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Tech Talks with Ian Goddard: Understanding Successful Automation Testing, Test Optimization Tactics, & Methodologies To Follow

01-Sep-2021

Tech Talks with Ian Goddard: Understanding Successful Automation Testing, Test Optimization Tactics, & Methodologies To Follow

The trend for software and business application is changing every minute. From the most popular video content applications to music streaming and OTT video platforms, things have taken a huge leap.   

Looking at the growing interest of young audiences towards these OTT video platforms and music streaming applications, this time, we were looking for a software testing expert who can picture integrating automation testing services into the trend.   

Since BugRaptors is one of the fastest-growing software testing companies known for transforming the concepts of QA services, this time, we tried interacting with Ian Goddard, QA and SDET Lead at Napster.   

Napster is an AIM quoted music brand and a market leader for providing music-based entertainment platforms to users. Napster owns and operates the most popular platforms like MelodyVR as well as Napster music platforms.  

With more than 10 years of industry experience, Ian is a professional QA engineer and renowned speaker who can handle all types of manual and automation testing operations (JavaScript, TypeScript, & Ruby). Most importantly, Ian understands the process of design and implementation of certification regimes for diverse industries for web, mobile, and connected appliances such as television and devices.  

The interview was moderated by Kanika Vatsyayan, our in-house expert and VP, Delivery & Operations, BugRaptors. The session was all about highly interactive conversations that underlined the struggles associating with testing in the world of music streaming and OTT video platforms, along with the requirements for successful automation.  

Ian also shared various tactics that could help existing or beginner-level software testing service providers to optimize their process for added cost reduction while taking on certain futuristic methodologies.   

Let's just dive right in and have more detailed insights into the conversation.  
   

Kanika Vatsyayan: What are the things people struggle with within your field?  

Ian Goddard: Within both the music streaming and OTT video platform worlds, the biggest struggle that I see is the application of automation. So much cannot be automated, and so people tend to give up on it straight away without actually digging into what might be able to be automated.   

This leads to the view that there is potentially a very narrow skill set for test engineers in the field, or even putting people off applying for roles as it seems like there may not be any more than just manual button pushing testing available, which is simply not the case!  

Of course, there are so many subjective things within the video and audio worlds that you cannot automate everything that you might like, but that in itself opens up to a broad world of learning for audio and video testing specialisms.  

Kanika Vatsyayan: What are the requirements for successful automation?  

Ian Goddard: In order to have successful automation testing built into any project, you need to address a few key points:   

  • Is it needed, and if so, where? Is it unit, integration, UI? Where is it most beneficial for your project?  

  • If you are adding it retroactively, do you have the skills and resources to build quickly and efficiently without damaging development progress?   

  • How much effort will be saved if you do build it?  

  • What will be the damage if you DON'T build it?  

  • Right tool, right job. If you use a language/tool to build automation in a legacy app, that does not necessarily mean it is suitable for the new project or another repo!  

  • Be prepared to scrap the whole thing at a moment's notice! As QA, we have to be dynamic, and sometimes that means scrapping things that have had work done on them. It's sad, but sometimes you have to abandon things.  

If you address these, then you do get some way to assess how to go about building successful automation into your projects, but, of course, there are so many other things that you have to consider as you go. Each project is unique.  

Kanika Vatsyayan: What is your typical workday like?  

Ian Goddard: No two days are the same, of course, but a typical day for me might be speaking with my squad leads across all our platforms and ensuring that they have what they need to go about their jobs, planning release management activities and how QA fits into that and managing stakeholders at all levels. When needed, pitching in with any of the platforms that need testing, tooling, and guidance or mentoring.  

Kanika Vatsyayan: What are the ways you suggest reducing or optimizing the costs associated with software testing automation? Please share your insights on this.  

Ian Goddard: I believe that the most valuable thing a company can do to optimize the costs associated with automation testing is investing in knowledge. This can take the form of courses (there are many fine online and real-life courses), investing in staff that is capable of and happy to provide teaching or mentoring to other staff, or getting people in to speak about automation to your staff. And that is not just for QA professionals but development staff as well.   

The days are dying where development engineers just pushed stuff over the wall to QA, but it can still be there. Fostering a "Quality First" mentality from all staff is a very good way to optimize costs as developers can often help QA engineers learn and better themselves at the same time as providing value to the project - teaching while doing.  

Kanika Vatsyayan: Who do you turn to when you feel stuck?  

Ian Goddard: The first place I would always turn when stuck is Stack Overflow…No, I kid!  
Whilst Stack Overflow is super useful, the first place would always be the internal team and squads. It's amazing how often a problem you are having has been seen and solved by another team member or a member of another squad.   

It is also very useful to do what is known as "rubber duck debugging" by just talking through an issue with someone, often someone who has no idea of the problem. You can find that you figure out the issue yourself by just taking a step back and explaining it to someone else!  

After that, the general QA community is a really useful source of information. Usually, you will find helpful and resourceful people willing to give you the time of day. Sometimes you have to figure out which Stack Overflow answers are wrong, of course, but there are lots of communities out there that can be so useful!  

Kanika Vatsyayan: What tools or methodologies are you excited to understand better this year?  

Ian Goddard: I am really looking into security and pen testing at the moment, that is something I really want to get better at, so most of the "white-hat-hacking" tools and approaches are on my radar this year, and as always, cloud testing, in general, is a really exciting space so I'd love to dig deeper into them, maybe do some cloud certifications.  

Kanika Vatsyayan: What are the best upcoming conferences testers should attend?  

Ian Goddard: Well, I will be speaking at the National Software Testing Conference in London this year, so I am looking forward to that! TestCon in both Vilnius and Russia are always worth a look, and I'd say the TestBash events are also a good bet. To be honest, this year has been so strange that I'm just looking forward to conferences again!  

Kanika Vatsyayan: Where can we find you online?  

Ian Goddard: My Twitter is sometimes work-related (@IanGoddard88), and my GitHub has a few personal projects in various states of completeness (Alpenglow88) otherwise, keep an eye out for me at conferences (virtually or in-person!).  

At BugRaptors, we provide solutions that can help our clients gain value and aim for business transformations. Since this mission needs the entire software testing community as well as clients to be informed of all the existing and upcoming trends, we make continuous efforts to nurture interactions with industry experts.  

If you have any queries or doubts related to your existing QA practices, we can help you get all the QA consulting services to support aligning your operations for maximum efficiency.   

You can reach us through info@bugraptors.com or simply connect with us through our website.  

If you are looking for some QA consulting or need help overcoming the expansive costs associated with your test automation project, reach us through info@bugraptors.com   

author

Kanika Vatsyayan

Kanika Vatsyayan is Vice-President – Delivery and Operations at BugRaptors who oversees all the quality control and assurance strategies for client engagements. She loves to share her knowledge with others through blogging. Being a voracious blogger, she published countless informative blogs to educate audience about automation and manual testing.

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