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Dec 16

Technical Writing Topics and Questions

Technical Writing Topics and Questions
  1. Why is software testing required?

Heathrow International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. Aircrafts take off and land every 30 seconds, creating very stressful conditions for the air traffic control team. Meanwhile, they fully rely on Air Traffic Management software that helps them to monitor the position, flight altitude, speed of aircraft in their assigned airspace. It is a critical environment, where human effort highly interacts with a robotic brain, that must work like a clock. Under no circumstances there can be any defects, because the potential failure could cost.. human life.

This is a great example of why software testing is required. In our daily life, people tend to use software in all aspects of life, from booking a taxi to building space shuttles. Each software would have different level of importance and purpose of use, however, to satisfy end-user experience and help organizations to run their business efficiently, each product has to be tested in order to find any defects and report them before the product is released. It is a separate activity within the Software Development Life Cycle, which locates defects that may have occurred during the development stage. Usually it is performed by both, developers and testers, however, different levels of test independence may provide better results in finding defects. For example, independent testing brings more value into the process due to the software testing team not being passionate about the final product and not being associated with the stakeholders.

  1. When should we stop testing?

In order to determine when to stop testing, exit criteria has to be defined prior to testing activities start. Depending on the type of test, various metrics may be used to identify the end of testing. It could include a percentage of planned test cases executed, or number of allowed unresolved defects left. Another criterion for evaluating when to stop testing is hitting the deadlines, running out of testing budget, passing all test cases, and making sure that all found defects are fixed and re-tested.

  1. What is Quality Assurance?

Quality Assurance is a continuous process that maintains a level of quality in a product under development to ensure that it meets the specific quality requirements. Its main purpose is to prevent defects during the production, improve the existing processes and comply with standards.

  1. What is Quality Control?

The purpose of Quality Control is to perform testing activities of the Software Testing Life Cycle. It is an activity that focuses on a product itself rather than a process. Its purpose is to detect defects, report them and perform fixes to prevent failures prior to product deployment into a live environment.

  1. What is the difference between Verification and Validation?

The terms Verification and Validation and tightly connected, however, they are performed as independent activities.

Verification is performed in order to determine whether a product meets the specific requirements, and satisfy certain rules, standards and policies related to a product under development. Verification process usually involves Static testing techniques such as reviews, walkthroughs and inspections.

Validation is an activity that verifies whether a product under development is fit for purpose and satisfy end-user expectations. Validation may include functional and non-functional testing, Black Box techniques, White Box techniques and Acceptance tests.

  1. What is SDLC?

SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle and represents a full life of any software product that is being created. The SDLC process usually includes six phases of development. In the first phase the requirements are gathered by the stakeholders, and then analysed at the second phase. Depending on the framework used, testing activities may be involved at this initial stage of SDLC (for example in Agile environment). During the third phase the design of a product is being created, which then is transferred into the fourth phase – coding. After coding that is also known as implementation, testing activities start at the fifth phase. This activity involves four levels of testing that a development team performs together with testers to find and fix any potential defects before product deployment. The sixth phase is a product maintenance, that implies any maintenance activities performed to already released product. In may include migration of a software, retirement or enhancements.

  1. Explain STLC – Software Testing Life Cycle.

Just as anything on earth has its own lifetime, software testing is not an exception. Let’s understand, what does the definition of a “life cycle” truly means. The life cycle can be defined as a series of a certain change of state, also known as events, that occur during the existence of any tangible or intangible entities. These events may be sequential or simultaneous and inter-crossing, and they are linked together creating a process. This process happens from the creation of an entity to its completion. Software testing is an intangible entity, an activity that involves certain steps that must be followed in order to achieve a very important characteristic of a tangible item – a software product quality.

Software testing is an integral part of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), it plays a crucial role in the creation of a product. As mentioned above, the main purpose of testing is to assure quality in a software product under development. Quality of a product, in turn, is an indication of a good reputation, high revenue, and responsibility for all stakeholders involved in the birth of a final product.

STLC has seven defined activities that are not necessarily sequential, but these activities are most certainly inter-crossing. They involve Test Planning, Test Analysis, Test Design, Test Implementation, Test Execution, Test Completion, and the very last one, is Test Monitoring and Control.

