Load testing is done to measure performance and capacity of a system when under both normal and anticipated peak load. It helps in measuring the ultimate capacity of a system and identifies the bottlenecks that may affect the performance of the system. When the system is tested against peak load it’s called stress testing. However, the demarcation between load testing and stress testing is blurred.
There are disagreements regarding why load testing is required but it is expected to establish:
- The optimum capacity of the system
- Setting boundaries and limitations
- Testing reliability and resilience of a system as demand increases
- Identifying errors in practical situations
There are several methods applied to load testing. One is by allowing multiple users to access the system at a time. Apart from systems, software can also be put under load testing for performance measurement.
The load testing jobs often perform a part of tech support jobs as the testers offer the support by determining the optimum capacity of software and identifying the bottlenecks.
What do load testers do?
Once a software application is built it is important to learn its abilities and limitations. The tester put your application through different tests to assess its performance and thus helps improving its marketability. The performance generated trough the test is important for the management, developers and architects to remove clichés post production. A lot therefore depends on the accuracy of the testing. Load testing helps quantifying the issues that may occur in the long run. A tester, therefore, plays a key role in product development and he must possess the following qualities:
- Eye for details and dedication for precision and accuracy
- Anticipating the problems that may occur
- Communicating the findings of the test with the other involved parties
- Understanding of the software and its functionalities
- Project management skills and ability to take decisions when needed
- Ability to work in tandem with developers and business analysts
The load tester might work in the team under senior tester. He would be responsible for
- Drawing up the testing plan
- Interpreting the data gathered through testing
- Using load running applications for automating the testing process
- Testing against web applications, web services and SQL Server.
- Determining when an issue needs to be escalated to higher level
- Performing testing
Set of skills required are:
- Technical knowhow in using load testing tools
- Awareness of industry requirements and standards
- Ability to write load testing script
- Flexibility to work in shifts for long hours
- Understanding of load testing environment