It’s now 2018, and we’re ready to begin a brand-new year. But when we looked back at our posts over the previous 12 months, we noticed an interesting trend.

Actually – 3 interrelated trends:

  • Emerging challenges in the job market
  • The changing role of software testers
  • The rise of AI and automation

This coverage wasn’t intentional. We don’t have an editorial calendar with articles mapped out in advance. Instead, we simply write about whatever is hot or relevant at the moment. And the clickable articles down below are reflections that arose organically.

Take a look at some of these 2017 highlights.

1. Run-Of-The-Mill Observations

The first few posts of the year were fairly straightforward – right in line with our normal observations.

Those articles include:

How Much Longer Will Open Source Bug Trackers Survive?
Although free tools are perfect for many projects, growing complexity requires investing in better tools – most of which cost money.

A 2017 Post about SaaS? Thought It Was behind Us in 2014
Similar to the above. But growing complexity (and security concerns) are helping to propel SaaS to the forefront – not just in software testing, but in nearly all applications and industries.

When Choosing Software Testing Tools, Is Consistency a “Feature”?
The world is changing quickly (a common theme throughout all these posts). And what matters most is how effectively you can weather these storms. New bells & whistles are always important. But so is consistency.

Success, Complacency, and Musing about Software Tests and Dirty Laundry
This was published much later in the year – but it highlights the benefits of the consistency mentioned above. Even the hardest challenges seem insurmountable at first. But with the right approach, anything can become routine. And that’s something worth striving for.

2. The Ever-Evolving Job Market for Software Testers

The next several posts focused on the changing nature of the software testing career landscape. Our skills enjoy higher demand than ever before. But finding the right talent and opportunities is becoming increasingly challenging.

How to Work with an Outsourced Freelance Tester
We’re no longer limited by geography – especially given the rise of SaaS and cloud-based solutions. This means you can work with freelancers all over the globe. But before you do, what are the absolute “must haves” that every candidate should bring to the table?

How to Succeed As a Freelance Software Tester
This post explores the flipside of the above. To thrive as a freelance software tester, what skills, perspectives, and insights must you possess to distinguish yourself from the competition?

Software Testing Books for the Lazy Newbie
Whether in-house or outsourced, budding software testers of all stripes can benefit from the core tenets laid out in these books. Consider this essential QA and IT reading for the years ahead.

3. The Changing Roles of Software Testers (and Developers)

The next batch (which is slightly out of order) explored how the roles and responsibilities of software testers continue to evolve. More is expected of us than ever before. But navigating these changes isn’t always easy.

The Most Annoying Defect for Software Developers to Fix
The relationship between developers and testers can get strained. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This piece outlines simple strategies for making the developers’ job easier – and your relationships with them better.

When Developers Don’t Care about the Software Defects We Find
This article is a natural follow-up to the previous post. It details useful guidelines to make sure your bugs get fixed. Most of these recommendations start with you – not the developer.

What If Every Software Tester Went on Strike?
Our contributions are more important than ever. But it doesn’t always feel that way, does it? This piece can help your feedback (and value) stand out more.

What Do Testers Do When There’s Nothing to Test?
A lighthearted piece, this article explains how “best” to spend your time in between projects (or if you go on strike). Whenever you need a breather, be sure to check out these suggestions.

Is Software Testing a Creative Field or a Technical One?
Testing is definitely a technical field, making it ripe for automation. But it’s also a creative one. So will that make us immune to AI? After all, machines can’t be creative, can they?

Read on…

4. The Rise of AI and Automation in Software Testing

Increased job competition and evolving responsibilities are both organic developments that occur naturally in most fields. But in software testing, the pace of change continues to accelerate thanks to the arrival of a new type of “tester” – one that could eventually replace us all.

Or not.

Can Artificial Super Intelligence Test Software Better Than Humans Can?
There are no easy answers here. But we remain optimistic about the future. Human testers won’t just remain relevant – our support will become even more important.

What Kangaroo Collisions Can Teach Us about Software Testing
This piece perfectly highlights how outliers and “stress” cases make 100% automation very difficult. Machines are improving a lot. But you still need humans to guide the learning and testing processes.

Is Artificial Intelligence an Extension of Our Natural Stupidity?
If you extend the trend line far enough in the future, AI could potentially replace human testers (and humans in general). Are we the architects of our own demise? Or can we keep the genie in the bottle?

Software Testing, Thanksgiving, and Random Acts of Kindness
This was our Thanksgiving post – and it doesn’t fit into the AI mold. But, it does highlight one area where machines will always lag behind – i.e. compassion. Take a read.

Here’s to 2018 and Beyond

2018 is shaping up to be a very good year. We’re quite excited about the projects in our pipeline. And we hope that all of you enjoy record-setting success in the months ahead.

Happy New Year. And good luck.