Skilled software testers continue to be in high demand, and it appears that trend won’t change any time soon. The current labor shortage and a looming recession is giving software development leaders good cause to think about how to attract and keep qualified personnel and, more importantly, enable them to work as efficiently as possible. Added to this scenario is a trend in the software development cycle toward shift left testing, which has put increased pressure on developers to take on testing responsibilities that often require taking on new perspectives and using new tools. Automated testing solves these problems by making it easier to learn how to build a consistent, reliable testing program in less time, requiring less maintenance.
Add to this the future promise of artificial intelligence or AI-augmented testing platforms and current machine learning (ML) capabilities, such as self-repairing of test scripts, and you have a platform that both levels the learning curve and accelerates efficiency. The sooner organizations can transition from manual to automated testing, the better they can withstand internal and external market fluctuations.
A Developer and a Tester Walk Into a Bar …
Traditional software testing is a manual process in which testers are employed to replicate users and are expected to bring that perspective to their work. As such, software testers have a very different mindset than software developers. Where developers are protective of their creative output, software testers are driven by a curiosity to probe the limitations of a system. It stands to reason that the qualities that make someone excel at either of these roles is, likewise, not the same. And yet, with the trend toward shift left testing and continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD), the industry has blurred the distinction between coder and tester to the dismay of both sides.
Automated testing removes much of the monotonous work associated with repetitious test plans. It allows testers to focus on writing better scripts, extending the scope of their testing plans and scheduling more powerful load tests. From the organization’s perspective, once you have established a library of reusable test scripts, your testing program will be protected from future turbulence in the employment market, including recession and attrition.
Regardless of the tool you use, code will be created if you are creating software — even test scripts. Ideally, however, a low-code/no-code tool can hide some of the complexity and promote best practices. Using a low-code/no-code tool can relieve a tester from creating test scripts from scratch by recording manual interactions and offering suggestions. In the case of shift left testing, a low-code tool can eliminate the need to learn entire testing frameworks while still enabling a developer to access code when desired. Automating testing also eliminates the human error inherent in repetitive manual tests. In short, test automation does not diminish the value of skilled software testers and developers; it increases it.
Placed in the hands of skilled testers, automated testing will only become more powerful, more effective and more critical to your development cycle. It elevates the skills of testers and makes them more productive, accurate and thorough. Test automation also makes for a smoother transition to shift left testing, allowing developers to spend less time testing their software and more time doing the creative work that makes them thrive. In a market where attracting and keeping top talent is only going to get more difficult, anything you can do to lighten the burden on your employees and make them more productive will be a big win for your business. So, the question is not whether you should transition from manual to automated testing but when.