February 1, 2021 QA Testing, AI, and the Power of Verified On-Demand Talent with Jonathan Lipps of HeadSpin

Each week we talk with enterprise thought leaders about the future of work and on-demand talent. Renaissance man Jonathan Lipps joins Uprisor this week to discuss his predictions for the future of open-source technology, and why he’s made it his personal mission to educate developer communities on best practices that are centered on testing automation and artificial intelligence.

Jonathan is Director, Learning and Education Programs at HeadSpin, focused on helping developers gain the skills and knowledge to get the most out of mobile test automation and performance monitoring tools. Jonathan and Clinton talk about the creation of HeadSpin University and why raising a credentialized virtual workforce is so important to the future of testing. Enjoy the conversation and top moments from the episode, below.

Early Mobile App Development Left Much to Be Desired

After discussing Jonathan’s varied and creative background—besides being a seasoned technologist, he is also passionate about the arts, including photography, philosophy and music—the episode kicks off with a look back at the shifting technological needs Jonathan has seen over the past decades.

In the early 2010s, the field of testing mobile apps was still in its nascent stages. While users were starting to flock to mobile apps in increasing numbers, and usage was just starting to skyrocket, many mobile apps still suffered from poor user experience. Back then, some of the biggest challenges facing developers were:

  • Mobile apps were on the cusp of exploding in popularity
  • Existing apps offered users much to be desired in terms of quality, often resulting in poor usage and bad app store reviews
  • Developers were still catching up to the shifting technology, and didn’t yet have the testing protocols and strategies necessary to properly test and fix user issues

“We saw that mobile app usage was going to just explode. Therefore, mobile app quality was going to become a really important factor.” —Jonathan Lipps


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a lot of software testing and quality assurance was done by developers manually. This might have sufficed when the software development cycle was much slower, and companies were shipping their software to brick-and-mortar stores on physical CD-ROMs a few times a year. 

However, that no longer worked in the early 2010s as the mobile app market exploded. Suddenly, there were thousands of apps being developed, with constant software releases rolled out on a weekly (if not daily) basis. If the industry didn’t shift quickly, and developers didn’t speed up their testing and quality assurance strategies, poor app quality could—and for many early software brands, did—jeopardize success. 

“If you still had a team of 50 people sitting somewhere, walking through thousands of test cases by hand, they’re never going to be able to keep up with the flow of new incremental changes to the software.” —Jonathan Lipps

AI and Automations are the Future of Software Testing 

Jonathan projects that the future of software and mobile app development will be driven by artificial intelligence and testing automation. In fact, for many developers, including the ones he partners with through Appium — the future is already here.

Rather than having a developer or engineer manually run through numerous test case scenarios, smart developers are instead writing automations that rapidly test the code that developers are planning to send to users. These automations can mimic different mobile phone platforms, user actions, browsers and more.

Jonathan and his team at Appium are focused on training developers to rethink their QA processes and find ways to harness the power of AI and automation to quickly identify bugs, leading to improved efficiency and enhanced user experiences.

Thanks to Jonathan for sharing his insights with us. For more Future of Work conversations, check out the Uprisor podcast.

“There’s a conceptual evolution that’s happened. But the crucial piece is you need technologies that facilitate the running of these automated tests.” —Jonathan Lipps

Annika Nagy


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