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What is QA Automation? Benefits and Challenges

QA Automation-ACCELQ
Posted On: 3 December 2023

QA Test Automation improves the quality of software products by using automation scripts that run tests on the software using tools. With Agile and DevOps practices being the norm in software development, QA automation is becoming more critical than ever. The automation scripts can be executed repeatedly, enhancing test coverage, eliminating errors, and saving the efforts of testing teams.

Unsurprisingly, the global market for Quality Assurance automation tools is expected to reach a whopping $52.7 billion by 2027.

How does QA test automation work?

QA automation uses testing scripts that can be executed repeatedly and reports the test results to the testing team through predefined actions. The testing team writes QA test scripts before deploying the software code, automating a part of the testing. Developing test scripts still requires an understanding of the programming language. Automated tests are applied to a broad range of testing requirements such as unit, API (Application Programming Interfaces), and regression testing. For instance, if unit testing consumes more resources/effort/time, it should automatically be considered an ideal fit for automation, which can be done any time of the day. QA test automation complements continuous testing, continuous integration (CI), and continuous delivery (CD) software development processes. This pushes code changes into production without much hassle.

How does QA automation work? QA automation uses testing scripts that can be executed repeatedly. QA automation tools perform the tests and report the test results to the testing team through predefined actions.

Does QA automation replace testing engineers? No, the testing team still needs to write the QA test scripts before the deployment on the software code. While the testing part is automated, developing test scripts still need an understanding of the programming language.

Steps in QA automation testing

1. Choose the proper testing platform

Evaluating options that best meet the business needs is step 1: if there is more focus on identifying a specific bug, then software code analysis automation testing. While multiple test automation tools use robust frameworks like Selenium IDE, WebDriver, UFT, Ranorex, Cucumber, and Appium, the right automation platform needs to be a well-researched choice that will determine the outcome of the test automation process.

2. Define the scope of testing automation

Now, this will depend on factors such as the qualities of the business, the amount of required data for a scenario, cross-application functionalities, reusable business components, difficulty of test cases, etc., and the applicability of the same test cases for cross-browser testing.

3. Design, plan, and develop a testing strategy

The right strategy helps accomplish the test automation objective, including creating test standards/procedures, test data requirements, hardware/software, etc. The next step will be to choose a suitable test automation framework.

4. Executing tests

This step involves checking the functionality of test scripts to see if they function correctly and are cross-platform compatible. Any missteps also call for a bug report.

5. Complete Maintenance

Automating the QA process testing helps monitor if newly added software functionalities are practical; adding new scripts also needs reviews and adequate maintenance with release cycles. All of this is handled by the automation process.

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When do you use QA automation in testing?

  • Repetitive tests for multiple builds
  • Difficulties demanding various data sets
  • The need to check frequently used functionalities that can be risky otherwise
  • Executed across multiple hardware/software platforms /Configurations
  • Time-consuming in manual testing.
  • Unit /Functional /Regression/Integration/Smoke/Data-driven/ Keyword testing types.

What are the benefits of QA automation?

1. Reduces testing time and cost

Constant application releases require repetitive software testing to test every product feature and remove software bugs. Manual testing slows down the entire process and can cause delays in releasing updates to customers. With QA automation, the same test scripts can be executed many times on different hardware and software configurations with automated testing. Similarly, automated scripts can be run “all day and night” to save time.

2. Improved product quality

QA teams can run thousands of automated test cases simultaneously and on multiple platforms and devices. It can explore applications in-depth and check the memory data, data tables, and internal file structure. This can improve the quality and performance of the final software product. Similarly, automated regression testing can be used to test every application feature. This can be pretty challenging for manual testing.

3. Better resource utilization

Automation in QA testing can help QA team members apply their knowledge and skills in advanced product testing. Automation testing helps execute Functional and regression test cases without any human intervention. QA test automation also reduces the dependence on the presence of a large QA team; experienced QA resources can be utilized to create better test cases, improving product quality.

