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Trends move quickly in software development and software testing. Heading in 2020, it’s hard to predict where quality assurance and testing will be by the end of the year, let alone the end of January. 

Software testing trends and QA data can help predict emerging best practices and methodologies, so we’ve combed the latest reports and surveys to find the most relevant stats for you and your QA team.

Whether you’re leading a team, performing quality planning, or a tester yourself, the software testing trends in this article will provide some insight (or an interesting tidbit to impress your QA friends) into trends you can use in your software testing process. 

Read on for software testing trends in:

Software Testing Tools Trends

Software testing tools are essential for testing and quality assurance. They can help testers find bugs and speed up the testing process to launch software faster. While there are lots of testing technologies and QA technologies out there, there are a few that stand out to testers. The software testing trends below will help you figure out which ones to use, and which ones are a waste of you and your developer’s time.

  • 47% of testers stated that they use tools for testing or quality assurance such as HP ALM, Team Foundation Server, PractiTest, or Xray. (PractiTest)
  • 44% of developers use issue tracker tools on a regular basis, while 10% use tools to review code such as Collaborator, Review Assistant, or CodeScene. (Jet Brains)
  • The most commonly used issue tracker tool was Jira, with 68% of developers using it frequently. GitHub Issues was the second most-used issue tracker, at 26%. (Jet Brains)
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Software Testing Techniques Trends

If you haven’t already, you should choose one of the many software testing techniques to structure and streamline your testing process. Without a software testing methodology to guide your work, testing is like wandering aimlessly in the direction of a product launch – you think you’re getting somewhere, but you never get any closer because you can’t see where you are on the path. Use these software testing trends on common QA methodologies to guide your way.

  • The most common software development testing model was agile, or agile-like, with 87% of companies taking this approach in 2019. Next up was DevOps at 36%, up from 28% in 2018. (PractiTest)
  • 82% of companies use exploratory testing as a software testing methodology, while 61% use conventional script-based inspection. (PractiTest)
  • 78% of organizations use test automation for functional or regression testing. Only 11% of companies use no test automation. (PractiTest)

Automated testing can be contentious in software testing trends. If it caught your eye, it might not be the answer you think it is. 

Software Development Trends

Software testing wouldn’t exist without software development, and trends in software development influence software testing trends. The latest software development trends are relevant for testers and QA leads because it can provide them with context for how developers are thinking, so testers can narrow down their search for bugs. If you’re a tester, the current trends in software development below will help you become even more efficient.

  • The programming language most preferred by developers is Rust, at 83.5%, followed by Python at 73.1%. Developers most disliked VBA (75.2%), and Python had the highest number of developers who wished to learn it, at 25.7%. (StackOverflow)
  • 25% of employees in the tech industry believe that the biggest challenge facing start-ups is making development a priority. (CodingSans)
  • Security is a hot topic – 69% of respondents in one survey noted that developers should be able to write secure code, but 68% believe that fewer than 50% of developers can’t spot vulnerable parts of code that security teams find later on. (GitHub)   

These QA influencers can help breakdown the newest technology trends and provide more insight. 

Software Testing Trends

While QA involves everything from strategic planning to communicating with developers to documenting bugs and other issues, the name of the game is software testing. If you’re a QA lead or a tester yourself, you have a pretty good idea of what your team is up to all day. Do the software testing trends below track with your experience?

  • Testers often complete activities outside of testing within their role at a company. 74% of testers also carry out scripting and automation, while 57% also complete data management tests. (PractiTest)
  • 35% of companies sometimes involve non-testers in the software testing process, but 55% of companies still use software testers for the vast majority of testing. (PractiTest)
  • Web is still the most tested platform among testers, with 77% of testers having worked on web testing in 2019. This is down from 79% in 2018. (PractiTest)

Another important part of QA and software testing is performance testing. Have you integrated this into your QA plan yet?

