The testing of a software product can be carried out in either a manual manner or in an automated manner. In first and second cases, a test plan is drawn up and test cases are written. The only difference is that during manual testing, the test cases are performed by a person, and during automatic testing a program tests the cases.
First of all, we should stipulate that both manual and automatic testing are great and neither one is better or worse than the other. Automated testing is a great complement to manual testing, and when both types of testing are combined correctly, you can get optimal performance, utilize resources and minimize costs.
The advantages and disadvantages of automated testing
Just like manual testing, automated testing has advantages and disadvantages. Here is the list:
Automated testing can be useful in the following cases:
- When you have a large scale project that is continuously growing, you will need to perform multiple tests over and over.
- When you need to test new versions of a program quickly.
- If you work on a project that is based on IoT (Internet of Things) or Big Data. The use of manual testing would be inappropriate here.
- If the team has many developers who simultaneously make changes to the code. Automated testing reduces the possibility of negative consequences.
The full switch to automated testing makes no sense, and here is why:
- All automated tests are based on a specific scenario. They enable testers to run thousands of routine tests quickly, but they are insufficient when it comes to identifying errors that go beyond a particular scenario.
- Automated tests provide no ‘user experience assessment’. A thorough evaluation can only be achieved when a manual tester assesses the program from the perspective of a human user.
Responsibilities of an Automated QA Engineer
Typical responsibilities of a tester may include:
- Develop test scenarios;
- Write new automated tests;
- Analyse the results of test runs;
- Complete test scripts;
- Maintain documentation on tests;
- Verify errors corrected by programmers.
And naturally, as a member of the development team, an automated QA Engineer also has to attend meetings and other events for the team.
Salary of an Automated QA Engineer
An experienced automated QA tester can earn more than $115,000 a year in the US job market.
How can I become one?
If you want to be an Automated QA Engineer, we’d like to recommend that you start off with manual testing. Why? Because any automation is based primarily on the understanding of the basic principles of testing mechanisms.
This is what’s taught at the training courses for Manual QA testers. Once you have learned the basic skills of manual testing, and you have gained sufficient experience in the field, you can think about getting deeper into this area of IT, and move on to automated testing.
Automated test writing requires proper technical training, and you need to know the basic programming languages that are being used in the field today. Having Automated QA testing skills will allow you to choose, and to work on, more complex and interesting projects. Plus, you’ll also get more money for your work.
Skills of an Automated QA Engineer
Any professional needs soft skills to have a successful career, and Automated QA Engineers are no exception. Here is a list of the most important soft skills for an Automated QA Engineer to have:
- Good communication. Automated QAs are team players, so they need to be able to speak to people across areas in a clear and concise manner – particularly when they are giving instructions and feedback to members of a team. Additionally, they must be able to clearly describe the essence of any problem and they must be able to ask appropriate questions in the workplace. A lack of communication in a team like this could provoke conflicts.
- Discipline. Being creative is great, but not for an Automated QA Engineer. Strict compliance with the plan is much more important here. It’s imperative that projects are designed with various stages, sprints, and deadlines in mind – these will help to keep track of what’s going on and it keeps the project moving swiftly forwards.
- Aptitude for learning. Knowledge in the IT world becomes obsolete very quickly. One year is a long time here, therefore, a good Automated QA Engineer must constantly learn – learning either new technologies or new approaches as new information crops up almost every day.
No matter how cool your professional knowledge is, without good soft skills, your career won’t be successful.
Any career development, including QA, can develop horizontally or vertically.
A ‘horizontal career’ is when a professional improves their skills in their professional field and expands the range of their knowledge – for example, learning new technologies and new approaches. A ‘vertical career’, on the other hand, is when an individual seeks promotions throughout their career in order to move through the hierarchy of a company - for example, from being a line manager to being a top manager. If you are interested in a successful vertical career, you need to work for a large company where such growth is possible.
However, many people choose the third way – something in between. This is when on one hand, you get leadership positions, and on the other hand, you expand your professional knowledge.
Which way will you choose? – The decision is always yours!