4. Suited for CI/CD and DevOps

Manual testing is challenging to manage as software code gets more complex or when there is an increase in test cases. Automated testing helps development companies quickly switch to Continuous Improvement and delivery (or CI/CD mode). Automation facilitates continuous testing required for DevOps.

5. Less expensive eventually

Beyond the initial investment and setup costs, once automation test scripts are set up, it takes significantly less supervision to monitor test execution and troubleshoot script failures. As test automation ensures quality outcomes, money, and resources to fix post-release glitches are lower.

6. Comprehensive Test Coverage

Countless complex test cases across multiple computers can be simultaneously executed with test automation; this is impossible with manual testing. Automated QA testing examines an application from the inside to analyze its memory contents, file contents, data tables, and internal program states to verify the application's performance at every step.

7. Round-the-clock testing with quick feedback

Automated QA testing can run tests continuously around the clock irrespective of the quantity without hindering the amount or quality of test performance. This means that the testing team can easily schedule trials at the end of a workday and come back to work the next day to review the automation testing results. The quick feedback mechanism helps deliver code updates faster and, in return, accelerates the market launch process. Automation testing helps coders, designers, and product owners collaborate better for reliable, specific test results.

7. Round-the-clock testing with quick feedback

Automated QA testing can run tests continuously around the clock irrespective of the quantity without hindering the amount or quality of test performance. This means that the testing team can easily schedule trials at the end of a workday and come back to work the next day to review the automation testing results. The quick feedback mechanism helps deliver code updates faster and, in return, accelerates the market launch process. Automation testing helps coders, designers, and product owners collaborate better for reliable, specific test results.

8. Comprehensive reporting mechanism

Automated QA testing is designed to deliver results for each test case executed; test scripts are available to be monitored through visual logs with details on the number of test cases completed or scheduled, along with reported defects and fixes. An efficient test automation system can gather additional testing data, including performance metrics.

9. Scalable and easy to market faster

QA test automation can help handle thousands of test cases simultaneously with significantly less manual intervention and, hence, is equipped to drive growth in project demands. With less time required to execute tests and more time given to fix defects, the time to market the application can be faster.

In the meantime, let us also bear in mind some common challenges faced while automating the QA testing process.

4 Challenges of QA Test Automation

4 Challenges of QA Automation

1. Missing the human touch

Despite all the “talk” about complete automation, test automation tools are not “smart” enough to replace human testers. Automated testing can make the tester’s job easier but cannot replace a high-quality tester.

Further, automated QA testing also requires human resources with advanced programming skills and knowledge of testing tools. Additionally, software developers cannot replace a skilled software tester for writing automation test scripts.

2. Handling high initial setup costs

Product companies need help designing and configuring an automated test framework despite all its benefits. Test automation frameworks are difficult to maintain and have high setup costs in the initial phase.

Companies also require skilled testing professionals with testing tools and programming languages.

3. Choice of the right test automation platform

With so many automated testing tools available in the market, choosing the right tool is difficult. Not every automation tool can be tweaked to work with all applications or software architecture.

4. The need for efficient team collaboration

For the best results, software testers must collaborate and communicate effectively with developers, business analysts, and project managers. Ineffective team collaboration can delay both development and testing efforts.

Why ACCELQ for QA Automation?

Forrester Wave named ACCELQ the leader in the “Continuous Test Automation Suites” category in 2022. With its AI (Artificial Intelligence) codeless approach to automated testing, ACCELQ has simplified QA automation, enabling product companies to achieve 3x higher productivity and over 70% cost savings with its design-first system. To get started on the test automation journey, contact our team.

Geosley Andrades

Director, Product Evangelist at ACCELQ

Geosley is a Test Automation Evangelist and Community builder at ACCELQ. Being passionate about continuous learning, Geosley helps ACCELQ with innovative solutions to transform test automation to be simpler, more reliable, and sustainable for the real world.

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