Improve Your Automation Skills Part 1: Why Automation?
Automation is the creation and leveraging of technology and applications in order to control and monitor the production and delivery of various goods and services.
Automation is gaining popularity because it can require less human effort through leveraging coding skills to develop automation scripts. Due to the increasing demand for automation skills for consultants, it is key to develop skills with automation tools and coding languages.
As we know, functional testing requires human input. We test an application from A to Z with input from our sprint, smoke, regression, integration testing, and other types of testing that are required. For this reason, it can take a frustratingly long time to do all the necessary testing. Automating some of these tests can help reduce time spent by testers and offload that burden to an automated test script.
Let’s look at some ways that automation makes our lives easier:
Before automation, quality assurance testers checked software applications for bugs from A to Z. Since this was time consuming and often one manual tester was not enough, companies had to hire extra resources for this task.
Alternatively, the testers could choose a risk-based testing approach which would reduce scope in order to validate the test conditions with the highest probability of occurrence or had the most significant impact to the business or operations. This would make the most efficient use of manual testers time, but could still allow for bugs to end up in production because they can’t cover the entire application.
We now know an automation test engineer can support functional testing and apply their coding experience to develop automation scripts. By automating some of the testing, we can use technology to cover more of the test conditions. This can result in covering more of the application under test and freeing up manual testers to focus on test conditions with high complexity. By automating tests, both time and money can be saved.
Additionally, automation can detect defects and bugs earlier in the process than manual testers who may need to check each individual function. Automated test scripts can reduce human error caused by “testing fatigue.” Generally, automated tests can run faster than manual testers and will not accidently miss something that is important to a test because this is the “one hundredth time it has run the test and is positive it will be exactly the same as the first 99 times.”
Less Manual Labor
As mentioned above, automation decreases the need for manual testing, as test scripts are developed as functionality is delivered as opposed to waiting until a complete feature is delivered to be manually tested. Automated test scripts developed in parallel with application features development can test and report back issues sooner. Automated test frameworks are capable of capturing these executions and generating reports to drive dashboards and show a historical view of test automation at a glance.
Cross Platforms (Different OS, Browsers)
Cross-Platform Testing is performed to determine the behavior of your application and website in different environments. It helps identify issues that may vary between platforms or configurations such as consistency, user interface, usability, and performance issues.
By using Selenium Grid, in conjunction with Selenium WebDriver, testing on different browsers can easily take place. Automated test scripts can be written once and run against multiple browsers or browser configurations setup in Selenium Grid. Because of this, time is saved by not having to test functionality in each individual browser.
Automated Tests Can Be Scheduled or Triggered
Automated test scripts can be scheduled using Jenkins, Azure DevOps, or your DevOps tool of choice. A tester can schedule and run test automation cases when they’re ready, allowing them to dedicate their “extra” time to other tasks. Automated test can be scheduled on a recurring interval or even outside of working hours. Imagine being able to run an automated test once every 4 hours, or every day at 2:30 in the morning, or even every 15 minutes on a weekend!
With the help of continuous integration, automated tests can be configured to be run as the result of an event. When a developer checks in new code from their branch a new test automation execution can be triggered.
Reporting and Reporting Detail
Automated tests when integrated into a complete test automation solution will provide details on test passes and failures that are easily accessible. The output of the frequent test executions can be reviewed, trended, and used to inform not just what tests are covered, but how often the automated tests result in a pass.
Because of the multiple benefits automation can provide to an organization, it is key for an IT consultant to have automation skills in the current job market. My next article will cover tips on how to improve your automation skills in order to set yourself up for optimal career success.
Stay tuned for my next article in this series, which will focus on where to begin the process of improving your automation skills.