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What is Domain Knowledge?

Kirti Mansabdar Aug 08, 2013

In software engineering, domain knowledge is awareness of the environment in which the target system operates. Domain knowledge is important, because it usually must be learned from software end users in the domain (as domain specialists or experts), rather than from software developers.

Why the Domain Knowledge is Important?

Any test engineer should have the basic testing skills such as Manual testing and Automation testing. Test engineers having the common sense can find most of the obvious bugs in the software. Would you release the product considering this common sense based testing as adequate? Would you take this application to the world? Certainly not. Hence, domain expert should verify the application before final release.

Every test engineer should have to think like an End User while testing the application. As we all know, no one is perfect or have expertise in all dimensions, so you can’t test the application for 100% coverage considering all the scenarios in which end user is eventually going to use your application. User who is going to use your application, may have a good knowledge of the domain on which he is working.

Danny R. Faught has mentioned three dimensional testing carriers, here are those three skill categories:

  1. Testing skill
  2. Domain Knowledge
  3. Technical Expertise

Nowadays, domain experts are more in demand than technical expert. When you hire fresh engineers who have just come out of college, you cannot expect them to compete with the experienced professionals. But why domain experts are more in demand? Because experienced professional certainly have the advantage of domain and testing experience and they have better understandings of different issues or scenarios and can help deliver the application which is superior and faster, which helps in improving the marketability of application.

Here are some of the examples where you require particular domain knowledge for testing:

  1. Mobile Application Testing
  2. Banking Application Testing
  3. Wireless Application Testing
  4. Network Testing

Testing such applications without domain knowledge is not at all an easy task. No doubt that we test the application from our point of view however the business requirements are different. So to test such applications we need to grasp some extra knowledge about particular domain, need to take extra KT sessions from experts as well as from client, so that we can improve the quality of the application.

When we know the functional domain better, we can write and execute quality test cases and can effectively simulate the end user actions. I am referring to the depth of knowledge. The depth of knowledge helps the test Engineer to design test cases with a comprehensive set of data. You can use equivalence class partitioning to categorize data in equivalent classes and optimize the number of test cases; you can also use the BVA (Boundary Value Analysis) technique for testing.

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