What Is Manual Testing: Overview, Advantages, Disadvantages, and Use Cases Explained

Customers and users want their applications to work correctly out of the box. If the product is rife with bugs and glitches, people will reject it, and the company that produces the flawed release will suffer a significant hit to their reputation. Therefore, testing and quality control are of paramount importance.

There are two principal forms of testing — manual and automated. Today, we will dive into the concept of manual testing, including defining it, the advantages and drawbacks of manual testing, why it’s still useful, and how testers conduct it.

What Is Manual Testing?

Manual testing is the process of testing software and applications to identify issues such as bugs, defects, errors, and other flaws. As the name implies, humans do the work, not automated tools. Interacting with the product or service from the user's perspective, developers and testers look for what is working and what is not. In a way, testers are comparable to hackers because they run the application through its paces and try to “break” it to see how it responds.

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What Are the Types of Manual Testing?

You can do an online search for manual testing types, come up with a half dozen promising results, and odds are, each site you consult will give you a different take on the number of manual testing types. Here are some to consider:

  • Black Box Testing

    Test engineers conduct black box testing, checking the functionality of an application based on the known requirements. In this role, the tester is not looking at code, but user behavior patterns.
  • White Box Testing

    Also called transparent box or glass box testing, white box testing shows the tester the structure and code of the application. Developers, not software testers, often use white box testing, checking each line of code before passing it on to a test engineer. Developers use testing techniques such as branch testing, control flow testing, data flow testing, decision coverage, path testing, and statement coverage.
  • Gray Box Testing

    Black added to white results in gray. Similarly, gray box testing is a combination of black and white box testing. Gray box testing identifies bugs and the effects that arise due to structural issues or improperly using the application.
  • Acceptance Testing

    This process determines whether the software system meets the required specifications. The test evaluates compliance with business requirements and whether the product meets the criteria needed for delivery to end-users.
  • Integration Testing

    Integration testing is the stage when developers test whether different application modules can work together.
  • System Testing

    Some testers call system testing a sub-category of black box testing. It evaluates the complete system's compliance against the specified requirements. The team tests the functionalities from an end-to-end perspective.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Manual Testing?

Let’s take a look at the advantages of manual testing, then check out the downside.

Pros

  • If you’re using black box testing, you don’t need programming knowledge
  • It’s ideal for test dynamically changing graphic user interface (GUI) designs
  • It’s easy for new testers to learn
  • It lets the tester interact with the apps as a real user, to spot usability and user interface issues
  • The software ends up one hundred percent bug-free
  • It’s cost-effective in the long run because it catches errors and issues that would otherwise appear in the finished product, requiring resolutions such as releasing patches or new versions, perhaps even an outright recall

Cons

  • It uses a comparatively large number of human resources
  • It’s costly in the short run. Ideally, though, the business is investing significant funds at the start to head off more prominent and more expensive headaches after the product is released
  • It is very time-consuming
  • The tester develops test cases based on their skills and previous experiences. There is no proof that they have covered all functions.
  • Testers cannot use a given test case again. Testers need to develop separate test cases for each new application
  • It does not cover all aspects of testing.

Manual Testing Use Case

Here’s what goes into a typical case of manual testing.

  • The tester reads through all documents related to the software.
  • The tester analyzes the documents that cover all the customer’s requirements
  • The tester develops the test cases as dictated by the requirement documents
  • The tester reviews and baselines the chosen test cases with both the team lead and the client as required
  • All test cases are manually executed using whatever manual testing type chosen
  • The testing team informs the development team of any bugs or other issues
  • The development team fixes bugs, resolves issues, then returns the software to the testing team for retest. The testers repeat the process until all bugs are fixed and all problems are resolved.

The Importance of Manual Testing

Considering how automated testing is so much faster, you may wonder why developers still need manual testing. We all make mistakes, afterall. That’s why pencils have erasers. Every application and program inevitably has issues.

That’s why it’s critical to have a round of testing to ensure that the application is bug-free and works for the customer the way it’s supposed to. By engaging in manual testing, the tester places themselves in the end user's position and sees how the product performs from the consumer's perspective.

Also, if the application will undergo a round of automated testing, it first needs to be manually tested to resolve any issues that automation testing can’t handle. It's easy to assume that it's somehow more accurate or powerful because it uses the word "automation." However, no application can be tested exclusively by automation. It would be best if you had the human element in the process.

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Manual Testing vs. Automation Testing

Speaking of automation testing, we should compare the two types of testing and see how they stack up.

Automation Testing

Manual Testing

Uses tools to execute test cases.

Requires human intervention to execute test cases.

Saves money, time, and personnel.

Requires skilled people, and a more significant investment of time and money.

When the case is recorded, it can be reused when testing future applications.

Each test case is unique and can’t be saved. Testers must create a new case for each app test.

Recommended for stable systems only and used most often for regression testing.

You can test any application. Best suited for ad-hoc and monkey testing.

Automation software is boredom-proof. The machine handles all the redundant tasks.

Testing is tedious, boring, and repetitive.

Regardless of which testing type you prefer, you will inevitably need to rely on manual testing during the development process if you're a software tester. Automation testing works fast and eliminates much of the drudge work, but nothing compares to an actual set of human eyes and a brain, checking out software in a way no machine currently can.

How Would You Like to Become an Automation Tester?

As mentioned before, manual testing requires far fewer hard developer and programming skills. However, automation testers need training, and if you want to either start a career in testing or upskill your current skill set, Simplilearn has what you need.

The Automation Test Engineer Master’s program is designed to provide you with complete knowledge of software testing technologies. You will learn how to build a robust testing framework using Selenium Web Driver, TestNG, Maven, AutoIT, Selenium Grid, Appium, and Docker. The program boosts your automation test engineer career as it teaches you the top skills demanded in the industry, such as GIT, Selenium, Jenkins, and JMeter. You will learn how to leverage engineering to the software development process and build quality products.

Glassdoor.com reports that the median annual salary for automation test engineers in the United States is USD 79,609, and Glassdoor further shows that automation test engineers in India earn an average of ₹ 549,632.

What About Developers?

Although automation testing is a good career choice, there is also the other end of the software development process to consider. Simplilearn offers a variety of developer courses and bootcamps for the aspiring application and software creator.

Check out the Full Stack Web Development program, for instance. This course trains you in both front-end and back-end Java technologies, starting with the basics and progressing to Full Stack Web Development's advanced aspects.

If Java development is more your speed, take the Java Certification training course. The course guides you through Java's concepts from introductory techniques to advanced programming skills. And you can take your Java programming to the next level with the Full Stack Java Developer master’s program, designed to give you an essence of front-end, middleware, and back-end Java web developer technologies.

For the IT professional who wants to upskill, these courses will expand your skill set and improve your development team's value. Check out Simplilearn’s courses today and start a new programming career or boost your current role!

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