7 Common Types of Software Testing [Complete Guide + FAQ] (2023)

Most developers have no idea how testing is actually done, andhow valuable understanding the basics of software testing can be for developers who really want to excel in their careers.

I owe much of the success I've had in my software development career to my experience in testing.


Because I learned it the hard way.

Back to my days...

Quick Usersnap PSA: When You Need OneCustomer Feedback Guide, jump jump and fly there now! That's all!

I'm John Sonmez, author of the bestselling book Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual and one of my first official jobs atsoftware developmentindustry was that of a tester.

In this post, I'm going to talk about the 7 most commonly used software testing approaches and how you can use them to become a better software developer.

My job was to look at stacks of paper printed by a new printer we were testing at HP and compare them to the "master" prints made by older printers.

In fact, I didn't compare the sides myself. Instead, I would do the tests, someone else would compare the prints, and I would see what differences they signaled.

With any difference, I would check and decide based on the test if the result was a real bug or defect. If it were the latter, I'd write a bug report for a developer to investigate - and possibly fix.

This background caused me to look at the code I was writing in a slightly different way, and to realize that my job as a software developer was not just to implement features and fix bugs, but to make sure the software I was writing , worked correctly and as intended.

It seems like a simple and obvious idea, but ifUnless you know at least the basics of testing, you probably don't have the best idea of ​​what "working properly and as designed" really means.

The basic idea behind software testing

Typically, new programmers don't understand testing. They don't think it's necessary.

On a superficial level, it might seem a little odd.

Do we really need to test this code? I ran it on my machine and it worked perfectly, so we're sending it over.

[Tweet "Testing is really about reducing risk at its core."]

The purpose of software testing is not foundinsectsor tomake the software better. It's about reducing risk by proactively finding and fixing issues that would most impact the customer using the software. Users can get frustrated with their software when it crashes and crashes. Lateness and hanging can be reasons for the general publicslow performancetheir machine.

This goal is particularly relevant forTest enterprise softwarewith complex digital workflows. In this case, ensuring the smooth functioning, ease of use, compatibility and data consistency of the software is paramount, since problems found after the release have a greater impact.

Customers may be affected by the frequency of a bug or unwanted functionality or the severity of the issue.

  • Effect of the frequency of an error:
    If you find a bug on youraccounting softwarecausing it to freeze for a second or two when entering an amount greater than $1,000 wouldn't really have much of an impact; but that would be a high enough frequency to be very irritating to the customer.
  • Impact by issue severity:
    If you had a bug in your accounting software that caused all the data to be saved every 1000 times, that would be a big impact, but with a very small frequency

I define the reasonSoftwaretestsThis is because - as any tester will tell you -You can never find every bug or bug in any software and you can never test every possible inputin the software. (For any non-trivial application.)

So the idea isn't to find all sorts of things that go or could go wrong, or even test software against a specification - as some people like to define software testing - because both are impossible.

(Oh, even if you find a full spec for an app in your experience as a software developer, let me know.)

7 Common Types of Software Testing [Complete Guide + FAQ] (1)

Instead of,The focus and main idea behind software testing is to reduce the risk of having a strong negative impact on the customerwhen using the software.

This is typically accomplished by prioritizing which areas of the software are likely to have the greatest impact (i.e. risk) and then deciding on a set of tests to run to verify the desired functionality in that area .

Typically, when the actual functionality deviates from the desired functionality, an error is logged and these errors are prioritized based on severity.

Some errors are fixed, other errors are so minor that they are only noticed and left in the system.

Common approaches to testing software

The world of testing and quality assurance is huge.

Just as the development world has many concepts and methods for building software,There are many ways to think about testing, and the field is always changing.

Even in the name.

Early in my career, it might have been considered disrespectful or offensive to call someone who was testing a tester; they preferred to be called QA (or Quality Assurance) experts.

Just a year or two ago I attended a test conference and made the mistake of calling someone QA. They corrected me and said tester was the preferred term.

You can't win them all.

(Video) 5 Common Software Testing Types Explained in 7 minutes | Software Testing Types With Examples

Anyway, let's talk about the different types of tests so you can get a general idea of ​​what someone is talking about when they use these terms - which you'll hear a lot in the software development world.

