Performance Testing has become one of the core niche areas for a tester to specialize in, in the non-functional testing space over the last decade. Performance has become a core differentiating factor in enabling a product to succeed in the marketplace. End users low tolerance for poor performance has impacted several products’ acceptance adversely in recent times. All of these along with an enhanced appreciation and understanding of how software performance can be implemented has given a new face lift for the performance testing and testers. The question is can functional testers be good performance testers.
At the very core, performance testing also leverages core functional scenarios, especially E2E scenarios and simulates them to be run under realistic and unrealistic load conditions that the business anticipates to see how the application performs. Benchmarking, profiling, tuning are some of the core activities performance testers take on, as part of their responsibilities. They also take on capacity planning to proactively plan for future performance expectations and competitive performance runs to understand how the application fares against other players in the market. From an implementation standpoint, performance testers take on a lot of automation with some amount of manual testing too, especially for the analysis and quick runs around page load and response times.
From all of these, it is not impossible for a functional tester to take on performance testing, but the real challenge or the area the tester needs to focus on changing is the mind-set. Functional testers come in with a very strong bias on functional workflows. They will have to move past this to think performance – while they leverage functional workflows for performance testing, the focus should be on load, scalability, rendering, response times and overall performance. This change does not happen overnight. If this can be inculcated along with a strong understanding of how these performance and functional scenarios maps to reaping business value for the product, there is no reason to stop a functional tester from specializing in the space of performance testing.