Good Test Data Management
Does your organization implement test data management? If your organization deals with critical or sensitive business data, test data management will benefit your organization. The fact that issues related to testing data account for 15% of all software defects emphasizes the importance of test data. This article will accurately discuss what a test data manager does, what skills a test data management needs, and the benefits of hiring a test data manager.
What is Test Data Management?
Let’s first dive into the definition of test data management (TDM). Managing the data needed to meet automated testing requirements is called test data management. Test data managers can use test data management solutions to create test data based on test needs.
The test data management solution must ensure that it only provides high-quality data. Poor quality data is worse than no data, and low-quality data may produce unreliable wrong results. Fidelity is another essential requirement of test data: the test data must be as close to the truth production data as possible.
Responsibilities of Test Data Manager
One of the prime responsibilities of the test data manager is to formulate and implement the organization's long-term strategy for enterprise test data management. In addition, the test data manager is responsible for the estimation of test-related tasks, the analysis of test requirements, the design and development of support tools, testing, and the implementation of TDM processes and solutions. The process created by the test data manager is consistent and repeatable to support multiple functions. These functions can include repeated identification and shielding of test data for different applications, and frequent refreshing and updating of test data as needed.
Another critical responsibility of the test data manager is to ensure compliance with IT security guidelines and data compliance regulations.
The test data manager is also responsible for providing QA testing, user acceptance testing, and performance testing.
What Skills do Test Data Managers Need?
You must ensure that the test data managers have the skills needed to handle all the responsibilities of their position. For example, they should know how to use the TDM tool to create and dig test data, and it can quickly and automatically generate data. This is a huge benefit for organizations, as many scenarios can be tested quickly.
Talented test data managers spot inefficiencies in test data and optimize them to improve the testing process. For example, we need to manually save files from time to time to overwrite old files. Test data managers consider this process slow and error-prone. In this case, they might decide to create a simple script that verifies file version time and keeps auto-saving.
Qualified candidates should understand and process test data requests from test data analysts and other requesters. They should be able to work with all types of analysts and engineers. Therefore, the test data manager must have a wide range of engineering skills. For example, skills such as Java (hive, Apache, Hadoop) and scala (APACHE spark, Kafka) are beneficial.
The test data manager should also have experience in automation using Excel macros, QTP, and similar tools. In addition, a good understanding of database technologies such as big data, Hadoop, Teradata, SQL Server, or DB2 will help candidates manage data storage tasks.
Finally, the capability to apply data shielding techniques is a non-negotiable skill for a test data manager position. Masking data is necessary to protect your company's reputation and user data by avoiding harmful data breaches.
Benefits of Test Data Management
1. Provide high-quality data for automated testing
The most important reason to hire a test data manager is to ensure that high-quality data is provided to automated test algorithms.
If the data provided to the test is of poor quality, the test is likely to fail. No amount of strategies can save the test if low-quality data is used. So don't spend much time creating a detailed testing strategy without high-quality data.
2. Make data available for testing
The prime role of the test data manager is the generation of test data and the test itself. The test data manager ensures that high-quality test data is always available when needed, which will make the test process smooth.
Providing high-quality test data when testing requires it is critical, and that's what Test Data Managers do. For example, suppose the development team is waiting for test feedback about the newly created version. But since the test data was still not built, the development team is slowing down. Ideally, the test data manager decides what test data needs to be created when developing new functionality. In this way, the availability of test data is consistent with the new version, and the version can be tested immediately. This saves valuable time for the development team.
3. Help create documented TDM processes
It is critical that the test data manager can document the TDM process. Having a documented TDM process helps other team members understand how the test data manager generates testing data and handles the testing of application scenarios.
If your test data manager asks to leave or quit, the organization can still rely on the process recorded by the test data manager, and the team can quickly understand and perform TDM-related tasks.
4. Help find errors early
Test Data Manager keeps your TDM process running smoothly, which increases the chance of finding bugs faster. The cost of fixing errors will increase with the total time required to detect them.
Increasing Demand for Test Data Managers
Due to the rapid increase in the amount of data generated, the demand for test data managers is also growing. Today, the amount of data generated is enormous, generating 250 billion bytes of data every day. In the past two years alone, we’ve produced 90% of all the data the world has ever created.
Another reason to need a test data manager is to prevent test data leakage. The cost of each data leak can be as high as $4 million. However, many organizations have not seen the value of test data management. At present, only 24% of organizations hide their data.
It is not easy to fill the position with the test data manager, which requires skills in many fields, such as programming, engineering, data shielding, and project management. There is fierce competition among companies to recruit test data managers with the right mix of skills.
But in fact, suitable software can meet most of the above needs and save labor and time costs for enterprises. ZenData general data generator defines a simple data type description syntax through a YAML file. Users can maintain test data by defining a simple field value list, prefix, and suffix configurations. Concise, efficient, and flexible, it is a powerful helper for unit tests, interface tests, function automation tests, performance tests, pressure tests, and pile driving mock. The two main functions of ZenData are data generation and data analysis. We can use ZenData to generate various data required through a configuration file. It is also possible to specify a configuration file for a data file defined by its data type to complete the parsing of structured data. ZenData can be used not only to prepare test data under manual test scenarios, but also for data generation and analysis in automated test scripts. You can also generate enormous amounts of data at a click for performance and stress testing.