This is by no means a complete list.

7 Common Types of Software Testing [Complete Guide + FAQ] (2)


Black box testing is easyTest as if the software itself were a black box.

One of the most common forms of testing - and really a way to describe an entire category of testing - is black box testing.

When you do black box testing, only deal with inputs and outputs. You don't care how actual expenses are derived.

You don't know anything about the code or how it works, only that given a specific set of inputs to the software, a specific set of outputs must be produced.

Most testing is done this way because it's fairly unbiased. Either it works or it doesn't work.

Simplifies testing as only input and output are analyzedCauses of error not apparent
The tester can be a non-technical personDifficulty designing test cases
Testing from the user perspectiveThe tester has limited knowledge of the application

[Tweet "Every developer should know at least 1 of these 7 common types of software testing"]


True white box testing is when you understand some of the internals of the system and may have access to actual source code., which you use to inform your test and what you are aiming for.

White box testing is pretty much the opposite of black box testing.

Come onWhite-Box-Test, you have at least a rough idea of ​​what's going on in the software.

Unit testing is often referred to as white box testing, but I disagree. Unit tests are not tests.

When you look at code that performs complex calculationsfor some accounting software and you saw that there was a section of code that did one set of calculations for values ​​above a certain value and another set of calculations for all other values,You could create tests targeting these two scenarios.

With black box testing, you would have no way of knowing if either of these conditions existed, so it would be very unlikely that you would test both unless you were lucky.

Discover hidden errors more efficientlyThe tester must have programming knowledge
The code is optimizedAccess code required
Fast problem and error detectionFocus on existing software, missing features may not be discovered

acceptance test

The basic idea of ​​the acceptance test is thisYou have some tests that test actual customer needs or expectations and other tests that run on the system as a whole.

is sometimes calledUser Acceptance Testing(abbreviated: UAT).

It is sometimes referred to as a system test.

This type of testing can be system functionality testing or usability testing, or both.

The idea is that acceptance tests test what is expected and what actually happens.

7 Common Types of Software Testing [Complete Guide + FAQ] (3)

Recognize and fix usability problems earlyNeed a well-defined test audience
Feedback can be implemented early in the development processMust be tested in an environment other than the test environment
Shows the usability of your systemTime consuming to set up at first

automated test

Automated test is any test that involves test execution and verification of resultsautomated.

So you can automate the testing of a web application by running scripts that open a web page, enter some data, press some buttons, and examine some results on a page.

You can also automate testing an API by writing scripts that call the API with a set of data and then examine the results returned.

More and more tests will beon the way to automated testingbecause running test cases manually can be tedious, error-prone, and expensive, especially in an agile environment that may need to run the same set of tests every two weeks to ensure nothing is broken.

Literature recommendations:


This brings us to the regression test, which is basically what it isTests performed to ensure the system still works as before.

The purpose of regression testing is to ensure that the software does not degrade in functionality.

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This is extremely important in Agile development methodologies, where software is developed incrementally and there is always the possibility that adding new functionality could break existing ones.

Most automated tests are regression tests.

The truth is,In fact, one could argue that all automated tests are regression testssince the whole purpose of automating a test is so that it can be run multiple times.

functional test

Functional testing is another broad term used in the testing world to refer to itTest activities in which the actual functionality of the system is tested.

That may sound obvious.

You might be thinking, "Duh, what else would you be testing if you weren't testing the system functionality."

But it turns out you can test all sorts of things unrelated to functionality, like performance, usability, resilience, security,scalability“I could go on like this, believe me.

So, functional testing is the kind of testing where you really care that the system is doing what it's supposed to do from a functional perspective.

If I type this input and press this button, do I get the expected output?

I don't care how long it takes. I don't care if the screen flashes bright red and the computer starts smoking, do I get my score?

explorativer Test

I like to make fun of exploratory testing and call it "lazy testing".

It really annoys the testers when I do this.

But the idea of ​​exploratory testing definitely has some merit, and maybe I'm being a bit too harsh and critical.

