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What is Software Testing? Type of Software Testing & Why Do We Need It?

What is Software Testing?

Software testing is a process that helps to identify the performance of the software based on the business requirements and its operation. In simple words, testing can be understood as examining the Software to ensure that it is functioning as per the expectations.

For Example, A coffee machine has 4 buttons (Tea, Hot Water, Espresso, Cappuccino). If the Tea is pressed, the coffee machine drips 1 glass of milk mixed with water, Hot water option gives a glass full of Hot water, Espresso gives 1 cup black coffee and cappuccino gives 1 cup of milk + coffee.

The above-defined features are considered as our requirements that will be taken into account while testing the Coffee Machine software. Our intent with the testing of this machine will be to ensure that all the 4 buttons are working as expected and in case we play around with the buttons, for example, clicking 2 options together or pressing any button, again and again, is not breaking the coffee machine.

Definition of Software Testing

Software testing is done to ensure that the functioning of the final product has no defects and is matching the baseline requirements. The intent of Software testing is to deliver a quality product.

Read: What Is The Difference Between Test Plan and Test Strategy?

Types of Software Testing:

Testing can be broadly categorized into 2 categories:

Types of Software Testing

Functional Testing:

 This type of testing covers all the functional areas of the software and can be carried out manually as well as through the means of code and automation.

Functional Testing:

Read: Manual vs Automation Testing - Your Complete Guide!

The manual testing is usually referred to as ‘Blackbox Testing’ and if the internal code is also reviewed to test the application it is termed as Whitebox Testing. Combination of both these testing is termed as Grey Box Testing. Below are the definition of some of the common functional testing types used frequently in the Testing process:

  • Unit Test: As the name suggests Unit Testing is done to test the code of each and every unit (component) of the software. Example: If the development team has developed a login page. They will perform a few basic scenarios around this login page like - Valid credentials, Invalid Credentials, Empty credentials
  • Integration Testing: This testing is done by integrating the developed modules and then checking if the integrated modules are interacting properly. Example: An application has 2 integrated modules. Module 1 has Company Data and Module 2 has the Employees data. When adding new Employees the page has a Company Field wherein if any company name is entered it searches that name in Module 1 finds the matching Company names and displays it under Company Name field of Module 2.
  • Smoke Testing: Smoke testing is done as an initial checkup of the application where the critical flows of functionality are tested. It is done to inspect if the application is ready for testing. Example: If a new website is developed having 3 screens. 1st Login and 2nd User Profile and 3rd to read Articles and having setting option our Smoke testing will cover the following scenarios:
    • User is able to login
    • User is able to traverse through one screen to another
    • User is able to sign out
  • Sanity Testing: Sanity testing is performed after the functionality as cleared smoke testing and is accepted by the QA Team for further validations. It is a high-level check around all the new features added to the application. Sanity testing generally focuses on the positive scenarios and gives a quick update on how stable the application is looking. Example: An application has 10 screens. On the 9th screen, a new feature of document upload is added. Sanity would be performed to check the working of the upload option and check if the dependent items are working fine like the fields visible on the 9th screen are not impacted.
  • Regression Testing: Regression testing is the superset of Sanity Testing which is done to ensure that the deployment of any new feature or defects fixes has not impacted the existing functionality. Example: If an issue was logged around an application that Back button is not working properly regression will be done around the Back button as well as the Save button to ensure that the bug fix has not impacted the functionality of other buttons available on the site.

