Learning Test Automation: Choice? Or Compulsion?

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by Lakshmi Kirthivasan, software QA engineer

Lakshmi_KOur team at Bridge360 is very focused on quality in the software production process. Expertise in all forms of testing helps us provide our customers with a higher quality product, so it’s critical that we have expertise in testing.

I have some programming skills and years of manual testing experience, but decided I wanted to become more skilled at automatic testing. Because all of the projects I’ve worked on over the last six years required only manual testing, I was mostly unfamiliar with the current tools available for automatic testing. This prompted me to do some research to see which tools were available and most widely used.

My research on job boards in both the US and India led me to the conclusion that seemingly everyone in my industry is embracing the fascinating world of automation. It was rare for me to find any job which focused only on manual testing. Today’s testers are expected to know one or more automation tools like Selenium, Watir, Cucumber, Test Complete and FitNesse. Numerous testing tools are loaded with standard functions and options but still don’t provide a complete solution for many testing situations. Typically, some tweaks to provide added functionality are needed to fit the requirement.

Testers who have so far been doing only manual testing are more or less forced to understand and learn coding and adapt to Test Automation and Agile Practices like TDD (Test-Driven Development). As more and more companies move from the traditional waterfall development process to Agile, testing is done more through a combination of manual and automation technologies, and programming skill plays a major role.

So do all testers have programming knowledge? No. But once a tester decides that he is going to transition from manual to automated testing, he should be prepared to acquire programming skills too. Software test automation can be a complex task, and this transition may be difficult at first, but with proper guidance, attitude and willingness to learn, it should become easier over time. It just depends on how well each person is utilizing the opportunity given to him.

Whether testers seek automation training of their own accord, or because their companies require them to, they should keep in mind that it can help their careers immensely. They should also understand that advancing their testing skills – for either manual or automated testing, or both – can help them and their companies build a much higher quality software product.

Happy Learning and Testing.

Author: bridge360blog

Software Changes Everything.... Bridge360 improves and develops custom application software. We specialize in solving complex problems at every phase of the software development lifecycle, removing roadblocks to help our clients’ software and applications reach their full potential in any market. The Bridge360 customer base includes software companies and world technology leaders, leading system integrators, federal and state government agencies, and small to enterprise businesses across the globe. Clients spanning industries from legal to healthcare, automotive to energy, and high tech to high fashion count on us to clear a path for success. Bridge360 was founded in 2001 (as Austin Test) and is headquartered in Austin, Texas with offices in Beijing, China.

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