When products are launched, rigorous testing is conducted, during which we may come across defects. Although developing error-free products is nearly impossible, this shouldn’t discourage us from testing. Here is where automation testing comes into the picture. It executes test case suites using automated software tools, eliminating the need for human intervention. We do have the manual testing option, but tests conducted through automation have proved to be advanced and far more accurate. They can be easily conducted at any time, making them time and cost-effective. To learn more about automation testing, let’s understand its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Automation Testing
As technology is advancing, we are looking for more ways to automate various processes. The same applies to the testing process. Here are some benefits of automation testing.
Automation testing eliminates the excessive interaction of manual testing, hence allowing the execution of a lot of tests. It has a greater capacity than the manual testers. In fact, while the test suite is executed through automation tools, the tester can create more tests for execution. That way, the test coverage of the products increases, ensuring it is of the topmost quality. Deadlines are at the top of the tester’s mind, forcing them to leave out some tests because of release dates. With automation testing, the testers can avoid these situations and even execute complex tasks.
Executing a series of tests can be a tedious task. Now, imagine if these responsibilities are given to human beings. It’s natural for them to feel fatigued doing monotonous tasks, which can also impact the reliability of the manual tests. Since there are no such problems with automation testing, it is considered to be more reliable as it eliminates the possibility of human errors. Additionally, along with executing repetitive tests, automation testing also keeps an accurate and comprehensive record. This helps in further understanding the difference between the expected and actual features of the developed product.
It’s a no-brainer that if we improve the accuracy of the test along with its coverage, we can save a lot of costs in the long run. Think about it this way. Automation testing increases the speed of test execution, analyzes resources, and measures quality. Ultimately, it cuts down on costs. Even though the investment in automation testing is substantial, the ROI (return on investment) is still impressive. Automation testing is gaining popularity as businesses are leveraging their power to increase their efficiency and earn more profits.
Let’s compare the time required for execution in automation and manual testing. In manual testing, if you want to increase the test speed to save time, you would need to bring in more manual testers. Making them work together in a team can be a hectic task, too. On the contrary, you can execute parallel tests using automated tools that significantly cut down on time. Also, as the project progresses, more features are included which requires further testing. Using automation testing reduces TTM (time to market) drastically.
More test coverage is equal to detailed knowledge of the developed product. Plus, the recorded test results can provide meaningful insights. With the help of these records, developers can determine the errors. This allows them to resolve the issues and make a note to avoid the same error in the future. Additionally, automation testing is used by businesses to make strategic decisions.
Disadvantages of Automation Testing
Only using automation is never the solution so we need manual testing as well. With that said, here are some automation testing disadvantages.
1. False sense of security
Automation testing can give false positives or false negatives. False-positive may consume our time, whereas false negative may provide us with a false sense of security. Either way, it’s detrimental to the developed product. To prevent this, the testing team needs to review the test cases thoroughly. Along with this, they need to ensure that they have a better test plan, test cases, and testing environment. Therefore, building a comprehensive test suite is essential. Otherwise, it may lead to possible defects, remaining undetected.
2. Less creativity
Even though the pros outweigh the cons of automation testing, we cannot underestimate the creativity involved in manual testing. Manual testers use their creativity and experience to find bugs, which is the human element missing in automation testing. This in no way implies that human involvement is not there in automation testing, as test cases are created by testers. But in terms of customization, most testers prefer manual testing to automation.
We demonstrated in the advantage section that automation testing is time-efficient. But this is the case when setup is done and ready for executing repetitive tests. The process of setting up automation testing is time-intensive and involves several processes such as upgrading the parameters and scheduling. For projects that focus more on quality over deadline, automation testing is a good option. But for projects that are driven by deadlines, this can sometimes be a problem. The reason is that these activities take up more time than the project can afford.
4. Advanced skills
Every time businesses decide on implementing new technology, they either train existing staff or hire a new team. It is not a feasible option to train the existing employees each time, especially when it comes to advanced technology such as automation testing. Most automation tools use programming languages so the automation testers should possess a good understanding of them. Additionally, they should have experience with manual testing, which allows them to create a comprehensive test suite for automation testing. To sum up, it requires a good deal of skills, ranging from APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to databases.
Since testers need to possess superior levels of skills, it’s reasonable that they get paid more. This is not good news for businesses as they are the ones signing the check. Moreover, writing test cases for automation can take a lot of time, which is costly as-is for existing employees. Billing hourly, such as when they must hire contractors, hikes up the price even more. Besides, there are licensing and server costs, which can add up with other expenses associated with automation, making it look like a less desirable testing option. But the thing is, these costs creep in once the automation testing is implemented, making their estimate unreliable.