UK is short on software testing skills

The combination of a shortage of software testers in the UK and businesses' reluctance to spend money on testing is causing financial and reputational loss, research has shown.

A survey carried out by software testing company Sogeti at TestExpo last month revealed that 73% of the 300 people interviewed said there is a shortage of software testing skills in the UK. More than half of them added that businesses do not spend enough on testing.

Although businesses value software testing, they do not commit enough resources to it, said Richard Terry, deputy CEO of Sogeti UK.

"Software testers and developers are painfully aware of the need to thoroughly test applications before they are unleashed on consumers or business users, but managers need to ensure resources, such as time, budget and headcount, are available to support thorough and methodical testing," he said.

Bola Rotibi, analyst at Macehiter Ward Dutton, said companies recognise the importance of software testing but it is not being done well in many cases.

"We have the tools in the UK, but companies are not always doing it from the beginning, which is essential to establish what needs to be tested," she said.

Rotibi added that if testing is overlooked or fails, businesses will suffer if problems occur. "It costs more to fix it after it is deployed, and problems can damage reputation, confidence and customer loyalty."

More than a third of respondents to the Sogeti survey said that they currently had some software testing conducted offshore and 9% said they planned to offshore. A total of 52% had no plans to offshore any software testing in the future.