The idea behind exploratory testing—when done right—is that you have some guidelines and a basic plan of what application areas you're going to test and how you're going to test them.

Then you forgo real test cases and examine the application, looking for things that might be wrong or behaving unexpectedly.

Exploratory testing sessions are often logged so that if a bug is found, the problem can be reproduced by repeating the steps performed by the exploratory tester.

While I'm generally not a big proponent of this type of testing, I have to acknowledge its merits, since exploratory testing can often uncover bugs that no rational test case was ever designed to exploit.

Other Test Forms

In fact, we've only scratched the surface of all the different test types and ratings.

There are many other forms of testing including:

  • Stress testing - how an application performs under heavy loads
  • Performance Test - Application performance based on specific scenarios
  • Recovery Test - Recovery from error conditions or hardware problems
  • Security test - system security
  • stress test
  • Usability testen
  • accessibility test

The list goes on and on.

the testing process

Different organizations will have very different ideas about how testing should be conducted and what process should be followed.

You will also see many formal specifications created by different testing organizations that cover the "testing process".

So again, like a lot of what I've said about testing, the idea here is not to be prescriptive or to perfectly model the perfect testing process, but rather to give you an idea of ​​what the testing process in general is and how what that is brings.

I like the pragmatic approach to life - and testing.

Step 1 - Development of a test plan

Testing usually begins with the development of some sort ofexperimental plan.

  • How is it tested?
  • What is our testing strategy?
  • What kind of test will we do?
  • What features will we test?
  • what is the schedule

All of these are questions that are typically answered in the test plan, or if the test plan is not a formal document, the test plan for a project.

Step 2 - Design Tests

Next,Tests are usually designed at a high levelbased on system requirements or functionality.

At this stage, a tester can create a list of common test cases that will run, what types of conditions will be tested, and define what is required to perform the tests.

Step 3 - Create and run the test

After that theTests are typically created and run.

Sometimes this happens in a single step.

Tests are sometimes first written in test management software and executed later.

(Video) Top 50 Manual Testing Interview Questions | Software Testing Interview Preparation | Edureka

Step 4 - Record Results

The results ofTest execution is logged and evaluatedand allBugs or defects are usually loggedin any wayBug-Tracking-System.

Bugs are prioritized and sent to developers for correction.

Corrected bugs are tested againand this cycle continues until the software meets quality standards for shippable code.

And that's basically it.

Plan how you test, design the tests, write the tests, run the tests,find mistakes,fix error, Release-Software.

Literature recommendations:

  • How to use Usersnap's bug tracker
  • How your users can help you test
  • A practical test case illustrated using the Tello example

How testing works in agile teams

The standard testing process tends to have some issuesagile Teamswhere new features are coded and implemented every two weeks.

Many teams try to strictly follow the standard testing process or ditch it entirely instead of working on itagile testinglife cycle ofsoftware development process.

Both approaches are wrong.

Instead of,The focus really needs to shift to developing the test cases and test scenarios up front, even before code is written, and reduce the testing process to a smaller iteration, just like we do when developing software in an agile way.

It just means we need to cut things into smaller chunks and have a slightly tighter feedback loop.

Instead of spending a lot of time creating a project test plan and designing complex test cases, teams need to execute the functional-level testing process.

Each feature should be treated as a mini-projectand must be tested by a miniature version of the testing process that begins before any code is written.

In fact, the test cases are ideally created before the code is written—or at least the test design, so code and test case development can happen concurrently.

Another important aspect of agile testing is automation.

As new software is released in very short iterations, regression testing becomes more important, making automated testing even more important.

In my perfect world of agile testing, automated tests are created before the code to implement the features is actually written - truly test-driven development - but that rarely happens in reality.

Test and you as a developer

What about you, the software developer? What is your role in all this testing material?

do you even have one

Yes. Definitive!

One of the biggest mistakes software development teams make is not getting enough developer involvement or taking ownership, testing, and quality of their own code.

As a software developer, you should care more about quality than anyone else.

You cannot assume that QA will find the bugs in your code.

Instead, it is imperative that you take responsibility for finding and fixing bugs before your code is tested.

