TechBeacon’s top 12 app dev and testing articles of 2021

Application development and testing practices continued to evolve last year, as they have done for the past several years.

Organizations moving to a digital-first model because of the global coronavirus pandemic put increasing pressure on development teams to push out applications faster than ever, raising concerns over security and code quality in the process.

In this roundup of TechBeacon‘s Top 12 application development and testing articles for 2021, you’ll find best practices and tips from experts on navigating challenges in the DevOps space, best practices and tips you can use to grow in your field, and resources you can use to gather actionable information for your job.

1. The best DevOps conferences of 2021

Conferences and trade shows have long been vital venues for IT practitioners to stay on top of the latest trends in their specific fields. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many of these events being canceled or transitioned into virtual events. Even so, there were plenty of useful in-person and online conferences for DevOps professionals last year. Freelance writer editor Linda Rosencrance highlights 10 of the best DevOps conferences of 2021.

2. Climb the automation engineer career ladder: 6 roles, requirements

Test automation engineers playing a critical role in DevOps environments. However, there can sometimes be considerable ambiguity about their potential career trajectories within the field. Some perceive the role as a flat one with little clarity on how to grow within it. Here, Angie Jones, senior director of developer relations at Applitools, offers a guide to understanding the different levels available to automation engineers and the requirements for each role.

3. How to do web performance testing with Google Lighthouse and Cypress

Web performance testing is critical for ensuring users have an optimal experience on your organization’s website. Users have little patience for sites that are glitchy or slow, and they are often quick to go to a rival’s site if they perceive it as offering them a better experience. Marie Drake, principal test automation engineer at News UK, explains why and how organizations need to do a combination of back-end and front-end tests to ensure optimal website performance.

4. 27 JavaScript experts to follow on Twitter

Developers of JavaScript applications have a variety of resources they can tap for information and for staying abreast of the latest developments in the field. Some examples include books, technical articles, podcasts and YouTube videos. Freelance writer Mitchell “Moe” Long says another essential resource is Twitter, because expert developers often use the platform to share insights, tips and tricks, and to spark discussions. Here he offers a curated list of 27 JavaScript experts to follow on Twitter.

5. 30 test automation leaders you should follow on Twitter

Following the right people on Twitter is a great way to stay updated on current trends and state-of-the-art techniques in almost any field. Software test automation is no exception. The field is crowded with experts on various topics including the using the right developer tools, the latest technologies and techniques and the use of AI and machine learning in test automation. The key is knowing whom to follow on Twitter and elsewhere. Freelance writer Mitchell “Moe” Long’s list of 30 automation leaders to follow on Twitter covers experts on a wide spectrum of areas within the field.

6. 5 ways to empower your developers with low-code/no-code

Low-code/no-code platforms are transforming application development by allowing developers to essentially assemble web and mobile applications with minimal or no code creation needed. These platforms give enterprise developers and even those with little or no development skills a way to simply drag and drop different application components into the development environment and connect them to create an application. Gartner expects that low-code will account for nearly two-thirds (65%) of applications by 2024. Jayne Groll, CEO at the DevOps Institute, offers five tips for empowering developers with low-code/no-code platforms.

7. How DevOps teams are using—and abusing—DORA metrics

DevOps teams routinely use DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) metrics to evaluate how well they are performing against goals and established best practices. The metrics measure four key outcomes around application development: deployment frequency, lead time for changes, change fail percentage, and mean time to repair/recovery. While the metrics are a useful indicator of how DevOps efforts are progressing in an organization, they can be a double-edged sword, says Bryan Finster, distinguished engineer and value stream architect at Defense Unicorns. Here he explains why that’s the case and what DevOps teams can do about it.

8. Scaling agile: What framework to use—and when

Selecting the appropriate method for scaling an agile project can be somewhat challenging because of the different things people mean when they talk about having a “scaling problem” or a having a project that “doesn’t scale,” says Matthew Heusser, managing consultant at Excelon Development. Often what they mean is either finding a way to coordinate large groups to deliver products efficacy or being able to direct those groups in a more hands-on manner. In this article, Heusser offers tips on how to make an informed choice between methods like Scrum, Disciplined Agile Delivery (DaD) and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

9. The best agile and lean development conferences of 2021

The global coronavirus epidemic dampened IT conference attendance worldwide last year, as it did in 2020. Still, there were several in-person and online events where developers had opportunities to learn from some of the best practitioners in lean and agile development practices. Freelance writer/editor Linda Rosencrance’s roundup of the best agile and lean development conferences of 2021 included OOP 2021, DeveloperWeek, Agile Manchester Virtual, DevOps Enterprise Summit, and ACE 2021.

10. The future of software testing: Machine learning to the rescue

End-to-end software delivery pipelines and containers have helped forward-leaning organizations significantly improve software delivery times in recent years. Yet many others continue to struggle finding the right balance between speed and quality, and often it’s the end users that become the testers of new software in these environments. Harpreet Singh, founder and co-CEO at Launchable, and Kohsuke Kawaguchi, co-CEO at Launchable, say that for these organizations the key focus in 2021 was on delivering right value at the right quality level, fast. Here, the two DevOps experts highlight five trends to watch, including test automation, data-driven ops, and the use of machine learning and predictive test selection.

11. Why it’s (still) so difficult for testers to learn test automation

Many software testers get up to speed on test automation practices quickly and can grow from novices to seasoned veterans in a relatively short period. Others, though, can find test automation a struggle. Root causes for this include inadequate software development skills, experience with just one tool or language and a lack of adequate learning materials, says Bas Dijkstra, test automation speaker and writer. Here he offers advice on how to navigate these challenges and make a smooth transition to test automation specialist.

12. Computer science degrees: Still relevant but not required

College degrees are considered essential to gainful employment in many fields, but somewhat less so in IT. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 25% of IT workers in the country don’t have a bachelor’s degree. And many organizations seeking to fill roles in areas such as software engineering, DevOps, and test automation do not specify what type of degree is required for a specific role. So are computer science degrees still relevant? Freelance journalist Christopher Null spoke with several hiring managers and team leaders to find out.

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