16th April 2018
Manual testing is a step by step process of building, developing and maintaining a quality software manually to ensure the quality and performance of the software developed. Ideally, the process of manual testing begins when the Recruitment Specification Research starts, and the team is carrying out the test should be included in the discussion session so they can design the test criteria and the way it should be tested.
A couple of years back, the manual testing job industry was booming, and at that time there were not so many mobile devices and mobile applications in the world of tech. With time, more companies began to realize the importance of having a testing team alongside their development team, and they began hiring manual testers. Back then, these testers were professionals from just about every field, some even without formal education as the skills required to become a manual tester were non-IT skills like good cognitive skills, willingness to learn, a questioning mind, creativity, and good verbal and communication skills.
Today though, more companies have entered into the world of mobile technology, and with mobile sites and apps, this has led to advancement in technology and testing with Selenium, cloud computing, virtualization and test automation gaining importance. Most QA positions require Test Automation skill set and what this means is that testers must be developers with a solid knowledge of testing frameworks. This is the minimum required by most companies, and even during their screening procedures they often require the applicant writes a sort of algorithm on an array without resorting to unconventional bubble or quick sort algorithms.
As agile becomes more common in most companies, startups and big companies alike, the line between developer and QA roles grows blurred, and in most cases, it becomes a single role. For example, a developer opens a pull request with some code for a new feature or to fix a bug fix, and at the same time include a unit + functional test to the same pull request.
So this raises a question of where manual testers fit in all this, is the role dead or soon to die? The answer is NO as manual testers will always be needed. Without human eyes, it’s impossible to release bug-free software, and this is a fact. However, the future of manual testing is inching more and more towards software development in requirement and functioning. These changes and operational development and for manual testers to stay relevant, they must update their skillset especially their skill in automation testing frameworks, new technologies, leadership qualities and process analysis.
Also, as automated software testing is an essential part of Agile software development, manual testers will be required to become more aware of how the code works, learn how the business makes money, and capable of indulging in management activities. This skill set brings the job description of manual testers closer to that of test analysts. There’s also the possibility that with this trend continuing, testers will invent their programming language and incorporate other technical skills which will give them an advantage going forward.
Looking at the general field of testing, testers can perform tests in two ways- either using automation (legacy solutions, external tools, in-house developed framework) or manually. The nature of tests you are looking to execute will influence your choice of automation as there’s not necessarily a wrong or right choice as either brings something to the table. Testing includes a wide scope of tasks to assess the quality of a product before the release of a product and automation is a great addition to testing and makes the process of testing easier even though not perfect.
There cannot be a complete substitute for manual testing as performing test activities such as regression testing, load testing and performance testing the automation has grown to be a necessity. Without manual testing, the process of testing will not be complete, and there’s a chance there will arise critical functional issues when we don’t test manually. Also, manual testing will always have some edge over automation as skills like inductive reasoning, inference, and human intuition are things which we cannot expect from automation. It’s safe to say that the future of manual testing is safe and expanding with lots of diversities to the management skills and additions to the responsibilities to bring the job description of a manual tester closer to that of a Test Analyst.