With test automation becoming essential to the testing and QA environment, will the manual tester become obsolete? Opinions that spell doom for those focused on manual testing and predicting that it is the end of the road for them are all around. It is true that today, software test automation has become imperative to product development success. Automation is now the only way to match the speed of development. However, this does not mean that the manual tester is now irrelevant. But, it is also true that manual testers have to evolve and look beyond their traditional strengths to ensure that they do not get sacrificed at the altar of automation.
The rise of development methodologies such as DevOps, demand technology skills as well as collaborative skills between teams. In competitive times, organizations seek specialized individuals who bring experience and expertise to the table. Skilled manual testers, thus, have the opportunity to contribute substantially to achieving business goals. Given the changing environment, testers must be ready to learn new skills to survive in an industry that is heavily leaning towards automation. In this post, we take a look at three changes manual testers must embrace to continue to remain central to the quality process.
Focus on Domain Specialization
The focus of testing is gradually shifting from generalized tests and is becoming more business specific. This demands greater domain specialization and also a greater understanding of the business as a whole. In today’s hybrid development environment, manual testers thus need to go beyond the testing focus and evolve to become subject matter experts. They must take a proactive instead of reactive approach to testing software products. By doing so, they can move beyond simply focusing on testing the functionality of a product and can find new ways to break down the product in development to test for defects in such a way that can strengthen the end-user experience. Manual testers thus should become intimately familiar with the product in development, the stress points, the desired performance standards, and points of breakage, and of course, the use cases. Increasing domain and industry-specific knowledge can help manual testers in achieving this and become the fulcrum of the testing process.
Contribute Meaningfully to Test Automation Planning
Manual testers have been in the testing game for a long time. They know the entire testing process inside and out. However, in an environment where organizations are automating more and more tests, manual testers must do more than exploratory testing. In order to survive in the automation age, they have to leverage their skills and contribute actively in building the test automation suites by identifying newer testing opportunities and avenues. Since they understand the testing process, they can help test automation initiatives by identifying what to test and how much to test. They can leverage their analytical skills to build in more creativity into test automation initiatives and increase the testing scope to ensure that the product is not just thoroughly tested but also is capable of providing a great end-user experience.
Gain Knowledge of Test Automation Tools
To survive in the test automation landscape, manual testers have to become coders, right? NO!
While test automation often demands coding skills, in today’s testing landscape manual testers too can create automated tests by leveraging scriptless test automation. As the name suggests, scriptless test automation allows manual testers develop automation using easily available code assets called ‘Keywords’ or ‘Constructors.’ Manual testers thus can build automated test cases using simple commands such as ‘edit,’ ‘select,’ or ‘click’ for the action items and achieve automation quickly and easily. Learning the essentials of how to use open source automation tools can help manual testers become valuable assets to an organization. By gaining knowledge of test automation tools, manual testers will also be able to gain an understanding of coding practices and hence will be able to communicate better with development teams by explaining things in the developer's language. Efficiently leveraging test automation tools will also give manual testers the time to focus more creatively on exploratory testing. All this while making them more marketable as testers.
While automated testing is gradually dominating the testing process, it does not mean that the role of the manual tester shall be wiped away. However, in order to remain a part of this rapidly changing environment, manual testers have to expose themselves to new tools and technologies. They must become more participative in the development process, take advantage of the opportunities of learning in their present role and accept this evolution as a part of their career advancement. Are you game?