The Era of Automation Testing

Of course, we all know that testing is an integral part of any successful software project and undoubtedly, automated testing is currently experiencing a surge in popularity. But what are the benefits of automation testing and where has this left manual testing?

Automation Testing… What Exactly Is It?

Let’s start with the basics.

Recent years have seen a huge growth in the popularity of automation testing, certainly becoming favoured over manual testing which has seen a distinct decline in practice. So, what exactly is automation testing?

Automated software testing is a process whereby software tools run pre-scripted tests on a software application before it can be released into full production. Automated testing tools can execute tests, report outcomes and compare results with earlier test runs; the aim being to simplify as much of the testing process as possible in line with a minimum set of scripts.

So we know what automation testing is, but why has it come to be so widely employed over manual testing? Let’s take a look at the benefits…

Automation Testing: The Benefits

Automated testing means that a machine does what a human used to do (in terms of manual testing), and in some cases this has brought on a whole load of benefits; with speed, reliability and continuity being key.

  • Speed and efficiency

Automated tests can be run 24/7, repeatedly and at any time of day, this can prove hugely beneficial. Tests can also be reused and identical information won’t need to be continuously filled out; everything is done automatically. This is especially beneficial when dealing with mass volumes, as tests can be implemented across thousands of devices.

  • Everyone can see the results

Clear reports are created as a product of automation testing which can help to ensure continuity, as well as greater team collaboration as all team members can see the tests being run. The reports produced enable engineers to have the ability to not only see the tests that have been run, but most importantly, the bugs found and fixed. Ultimately, this can lead to a better final product.

  • Cost effectiveness

Although automation tools can be expensive in the short-term, they can often be a huge money saver in the long-term; this is due to the sheer volume of tests automation can process in a given amount of time, as well as their ability to reliably find bugs and defects faster.

Where Does This Leave Manual Testing?

Although there’s no doubt that automation testing is the buzzword of software development today, does this mean that manual testing has become completely redundant?

Despite small companies and big enterprises looking to take on the best automation testing tools, as well as a drop in the implementation of manual testing; it’s not to say that manual testing has become unnecessary. In fact, in many circumstances, automation testing and manual testing work together in tangent.

A common misconception within automated software testing is that there is absolutely no need for manual; however this is simply not the case.

While automated testing is extremely successful when used for predictable and repetitive code, it can’t always replace human intuition. In some circumstances, manual testing is required when human intuition is needed for unpredictable tests. Though automated testing may free up time and have a host of benefits, the experience of manual testers is often needed to ensure accuracy and meticulousness.

Ultimately, no matter how complex the automated system, human input is still required in order to design and configure. Manual testing instigates the automated testing process.

It’s important to note that the world of testing changes pretty rapidly, what may be the norm now, is not likely to be the norm in a year to come. In fact, heading towards a completely automated testing profession is seen as the desired end goal across the board. However for the time being, automation testing’s popularity reigns strong; but that’s not to say that manual testing is dead. In fact, the two methods can work together pretty successfully.

If you’re looking for a new job opportunity, we a have a range of vacancies, including testing roles. I’d love to hear your thoughts on automation and manual testing, you can tweet me at @isitt_tyrone.

Some useful resources used throughout this article and well worth a read: