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IOT: HOW WILL IT CHANGE THE ROLE OF A TESTER?

Tuesday 5th September 2017

In this blog our Senior Software Testing Consultant - Penny, discusses Internet of Things and how Testers will need to adapt their approach in order to keep up with the latest innovations...


The Internet of Things market is expanding rapidly, increasing connectivity and blending the real world with the digital world. It is estimated that by 2025, around 75 billion devices will be network-enabled

As consumers, we are benefiting more and more from living in the technologically advanced and hyper-connected world created by IoT platforms, which are transforming the relationships we have with everyday objects. 

This means that Testers will have to adapt not only their skills, but also their approach.to include skills like web services / network testing, performance testing, multi-device integration testing, and even security testing. 

The user interfaces of IoT devices are becoming much more complex, and the idea of hyper-connectivity means that everyday objects need to interact and integrate with a multiple other devices and services all formed from different technologies, yet still perform seamlessly through every interaction with the user. Antony Edwards, CTO of Testplant, writes that “to test in the IoT world, you need a truly integrated approach that includes testing the impact of every interaction, focusing on the entire user experience” – including everything that you touch. 

Testers will also need to pick up skills around security testing / checking and be extra vigilant with regards to security concerns in order to ensure the security of the various APIs and sensitive data, with security checking / scanning tools such as OWASP ZAProxy becoming more widely used. A study conducted by the Ponemon institute on the security of IoT applications found that “IoT risks exist because end-user convenience is considered more important than security”, and 55% of respondents reported a lack of quality assurance and testing procedures for IoT apps, with 58% percent of respondents reporting that their organisation waits until production to test their IoT apps. 

This is a clear sign that security testing should be carried out with the Agile mind-set of early and often, embedded into the delivery process as part of any test strategy so that any vulnerabilities are exposed early on, rather than at a stage such as production where there is much more pressure to release and quality is compromised. 

The use of modern delivery approaches and development practices such as Agile and DevOps will be instrumental in coping with all challenges faced in testing IoT devices. Delivering small batches of code in incremental builds will allow for more user feedback which will in turn help to embed quality throughout the process. It will also allow for any security concerns to be addressed early on to deliver safer code, changing the perception of security testing from being separate or “siloed” to being part and parcel of the development process. 

What are your thoughts? Will this ultimately result in companies expecting Testers to be all-rounders rather than “specialists”? Tweet us @AmsourceTech.
Recent Comments
Over 20 plus years in testing and 30 years in IT I have seen the test role expand to the point where client expectations have hit some pretty unrealistic heights. Test Analysts are required to develop detailed product knowledge, to be able to code automated tests in a variety of languages, to provide Business Analysis and client management skills and now to have Dev Ops and Release Management skills. On the face of it this might appear to be overwhelming, but I say this is a good thing, no, in fact it's a great thing! Every day is a fresh challenge and life as a tester is about continuous learning. And the more we learn about each area the easier it is to find defects and the more critical in nature those defects become. If you are working as a tester in today's exciting and fast paced digital era you must ask yourself one question at the end of each and every day - "What did I learn today?"
Rick, 14 September 2017
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