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Debugging and Testing: Knowing the Difference

When your piece of software has nearly reached the finish line, it is time to do the last two steps: debugging and testing. However, many people make the mistake of lumping them together. These are actually two distinct processes that have marked differences and unique duties.

For example, automation testing may seem like something a debugger would need to do, but it is actually under the purview of the testing department.

To help clear things up, here’s a brief look at these two processes so that you better know how to manage them.

Testing

Testing is mainly about checking whether the software is working like it is supposed to. The job is to fully explore the software and the way it works. The testers’ job is not just to find something wrong but also to determine whether the software does the job it was meant to do. They also catalogue everything that goes wrong with the software and repeats the process.

There are several notable differences when it comes to testing. For one, to ensure that the testing process is honest, the developer and the debugging team are not allowed to do the testing. Testers follow a certain path for their tests. It’s pretty structured and they need to be followed so that any of the defects they detect would be properly documented.

The great thing about having such a structured process means testers can automate it. Just write a script that will run the testing process and record what went wrong, then testers are good to go. This makes it a lot easier for them.

There are various types of testing and these are usually handled one-by-one. This can include everything from unit testing to stress testing. It all depends on the software. For example, software that needs to operate with multiple users, a stress test has become a required part of testing.

The main difference in testing is that you technically don’t need any developer experience. You’re here to find the errors not to fix them, so this can be outsourced to others.

Debugging

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Debugging is when the developer team gets down and reviews all the errors that the testing team found. Their job is to correct everything so that the software specifications are met. Debugging is more of an art form than anything else. Programmers often come at debugging from various angles, ensuring that the process cannot be handed over to machines. All debugging is done manually.

Additionally, debugging is done on a per bug basis. This means the developers look at each bug in isolation and correct them one by one. This can be a slow and painstaking process. To do it properly, your team must know how to code so that they would be able to correct the errors. When it is done, the software is returned to the testers for further quality testing.

Software needs to work properly when it gets released. To ensure that customers are pleased by the results, your testing and debugging teams need to work well with each other. With the clear delineation of the duty above, you should be able to assign them the right jobs and coordinate them well with each other.