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2021 Software Testing Trends – Promise of a Better Future

The year 2020 has been extremely turbulent – which many would want to erase from their minds if possible. Here is my take on how we, in the Software Testing community, can learn from 2020 and try to make 2021 better! ✨

Table of Contents: 2021 Software Testing Trends

  1. Recap of 2020
  2. Software testing trends for 2021
    1. Increased awareness and involvement
    2. Exploratory, Risk-based Testing
    3. Load and Performance Testing
    4. Security Testing
    5. Accessibility Testing
    6. Native Application Testing
    7. Networking and Learning
    8. Other miscellaneous items
      1. Selenium 4
      2. A new era of tools
  3. Summary

Recap of 2020

2020 – seemingly a great number, reflecting perfect vision, was definitely not a year anyone would want to remember 😥 The pandemic created chaos around the world, many got affected directly while creating panic in the rest of us. While 2020 was tough on everyone, it was particularly hard on the elders and children – who need more physical connection with each other.

That said, technology did help us stay “socially connected”, allowing us to work in the best possible way from home 🏡

Software testing trends for 2021 🚀

Coming to think about testing, here are some software testing trends I believe we can look forward to in 2021:

Increased awareness and involvement 

Increased awareness and involvement in asking the “why” and “how” instead of focusing on the “what”:

  • Typically the focus for testing is “what should I test”?
  • The pandemic has made us realize many different dimensions, which we had taken for granted. I believe we will start asking “why” and “how” more before the “what”.
    • Why is this feature/software important?
    • How will it help the end-users?

Exploratory, Risk-based Testing

The quality of our software products has been exposed to sudden lockdowns and forced remote working. All of a sudden, new use cases came up, which means the design and functionality of the software were not necessarily optimal to support remote working. We were forced to use the tools and technology in whichever patchy way possible to try and get the work done.

With our recent experiences in 2020, I believe there needs to be more focus on how we can leverage the tools and technologies to automate the mundane and repetitive tests and explicitly carve out time for exploratory and risk-based testing.

There will also be an emphasis on how automation (to set up the desired state of the application-under-test) can help cover more interesting aspects of exploratory and risk based-testing

Load and Performance Testing

We didn’t necessarily care enough about load or performance issues in our products – as maybe the personas and the volume of traffic thought of initially (before the pandemic) didn’t make much difference. However, during the pandemic, the products and infrastructure were heavily put under stress and teams had to scramble to figure out a way to keep the ship floating 🚢

Though contextually (in terms of the type of application you are helping build), I predict, this aspect is going to be center stage in terms of usability of your product when the application is enduring heavy loads. While there already are many good tools around to support load and performance testing, these will get better to support testing of different business use cases.

Security Testing

With everyone forced to use digital channels, the non-technical users have had challenges adapting to the new technology and the digital ways of interactions. Not surprisingly, there is a huge increase in the creativity of the scammers and the phishers to take advantage of this situation and make quick money by cheating the inexperienced users.

Hence, security testing needs to become a top priority item in the testing strategy.

Accessibility Testing

Being more digital means people with visual impairments need to be able to use your software as well. Accessibility Testing will be more prevalent and consciously prioritized to enable more users to be able to get value from your software.

Native Application Testing

This is a trend that I don’t understand – everyone is creating native apps, whether they really add value or not.

But because of this shift, having a good native app testing strategy – which includes testing, test automation, upgrades, releases (beta or general releases), analytics/instrumentation, etc. is going to be crucial. There will be more focus on this – as we would have learned a lot from the challenges seen in 2020 with remote working.

Networking and Learning

Humans are social creatures. We thrive and enjoy working in co-located spaces with our co-workers, even if it is frequently. Likewise, conferences and meetups are a great source of meeting new people, networking and learning from each other. All of that went for a toss. These were all forcibly replaced with online/virtual events in 2020. While the online/virtual events did make it extremely easy to participate in events hosted anywhere in the world, when we would be able to meet people physically remains unknown.

I hope I am wrong in this, but 2021 is still going to be slow for in-person conferences and events. I predict the conferencing/virtual meetup software to add many interesting features and dimensions to enable seamless interactions with people, though virtually 👀

Other miscellaneous items

I am personally looking forward to the following in 2021:

Selenium 4

With Selenium 4 already in the last alpha release as I write this, I am very excited to contribute and see Selenium 4 get released.

A new era of tools

Tools that make it easy to test the right things, instead of focusing on “which tool is better” will have better usage and traction.


We should always learn from our and others’ experiences – good or bad, and channel that to influence our present and future to improve ourselves. While tools and technologies will come and go, we need to have:

  • A positive state of mind 🌈
  • Be humble and have empathy towards others 🙏
  • Have a curious and learning attitude 🕵️‍♂️

Happy New Year – 2021, we are waiting for you! 

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