Manual Testers vs. Automation Engineers – Why the Divide?
In my experience, the real sweet-spot in testing is when you have a combination of both manual and automated tests. They both serve a real purpose and they both provide a lot of value. I would never want to be on a project that was either 100% manual testing or 100% automated testing. The projects I have been on that have been the most successful and produced the highest quality results were projects that used a combination of testing strategies.
Automated testing allows you to get more testing done. When you have a large portion of your test scripts automated, that frees up time for testers to do exploratory testing that can’t be put under automation. If none of your tests are automated, then you will likely spend a good portion of your testing time validating happy path, “good” user scenarios and will never get to spend time really digging into the product to test the more unusual scenarios that tend to have hidden defects in them.
The strongest testers I have worked with are ones that can do both. They are technical enough to get high functioning, easily maintainable automation scripts in place but also spend time using their “soft” skills to manually test as well.
Here is why I think we are seeing this divide in our community:
1. Most teams separate their manual testers from their automated testers. I think this is a recipe for disaster. When you have a team that only does automated testing, their scripts are often given to them by the manual testers. Often times, the automation engineers code exactly what they are told to do without any real in-depth knowledge of the product. Then, because the manual testers don’t really understand the automation or how it works, (and because testers tend to struggle with severe trust issues), the manual testers often spend a large amount of time manually testing the same functions that are automated….just so they can be sure it really works and that the automation didn’t miss anything. What a waste of time!!!
2. The manual testing community doesn’t want to learn how to automate. The idea of learning that technology is scary.
3. The automation community thinks manual testing is boring and doesn’t want to do it. A lot of the strong automation testers I have worked with and met come from development backgrounds and really just want to write code. They have no desire to really “play” with the system to see what they can find.
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