The future of testing: 15 forecasts on what it might be

Nadezhda Yushkevich
Updated on
Jun 21, 2024
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People like to imagine the future. There are many genres regarding the view of possible futures in cinema and literature, including both pessimistic dystopias and more or less realistic dramas. Today, when the future has already arrived with AI/ML algorithms for writing test cases and self-healing scripts, we delve deeper into the future of testing. Let’s explore through forecasts what they may be!

Forecast #1. The testing profession will not disappear soon

A McKinsey study found that, by 2030, almost a third of jobs worldwide could be taken over by automation. So, there may be a misconception that human involvement in testing will become obsolete. However,  while automation can streamline testing and improve efficiency, it cannot entirely replace the need for human judgment, creativity, and domain expertise in identifying complex issues and ensuring the user experience meets expectations. You can read more about why manual testing is still necessary here. The myth that software testing will disappear often arises from a misunderstanding of the complexities involved in software development and the indispensable role that testing plays in delivering successful software products.

So, software testing will not disappear. Testing plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality, reliability, and security of software applications. Additionally, as software continues to evolve and new technologies emerge, such as AI and quantum computing, new testing challenges will arise, further emphasizing the importance of testing in the software development lifecycle. Therefore, while the nature of testing may evolve, its fundamental role in software development will remain indispensable.

Forecast #2. Natural integration of AI and ML in testing tools

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global AI-enabled testing market size is projected to grow from $736.8M in 2023 to $2,746.6M by 2030.

This is too general to simply state that AI and ML will play an important role in future testing. In this case, the future of software testing has already arrived. However, there will be multiple new approaches to how AI and machine learning will be applied in future software testing tools, such as:

  • Automated test generation. AI and machine learning algorithms can analyze software requirements, codebases, and user behaviors to automatically generate test cases.
  • Intelligent Test Prioritization. AI analyzes historical testing data, code changes, and business priorities to intelligently prioritize test cases based on their likelihood of detecting critical defects or regressions.
  • Anomaly detection. ML algorithms analyze large volumes of testing data, including test results, logs, and performance metrics, to detect anomalies and deviations from expected behavior.
  • Self-healing test scripts. AI-powered testing frameworks dynamically adapt test scripts based on changes in the software under test.
  • Predictive analytics. ML models analyze historical testing data to predict future defects, estimate testing efforts, and identify areas of the software that are prone to bugs or performance issues.
  • Natural Language Processing. NLP techniques can be applied to automatically generate and execute test cases based on natural language requirements or user stories.
  • Dynamic test environment provisioning. AI algorithms process testing requirements, resource availability, and infrastructure constraints to dynamically provision test environments.
  • Autonomous test execution. AI-powered testing frameworks will autonomously execute test cases, monitor system behavior, and adapt testing strategies in real-time based on environmental changes and feedback from previous test runs.
  • Multi-agent systems for testing. AI-driven multi-agent systems will collaborate to perform complex testing tasks, such as distributed load testing, security testing, and interoperability testing across interconnected systems and platforms.
  • AI-driven test data generation. ML will generate synthetic test data that closely mimics real-world data distributions.
  • Augmented reality testing environments. AR technologies will create immersive testing environments where testers can interact with virtual representations of software systems.
  • Emotion recognition in user testing. AI algorithms will analyze user behavior and feedback during usability testing sessions to infer emotional states, preferences, and pain points, helping developers design more user-centric software interfaces and experiences.

Forecast #3. Testing will become much more automated

The global automation testing market size is projected to grow from $17.71B in 2024 to $69.85B by 2032.

Yes, software testing will become much more automated. There are several compelling reasons for this trend:

Firstly, through efficiency and speed provided by test automation. Automated testing can execute test cases much faster than manual testing, enabling quicker feedback on the quality of software changes. This rapid feedback loop accelerates the development process, allowing teams to iterate and release software more frequently.

Secondly, automated tests can be executed repeatedly with the same inputs and conditions, ensuring consistency in testing outcomes. This repeatability reduces the likelihood of human error and provides more reliable results across different testing cycles.

