Over half of companies (55.7 per cent) do not spend enough on software testing, according to a survey of … software testers.

Sogeti, the software testing specialist arm of Capgemini questioned 300 software testers and developers who attended the December 2009 TestExpo for the survey.

According to Brian Shea, CEO of Sogeti UK, the maximum companies should spend on testing is 15 per cent of the IT budget, which he said could go down to 11 or 12 per cent if a process and strategy is properly implemented.

“Currently UK firms spend closer to the seven percent or eight percent mark, though this is up from five or six percent a few years ago,” said Shea.

The survey also found that 71.3 per cent believed that there is, or maybe, a UK skills shortage in software testing. However, Shea, believed that this trend is changing.

“The growth of testing will be higher than any other growth in the IT sector,” said Shea. “We now see people who want to become testers – it’s a career for people.

“Testers used to be seen as people who wanted to get into the IT sector but didn’t have an IT degree. IT testing is part of most major IT degrees now. In seven to 10 years out of university, testers can earn as much as a programme manager.”

Half of the respondents relied on and favoured automation as a testing methodology. This was followed by 13 per cent who preferred Accelerated Automation.

Meanwhile, the most sought-after testing methodology not currently used was Software Testing as a Service (STaaS), which 21 percent of respondents selected.

In terms of offshoring, 52.9 per cent of respondents said they did not have plans to offshore software testing in the future. However 34.1 per cent had already conducted some software testing offshore, while 8.2 per cent planned to offshore testing in the future. Just 4.7 per cent outsourced all of its software testing.

Of the respondents who outsource their testing, the majority, 52.4 per cent saw an increase in the amount of software testing outsourced in 2009, with 59.5 per cent expecting an increase this year as well. In comparison, 23.8 per cent saw a decrease last year and 21.4 per cent expect a decrease in 2010.

Moreover, Shea cited the recession as a reason for testing becoming a more serious consideration for businesses, as companies realise the importance of the customer and of customer service.