Ultimate Guide to Software Testing Motivity Labs Career August 24, 2022

Ultimate Guide to Software Testing

Looking for the Ultimate guide to advanced software testing, here it is. Generally, a software application tester is the one who appraises and evaluates a new software before it is deployed to ensure the functionality for which the software is designed, is fulfilled without any deviations or errors, and also the overall quality of the software is not compromised.  They approach this process through certain software testing guidelines and use various software testing solutions to determine a software’s capabilities and drawbacks. We all know today’s world is driven by technology and every technology is run by software in the background.  A faulty software, in any field, be it banking, medicine or military, can bring disastrous results, pose a threat to individuals, can bring down economies, and can even drive the whole world into chaos. Early detection of bugs and errors in the software not only helps mitigate the risk of defective software being deployed but also improves the quality of the final output through suggestions and improvements made by the software application testers. The following is a guide to advanced software testing and various steps in software testing involved are discussed.

Software Testing Guidelines

Certain guidelines need to be followed by software application testers while testing software. The below-mentioned guidelines are some of the crucial ones in a software testing life cycle, STLC.

  • The ultimate goal of testing software is to find as many bugs, errors, and faults as possible but should always bear in mind that no matter what, testing cannot ensure the software is free of all bugs and ultimately is not exhaustive!
  • Testing software should start as early as possible in a software development life cycle.
  • The test cases designed should cover every possible scenario and should never be based on assumptions.
  • Quantitative assessment should be done extensively while testing software as it provides large statistical data which can be used to pinpoint the loopholes.
  • Testing software should always be context-dependent.  Every software has to be tested based on its intended context, and the tests cannot be generalized.
  • Software that is almost bug-free but fails to fulfill customers’ requirements cannot be considered for deployment.  Good software, should first reach customers’ expectations and fulfill all the requirements, apart from being 99% bug-free.

Steps in Software Testing

There is a myth that testing software has to be carried out at the end before it is deployed. With present-day software applications calling for continuous integration and continuous deployment, testing also has to be a continuous process. Various models in today’s software development lifecycle SDLC, call for early intervention of software application testers perhaps, as early as the requirements phase and design phase. The following are the various steps in the software testing lifecycle STLC and these phases are executed in a planned, systematic manner.

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The first phase in the STLC is the analysis phase where the requirements for all the features of the software are collected and analyzed. The requirements can either be functional or non-functional clearly defining the characteristics of a feature and its behavior.

The second phase in the STLC is the planning phase where the scope of testing and the test plans are defined. This phase also consists of test strategies briefed in a test plan document which highlights the testing steps, tools required, roles and responsibilities, risk and cost involved, and timeframes for testing.

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The third phase is the development phase where an action plan is designed by creating test cases. Test cases should be comprehensive with all the necessary inputs, procedures, conditions, and expected results.  The testing team also prepares test data for testing and a requirement traceability matrix is prepared. The requirement traceability matrix, RTM is a document that illustrates the relationship between the requirements of the project and various other elements in it and makes sure that the scope and deliverables are aligned perfectly.

The fourth phase in the STLC is the setup phase where testing environments are set up. This is an important phase in STLC which determines under what conditions software is tested by using various software testing solutions and tools. Depending on the software project, a test server may also need to be set up. Smoke tests are used to determine whether all the deployed environments are working as per their intended functionality.

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The fifth phase in the STCL is the execution phase. Once the test cases and the test environments are developed, test execution is started using these test cases and the environments. The actual results of executing the test cases are tabulated and compared with the expected results.

The sixth and final phase of the STLC is the test closure phase.  The summary of the entire testing process is documented which gives details of the actual test results versus expected results, whether all the requirements of the project are met, time is taken, total coverage of the tests, and bugs/ defects found.

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Manual Testing Vs Automated Testing

Manual testing, as the name suggests, is done by humans without the aid of automation tools or scripts, it is called manual testing.  Manual testing is generally used for assessing user interface, UI, and user experience, UX. The main advantage of manual testing is that it gives human insight and a human perspective on the software accurately.

Automating a manual process of testing and evaluating a software product through the application of certain tools and scripts is called automated testing.  The main advantage of an automated test is it reduces the feedback time and faster validation can be done. Automated tests also help to run the same tests across multiple machines all at a time thereby reducing the testing time considerably.