Thirdly, while there may be upfront costs associated with developing automated test scripts, the long-term benefits include significant cost savings. Automated testing reduces the need for manual effort, leading to lower labor costs and increased productivity over time.

Fourthly, automated testing scales more effectively than manual testing, allowing organizations to test a wide range of scenarios, configurations, and platforms without significant additional effort. This scalability is particularly valuable in environments with complex software systems and diverse user requirements.

And finally, nowadays organizations must deliver software quickly while maintaining high quality. Automated testing enables teams to meet the demands for speed and agility by reducing testing cycles and enabling faster time-to-market for software products.

Forecast #4. Focus on data quality assurance

According to Stellar, the big data market is expected to reach US$ 518.55B in 2030 from US$ 230.21B in 2023.  

Data quality assurance ensures that data used across various processes and analyses is accurate, reliable, and suitable for its intended purpose. As data becomes essential in nearly every aspect of modern society, maintaining high data quality is paramount. This involves verifying data accuracy, ensuring completeness, maintaining consistency across different sources, and ensuring data timeliness and relevance.

Data QA is expected to intensify as the volume and complexity of data continue to grow exponentially. Advancements in technologies such as AI/ML and big data analytics will enable organizations to process and analyze vast amounts of data at unprecedented speeds. However, ensuring the quality and integrity of this data will be crucial to extracting meaningful insights and making informed decisions.

Future trends in data quality assurance include increasing automation of data quality checks using AI and machine learning algorithms, adoption of blockchain technology to enhance data integrity and traceability, implementation of robust data governance frameworks, collaboration on standardized data quality metrics, and the adoption of continuous monitoring and improvement practices.

Forecast #5. Testing of blockchain software

GlobalData reports, global blockchain platforms and services revenue is set to grow from $12B in 2023 to $291B in 2030.

When testing blockchains, it's important to understand that they are basically software systems. While traditional software testing techniques remain applicable to blockchains, there is a shift in focus and priority for testing activities.

In blockchain testing, there's a focus on non-functional aspects like performance, load, and security, along with functional testing such as API assessment and system integration. This ensures the reliability and effectiveness of blockchain applications.

As blockchain technology becomes more widespread across various sectors, there's a growing demand for specialized testing tools tailored for blockchain applications. These tools will address the unique requirements of testing smart contracts, consensus algorithms, distributed ledgers, and other essential components of blockchain systems. Blockchain applications often interact with external systems and APIs for data exchange and integration. Therefore, thorough testing of these APIs is crucial to ensure compatibility, reliability, and data consistency. Seamless integration with existing systems is also vital for the successful implementation of blockchain projects.

Forecast #6. Focus on security measures

Security software market size was valued at US$ 22.78B in 2023 and the total security software revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR 12.78 % from 2024 to 2030, reaching nearly US$56.76B.

Testers will work closely alongside product managers to conduct extensive security audits and implement robust security strategies. This collaboration aims to minimize risks and safeguard sensitive data effectively.

Additionally, there will be a stronger focus on implementing thorough security measures to safeguard software applications from evolving cyber threats and vulnerabilities. This trend is driven by several factors:

  • Growing cybersecurity threat landscape. Sophisticated cyber attacks, such as ransomware, data breaches, and zero-day exploits, pose significant risks to organizations' data, assets, and reputation. To address these threats, testing methodologies will need to evolve to encompass a wide range of security testing techniques, including vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, threat modeling, and security code reviews.
  • Regulatory compliance requirements. Compliance with regulations like GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS demands robust security measures. Testing is crucial to ensure software meets regulatory standards, reducing legal and financial risks.
  • Shift towards DevSecOps. Testers collaborate closely with developers, security experts, and operations teams to embed security controls, automate security testing, and prioritize security considerations throughout the development process.
  • Protection of sensitive data. Comprehensive security measures, including encryption, access controls, and data masking, are essential to safeguarding sensitive information from unauthorized access, disclosure, and manipulation. Testing will focus on verifying the effectiveness of these security controls and ensuring that data remains secure throughout its lifecycle.

