If you’ve ever been even slightly involved in the development of software, you may have heard the phrase “test automation” knocking about. But what exactly is test automation? Why do organizations use it, and what benefits do they gain from implementing it? Does automating tests mean that manual testing is now redundant? We have the answers to these questions and more, right here.
What is Test Automation?
The Techopedia definition goes like this:
Automated testing or test automation is a method in software testing that makes use of special software tools to control the execution of tests and then compares actual test results with predicted or expected results. All of this is done automatically with little or no intervention from the test engineer. Automation is used to add additional testing that may be too difficult to perform manually.
If you have a cross-functional agile team, then using agile software testing can significantly benefit your development process and the product lifecycle.
Automation vs. Manual Testing
Increasing automated testing doesn’t necessarily mean that manual testing is redundant; in fact, it is far from it. These two types of testing complement each other perfectly. Whereas manual testing is ideal for specific areas of the testing process (such as discovery or usability testing), other regions are repetitive, and manually testing these can be time-consuming for businesses.
So when it comes to parts of the process like regression and function testing, automating these areas both speeds up the process and allows the manual testers to focus more closely on the areas that benefit from a human-centered approach.
The Benefits of Test Automation
If you are considering implementing test automation, it’s helpful to consider the benefits that test automation can bring:
- Costs – automating repetitive tests will save you money in the long run. Once you have the initial scripts for testing, you can then use them for as long as they are relevant. So, don’t look at just the setup cost, but how that cost is spread over time.
- Speed – it won’t surprise you to learn that automation saves you time. Automated tests can be executed quickly and can be repeated over and over again. As a result, you will get valid results within hours rather than days or weeks.
- Time – because you can do things quicker, you save development time. That means your test cycle is shorter, you can release to the market faster, and it is easier to make changes and updates to your product.
- Productivity – because the tests are automated, you can run them at night or during downtime. QA testers can then review results the next day and rerun tests or move onto the next stage. It also frees them up to focus on more pressing tasks.
- Accuracy – automation reduces the number of errors and bugs in any software. Even your most experienced staff may make a mistake when manual testing; that simply won’t happen with an automated process. Whether you’re making state of the art software for call centers, or developing the optimal tech stack for startups, being able to look at QA metrics in agile testing helps you create high-quality software.
- Continuous testing – if you want to adopt continuous testing and delivery, then automation is essential. While it may get complex as time goes on, there are fantastic AI solutions that help you manage your automation testing processes.
- Feedback loop – there is nothing more frustrating than launching software onto the market only for bugs or errors to be discovered by customers. The beauty of test automation is that you can speedily test solutions and fixes and update your software to keep customers happy.
- Improvement – being able to implement process improvement is something that can help your company grow and develop, and that can mean more significant revenue.
Types of automated tests
In reality, there are so many different types of automated tests that we could fill libraries with these test types. However, to provide you with a starting point, here are some of the most common:
- Smoke testing – this type of testing checks whether your build is stable. It checks that your essential features all work as they should and allows for more testing, so they should be prioritized.
- Unit testing – seen as the first level of testing for apps; this is where the individual units are tested. The tests can be written by either developers or automation testers.
- Functional testing – this type of testing ensures that all the different functions of your product operate as planned and expected. As well as overall functionality, this can include factors such as the user interface, security, APIs, and database functionality.
- Integration testing – knowing that the different modules of your product integrate well together is essential. Integration testing checks that your modules work well together and that data easily communicates between each modular system.
- Regression testing – it’s doubtful that you will go through the whole development process without changes or code tweaking. Regression testing checks that any such changes do not affect how your product functions.
When it comes to automated software testing, most organizations choose to outsource much – if not all – of the testing process to crowd testing experts. However, companies like Global App Testing can help automate your testing processes to obtain accurate results as quickly as possible.
Just as you would adhere to Google Analytics to ensure your SEO is optimized, you would utilize test automation to prepare new products for the market or to tweak existing ones that may have a few issues.
If you look at any RPA (Robot Process Automation) that might already exist within your systems, you will find that there is a close relationship between RPA and automated testing. As software development becomes more complex, and as consumers become more demanding, automated testing is the solution all development teams need.
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