Quality Assurance Teams Trends

Quality assurance teams are just that – teams. 4 people can find more bugs (and faster) than one person can, no matter how skilled that one tester is. If you’re the QA lead on a team, or you’re a QA team member, the software testing trends below will provide some insight into optimizing your team to produce the best results. You’ll find bugs faster and get products on their way to launch.

  • 44% of testing teams called participating in their company’s projects earlier in the process “very challenging”, while 43% cited handling data and test environments as very challenging. (PractiTest)
  • 48% of quality assurance teams were made up of 1-5 employees, and 24% had 6 to 15 testers in 2019. (PractiTest)
  • 63% of static quality assurance tasks performed by testing teams revolved around requirement analysis, and 55% were retrospective meetings on projects. (PractiTest)

Quality assurance and quality control are often separate teams within a company, each performing a different role, but they can get along. In fact, their work is often complementary. 

Quality Assurance Jobs Trends

If you’re reading this there’s a good chance that you’re either working in QA, or you have a strong interest in the field. If you’re the latter, and you’re looking for software testing jobs, there’s a few things to know before you get started. Some of the software testing trends below may surprise you – most software testers and QA team members entered the field in non-traditional ways.

  • In 2019, only 18% of testers set out to become software testers and studied it. 24% became testers by accident. (PractiTest)
  • 65% of respondents in one survey learned how to test software by “just doing it”. 56% used books on testing, and 44% completed classes and certificates. (PractiTest)
  • Communication skills were rated as “very important” to have by 75% of respondents in one survey, while scripting and automation were rated as very important by 63% of respondents. (PractiTest)

You can also read our quality assurance job tips for more on careers in software testing!

Software Bug Trends

Software bugs are a developer’s worst enemy, which makes testers a developer’s friend (the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that). Testers do the hard work of testing, retesting, and testing again to find software bugs, which saves developers time and effort. The software testing trends below show the importance of bug spotting in a tester’s role. Developers – take some time today to thank your tester.

  • Bug reports are the most common test documentation used by companies – 79% of users note using them in 2019. (PractiTest)
  • 76% of software testers used tools for bug tracking like Jira Bugzilla or Redmine in 2019 making them the most common test management tool used by software testers. The next most used was agile workflow tools at 59%. (PractiTest)
  • The most common production bug found by testers and developers was the distribution of untested or broken code at over 60%. The second most common bug was an erased database, at approximately 10%. (HackerRank)

Aside from testing for software bugs, testers also carry out database testing, an entirely different but still vital process. 


Quality Assurance Trends

Quality assurance covers many angles, and the boundaries between where development ends and software testing begins can be blurry. If you’ve found a quality assurance plan that works for you, your team, and your company, consider yourself lucky. The collection of software testing trends below will help you compare your team and processes to those of other companies.

  • 36% of testers in 2019 reported to a project manager, down from 43% in 2019. 34% reported to a development manager in 2019. (PractiTest)
  • 73.7% of developers in one survey stated that they had, at least in part, taught themselves to code, while 69.4% had attended school or university to learn how to code. (HackerRank)
  • The global average number of software testers per capita is 5.2 per 100,000 people. Ireland has the highest software testers per capita at 61.2 per 100,000 people. The USA and Canada have 37.1 testers per 100,000 people, and the next highest country on the list, Israel, has 36.5 per 100,000 people. (QualiTest Group)

Attempting to create a QA plan or strategy without data can be difficult—so don’t! The software testing trends and QA data in this article should provide a good base to get started, or at least pique your interest enough to look into more trends for the coming year. 

Our comprehensive list of software testing blogs is another great resource for staying up to date. Quality assurance never rests—stay alert to catch those bugs and catch them early. We can help—subscribe to The QA Lead mailing list for the latest software QA tips and best practices!

Nuala Turner
By Nuala Turner

Nuala is passionate about software testing and quality assurance, and is excited about the possibilities that the future holds for the field.