Testing is an essential phase of software and application development. A development team can create the most fantastic app, equip it with excellent features, and make every deadline milestone. However, if the software doesn’t work correctly, it will all be for nothing. It will fail.

Testing assures the developers that the finished product works as it’s designed to while identifying any issues that need tweaking before the public ever gets the chance to see it. With an increasing number of apps released every day, there’s a need for a convenient, efficient way to conduct testing. And not just any method, but one that can accommodate the rising tidal waves of new products.

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Enter the technique known as automation testing! You are about to find out all about automation testing; what it is, why it’s a good thing, and how you can have a career in it.

Automation Testing Defined

Automation testing is a procedure wherein automated tools are used to write test cases and run them, including testing characteristics such as loading, stress, and performance. The automated process is designed to provide higher efficiency, effectiveness, and accuracy. It’s especially suited for handling repetitive tasks as well as functions that prove difficult for manual testers.

What Tools Does Automation Testing Use?

Automation testing has a plethora of software tools available to make the task easier. They include:

  • HP Quick Test Professional

    This tool enables testers to execute automated tests to identify, defects or gaps, as opposed to the expected results of the application test
  • IBM Rational Functional Tester 

    This tool automates functional, regression, GUI, and data-driven testing.
  • LoadRunner

    Simulates a large number of users to measure system performance and behavior under load
  • Selenium 

    An open-source tool used for regression testing, offering playback and recording facilities
  • SilkTest

    Used for functional and regression testing, it’s the leading functional testing tool for e-business applications
  • TestComplete

    Lets testers create automated tests for Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, and Web applications
  • Testing Anywhere

    This tool tests applications, controls, GUI front-ends, objects, and websites.
  • Visual Studio Test Professional

    This is an integrated toolset designed for teams as well as individual developers

    Open-source software that lets you write easily read and maintained tests 
  • WinRunner

    This is an automated functional GUI testing tool that permits users to record and playback user interface (UI) interactions as test scripts.

There are a host of other automation testing tools out there, such as Appium, Cucumber, RSpec, and Tricentis. Developers need to find the ones that best suit their unique development situations. 

Why Use Automation Testing?

Automation testing is an ideal tool for running many tests simultaneously and handling a lot of the work that human testers would consider boring and repetitive. If you want to run tests but are pressed for time and can’t sit there babysitting them, then automation testing is your best option. You can initiate trials and forget about them for a while since there’s no need for human intervention. Automation testing also comes in handy for testing multi-lingual sites. 

What Are the Specific Advantages of Automation Testing?

Automation testing brings many useful positives to the app testing process. They include:

  • Load Testing 

    When testing new software, one of the most important factors is the app’s ability to handle massive numbers of users simultaneously. Automation testing can run thousands of simultaneous tests, acting like millions of users, something that manual testing can’t replicate. By using realistic load tests, developers can put their software through the paces and get a good idea of how it will handle real-world situations.
  • Reliability and Accuracy

    Humans make mistakes; that’s why pencils have erasers. Automated testing can perform the same tests over and over, with no deviations, thereby guaranteeing a consistently accurate performance.
  • Timesaver

    Automation testing brings “set it and forget it” functionality to the testing process. Activate the tests, leave, and see the results when you return. Rather than being bogged down doing repetitious tasks, you’re free to tackle other duties. Furthermore, it doesn’t take any additional time to repeat the tests. Considering how the average developer’s day has so many tasks and responsibilities, saving time ranks high in the most convenient features.
  • A Fundamental Part of DevOps

    The DevOps design philosophy has been gaining considerable traction in the world of app development, and automation testing is a necessary element. One of the concepts of DevOps is “fail fast, fail early,” and with automation testing available, this becomes easier to achieve.
  • Reusable

    Automation testing initially requires a significant outlay of time and resources during the setup. However, once it’s in place, developers have a set of tools that can be used (and re-used) to test different versions of apps and software in the future.
  • Flexible Programming

    Automation testing can change the automation testing’s programming, creating increasingly complex tests that can spot obscure weaknesses in the app.

