Why the Global War on Terrorism Needs Software Testers

We used to live in an analog world where you could:

  • Repair broken toasters with a simple screwdriver.
  • Tinker with cars using a few garage tools.

But those days are quickly fading. In fact, they’re all but over. Now everything is digital, powered by software, satellites, and Wi-Fi.

And unless you have a computer science degree, you can’t even fix today’s toasters.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of a Hyper-Connected World

There are some positives of all this modernization. Today’s devices are more powerful than ever before, allowing us to:

  • Program our morning coffee.
  • Carry GPS technology in our pockets.
  • Move around in self-driving cars.

We even have automated, customized toaster settings – “light & gold” for dad vs. “crispy & brown” for mom.

But there are some major downsides as the world becomes more dependent on advanced technology.

For example, hackers can gain control of our devices and wreak havoc.

Case in point is the recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in which cyber criminals used simple household appliances to take down some of the world’s biggest sites, including Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, and Reddit.

For millions of Internet users, this downtime was a gross inconvenience. But sometimes, the attacks are far more personal:

  • Anonymous criminals who remotely spy on your family through computer webcams.
  • Smart locks and wireless alarm systems that allow hackers to deny you entry to your own home.

And the situation will only get worse.

Remember that truck driver who plowed through the crowd in Nice, France? With a hijacked self-driving vehicle, one could inflict far more damage – without ever getting caught.

And why stop there?

Hackers could take over entire traffic signal networks and create massive pileups. And what about water treatment facilities? Medical data centers? Nuclear arsenals?

As the Internet continues to power our world, “destruction from afar” could become the new normal.

Can’t We Just Build Better Software to Protect Ourselves?

We hear this a lot – people who believe technology will dig us out of this hole. They argue that artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming smarter. Software is becoming more stable. And soon, we won’t need testers or developers at all.

It sounds appealing.

But technological innovation is a two-edged sword. As software and connectivity improve, the vulnerabilities outlined above become even more pronounced – not less so:

  • There is no antivirus solution that can permanently prevent cyber-attacks. Software is far too embedded in our daily lives.
  • There are no proxies or firewalls that’ll guarantee 24/7 protection. The Internet is everywhere – including in our kitchen appliances.

And as a result, software testers will become increasingly necessary – a topic we’ve covered in the past.

In fact, demand will likely grow exponentially.

And here’s why.

We’ll always need QA professionals to ensure each subsequent product release is stable. AI can certainly help with this type of performance testing. But robots can’t duplicate the outside-the-box thinking that remains so central to what we do.

However, there’s an even more compelling reason why software testers will enjoy such high demand.

Performance testing alone is no longer enough. In addition to 1’s and 0’s, the software testers of tomorrow must also factor in the human element – i.e. hackers who actively exploit society’s growing dependence on software, smart devices, and on-demand connectivity.

In short, the world needs us for security testing – an ongoing process that never results in a truly “stable” build or “finished” product. In the age of cyber-terrorism, this new field of testing must continuously evolve as hackers become more sophisticated in their attacks.

Agree? Disagree? Please share your comments below.