Forecast #7. Cloud-based testing

The Cloud Computing Market size is estimated to reach $1,933 billion by 2030, IndustryArc estimates.

Cloud-based testing offers scalability and flexibility, allowing organizations to test their applications on many devices and platforms without physical infrastructure. This reduces testing time and effort while improving accuracy.

Cloud-based testing also allows organizations to scale their testing processes as needed, making it easier to manage testing for software development projects. By embracing cloud-based testing solutions, organizations can streamline testing processes, enhance collaboration, accelerate time-to-market, and deliver high-quality software products that meet the evolving needs of their customers. As cloud technology continues to evolve and mature, cloud-based testing will play an increasingly vital role in driving innovation, efficiency, and competitiveness in the digital era.

Forecast #8. Expansion of IoT devices

The global market for industrial Internet of Things was sized at over 544 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. The market is expected to grow in size in the coming years, reaching some 3.3 trillion U.S. dollars by 2030.

As more devices, ranging from household appliances to industrial sensors, become connected to the Internet, the IoT landscape will continue to expand rapidly. This proliferation of IoT devices will introduce new security challenges and complexities for software testers. This trend is driven by several factors:

  • Everywhere connectivity. Widespread internet access and improved wireless tech like 5G allow IoT devices to connect seamlessly. These devices are now common in everyday objects, offering users greater convenience and efficiency.
  • Diverse use cases. IoT devices are deployed in diverse use cases, ranging from smart homes and wearable devices to industrial sensors and autonomous vehicles. Each use case presents unique testing challenges related to device interoperability, data privacy, security, reliability, and real-time responsiveness. Testing methodologies will need to evolve to address the complexities of testing IoT ecosystems comprising interconnected devices, gateways, cloud platforms, and edge computing infrastructure.
  • Complex ecosystems. Testing IoT devices requires comprehensive testing approaches, including functional testing, interoperability testing, performance testing, security testing, and compliance testing. Moreover, testing must account for the dynamic nature of IoT environments, where devices may join or leave the network dynamically, and data flows across distributed systems in real-time.
  • Data-Driven insights. IoT devices generate vast amounts of sensor data that can be leveraged to derive actionable insights, optimize operations, and improve decision-making processes. Testing will focus on validating the accuracy, reliability, and integrity of IoT data streams, ensuring that IoT applications can effectively process, analyze, and act upon sensor data in real-time. Additionally, testing will involve verifying the effectiveness of predictive analytics, machine learning algorithms, and artificial intelligence models deployed in IoT environments to derive meaningful insights and enable predictive maintenance, anomaly detection, and optimization of IoT systems.
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Forecast #9. Moving from test controllers to test developers

Testers are evolving from simply finding defects to promoting quality, focusing on early defect prevention in the software development process. This change is fueled by several factors: the adoption of Agile and DevOps methodologies, which stress teamwork and continuous integration; the automation of testing and emphasis on early testing practices; and a commitment to ongoing improvement through feedback and analysis.

Agile and DevOps encourage testers to collaborate closely with diverse teams, ensuring quality at every stage of development. Automation and early testing help testers catch defects sooner, saving time and resources. Additionally, testers prioritize continuous improvement, using metrics and feedback to refine their methods and achieve better outcomes.

Testers are encouraged to grow their skills and embrace new technologies, supported by training programs and mentorship initiatives. This fosters a culture of learning and innovation within organizations, where testers actively contribute to positive changes and share their knowledge with colleagues.

Forecast #10. Agile testing diversity

As the software development landscape gravitates towards agile methodologies, testers are increasingly urged to embrace agile testing approaches. Agile testing entails evaluating software in brief, iterative cycles, aligning seamlessly with projects employing agile development methodologies.

A key advantage of agile testing lies in its agility to swiftly accommodate software changes. Its short testing cycles enable testers to promptly assess newly implemented features. Moreover, these condensed cycles foster frequent feedback from testers, enhancing the responsiveness of development teams.

