Why I love automation
I attended the Leeds Tester Gathering on 21st Feb, I listened to Dom Barnett talk about working for a client where the phrase “So, you’re here to automate us out of a job?” was the provoking piece. And, I just wanted to say: I wholeheartedly agree with his message that “No, that’s not what automation is about”.
Message for Manual Testers
For me, automation is a tool that can assist in making life easier:It removes a lot of the laborious regression testing and allows manual testers to focus on more creative testing that will find those weird bugs that mightn’t get caught without human interaction.
Do a lot of things very quickly, see above point. Not wasting time on tests.
Message for Automation Testers
That is all.
I appreciate that newer automation testers are excited about automating tests and building something interesting. In reality, this is what happens:
The black box represents your system. The orange dots represent bugs/defects. The part of the system in the middle of the blue lines represents what automation scripts cover.
When you’re running the automation pack, you’re hitting the same points over and over. So you won’t find all of the issues in the system. Building out the pack doesn’t make sense as some of the scenarios are so obscure it doesn’t add value. This is where manual testing will still add value.
Message for Non-testers
The main reason I don’t like automation testing, is because people don’t really know what they’re asking for. There are lots of areas of testing, they offer a lot of different skills and perspectives on a system.
When a company is looking to hire a tester, they often want this magical unicorn human that can do everything. You wouldn’t ask a dev to work in ops, they have completely separate domain knowledge and skills (DevOps shouldn’t be a thing, just saying). You’d expect them to be aware of it, but not be able to just switch roles. For me, it’s the same with testing; we all respect each other and can communicate about it, but ultimately we shouldn’t be expected to be an expert in all aspects.
The saying “Jack of all trades…” comes to mind, I’d rather have 3 people who are excellent at what they do, than 1 person who is mediocre. The overall quality of whatever product is being worked on will be better.
I don’t think everyone should be able to write automation scripts. I do truly believe that all testers should be able to contribute the automation pack, understand what the testers are writing and be able to effectively communicate about what should/n’t be automated.
The most important thing for me is that you enjoy what you’re working on. I absolutely hate writing scripts, but I genuinely love chatting to the people who do and helping to contribute towards what should be automated.
Automation has a place, it is not the final goal of testing, but it is incredibly valuable.