Quality Assurance Testing Automation in the Software Industry
By Amer Wilson
Maintaining exquisite quality of software takes effort, time and patience and who would know it more than the Quality Assurance managers who work tirelessly for software to perform smoothly without bugs. Software testing is old, testing automation is not! A growing trend, Quality Assurance Testing Automation is adopted by increasing number of QA departments for unit, component, integrations and GUI tests. Does Quality Assurance Testing Automation provide value? If yes, does it mean that manual testing has become redundant? Does it mean that software industry can save millions of hours in future software testing? Let’s dig a little deeper and see if QA Automation is as good as it’s promised
What makes up Software Testing?
Robert Morris, a QA Director from the University of Pittsburgh tells that Quality Assurance of a software revolves around three key aspects: time, cost and quality and one has to ensure that a software is tested quickly, thoroughly and of course proficiently in order to get the best results. So how would Quality Assurance Testing Automation fare in these three aspects of software testing? But first,
How is Quality Assurance Testing Automation carried out?
Humans are inherently capable of making mistakes. Consider a tester who is going through a similar kind of testing for the hundredth time, is there a possibility that he might miss out something? Yes, if not a major scenario then may be a step or two. How a testing framework works is that QA Tester writes minimal number of scripts to simplify the testing requirements. For example, there is a unit test that a QA guy spends most of his work hours on. It is a repetitive task, a mundane routine with predictable problems? Why not automate the task and let the machine do the job?
Automation: the ways in which it helps Quality Assurance
Automation saves Time
Above anything, a QA tester would like to reduce the time spent on testing and here is exactly where Automation steps in. Consuming much less time than what a manual testing would. This is highly true for Regression testing. For the same Regression testing that a manual tester would take days, automation does in minutes. Also, the same script can be run over and over again and parallel testing can be carried out.
Cost is another major element in which the automation makes for a win-win situation. The money spent on automation tools is recovered soon with the manual work hours that it frees. For a software company, testing cost has an upward curve due to the growing applications and increasing testing associated with it. Less QA resources are required as automation makes up for all the manual testing work. Moreover, Time is money! The time that is drastically reduced with automation is spent on important manual procedures which ultimately ensure more productivity.
Machines are more consistent than humans though irreplaceable. Automation testing is a form of documentation as it carries out the activities just as it is supposed to over and over again without any possible deviation. Provided that the scripts are written without any gaps, automation testing speaks quality, consistency, efficiency and reliability.
So then is QA Automation the next best thing?
Before it is agreed upon, let’s revisit what testing is. Elisabeth Hendrickson, a QA expert, presents her reservation by saying that Quality Assurance Testing Automation is to check the functionality but checking alone is not all what testing entails. For her testing means checking the functionality in addition to exploring more ways to find bugs.
Automation does what we expect it to do, to find possible bugs you know of. It is not intelligent and cannot explore more ways to check possible flaws. Its thinking goes as far as you feed it. There is less room for creativity; automated tests are going to look for bugs in the system which you already know of. So all QA guys, don’t worry there’s always going to be a need of your human touch to testing- at least for some time before automation becomes more intelligent than you.
How Great QA Automation is REALLY?
Writing software is not easy nor is testing it flawlessly. So Automation is a real attractive choice for all Quality Assurance guys out there and companies making and distributing software. Not only does it save ample amount of time but also cuts the budgets allocated for testing by resolving issues that may cheat a human eye. But let’s not get carried away, humans almost inevitably beat the computer in two ways- creativity and learning and that still makes us very much relevant to software QA testing.