Hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) allow using distinct hardware components through the Internet analogously to the cloud services. This article discusses the differences of the testing approaches that could be used to test hardware compared to software.
If you’re a QA tester who’s looking to expand your services to another field, HaaS is experiencing exponential growth. A study from Transparency Market Research predicted that the HaaS sector would reach $305 billion in 2026, with a year-over-year growth rate of 25.6%. North America will even be the region that contributes the most to this growth. Similar findings were even presented in last year’s Global Hardware as a Service Market Research Report by Advance Market Analytics.
But is your current skill set and resources enough to become a competent hardware tester? Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between software and hardware testing to find out.
Software testing requires test cases to be written, ensuring that the tests can cover all the features of software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. However, HaaS solutions don’t need as many test cases, if they need test cases at all. After all, HaaS solutions only serve one function, like machine automation or two-way communication.
Cost of testing
Software testing only requires the right software testing tools and a capable computer. However, due to the intricacy of hardware, most HaaS products need specific machines. For example, IoT devices have complex circuitry – this is why a lot of its engineers rely on dxf file formats to create their models. Dxf files make it possible to export data between different CAD programs, which is necessary to create a more unified IoT device infrastructure.
However, testing this kind of multi-layered environment needs a lot of resources, including tools that can grant you access to the entirety of the IoT’s infrastructure, such as its security and data.
Consequences of bugs
Software bugs can be fixed in the source code before the patch is distributed to all SaaS users. However, if a HaaS bug is found after the product is released, the customer needs to return the product to its vendor, and its firmware needs to be updated. This is why hardware tests contain several modules, from ECU to TP, which need to be individually checked for anomalies. If the system has already been put together, the engineer will need to decouple and reintegrate to fix the problem. This is costly and a waste of time.
It is natural for SaaS products to receive updates. In fact, it is even encouraged. This is because software evolves with the market, whether it is because of new trends or changing customer needs. However, HaaS solutions are created with long-term goals in mind. Therefore, a set test pattern will always be provided for them to ensure their quality. Any deviation from it can ruin the product’s infrastructure, whereas a software tester can discover new goals along the way.
QA engineers who didn’t necessarily work on the product usually do the software testing. However, once again due to the complexity of the hardware, a lot of HaaS product tests are conducted by its engineers. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they are the only ones who can do the job. You just need to be knowledgeable about hardware development and the product’s design to test it effectively.
The life of a hardware tester is nothing like that of a software’s. For example, not only do hardware testers need to be knowledgeable about multiple disciplines, but they also need to be more thorough about their work. If you want to become a hardware tester, you need to be willing to invest the time and resources to learn new things.