Shorter agile testing cycles also translate to more immediate feedback loops between testers and developers, enriching the final product's quality. Additionally, this methodology can yield cost efficiencies by optimizing testing resources. Agile testing typically involves smaller, tightly-knit teams, fostering collaboration and reducing testing expenses without compromising quality.

Forecast #11. Crowdsourced testing

Organizations will increasingly rely on crowdsourced testing platforms to leverage diverse testing environments, devices, and user scenarios for comprehensive testing coverage.

Crowdsourced testing, or crowdtesting, involves distributing testing tasks to a diverse group of individuals who are not directly employed by the organization developing the software. This method leverages the collective intelligence, skills, and experiences of the crowd to identify bugs, usability issues, and other potential problems in digital products. Testers execute assigned tasks on various devices, operating systems, and network environments, providing detailed feedback and bug reports to help improve the quality of the software.

One of the key advantages of crowdsourced testing is its ability to provide comprehensive test coverage across different platforms and user scenarios. By engaging testers from diverse backgrounds and geographical locations, organizations can ensure that their software is thoroughly evaluated under various conditions. This approach also offers cost-effectiveness, scalability, and flexibility, as organizations can tap into a large pool of testers on-demand without the overhead costs associated with maintaining an in-house testing team.

Looking ahead, crowdsourced testing is expected to become increasingly prevalent as organizations strive to deliver high-quality software to meet growing user expectations. Integration with advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation will likely streamline testing processes and enhance accuracy. Furthermore, the global collaboration facilitated by crowdsourced testing will continue to provide cross-cultural insights and diverse perspectives, contributing to the ongoing improvement of digital products in the future.

Forecast #12. Quantum computing testing

The global Quantum Computing market size is projected to reach US$ 1987.6 million by 2028, from US$ 235.5 million in 2021, at a CAGR of 35.2% during 2022-2028.

Quantum computing testing refers to the process of evaluating and verifying the functionality, performance, and reliability of quantum computing systems, algorithms, and applications. As quantum computing technologies advance and become more accessible, there is a growing need for specialized testing methodologies to address the unique challenges posed by quantum computing systems.

Quantum computing operates on the principles of quantum mechanics, which enable computations to be performed using quantum bits or qubits. Unlike classical bits, which can only exist in one of two states (0 or 1), qubits can exist in multiple states simultaneously, thanks to the phenomena of superposition and entanglement. While this offers immense computational power, it also introduces complexities in testing and verification due to the probabilistic nature of quantum states.

Quantum computing testing will be crucial in ensuring the reliability and accuracy of quantum algorithms and applications. This includes validating the correctness of quantum algorithms, assessing the performance of quantum hardware, identifying and mitigating errors introduced by noise and decoherence, and verifying the security of quantum cryptographic protocols. Specialized testing tools and techniques will be developed to address these challenges, including quantum simulators, error correction codes, and quantum software testing frameworks.

So, testing methodologies will need to adapt to accommodate larger and more complex quantum systems. This will involve scaling up testing capabilities to handle quantum algorithms with increasing numbers of qubits, as well as addressing the challenges of testing quantum systems in real-world environments. Additionally, advancements in quantum error correction and fault-tolerant computing will be essential for ensuring the reliability and stability of quantum computing systems in practical applications.

Forecast #13. Neuromorphic testing

Neuromorphic testing is an innovative approach that draws inspiration from neuromorphic computing principles, which aim to emulate the structure and functioning of the human brain's neural networks. In the context of testing, neuromorphic testing involves developing adaptive testing methodologies that can learn from past experiences, dynamically adjust testing strategies, and effectively address new challenges.

The concept of neuromorphic testing leverages the inherent capabilities of neural networks to process information in a parallel and distributed manner, similar to how the human brain learns and adapts over time. By applying these principles to testing, it becomes possible to create testing systems that can autonomously evolve and improve their performance based on feedback and past testing experiences.

