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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, the manual testing community has adapted several tools and processes to continually enhance the outcome and predictability of application quality. 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 the software development lifecycle, automation was introduced to further help software testers in their craft. The intent was 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?

The pattern of manual execution of test cases is indeed dying as the number of companies adopting modern development approaches such as Agile, continuous testing (CT), continuous integration (CI), continuous delivery (CD), and DevOps is increasing every day. It not only reduces manual errors to a significant extent but also enhances the speed of software development.

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?

In this age of automation, manual testing can’t be considered as a waste of manpower. Indeed, automation has the upper hand over manual testing and is preferred in regression testing, load testing, repeated execution, and performance testing, still, it can’t be completely eliminated from the industry as there are certain areas where manual testing performs better than automated testing.

Humans are Integral to Quality Assurance

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 the verification of every minor nuance is unimaginable. The 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 the manual testing domain is evolving. 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.

Thinking from a Marvel fan’s perspective…imagine Thor’s hammer in the mighty hands of Captain America.
Manual Testers and Automation are Inter-dependent

image via pinterest

Manual Testers: The Captains in Software Testing World

Manual testers are the real captains in the 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 of harnessing 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 both time and effort. 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 need to be much simpler and reliable for manual testers to ultimately achieve continuous delivery.

An Opportunity for Manual Testers

As subject matter experts, manual testers can supplement their testing effort with the help of automated platforms. Humans are more suitable in performing emotionally-driven tasks that require creativity. There can be a perfect combination of manual and automation where manual handling the exploratory testing and automation handling the regression. In addition, manual testers can 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!

ACCELQ: Next-generation agile testing platform

Imagine a cloud-based continuous testing platform that empowers you to seamlessly automate your API and web testing…and all of this without writing a single line of code! For many, it is still an endeavor, but ACCELQ, turned it into a reality. ACCELQ has made continuous test automation platform a reality and breaks the silos between manual and automation test platforms. It enables manual testers to harness the power of automation while making automation engineers even more efficient at their task. Check out the proven Continuous Test Automation Platform helping IT teams across major enterprises.



Chief Product Officer, ACCELQ


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