Test Planning is the initial stage of STLC, a process when a dedicated person (often Test Lead but can also be a tester) creates a detailed Test Plan for the successful execution of testing activity. It usually includes gathering the requirements, defining the resources, identifying entry and exit criteria for testing, allocating roles, identifying any risks associated with testing, planning the approach and schedule.

In the next phase that is called Test Analysis, testers collect information on the test basis. Depending on a project, the details of the test basis are identified and analyzed from various sources; these could be user stories, requirements, legal compliances and policies, functional design documents. Then test conditions are identified and prioritized, and a document is created to capture bi-directional traceability between the requirements and test conditions. Testable features are then established, that further serve as a base for the next STLC stage – Test Design.

After the test conditions have been established and prioritized, test design implementation may start. The main idea is to design test cases based on the information collected in the previous step. To support the design of the test cases, test data must be identified. Test data is the main information, simple and to the point, that helps to execute test cases in the future. As a traceability document has already been created at this point, more information has to be added to extend this connection between the existing information and designed test cases. This step helps to establish continuous monitoring of the test process and ensure that it goes according to the plan. Other activities also include designing a test environment, identifying any tools that may be used during test execution, and creating other testware.

Test Implementation is the next step where designed test cases are finalized and structured into a test procedure. Where automation is required, test scrips are also created from the finalized test procedures. Test Implementation is a process when a test environment is being set-up in order to perform the testing.

Finally, Test Execution takes place. This is the main phase of STLC, where test cases are executed step by step, bugs get located and outcomes recorded. At this stage, testers compare actual results with expected results, report defects and run confirmation tests after the development team fixes the defects.

Once Test Execution is finished, and the product quality level is improved by covering certain metrics, Test Completion activities start. Tester finalizes the Test Execution step along with all previous activities of STLC by creating test summary reports for stakeholders and making sure that all reported defects have been fixed and tested. Testware is then archived for reuse or for other purposes, and lessons learned from all test activities that took place in a cycle.

  1. What are the different types of testing?

There are numerous test types that are mainly categorized into the below types:

  • Functional testing
  • Non-functional testing
  • Static testing
  • Dynamic testing
  1. and 11. and 12. Benefits of software testing; Seven benefits of software testing; Business benefits of software testing

Once upon a time, before the Information Age kicked off, people used to handle everything manually: an accountant calculated wages using a mechanical/digital calculator, a beautiful lady with bright red lipstick weighed up tomatoes on big mechanical scales at a local groceries store, passengers lined up at a train station to buy a train ticket. For a train that would leave in 3 minutes! My grandmother was a manager at the local city council department, and she told me a lot of stories of how she spent unpaid overtime hours to calculate wages and log data in a record book. Manually! Then, around the 1070s, the world slowly started to change. And in the last 20 years, the Digital Age rapidly overtook organisations across the planet, changing people’s lives forever.

The world nowadays cannot be imagined without smartphones, computers, and devices. The demand for IT services is so high, nearly no business can be successfully run without introducing automation into processes. Depending on the business needs, the software could vary from anything simple like an Eftpos machine at a supermarket, cash register or mobile app to order a taxi, to anything complexes like an aircraft flight simulator and a smart wheelchair for people with impaired physical mobility. On any occasion, a customer whose purpose is to smoothly run the business wants to receive a product, that by all parameters will meet all the specified requirements. And quality.

Software testing is a process that in all aspects advantages and consolidates the process of creating software. It is inarguably an integral part of the whole product development chain, that in the end of the product development life cycle assures the quality of the final product. Software testing introduces numerous benefits to the customers, with the main seven benefits described below.

The first benefit is the quality of a product. Quality is the definition of an abstract measurement, the degree of acceptance that is defined by comparing it to other similar experiences. It could be a tangible or intangible standard aligned with someone’s expectations. Software testing offers a series of activities and practices that help find defects in software and help avoid future issues. Quality plays a big role in maintaining good relationships between stakeholders, promoting the superiority of a service provider, and motivating teams to do a great job.