Neuromorphic testing holds the promise of revolutionizing the field of software testing by introducing more efficient, intelligent, and adaptive testing approaches. These approaches could include automated test generation and execution strategies that dynamically adapt to changes in software requirements, architecture, and usage patterns. Neuromorphic testing systems could also integrate machine learning algorithms to analyze testing data, identify patterns, and optimize testing processes in real-time.

Furthermore, neuromorphic testing could enable the development of self-learning testing frameworks that continuously evolve and refine their testing strategies based on feedback from ongoing testing activities. This could lead to significant improvements in testing efficiency, effectiveness, and reliability, ultimately resulting in higher quality software products and faster time-to-market.

Forecast #14. Holographic testing interfaces

The 3D Holographic Market Size is projected to reach a valuation of 3059.96 million by 2030, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.9% during the forecast period of 2023-2030.

Holographic interfaces represent an innovative approach to software testing that integrates holographic displays and gesture-based interactions. These interfaces leverage cutting-edge holographic technology to create three-dimensional representations of testing scenarios, enabling testers to visualize and interact with software systems in new and immersive ways.

In holographic testing, testers can manipulate virtual objects and environments using gestures and movements, similar to how one would interact with physical objects in the real world. This allows testers to explore and analyze complex testing scenarios from multiple perspectives, gaining deeper insights into the behavior and performance of software systems.

One of the key advantages of holographic testing is its ability to enhance understanding and collaboration among testing teams. By providing a shared three-dimensional space where testers can collaborate in real-time, holographic interfaces facilitate more effective communication and problem-solving. Testers can visually demonstrate issues, brainstorm solutions, and coordinate testing activities collaboratively and intuitively.

In the future, holographic testing is expected to become increasingly sophisticated and integrated into the software development lifecycle. Testers may use holographic displays to visualize test results, analyze performance metrics, and interact with virtual representations of software systems for comprehensive testing coverage. Furthermore, advancements in AR and VR technologies will enable testers to simulate real-world testing environments and scenarios with greater fidelity, further enhancing the accuracy and effectiveness of testing efforts.

Forecast #15. Space software testing

As humanity ventures further into space exploration, testing software for space missions will require unique considerations, including extreme environmental conditions and long-distance communication challenges.

Space testing refers to the process of testing software and technology intended for use in space missions and space exploration endeavors. As humanity continues to expand its presence beyond Earth and undertake ambitious space exploration missions, the need for rigorous testing of software systems becomes increasingly critical. Space testing involves evaluating the performance, reliability, and functionality of software in the unique and demanding conditions of space.

One of the primary challenges of space testing is the extreme environmental conditions present in space. Software systems must be able to withstand factors such as extreme temperatures, vacuum conditions, radiation, and microgravity. Testing software in simulated space environments on Earth, such as vacuum chambers and thermal chambers, helps identify potential issues and ensures that software can operate reliably in space.

Another consideration in space testing is the long-distance communication challenges inherent in space missions. Communication delays, known as signal latency, can range from several seconds to several minutes depending on the distance between Earth and the spacecraft. This introduces complexities in real-time control and monitoring of software systems. Testing protocols must account for these communication delays and ensure that software can autonomously respond to unforeseen events or emergencies without immediate human intervention.

Space testing is expected to become even more crucial as space exploration missions become increasingly ambitious and technologically advanced. Advancements in AI and autonomy will enable software systems to perform more complex tasks autonomously, requiring rigorous testing to ensure reliability and safety. Furthermore, as commercial space ventures and private space tourism become more prevalent, the need for standardized testing protocols and certification procedures will grow to ensure the safety and security of passengers and payloads.

Space testing will likely involve collaboration between space agencies, aerospace companies, and research institutions to develop comprehensive testing frameworks and methodologies. This may include the use of advanced simulation tools, virtual reality environments, and testbeds deployed on spacecraft or satellites. Additionally, advancements in quantum computing and secure communication technologies may enable more secure and resilient software systems for space-based applications.

About the author

Nadezhda Yushkevich

Content Writer and Tech Journalist

With 11 years of work experience in journalism, media management, PR, and content marketing, she has specialized in IT and startup areas for the last five years. Interested in practices, trends, and approaches in the field of quality assurance.