The software testing community is not new to controversial questions like whether manual testing is dying. If you are a manual tester, we can understand how such speculative queries trigger panic. Mass adoption by companies doesn’t help the cause and makes you feel like automatic testing is the next big thing.
Pause for a moment and think about it:
Is it possible to create a reliable, 100% automated testing environment?
Is it wise for a company to phase out manual testing?
And, above all, is it wise for software testers to start giving up their skills as a tester to adopt automatic tools?
The answer is no for all the above queries. Manual testing provides a tremendous amount of value to software development.
In this article, we explore the future of manual testing.
Understanding manual testing
Manual testing is the preliminary testing phase that’s closest to software development. It evaluates the behavior of the website or application developed through a step-by-step assessment based on the requirement specification analysis record. The core objective of manual testing is to ensure that the product works as per the requirement specification documents and that no bugs or functional defects exist.
Reasons why manual testing will always be needed
Manual testing is a preferred choice in several scenarios. Let’s look at areas where automation is not an option, and manual testers are better suited.
- Smaller projects: Constructing and deploying automated testing systems is resource intensive. The overhead of automated testing is much higher than manual testing. Therefore, manual testing is the only economically feasible option for smaller projects.
- Automation is expensive: We already covered how automated testing is not feasible for smaller projects, but for small organizations with budget constraints, it might not be an option even for larger projects. Manual testing offers an alternative to escape automated test methods’ high expenses and maintenance costs.
- User experience: A machine can never fully emulate human behavior. This is why for user experience testing; we need manual testers who can imitate such behaviors and analyze the software product according to the needs and requirements of the end users. Manual testing will always be needed for higher UX. Unless we invest in a highly trained AI solution, such a level of user experience testing is impossible with automation.
- Comprehensive and detailed testing: In automated testing, we have fixed and predetermined procedures that evaluate the software’s functioning and behavior according to preset rules. While the process is much quicker, the absence of any customization can result in minute defects getting ignored. As an additional layer of security, manual testing is required to remove any such bugs.
What does the future hold?
The modification and operational developments in manual testing are bringing it closer to software development. The future holds promising outcomes for manual testers, provided they keep improving their skills and learning new technologies.
Many companies and start-ups are asking QA questions to developers during interviews. A new expectation is rising within the industry where developers are expected to know a few things about manual testing. As agile becomes standard practice, the partition between developer and QA roles is blurring, and manual testers should understand development concepts like sorting algorithms. At the same time, developers who are familiar with the unit and functional testing are preferred.
Hence, manual testers will always be needed because it is impossible to release bug-free software without the intervention of human eyes. Once teams start to scale, the model of zero testers starts failing, throwing light on the fact that 100% automation of software testing is not possible for sustainability.
Automation can augment manual testing
Some aspects of manual testing are augmented with automation to improve the efficiency of testing large applications. Foremost, any repetitive steps within the testing process that does not require manual expertise can be automated. It saves human resources, time, and energy. Aiding manual testers with artificial intelligence helps reduce human errors. Adding automation can help manual testers become more reliable. Another segment where automation can augment manual testing is when evaluating complex code. Manual testers may not be as effective and efficient in such scenarios as reliably scripted automated test cases.
Manual testing offers the needed accuracy, intuitiveness, and micro control over every aspect of software testing. Quoting manual testing has no future will be an uninformed assertion. Both manual testing and automated testing have merits. Without a doubt, manual testing can never be replaced, and for maximum ROI, QA testers must balance manual and automated testing.
Talent500 is the leading remote team-building platform for Fortune 500 companies and fast-growing start-ups. We provide easy access to talented Indian developers. Sign up here to join the elite pool of developers and QA testers.