The next main benefit is the user experience. By ensuring quality, a business receives a product, that meets the requirements. However, it is important to pay attention to various features of a product. For example, usability. The software has to be designed and developed the way it would be fit for use. It has to be efficient, simple to understand and easy to navigate. Software testing enables us to recognize whether a product is designed well enough to meet the user experience criteria. User experience defines a few factors in any business’s success.

If the user experience is positive and outcomes are achieved as expected, it reflects in user satisfaction. This benefit of software testing is highly important because it fortifies the main idea of why a software product was developed in the first place. User satisfaction helps businesses to measure productivity, log and implement improvement activities, create tactical and operational plans, analyse outcomes.

Another important benefit that software testing brings is reputation. It relates to both – service providers and customers. If a development company builds a product according to other stakeholders’ expectations, ensuring quality in all perspectives, it leaves an impression of a reliable business. It means that any great feedback will help run a business efficiently, reflecting on its reputation. The same applies to a customer – by having satisfied users, an organization will establish a strong position on the market.

Following the previous benefits, revenue boost and business optimisation are the factors that certainly get affected by software testing. The revenue boost is followed by satisfied users and reputation. To thrive, businesses need certain measurements to implement continual improvement. To optimise the business in the era of digital solutions, software quality and reputation is a great way of assessing improvement opportunities to enhance profit.

The last benefit that would be fulfilled by software testing is reliability. A reliable product is a key indicator of long-term success!

  1. Advantages of testing in software engineering

While the benefits of software testing are commonly associated with the outcomes of the use of the final product, there are many advantages that software testing brings into software engineering. Generally, the software development process may involve people with different degrees of knowledge, professional background, and various programming languages. Often, there is time pressure and high expectations from stakeholders that the development team may deal with. Hence, stress factors may entail consequences such as fatigue, lack of concentration and decreased motivation. In turn, human error may occur when a product is under development. To minimize and prevent the risk of the low-quality products being released, testing is introduced as a part of a standard process.

During the Software Development Life Cycle, a product is tested throughout the development life cycle (in Agile), or as the last phase in a Waterfall model before a product is released. Certainly, cheaper and more effective is Agile testing, as a product has iterative development pattern, and testing is performed at the very early stages. This pattern allows to find defects at the very start of a project and fix them easily without losing time and money. So, the first advantage of software testing in software engineering is locating faults early. Although this advantage does not apply to Waterfall model, mistakes can still be identified and fixed before a product has reached its users.

Continual improvement is another important advantage because a team has an opportunity to learn from mistakes when any bugs are detected after a code had been written. These bugs indicate where a potential fault may be hidden in the next similar project. In more complex project types software testing contributes to the process by applying Lean method and help with waste elimination and code refactoring. Continual improvement is not only based on testing results, but it is heavily impacted by this process.

At times it may be challenging for testing teams to collaborate with development teams due to lack of objectivity from the developers during code creation. When a person creates something, they believe they do the right thing. Therefore, independent testing is the best contribution to software engineering. Testers may have different knowledge and background that helps them identify mistakes easier. Following this, code and general product quality are improved when testing is involved, and this is inarguably advantageous.

Learning is key in the IT industry. Whenever testing is involved, it helps people to collaborate and expand their knowledge. Collaboration and constructive feedback promote trust and an opportunity for each individual team member to grow. Truth is, often is may be hard to find a consensus, but professionals must understand that learning is a big advantage, as it contributes towards their career. Also, teams often come across various industries, that use the services of a software development company. It is great to not only gain knowledge within the existing processes but also expand the boundaries and learn about different aspects of previously unknown fields of activity. Having versatile knowledge is a big advantage for both, testers and developers, as it helps to keep everyone on the same page.

Risk analysis and mitigation at the initial software development stages are an inevitable part of high-level and low-level planning. Testing is no exception. Challenges of risk identification are more common for new and complex projects. Here software testing plays a very significant role, because the outputs can be analysed, and risks identified in future development processes. Such a valuable contribution may prevent a development team from repeating similar errors during coding. The team will also learn to make time-saving decisions and create a seamless process that may reduce overall stress.

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