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What is test driven development?
Test driven development (TDD) is a software development practice that combines development and testing. It requires you to write a test case before writing the actual code. It's different from the traditional software development cycle, in which you write code first and carry out testing later.Footnote 1
Kent Beck introduced TDD in the late 90s as part of Extreme Programming. TDD follows the Red-Green-Refactor loop:Footnote 2
Red: Indicates that the code doesn't work to meet the pre-written test.
Green: Indicates that the code meets the test but might not be optimal.
Refactor: Indicates that the developer is now working to optimize the code to make it more readable and maintainable.
By following this approach, TDD aims to promote higher code quality, reduce the number of defects, and provide a safety net for future changes.
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Test driven development course curriculum
Are you curious about how to learn test driven development? The first step is to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of programming. You need to know the principles of coding, testing techniques, and debugging before you can move on to the TDD methodology.
Once you are ready to move on, topics you may find in a beginner TDD tutorial include:
Introduction to testing and iterative development
Benefits of TDD
Automated testing and TDD tools
Instructions for writing a unit test
Unit testing frameworks
Testing levels and release cycles
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Explore jobs that involve test driven development
Test driven development has become a popular methodology to develop code that is easy to debug and maintain. Many jobs related to software development prioritize skills in test driven development and behavior driven development.
Some careers that could involve TDD include:
Software engineer: Works on the design, development, and maintenance of new software systems. These professionals are responsible for making sure system components like hardware, software, and networks work together and meet desired requirements.Footnote 3
QA test engineer: Designs and conducts tests on the software applications to ensure they work as per the project requirements. These professionals collaborate with software engineers and developers to meet software quality standards.Footnote 4
Front-end software developer: Works on the visual aspects and user-focused functionality of websites and apps. These professionals are responsible for how end users interact with web pages and applications.Footnote 5
Each of the roles above will have different education and skill requirements. For example, you may be able to build relevant skills in a coding boot camp. If you want to focus on testing and implementing security features, a cybersecurity boot camp may also be a good option. However, some employers may seek candidates with a degree in computer science or similar, depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.
How to use test driven development in your career
Once you learn test driven development, you can use its principles in different ways depending on your job. Here are some common ways in which you'd use test driven development in different roles of software development:
Software engineers use TDD to write and develop code that's well-tested, easily maintained, and meets the exact functional requirements.
QA test engineers write tests beforehand and work with the development team to implement the principles of TDD.
A front-end developer can use test driven development to work on websites and apps so that they are free from any errors and meet the user needs.
An agile coach understands the principles of test driven development and guides others to implement them in their agile software development process.