How to become a DevOps testing guru

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The vast expanse of software development has significantly evolved over the past decade. No longer are teams pursuing step-based legacy approaches that used to take up a lot of time and money to facilitate. Instead, agile has emerged as an asset to changing user needs and providing a means of adjusting elements on the fly without requiring substantial additional investment to do so.

Under the agile umbrella, DevOps is becoming a major priority across a majority of teams. This initiative not only promotes collaboration across once disparate teams, but also enforces more testing interaction. DevOps teams are directly influential in creating quality applications, and they should be leveraging agile testing methodologies to produce the best software possible. However, this is often easier said than done. By following these tips, you can become a DevOps testing guru and ensure that you're positively impacting project outcomes:

Communication is key

In the past, quality assurance professionals, developers and operations have all been siloed off from each other. If one needed to pass something by the other desks, there was often a lot of red tape to go through and it took additional time to complete. However, DevOps has changed all of this by bringing teams closer together to form a mega group, effectively tearing down the walls that once divided them. With this many people working collaboratively, there is a great deal of responsibility placed on their shoulders to ensure that everything is thoroughly evaluated and tested.

For this reason, the ability to communicate clearly will be key to these teamwork opportunities. DevOps contributor George Hulme noted that groups should be able to share knowledge and can "speak" through tools to keep organized. If DevOps teams want to do more than just keep organized and collaborate, test management is one asset that would be particularly advantageous. With this tool, DevOps could schedule and execute tests, prioritize tasks and receive real-time updates regarding what items have been addressed or if any defects appear. This information ensures not only that everyone stays on the same page, but also that teams are able to respond as quickly as possible. These capabilities will be crucial to becoming a DevOps testing guru.

Adjust for scope and experience

As previously mentioned, the position of software developer and tester are no longer the same as they were; they have evolved to better match agile and DevOps values. According to TechBeacon contributor Stephanie Overby, this means that the scope of responsibilities for these roles has dramatically increased. DevOps teams are tasked with turning requirements into code as well as executing unit testing, deployment and ongoing monitoring. This is significantly different from traditional developers that simply code, then throw the build "over the wall" to the QA team for review.

"The problem is that teams still think they can do manual testing and still be agile. You can't," industry CTO Yoram Mizrachi told TechBeacon. "If you need to test new builds every day and you're doing manual tests that last two weeks, you're in an impossible situation. Product quality usually degrades until the organization and processes change accordingly."

In addition to understanding the increasing scope of responsibilities that DevOps teams must undertake, they must also now concern themselves with the overall experience of their projects. Traditionally, pieces of software were simply evaluated for functionality and code consistency, but it's becoming more integral for teams to ensure that users will actually have positive interactions with the app. Having testers in this role will help keep end users in mind throughout the process and directly support stakeholder requirements.

Using four C's

You can't talk about agile without also bringing up the need for continuous everything. These processes help support the constant production of deliverables to ensure reliable delivery and built-in quality. Capgemini contributor Deepika Mamnani recommended adopting a minimum of four continuous practices: build, integration, devops testing and delivery, with deployment being a nice item to have if possible. DevOps testers must be able to support these practices by having the right tools on hand and ensuring that fluid communication helps to push out deliverables faster than ever before.

Automate wherever possible

Automation is among the most critical tools in a DevOps tester's arsenal. For many teams, automation integration means that they can schedule tests to be executed without any manual interaction, giving them peace of mind that repetitive scripts are being run as needed. Northwest Cadence contributor Rennie Araucto noted that by frequently and thoroughly testing builds using automation solutions, the risks introduced by fast-paced environments will be significantly decreased. By writing in unit tests now, DevOps testers will be able to leverage automation to their advantage to support agile practices.

"The biggest resistance to creating unit tests is that it takes too much time," Araucto wrote. "But if you don't take the time to create unit tests now, you'll be spending that time resolving bugs which are introduced as you build off your code base. Unit tests save time and headache in the long run and lead to faster release cadences."

DevOps teams are tasked with making considerable changes in the way they think and operate. Part of this includes more involvement with testing to ensure that quality is built in every project. By following these tips, you can become a DevOps testing guru and directly impact the success of your applications.