“… you just can’t differentiate between a robot and the very best of humans.”
Today’s confrontation of manual and automated testing bears a resemblance to the reflections of Isaac Azimov about the relationships between humans and robots. In his “I, robot” novel he questions, if the robot could substitute human. Robots perform better, faster and avoid mistakes. In turn, humans can work on issues inaccessible to any script. The debate about which testing type is better has lasted for years because each testing type is good in its own way and for its purposes.
There are cases in which manual testing is unconditionally better:
Unthinkable opportunities for entrepreneurial people have given rise to countless startups in the IT industry. Technology makes it possible to create a revolutionary product with a tiny budget, but as with any other custom software, these products need testing. And testing processes for startups have their own specific restrictions:
Drawing again an analogy with the difference between the robot and the human – robots were invented to assist people, save time and automate routine processes; Automated testing has also been invented to perform routine processes. Luckily, the majority of testers and software development companies come to an understanding that each type should complement each other and automated testing should follow manual.
To demonstrate the difference between the manual and automated testing more vividly, let us fantasize a little. Imagine your brand new product as an unknown territory your army of testers should explore and conquer. Manual testers in this case will be the trailblazers or scouts. They are the first to explore the software, its functionality and how it impacts the user. Not a single script, even the most sophisticated, can’t simulate human flow of thought and previous experience. After they have made a site sketch, detailed where the critical points are and gotten into the places that could be reached only by human beings, the heavy artillery arrives – automation testers. They set up their massive weaponry, say “ready or not, here we come. You bugs, can’t hide” and begin to work. Regression, load and performance testing should be repeated consistently with each new update of the product – that’s where automated testing is at its best. As in the case of the artilleryman, an automation tester requires more specific skills and knowledge than the manual QA engineer. Little projects will require several people, but to deal with huge ones you will need artillery.
“You can prove anything you want by coldly logical reason—if you pick the proper postulates.”
Solomon’s decision for deciding which testing type to use would be very simple: both. In this way you will benefit from each and minimize the shortcomings of rejecting one of them.
Eventually the conflict is mostly far-fetched. The only reasonable approach is to combine both methods. And in spite of the fact that automated testing is becoming more and more solicited, manual testing is definitely here to stay for a long time to come.
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