The title here may not fully make sense to several – it may almost sound like a no brainer to the extent that this is a given – why should this even be discussed? I want to pick this topic though for two reasons as below:
– To show that automation testing while critical maintains a fine balance line with its https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validatormanual counterpart
– To understand what we have in the automation testing world today while smart and efficient has a lot of potential to offer in the coming years
Software Test Automation, like any other process is an evolution. When it started gaining prominence about a decade or more ago, the initial focus was on UI automation. While it gave immediate results and valuable outcomes, the teams soon started realizing the gaps and additional potential. Frameworks instead of mere record and play tools became popular for the right reasons bringing in reliability in results and making the overall maintenance a relatively simple process. This did not happen overnight though. A lot has happened since then, where today test automation strategy is at a state where automated testing is not limited to just ones who can program but even ones who understand testing as a domain that are able to script automated tests leveraging robust frameworks.
The quality engineering industry is mature enough to understand that despite smart automation testing at both functional and non-functional levels (including areas such as accessibility, performance, localization), selective pieces of quality will need to still be taken up manually. As testers, we need to appreciate the value automated testing brings in to ease our effort, help deliver an exceptional product to end users and at the same time the balance it helps us strike with non-automated areas. As more and more automation continues to become mainstream, there have even been concerns on whether this would jeopardize the function of manual testing – but as a tester once you understand the bridge automation plays in supporting manual testing, while continuing to evolve itself to do bigger and better things, there is no reason to be intimidated – rather there is every reason to be thrilled at the exciting new opportunities that exist. For example, the latest in technology around, AI, and its allies around machine language, image recognition, natural language processing give automation testing a facelift in terms of what can be achieved even for areas that need cognitive skills – these areas were thus far kept away from automation given the need for human intervention. While the role of a human tester will continue to be inevitable in software testing, automation will continue to play the role of a pendulum. It will truly be both a shift left and a shift right practice, focusing on what still needs to be done manually, what else it can continue to evolve making it a smart and sophisticated aide in quality engineering. All of this will happen in parallel, supplementing the value automation brings in its current form around, UI, functional, web services, data base, to enable teams deliver quality products on time.