The reason is quite simple. The further along in the software development an error is found, the more expensive it is to fix it.

Think about it like this.

If you test your own code thoroughly and find a bug in it before checking it in and submitting it to QA, you can fix that bug quickly, potentially costing you an extra hour.

If you're getting the same error and don't have time to find and fix it, the process might look something like this:

?? A tester runs a test that finds the bug in your code.

?? The tester runs the test again to ensure that the error is valid.

(Video) QA Manual Testing Full Course for Beginners Part-1

?? The tester logs an error in the error tracking software.

?? A development manager decides that the bug is severe enough for you to work on, and the bug is assigned to you.

?‍♂️ You are trying to reproduce the bug, but it seems to be working on your computer.

?? The tester reproduces the bug and includes more detailed steps in the bug report.

?? You can finally reproduce and fix the error.

✅ You update the bug report with the fix.

?? The tester goes back and verifies that the bug has actually been fixed and marks the bug as fixed.

That's a lot of time to waste for everyone...?‍♂️

I'm not saying you're a lazy asshole, but...

Before checking in, you might want to take another 10 minutes to test your own code.

You won't catch everything, but if you can catch 10% of the bugs that would otherwise make it to QA, you save a bit of time, don't you think?

Okay, I hope you now have a decent idea of ​​what testing is, what the purpose of testing is, what types of testing can be done, and their role in the overall process.

word of truth

I just wanted to cover some of the basics that you'll hear and see in a software developer's day-to-day conversations.

Hello John, I'm a bit confused. Black box testing is very similar to functional testing. What is the difference? Oh, and also the same question for regression testing versus automated testing. Aren't all automated tests essentially regression tests?

Okay, shhh... I'm about to tell you a little secret that really annoys the QA people - I mean testers.

Then. Many of these test terms are basically the same thing. Sometimes I feel like the whole testing industry feels the need to invent a lot of terminology and add a lot of complexity to something that is inherently simple.

Now don't get me wrong, testing is important - and it takes skill to be good at it - but it's not that complicated...really.

To address a few specifics. Basically, functional testing can be white box or black box, but usually it will be black box. Black box and white box testing only refers to how the functional test or other tests are performed. It's really just a functional test of sorts. Do you look in the code for clues as to what to test, or do you treat everything like a mysterious black box? Black box testing is just the high-level concept or idea of ​​testing an application without being able to look inside at how it's implemented.

If you're doing effective functional testing, you're probably doing it in a black-box fashion, although looking at the code might give you an idea of ​​some edge cases or special cases you might be missing out on testing. otherwise. Again, for automated testing versus regression testing, we are dealing with a higher level of concept and implementation.

Regression testing is the concept. It's the idea that if something breaks - or before - you should create a test suite that ensures the system's functionality doesn't kick back or regress. Automated tests serve this purpose very well because they are automated. Therefore, virtually all automated testing is regression testing, but it is possible to perform regression testing manually to ensure the software does not fall behind in functionality.

If you decide to become a tester and want to pass an interview for a testing position, you should probably know all of this and be able to explain why exploratory testing is really a valid method of testing and how user and acceptance testing are not the same.

But honestly, if you're a software developer, it only matters that you have some idea of ​​the concepts, the vocabulary, and understand the real idea behind testing, which is risk mitigation.

So don't worry about all the semantics and focus on the big ideas. This is important.

Author's biography

John Sonmez is the author of the multi-year bestsellerSoft Skills: The Software Developer's Handbookand founder ofSimple programmer.This article is an excerpt fromThe complete career guide for software developersby João Sonmes. To get the full book in your inbox, visitHere. NOComplete career guide for software developersand John shares the principles and knowledge that took him from a teenage hacker to high-paying senior consulting and development positions—and into early retirement at age 33 and a second career as an entrepreneur.

Today, he runs the popular Simple Programmer blog and YouTube channel, where each year he helps millions of developers learn the career and life skills that have made the difference to their success.

Bonus tip: Software testing with Usersnap

I know I just talked about the most common types of software testing. Finally, I would like to warn youuser nap, which is a great solution forUAT test and user test, used by companies likeFacebook, Red Hat and Microsoft.

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