Non-functional Testing:

This type focuses more on the quality of code and is generally performed to identify the threshold of the software. It is usually done using automation tools. This type of testing is further subdivided into the different testing groups. The most commonly used Testing types are as below:

Non-functional Testing:

  • Documentation Testing: This type of testing focuses on verifying all the testing related documents to estimate the testing efforts, testing coverage and tracing the requirements. Example: Below documents are reviewed to check the coverage and estimates:
    • Test Plan
    • Requirements
    • Test Cases
    • Traceability Matrix
  • Installation Testing: This type of testing is done to check that the Software is correctly installed. Example: User will check that all the features are enabled while installing a Software
  • Reliability Testing: Reliable testing is done to ensure that the developed software is working the same way as it was expected. It usually covers the positive scenarios and common actions. Example: If the battery backup of a mobile is of 2 days. Testing will be done that the mobile is not crashing or getting switched off before this time
  • Performance Testing: This type of testing is done to check the performance of the system under a specific load condition. Example: A website gives the facility of booking airline tickets. Verifying the response time when 5 users are booking the ticket at the same time. Then increasing the load to 10, 50, 100 and so on to check if the application is still performing or getting crashed.
  • Load Testing: This type of testing is performed to understand how the application behaves under normal and peak load conditions. This type of testing identifies the threshold limit of the application. Example: A company has multiple applications using the same server. Running multiple instances of all or most of the application to check how the server responds to the load. The load should be increased gradually to find out the limit till when the system is responding well enough
  • Stress Testing: This testing is done to check how stressed the application is when working beyond the threshold. limit. Example: If an application is designed to support 500 users at a time. We will check how the system responds if more than 500 users have logged in to the system.
  • Spike Testing: In this type of testing sudden increase and decrease of the load is put on the application to check its behaviour. Example: An e-commerce site has declared 2 hrs sale for 5 days. Testing will be done to check the performance of the site with variation in load
  • Volume Testing: In this type of testing the application is subjected to a high volume of data and check how the application is accepting that data. This type of testing generally hits upon the database to ensure that the import/export of huge data is not leading to crash of the application. Example: A site allows you to upload any study material for reference by other users. Upload large no. of files to the website and check if it is able to accept the voluminous data. 
  • Security Testing: As the name suggests Security testing is done to ensure that the system is secure and cannot be hacked or misused by anyone. Example: Check if the password entered on the front end is encrypted and is not readable in the developer mode 

Why Do We Test Software?

Now since we have a fair idea of what Software testing is we shall further delve into why Software testing is required. For the ease of understanding below are the why factors related to Software testing:

Read: Software Development Life Cycle VS Software Testing Life Cycle (SDLC and STLC)
  • Gaps and Issues in software development: Softwares usually have bugs in it. This can happen because of many factors. It can be due to requirements not being clear or continuously changing, Complex functionality, programming errors, the time allotted is not enough, communication gap etc. Testing helps us identify such gaps and errors and resolve them before time.
  • Increases Client Satisfaction: The intention of testing software is to ensure that the requirements specified by the Client are completely accommodated in the Software. If the application is thoroughly checked, any concerns related to the requirement not matching or missing becomes very low. Also, testing reduces the risk of application breakdown or having any critical issue that might impact the client’s work. 
  • Ensures good quality product: Testing reduces bugs in the application making the application more stable. And ensuring that the quality of the application is maintained.
  • Safeguards crashing of Softwares: As a process, it is ensured that before having the Software release the functionality should not have any unresolved critical/high bugs in it, shielding the Software from any failure.
  • Cost-Effective: Softwares used in domains that have money transactions involved like Banking, ECommerce, Trips and Travel planning have the risk of suffering from a huge loss if the Software isn’t thoroughly tested.

These are some of the many factors that help to promote Software Testing as a practice to deliver a bug-free and a good quality product.


Software testing is a very vital step in the software development life cycle process. It is usually taken into account in each and every phase of SDLC, be it in the form of Unit Testing, to check if code works fine or Integration testing, to check if the modules work fine after integration, or maybe Compatibility testing, to ensure that it is working fine in all the systems/browsers, etc.

Read: Everything you Need to Know about QA Software Tester Career: Complete Testing Career Outlook

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    Ankita Tewari

    I am a seasoned IT professional with a total experience of 8 years. During my course of work, I have been engaged in several projects. I have hands-on experience in leading CRM systems like Salesforce and Pega. I am currently employed as a Test Lead and is enthusiastic to learn and explore new technologies.


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