What is the difference between testing and debugging in programming?

What is the difference between testing and debugging in programming?

Testing and debugging is the important part of the software developer. If you are a programmer or want to be a programmer then you might familiar with the term debugging and testing. But, what those actually mean and what’s the difference between them?

In this article, we will discuss about testing and debugging.

So, let’s get started -


In the software development process, testing is the activity to find defects (bugs) in the code. Testers execute their manual or automated test cases, if they find any bugs they report it to the developer. As per the nature of the defect, testers have to report at what point the defect occurred and what happened due to the occurrence of that defect. There will be many different kinds of testing, such as - unit, integration, system/acceptance, stress, load, soak testing etc.


Debugging is next activity of software development process after testing. As per the testing report, the developer finds the cause of the defects by going through the lines of code. Then modify that portion of code and rechecks if the defect has been finally removed or not. This process makes the software bug free. After fixing all the bugs, developers send the software back to the testers.

Now, let's find the difference between Testing and Debugging

  1. The purpose of testing is not to prove anything specific, but to reduce the risk of using the software.

  2. Testing is meant to find defects in the code. And debugging is the process of finding and removing a specific bug from the program.

  3. The purpose of testing is to find bugs and errors in the software, but the purpose of debugging is to fix those bugs found during testing.

  4. In case of testing, conditions will be known and predefined methods are used. But, conditions are mostly unknown while starting debugging process.

  5. Testing process performs after proper planning, scheduling and designing. While debugging process doesn’t have any procedure or any finite amount of time.

  6. The testing process can be automated, but the debugging process must do manually.

  7. Only a programmer can perform debugging process, but testing process can also be done by the client.

  8. List of of bugs is the outcome of the testing process, but debugging process provide a bug free software.

  9. Testing can be manual or automated, and it has many different kinds, like unit, integration, system / acceptance, stress, load, soak etc. testing. Debugging is always a manual, one-off process, as all bugs are different.

  10. By testing through debugging you create scenarios that are not repeatable therefore useless for regression testing.

  11. When you're debugging you're usually not focused on the code as a whole, and you're almost always working in the backend, in the actual code. Testing is almost always done in userspace, where you're running the code as an end user would run it, and trying to make it break.

  12. Most of the testing can be performed without any design knowledge. And debugging is not possible without detailed design knowledge.

  13. Testing can and must definitely be planned, designed, and scheduled. Debugging needs intuitive leaps, experimentation, conjectures, and some freedom also.

  14. Testing is a demonstration of bugs or apparent accuracy. Debugging is the programmer’s explanation.

Hope, the article will help you to figure out the difference between testing and debugging process of software development. Thank you!

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