Manual vs Automated Testing

Automation looks like it's the future, but there's still a place for manual work, especially in testing. Ventive QA testers give their advice on when to choose both kinds of software testing.
October 21, 2019
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Manual vs Automated Testing

Improving QA Testing Strategies

Today, manual and automated testing are playing a significant role in any tech-driven company. Whether it’s a mobile or web application or website, code verification is crucial. Proper planning and knowing not only what kind of testing to perform but when to perform it helps save time and make the best use of a client’s budget.

Both testing methods have their pros and cons and we will review them below.

Let’s start with identifying the definition of manual and automated testing. From Wikipedia:

  • Manual testing is the process of manually testing software for defects. It requires a tester to play the role of an end-user whereby they use most of the application's features to ensure correct behavior. To guarantee the completeness of testing, the tester often follows a written test plan that leads them through a set of important test cases.
  • Automated testing is the use of software separate from the software being tested to control the execution of tests, and then the software compares actual outcomes with predicted outcomes. Test automation can automate some repetitive but necessary tasks in a formalized testing process already in place, or perform additional testing that would be difficult to do manually. Test automation is critical for continuous delivery and continuous testing.

Which of these two kinds of testing does Ventive recommend?

While manual testing performed by QA engineers is the easiest way to test an application, automated testing has its place too. Automated testing tools maximize test coverage by leveraging software to monitor the test cases and compare the expected versus actual results. It's perfect for frequently repeated scenarios.

However, it is important to note that there must be manual testing in order to facilitate effective automated testing. Before writing the script for automated execution, each scenario needs to be tested manually and documented into the test case. Manual testing requires a lot of effort, but it is vital in order to understand if automation is even possible.

100% automation is not possible.

It may seem like manual testing is easy, but it’s not that simple. Verifying the maximum possible number of execution paths using the minimum number of test cases requires strong analytical skills.

Some testing types, such as regression testing, can be time-consuming if performed manually.  Additionally, manual testing is not an efficient way of performing load or stress testing. In such cases, automation can help save time and effort.

By creating automated scripts, these types of tasks can be executed at any moment to improve both speed and accuracy. Thus, if there is a need for frequently repeated runs of test cases, the importance of automation to simplify project maintenance and reduce its cost is difficult to overstate. After all, even small patches and code changes can cause new bugs.

Automate Code Testing?

When considering automation, you must consider what, when, and how to perform these tests. Choosing the right automation tools will, to a large extent, determine the success of automated testing. One of the best practices is to avoid automating sections of code that can change frequently.

Avoid automating sections of code that can change frequently.

Each code change will require changes in automated scripts, otherwise the execution will fail.

Summary: Manual vs. Automated

A combination of manual and automated testing is often used, and the level of automation will depend both on the type of the project and on the production processes of the company.

  • An automated test can be run over and over with minimal effort, thus saving effort and money.
  • You can manually test almost any application, while automation only works for stable systems.
  • Automated testing is mainly used for regression. In addition, some types of testing, such as ad-hoc or exploratory testing, can only be performed manually.
  • Manual testing can be repetitive and boring; automation can help to avoid this.

As you scale up the development process for users, your application may behave differently at 100 users than it does at 10,000 users. But figuring out the bugs at 100 users will help you get to the point where you can build out the product to serve 10x the users. Depending on where you're at in the app development process, both manual and automated QA testing will be necessary to deliver the final finished product.

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