The beginning of 2020 introduced new challenges for businesses worldwide. COVID-19 meant that the use of digital platforms increased rapidly, accelerating the need for digital transformation. With this came an immense pressure on IT departments. Teams had to find a way to scale and provide the digital services customers required with very limited resources.
At the time of writing this blog post, we’re close to the end of the year, and budget caps continue to hinder hiring of talent to fill gaps and scale teams. And finding talent wasn’t easy in the first place.
We see a trend towards wanting QA engineers who have developer type skills, who yet retain their quality mindset and business-cum-user centricity. Is this expecting too much? Yes, we think so. Only a few QA professionals can have all these skills in their repertoire. - Capgemini World Quality Report 2020-2021
Without a solution to this problem, teams will continue to experience significant skill gaps and bottlenecks, keeping them from delivering quality at speed and meeting new customer needs.
The consequences for businesses include loss of productivity, slower time to market, increased risk, and increased costs.
The question remains - how can software development teams bridge the skills gap and create rapid value? With continued constraints on budget spending and faster deliveries, businesses need to rethink their processes to maintain their competitive edge.
No-code automation plays a key role in answering that question, due to its ability to make people more efficient immediately.
In the following post, we’ll take a closer look at the role of testers and developers, and challenge traditional perceptions of their skills and responsibilities. This will lead to our conclusion on why our no-code solution helps close the skills gap and brings down barriers to digital transformation. Last, you’ll see how one of our customers transformed their software testing processes with no-code and found the investment to be ‘a no-brainer’.
A quick Google search on the roles and responsibilities of testers - from software testing engineers and analysts to testing architects and test managers - will reveal that the main competency required to become a tester is a solid understanding of the business processes and technologies under test.
In addition to this, many roles require programming capabilities. For example, Selenium testers or test automation engineers must have strong coding skills and extensive experience with test automation frameworks.
Since more businesses are incorporating automation into their testing practices, or looking to do it in the near future, the demand for testers with these capabilities is growing. This has pros and cons, depending on which side of the table you’re on.
For the tester with programming skills, this is great. They are in demand putting them in a favorable position on the job market.
For the tester without programming skills, this is not so great. They are held back from contributing to their area of expertise: the quality of business processes. They must either upskill and learn how to use a test automation framework or depend on programmers to execute these tasks.
For the business, this is a major barrier to quality delivery at speed. The costs of finding the right people are high, skills gaps are bound to remain due to siloed expertise, and, thanks to these siloes, the collaboration required to work agile is also constrained.
Balance automation against skills needs. Gaps between advanced automation tools and required skillsets are here to stay. The way forward is to develop a strategy either to lessen dependency on skills or to make automation inclusive. - Capgemini World Quality Report 2020-2021
Even if the business manages to put together a team that, combined, has all the right skills, they will find themselves prohibited from scaling those practices.
Why? First of all, code will hinder collaboration, as only those with specific coding skills can contribute, and even those with coding skills will know how challenging it can be to understand someone else’s code.
Second, as the scope of automation increases, so does the maintenance workload. Hence, those test automation engineers you hired to build an automation framework are now spending all their time on maintaining code, rather than finding new opportunities for automation - making scaling impossible.
This division of roles and responsibilities simply isn’t sustainable for growth.
Instead, you need to start thinking about the role and skills of the tester and the approach to test automation in a new way.
Test automation isn’t actually a skills problem. It’s a tool problem.
Yet, many perceive the main barrier to increasing productivity, mitigating risk, and reducing costs to be a matter of finding the right people to handle test automation.
The reason for this is that conventional test automation frameworks have dictated that coding is a necessary part of the equation.
This is unfortunate, because, as mentioned, testers are experts in the business processes and technologies under test, but not necessarily in programming.
Yes, there are testers who will want to upskill and contribute to coded test automation. But the majority either won’t or can’t, and at the end of the day, the business will thrive best when resources are used where they contribute with the most value.
As long as there’s a smarter way of doing things, that way will trump the less smart way over time. Netflix, Über, and Airbnb are all classic examples of business models that have replaced conventional models through digital transformation.
When it comes to test automation, the smarter way is no-code. No-code doesn’t mean tests can’t be coded - it means that they don’t have to be.
Instead of using code to describe test cases or processes, they can be described in the way that people find easiest to understand: with flowcharts.
Below is a picture of how a simple test or process is described with Leapwork - in a way that anyone can understand.
By using Leapwork’s no-code test automation platform, tests can be designed, executed, maintained, and scaled with ease and speed.
The visual, flowchart approach addresses the skills gap and enables all members of the team - technical experts and business experts alike - to collaborate on automation. This means that those who understand the business processes the best won’t be prohibited from contributing as with conventional approaches.
This is the fastest possible way to create test automation, resulting in instant value creation.
Watch the video below where David Pound, Head of Lending Technologies at Investec explains how they created instant value and ROI with Leapwork.
Learn more about closing the skills gap in software development, and how to increase the speed of testing in this comprehensive guide.