Software testing (also referred to as QA) is essentially an integral part of any Software development process whether it is a product or a project. To keep the software business running, every organization thrives on quality of the end deliverables. And to maintain this quality, software testers either manual and/or automation, play a vital role in any software development team.
This software verification can be achieved with various types of manual testing starting from smoke/sanity testing, integration/system testing, and regression either after a bug fix or new feature development and just before the release. An ideal process is to write/update the test cases and then, start testing. This involves lots of planning.
In manual testing, all the available test cases and any ad hoc tests are executed manually by one or more QA persons during different phases of testing. And, subsequently, a test report is generated. This process is time-consuming and many resources might be required to complete the entire test cycle on time. Sometimes the results of test execution could be less reliable as humans are bound to make some mistakes, although not always. In case when tests are to be executed several times, it becomes quite a monotonous job and people tend to get bored, which can hamper the quality of the application.
Manual testing can be well suited for UI/UX testing, usability testing where other tools are difficult to implement. Also, when a small change is made, and a quick test result is required; manual testing becomes the ideal way of testing. One important point here is that no knowledge of programming language is required for manual testing and people can be less skilled.
To overcome the time-consuming and less reliable way of testing, organizations opt for automation testing. Here, at least basic programming language and logic building skills are required. The initial costs of automating tests can be high. In addition to this, an initial time period is required to get the automation tests up and running. Automation tools need to be carefully chosen to meet the requirements of the project. It becomes important that when you design a suitable test framework, you give good thought to maintaining it in the future. Also, your team might require some initial training. Secondly, you could also require some specific hardware devices, which is not the case in manual testing.
Automated tests developed can make the testing process quick and more reliable. Also, these tests can be executed repeatedly as many times as required without human intervention. And, reports can be generated and sent automatically to the required stakeholders. But, you should remember that it could even take a year to achieve a good ROI. Without the continuous support of management and other team members, automation testing projects could fail.
Although every aspect of the system cannot be automated, you can save lots of time and effort put in by your QA team.
Finally, the myth that automation testing can replace manual testing fully is an incorrect one. Manual testing is going to remain with us forever!