Ever since Quality Assurance was recognized as a formal practice in Software Development Lifecycle, manual testers have held high the responsibility of ensuring a bug-free software delivery. Over the years, manual testing community has adapted several tools and processes to continually enhance the outcome and predictability of application quality. Software expands with every new release, update, and modification. Testers have a crucial role and a daunting task to keep up with the regression testing, ensure quality of new features, test integration with other systems, keep a track of defects, and maintain a log for new ones. Test Automation has proved to be disruptive, and many software testers have jumped on this automation bandwagon so to speak. But with so many predictions, opinions, and innovation around test automation, will the manual tester’s role remain the same or will it change with time? Here’s our take on the topic:
Test Automation: Was the Purpose Defeated?
With the emergence of continuous advancements in software development lifecycle, automation was introduced to further help software testers in their craft. It was introduced with an intent to accelerate and optimize the testing cycle. It was supposed to compliment a manual tester and enable him/her to focus on verifying complex real-world use cases.
On the contrary, it ended up creating two silos, namely – Manual testers and Automation testers. This, in turn, has resulted in a vicious cycle of handoffs which seem to be the norm for many. Organizations running manual and automation in silos end up wasting a lot of time, money and resources and more importantly, the impact on overall quality. So rather than reinforcing the manual testers, test automation has created a wide gap.
But with automation becoming the buzz of the day, there is a greater push for adapting more and more automation in the testing cycle. No doubt, this is an excellent development. However, if the core issue of Silo is not resolved, we are further widening the gap between the manual tester and automation tester.
Is Manual Testing becoming obsolete?
As test automation becomes mainstream, one of the important questions that have baffled software testers is:
Will Automated software testing replace Manual Testers?
Obviously, it isn’t a simple “Yes” or “No” answer! The fact is, manual testing alone cannot catch up with the expectations of continuous delivery, and hence automation becomes key. But does that mean manual testing is just going to disappear from the scene?
- Manual Testing: As the name suggests, humans carry out the testing process manually without taking help from robotic scripts.
- Automated Testing: Tools, scripts and software is used in automated software testing. Minimum human involvement is required once the script is automated.
Humans are Integral to Quality Assurance
Automated testing has been around for a long time. If done rightly, automated software testing can save time, add efficiency, minimize efforts, and use human cognitive skills in a productive way. The automated testing environment allows you to execute repetitive tasks and regression tests without the intervention of manual testers. However, quality is a very subtle attribute and automating verification of every minor nuance is unimaginable. Same is true for complex integrations and interactions between systems that need to be verified.
One fact needs to be very clear:
Test automation should only be used to reinforce the manual testers and can never completely replace them.
Manual Testers and Automation are Inter-dependent
|With automation, manual testers are relieved of repetitive and menial tasks and focus more on critical and creative tasks. With the advent of continuous test automation platforms, it can be said that manual testing domain is evolving. The human cognitive skills, creativity, and strategy are crucial in software testing. The role of manual testers will not be phased out. At the same time, automated software testing will work as an efficient tool in the hands of manual testers.||
Manual Testers: The Captains in Software Testing World
Manual testers are the real captains in Software testing world. These professionals do not just bring in their testing skills, but also years of experience in the domain. Just like Captain America, the manual testers may not feel necessary or worthy to use automated software testing due to the existing technical complexity. However, Thor’s hammer worked wonders in the mighty hands of Captain America. Likewise, manual testers are capable to harness the power of software automation testing tools and use it effectively in their craft.
Future of Automation
An automated software testing platform helps businesses accelerate their QA process and save effort/hard-dollars. However, if script development and maintenance itself is a complicated effort, benefits are hardly realized. Organizations cannot sustain a self-serving automation model for too long (where automation ROI is questionable). Automation platforms should evolve to be a much simpler and more reliable tool in the hands of manual testers to ultimately achieve continuous delivery. As businesses find true value in continuous test automation platforms with a simple usability and user interface, it is only a matter of time where the manual and automation worlds will converge.
An Opportunity for Manual Testers
As subject matter experts, manual testers can supplement their testing effort with help from automated platforms. In addition, manual testers will play a crucial role in providing concrete inputs, suggestions, feedback, and recommend changes to automation. As test automation becomes mainstream, manual testers will only become more efficient in their efforts and keep achieving productivity in their craft!
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