m sure you’ve probably tried to get your weekly shopping delivered through one of the existing grocery suppliers. With slots booked up for weeks, and ever-increasing demand. We will need more and more online solutions to increase capacity and fill consumer needs.
Then there is the example this week of people trying to access the UK Governments Universal Credit service. Claimants have described high queues online to even register. And have great difficulty in trying to reach someone on the phone as instructed (source).
Usage will always be pushed beyond normal limits in times like the one we are in now. And we can’t blame anyone for a service that responds in ways that no-one ever thought possible before.
A new age of software
I can’t envisage this being a short term shortage either. We now have to come to terms with the fact that our way of life at a fundamental level has now changed. And I believe this paves the way for advances in software and online services to come to the rescue.
While software developers and entrepreneurs now have the ability to help shape our future with innovative and unique products. The gap between the initial idea and releasing it onto the market is one riddled with potential problems.
Given the example of an online streaming platform, or a vital service for people to consume. Not only is it important to know if your product works as intended. But can it also cope in situations where there is an increase in demand?
Or what about a service that transmits vital medical information. It is reasonable to hypothesise that such application would be dealing with highly sensitive information. Therefore, the risk to your software is much greater with the consequences being much more serious if the software does not work as intended.
However, the possibilities for new software products is enormous. From new ways of interacting with distant friends, platforms for online entertainment and education. As well as using existing technologies such as virtual reality to create exciting new services and interactive content. The future of software development is sure to be exciting.
Test, Test, Test
Creating awesome software is just the first step in getting into the hands of your end-users. To ensure that your reputation, along with your customers are not put at risk with your innovative new product. You need to ensure that it goes through a robust process to evaluate its readiness for consumer usage.
This is where professional software testers are going to be in increasing demand for software projects. From analysing your application, applying the appropriate test techniques covering both automated. And traditional testing methods such as exploratory testing. Software testers will be an integral part to not only growing your application into a quality solution. But also enable you to receive critical feedback to guide your way to next-generation success.
How to be part of the future
The thing that I personally love about software development is that it’s always advancing. It seems like every week there is a new library to investigate, a new methodology to get familiar with. Or a new and exciting project being worked on.
I know that times are uncertain at the moment for a lot of people. But with the world turning more to online platforms and services. I can’t think of a more exciting time to get involved.
I have published a post previously on advice on approaching a future software testing career which I hope is useful to you. But in brief. My core advice would be:
- Become familiar with the basic principles (White-box/Black-box/Regression testing etc)
- Learn what automation can do and the limitations of it.
- Learn about the various software development methodologies (Waterfall, Agile, DevOps).
With the potential for ground-breaking software products and solutions that will connect us in new and exciting ways. I can think of a better time to dip your toes into the software testing world.