There are certain pros and cons with both testing systems.  Manual testing is adaptable and saves money on automated testing tools. On the flip side, manual testing is not always possible for software testing. When dealing with performance testing and load testing, automated tests perform far better and far more accurately than manual testing. Moreover, manual testing is time-consuming, resource-consuming, and also prone to human error.  Every time a manual test is performed, the test has to be performed from scratch as they are not reusable, unlike automated tests where the test scripts can be reused any number of times.

Software testing solutions comprise both manual and automated tests to arrive at efficient, superior software that is bug-free to a large extent.

Types of Testing

There are various types of tests that software application testers perform on software to determine functionality and quality. Detailed below are some of the important testing mechanisms that when applied, can help us with a guide to advanced software testing. These tests can be performed manually or may be automated through the use of various software testing tools. 

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Unit Testing

Unit testing is testing a unit in the software such as a function, a loop, a method, or a procedure.   It mainly focuses on testing a unit or interrelated units by using various sample inputs and studying the corresponding outputs. The main purpose of unit testing is to isolate the code to determine if it is functioning as intended.

Regression Testing

Regression testing is done to make sure that the software runs without any hiccups after any change – be it a code change, an update, or a modification for any improvement. It makes sure that the overall functionality is not affected because of any type of change that occurred in the software.

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Integration Testing

Integration testing is testing a group of units or components of the software as a combined entity.  Individual software modules are combined and tested as a whole for compliance with the functional requirements specified. This testing is generally performed after unit testing and before system testing.

Smoke Testing

During some testing, the initial build of the software is subjected to testing all the key functionalities of the software before it is subjected to further tests. The idea here is that if the initial build fails in key functionalities, it is no need to test the software further as it failed in the main key area of functionality. Once the software is passed through the smoke test, the remaining levels of tests.

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System Testing

System testing is the validation of a fully integrated, complete software product evaluating end-to-end system specifications.  The testing process involves testing the software on various hardware and operating platforms to make sure that the software runs on different systems without any hindrance.

Performance Testing

Performance testing is usually done to determine the stability and responsiveness of software under different workloads. This non-functional testing is used for testing the speed, scalability, and reliability of software under various circumstances.

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Stress Testing

Stress testing determines the behavior of the system under unusual circumstances by pushing its limits beyond normal operation levels.   This testing determines the system’s stability, reliability, and error handling under extreme conditions and heavy loads or pressure. This test is performed to make sure that the software does not crash the system under any circumstances.

Testing Tools

Three are many automated software testing tools that help software application testers in providing quality software testing solutions.  Below are the 3 most popular testing tools at present.


Selenium is considered the best testing tool to automate tests across web browsers for web applications.  Selenium automation framework which is a free open source, allows you to automate web app testing. It is primarily used for testing cross-browser web applications. Selenium consists of various tools such as Selenium IDE, Selenium Grid, and Selenium WebDriver which cover a variety of tests and is compatible with all the major web browsers and also support all popular programming languages like C#, Java, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, PHP, and the likes.  Selenium is the preferred choice for software application testers as writing automation tests is easy using Selenium.


Appium is mostly used by mobile app developers for testing native, hybrid, and mobile web applications for mobile devices.  It is an open-source testing tool that helps conduct automated testing of apps on different platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows.  Appium is an open-source testing tool available on GitHub without an SDK and allows users to write tests using their favorite programming language.  As it supports multiple platforms, it eliminates the need to learn new languages for each of the platforms which saves a lot of time, and has become a favorite for most mobile app developers for this reason!


Cucumber is a behavior-driven development framework that was originally used for Ruby testing but now supports various programming languages like Java, JavaScript, PHP, Perl, Python, and Lua. Cucumber is basically used for writing acceptance tests for web applications. Functional validations can be automated in an easily readable format just like plain English and Cucumber feature files can serve as a good document for the stakeholders who can’t understand the programming code.

Software application testers can be successful in their pursuit of testing the quality of software by adhering to the software testing guidelines and meticulously following all the steps in software testing

A simple guide to advanced software testing is to adhere to all the software testing guidelines and meticulously follow all the steps in software testing which will result in bringing superior software products into the market.