A few words about myself: I work as QA Automation Engineer and live in Moscow
More than 3 years experience in tech
The growing WFH practices generated by the pandemic have intensified the need for unmanned work operations. Hence, automation usage is gaining traction in 2021.
That said, let’s look into the automation trends this year and how organizations are adopting them into their workflows.
What’s Next In Automation: 2021 Edition
1. More automation
The rise of automation is most tangible in 2021 and is going to remain its stronghold. Since most companies have already recovered from a COVID-19 blow, they’ll look for ways to pivot this year.
The combination of automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning is considered a shortcut to Olympus.
Let’s recall an already historic SpaceX launch. It was a large step for automation that allowed astronauts to dock successfully into the international Space Station with no effort whatsoever. This event has also shaped the future of automation, showing the might this practice has.
According to Gartner, by 2024, organizations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining HyperAutomation (that’s basically the new term for automation) technologies with redesigned operational processes. Also, a 2020 global survey of business leaders conducted by McKinsey & Co. found that more than 60% were piloting solutions to automate at least one business process, up from 57% two years earlier.
2. Accessibility testing
For the uninitiated, accessibility testing is the all-inclusive approach that makes the software accessible to all people. And as companies are growing their reach to the maximum right now, this type of testing is gaining traction.
Typically, companies choose apps that are often used by a wide range of people, including people with disabilities. In addition to broadening the range of users of the app, many companies see it as a good marketing move that gets everyone hooked.
With that said, tech companies will expand their potential market by making software disabled-friendly in 2021.
3. Cloud-based software development and investment
Cloud is a buzzword, and for a good reason. It has become the most sought-after technology after the pandemic outbreak since an increasing number of organizations are moving their operations to the cloud. In fact, Cisco reports that cloud data centers process as much as 94% of all workloads in 2021.
Also, multi and hybrid cloud environments will continue to surge since companies are becoming less inclined to stick with one cloud vendor. Gartner expects that by 2021, more than 70 percent of midsize and large organizations will have adopted a multi-cloud or a hybrid strategy. This estimation prompts a need to reset your perspective to cloud-based development and quality assurance.
4. Cloud-based collaboration testing tools
While on the cloud note, its explosion also signals that teams will need to switch to digital collaboration tools. Cloud collaboration increases team engagement since the 24/7 accessibility of all files allows all developers to provide equal input. Those tools also ensure that team members support continuous communication while working simultaneously.
Among the most popular cloud-based collaboration testing tools in 2021 are: Asana, Slack, MicrosoftTeams, Trello, Podio, and others.
5. AI-based software assistance
Cloud adoption also comes complete with AI-enabled software assistance. Such giants as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Watson Cloud are also enjoying an increase in demand this year.
AI-based assistance systems assist customers in processing tasks more efficiently. Sentiment analysis, Machine Learning, and conversational chatbots map the knowledge of experts. It means that systems learn to recognize relevant patterns on large amounts of data and enable users to do the same.
6. Automation pipelines
The year 2021 welcomes no automation scripting. The DevOps world is slowly shifting to automation pipelines and continuous testing. CI/CD pipelines are adapting to redefine engineer practices and bring more standardization to the heart of deployments. Thus, the continuous testing market was estimated at $1.48 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 3.45 billion by 2026.
Also, Selenium 4 marks the change in the overall DevOps cadence. The tool now welcomes container technologies to facilitate scaling up along with local execution. Unlike other versions, Selenium 4 has improved Docker support for Selenium Grid and has opened up a new wealth of automation opportunities for developers.
In 2020, observability was the main focus of talks, articles, and discussions in the software engineering community. And its hype is justified.
The concept of observability means you have the technical solution to get into the essence of your infrastructure. It usually relies on exploring properties and patterns not established in advance. The goal of observability is to know both when an issue arose and why. That is, unlike monitoring that answers the when and where questions, observability demonstrates the reason.
Having an observable system means you can pull out actionable insights from the monitoring tool logs. This way, you can establish a panoramic view of the health and performance of your systems, applications, and infrastructure.
Although the concept isn’t new and stems from linear dynamic systems, it surely adds effectiveness to modern software development processes in 2021 and beyond.
8. API end-to-end monitoring
By this year, the world has been dominated by APIs. And this tendency is not going to lose its stronghold. To secure effective integrations, you need an API monitoring process that guarantees performance, ability, and functional correctness.
However, in 2021 the practice of API monitoring will continue to move closer to automated API tests for monitoring tasks. The latter is critical for keeping tabs on each API endpoint or APIs called in sequence. Otherwise, companies may end up with gray areas in their performance.
9. AI Data
There is one common thing that makes all of the eight trends – the great amount of generated cloud data. Therefore, as intelligent automation and AI are catapulting to the fore, testers will need to find their way around smart data in 2021.
This will also result in surged predictive QA/automation and leveraging tools and frameworks that can process AI and data. Among the most prominent examples of such tools are R, Python, and Apache Spark.
This trend further reinforces the need to convert scripting skills into automated engineering to embrace cutting-edge technologies.
10. Mastering Playwright
Along with the ever-present Selenium, Microsoft Playwright is also becoming one of the automation headliners. Playwright may be the new kid on the block but it’s quickly taking off among software developers and testers. The tool allows developers to test across all modern browsers with a single API to automate Chromium, Firefox, and WebKit, i.e., ushers in headless testing.
Additionally, Testim’s Playground will also reap the limelight in 2021 since it goes hand-in-hand with Puppeteer or Playwright to perform UI tests as code.
The Final Word
Back in the old days, software testing boiled down to detecting bugs in a product. And the overriding objective of that testing was to enhance the end product. As we’ve rolled into a new decade, software testing is not one-sided anymore. The rise of avant-garde technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning pushed QA to the automated edge.
In 2021, automation testing trends will be heavily impacted by automation pipelines, cloud craze, and hyper-automation. Additionally, we’ll see an improvement in observability practices, accessibility testing, and cloud-friendly tools.
So, whatever is awaiting testers in the upcoming years, they’ll have to adapt to new technologies and nail new cloud-friendly skills.
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