There are two approaches to software testing — Manual and Automated testing. In Manual testing, as the name suggests, all tests are performed manually by a human(s). In Automated testing, test engineers write codes and tests are done by computers.
Over the past few years, Automated testing has become more and more popular. It’s not surprising as this approach has many advantages! Automated testing requires less time, you can run many repetitive tests quickly, and this could be very time consuming if you’d done it manually. Automated testing also allows for higher test coverage, and in many cases, it is more cost-effective in the long run.
So, it’s no wonder that there is a lot of talk about the uncertain future of Manual testing. Sometimes you hear companies saying that Manual testers are not required anymore. But this is not true. There are always going to be scenarios where human input is the only way to achieve the best possible outcome.
There are plenty of reasons why we need Manual testing. Let's talk about some of them.
Manual testing is more cost-effective for small projects.
Automated testing software itself is really expensive, and anyway, it cannot work without a human(s). Somebody has to manage and maintain it!
The salary of skilled Automated testing engineers can be pretty high, which is why the costs of Automated testing for small projects cannot really be justified.
On the other hand, Manual testing allows a company to quickly set up a team of testers, and have the job done without a massive initial investment.
Manual testing saves time when checking small modifications.
One of the main reasons why Automated testing is so popular is that it shortens the time needed for developing new software.
QA team members can run an enormous number of tests in a very short time, and that is a big bonus, of course. But here’s the thing.
Test Automation engineers need time to plan and to write test codes, and they have to reconfigure Automated test scripts every single time a modification in an application has been made.
So, in most cases, quick manual verification makes more sense, than rewriting test scripts when dealing with minor, and often repeated changes.
User experience can be evaluated during Manual testing.
Even the biggest fans of Automated testing cannot ignore this.
The human eye and brain are irreplaceable when it comes to testing the user experience.
Yes, we can check the placement and alignment of elements with Automated testing. But usually, a more in-depth human assessment is needed.
For example, is this particular interface user friendly? How visually appealing is that application? How fun is the video game?
No Automation tool can answer these questions.
Automated tests can only test what is predictable.
With Automated testing you can test software to make sure that it does what it is expected to do. Therefore, these tests can only evaluate what they are told to check, and cannot capture all unforeseen errors.
Even the most experienced test Automation engineers cannot always predict how end-users might use the application. And this is where the power of exploratory Manual testing lays.
Manual testers go beyond the limits of strict test cases, and they try to explore the software from different perspectives in order to find bugs that nobody would actually think about.
Some applications and functionalities cannot be tested by computer programs.
Let's say you have to test the functionality of a fitness tracker. Imitating human movement would be much more expensive than just performing the tests manually with an actual human.
Or try to imagine that you need to test a mobile application. Again, trying to imitate all those swipe and tap gestures we all do with our mobile devices would be a real challenge in an Auto test.
So, Manual testing is an obvious and more cost-effective choice in these cases.
If we’ve still not persuade you that Manual testing is still very much needed, check out this article from Forbes.
The founder of QA Mentor — Ruslan Desyatnikov — provides a more in-depth insight into the importance of Manual testing. Hopefully, after reading it you will see the value in Manual testing.
Manual testing is not going anywhere - at least it isn't any time soon. And there will always be a high demand for skilled professionals in this field. Besides, Manual testing is relatively easy to learn, and with some time and effort you could start your career in the IT world pretty quickly by taking a Manual QA course.