As per a report by Transparency Market Research, the global test automation market will likely expand at a robust rate worth US$ 109.69 bn by 2025 from US$ 30.45 bn in 2016.
Many software companies today have embarked on DevOps journey for continuous delivery of their products only to realize that automated testing is indispensable to achieve full agility.
The benefits of adopting test automation in software development processes include better control of test activities, more transparency, and more accurate detection of defects.
Factors that hints the need for automation
Automated testing is the process of running hundreds of test suites using an automation framework and set of test tools. It’s important because manual testing of all workflows, fields, scenarios consume a lot of time and becomes a bottleneck to achieving faster releases.
Here are some common cues in a business operation that hints the need for automation testing:
- Test cases with diverse issues
- Test cases that went through multiple regression
- Functionality-based cases that picked a lot of customer complaints
Different scenarios where automated testing can be leveraged
To get the most out of automated testing, it is vital to evaluate appropriate scenarios for when it can bring a positive outcome.
Shift Left testing
One scenario where automated testing can help is when a company is looking to shift-left test in their SDLC. Shift-left testing is an approach in which testing is performed much earlier in the software lifecycle, i.e., test early and test often. Traditional testing activities take place very late in the cycle, where it is no longer possible to fix defects that’d gotten through all the stages and reached production, resulting in 3X time and costs to fix. Automation in shift left testing allows developers to write code with testability in mind right from the development phase.
Regression testing is one major area where test automation can help, especially in a DevOps environment. Regression testing ensures that any changes made to software codes do not impair the functionality or affect the existing test scenarios.
With continuous delivery and an ever-increasing number of releases that come along with it, companies often consider regression testing (quality) as a bottleneck to achieving speedy releases. Test automation helps companies to keep going by automatically reviewing the changes and ensuring that everything works fine as it should after a new release. Here’s an example of business outcomes obtained with the help of automated regression suites.
Test coverage answers “what are we testing and how much are we testing?” It is one crucial area where coverage obtained from manual testing pales in comparison to automated testing. Test automation helps QAs maximize test coverage by running volumes of test cases spanning on different browsers, OS configurations, simultaneously. Automation not only allows for more test coverage in terms of quantity but also quality.
Non-functional tests The common misconception about automated testing is that it can be run only for functional tests.
But in practice, depending upon the organization’s needs, it lends itself well to non-functional tests like performance, security, accessibility, system integration or APIs, etc., all running in continuous testing mode. The goal behind running non-functional tests in continuous testing mode is “to be able to detect the exact moment when someone enters a line of code that affects the non-functional aspects of the system.”
Picking the right mode of automation
Test Automation is incomplete without men and machinery. It’s worthwhile to explore the various options viz., test automation software, hiring trained individuals or teams to kick start the test automation process, based on your business needs.
Test Automation tools
Top test automation tools available in the market are Selenium, Test Complete, Soap UI, UFT. Among them, the common household name is Selenium. With selenium, you can run web and mobile application tests with different combinations of browser/OS versions. It also supports various languages like Java, Python, PHP and others for writing automation test scripts, and its ability to integrate well with other testing tools like Sauce Labs, etc. makes it a favorite among the testing community. Here’s a list of important criteria to look for when evaluating automation tools.
Train manual testers for test automation
If an organization has a team of “manual testers,” one option is to upskill them with automated testing skills as they already have a deep understanding of the system under test and its users. However, doing so would absorb a lot of time and effort, and for many different reasons, some testers may not get hold of effective code writing for automation scripts.
SDETs to write automation scripts
Have SDETs to write concise, maintainable code who can leverage internal APIs and other capabilities as part of writing valuable test scripts. But, in the end, it all boils down to how much of an in-depth testing experience SDETs have, or are they all test-minded?
Hiring/Outsource test automation engineers
Getting a team of test automation engineers (hire/ outsource) is a good option since,
- You can gain competence without having to spend time and cost training them, and
- Experienced automated testing engineer reduces the risk of poorly written test automation suites
As the adoption of test automation continues to rise, it’s important for everyone who’s involved in the making of software to have a fine understanding of automation frameworks, tools, and best practices that make test automation possible and obtain the real ROI out of it.