Are There any Drawbacks/Risks to Automation Testing?

It should come as no surprise that automation testing has its weak points as well. No tool is perfect. Here are the most significant drawbacks:

  • Considerable Setup Time

    Before a developer can run tests on a newly-designed app, he or she first needs to take the time to create the automated test elements. In other words, automation testing requires a lot of beforehand preparation. In the long run, it’s worth it, but for the short-term, it’s a lot of work and can be time-consuming.
  • You Need a Set of Particular Skills 

    Building off the first point, you need skilled people to conduct automation testing. Automation test script-writing requires a proficient programmer.
  • Debugging

    What happens if a test script contains errors? The testing process will be rendered invalid. If the error-spotting mechanism is itself riddled with errors, the results could be catastrophic. Therefore, developers need to make sure that the script is entirely bug-free. No pressure!
  • Maintenance Issues

    The more screens that a test script contains, the more difficult it is to maintain test files. Higher maintenance demands should come as no surprise since sophisticated tools require more upkeep in general.

Manual vs. Automation Testing: A Comparison

So we have established that automation testing has its good and not so good points. Now let’s take things a step further by comparing it to manual testing and see how they stack up.

  • Time Factor

    Automated testing takes less processing time than manual testing.
  • Random Testing 

    Also called “exploratory testing,” it’s allowed in manual testing, not in automation.
  • Start-up Cost

    Automated testing demands a higher investment, but the return on the investment (ROI) is higher in the long run. Manual testing is cheaper, but the value isn’t as high.
  • UI Changes 

    Changes to the User Interface (UI) require modifications to an automation testing’s scripts, whereas manual testing works just fine even with small UI changes in effect.
  • Engagement 

    Since automation testing uses tools for participation, the accuracy doesn’t suffer due to monotony and boredom on the part of the test. Manual testing’s repetition risks boring the tester, thereby increasing the likelihood of errors.
  • Frameworks 

    Automation testing uses Selenium and other test automation frameworks such as Datadrive, Hybrid, and Keyword. Manual testing doesn’t use frameworks.
  • The Human Factor 

    Humans aren’t a part of the automation testing equation, so it has no way of ascertaining user-friendliness or whether or not customers are satisfied. Manual testing includes the human observation element, so testers get a better idea of how user-friendly the system is.
  • Programming Skills/Knowledge 

    Automation testing requires programming knowledge, whereas manual testing doesn’t.
  • Best Time to Use 

    Automation testing works best when there are a large number of repeatable functional tests, as well for situations calling for load testing, performance testing, and regression testing. Manual testing is better suited for ad hoc, exploratory, and usability testing.
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Would You Like to Become an Automation Test Professional?

According to this Dzone article, the test automation market in 2016 was valued at about $15.87 billion worldwide. It is expected to reach $54.98 billion by 2022, growing 23% between 2017 and 2022. The average test automation engineer annual salary is USD 105,630 in the United States.

Given such a promising outlook, we can see that a career as an automation testing engineer is a surefire way to earn excellent benefits while working in a secure, high-demand occupation. If you want to become an automation test engineer, Simplilearn has just what you need.

For starters, you may want to check out articles such as How to Build a Career in Software Testing, The Scope of Software Testing, and The Top 20 Manual Testing Interview Questions and Answers. These resources help you to gain a better grasp of what software testing is all about.

Then you must check out Simplilearn’s Automation Test Engineer Master’s Program. This program will put you on course to becoming an expert automation test engineer, focusing on software development and quality assurance. You’ll receive Java certification training, learn to automate web applications that are integrated with DevOps processes, use the popular testing technologies, and utilize containers on the Docker platform.

Once the course is completed, you will earn your Master’s certificate, documentation that shows any prospective employer that you’re well versed in all of the essential aspects of automation testing.

Don’t delay! The world of software testing awaits, and Simplilearn can help you take those first steps into a new, exciting career!

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