Why and When to Use Automation in Testing?

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Magdalena Lozowska-Pereira

Aug 24, 2022 • 12 min read
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The software development industry is one of the fastest-growing industries of our time. As the demand for technology grows, so does the need for complementing repetitive manual tests with automated services such as automation testing.

The software development market is expected to reach $1039 billion by 2027, which is a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of $25.54% from 2020 to 2027.

Source: Verified Market Research

The size of the test automation Market surpassed USD 15 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of over 16% from 2021 to 2027.

Source: Global Market Insights

Why automated testing?

Automating your testing allows you to test faster and more efficiently. Test automation is an indispensable part of software development work, because with a high rate of application use and development, manual testing is simply becoming insufficient.

Every day, applications are being developed and then used by thousands, if not millions of users. Before each launch and release to the market, running tests for these applications is a must to ensure an optimal experience for the end user.

Testing requires a lot of effort from the team. Even so, a tested system could still contain bugs. There are rarely enough resources and time to test the application adequately, and test failures take place frequently. This is where automation engineering with automation testing tools comes to the rescue.

As the reports show, the global market for automation testing has grown significantly as a result of the rapid adoption of advanced technologies. Test automation has already replaced 50% (or more) of the manual testing efforts, as the PractiTest report shows.

Source: State of Testing Report 2022 by PractiTest

Let me walk you through the four key reasons why automated testing is worth your while.

Faster delivery

First of all, the main reason why you should opt for software test automation is faster Time to Market (TTM).

So how does it work? Automated tests are based on a pre-designed scenario that automatically compares the results received with those expected.

It helps speed up the types of tests that require repeating the same steps over and over again. As a result, repetitive, time-consuming and labor-intensive manual testing is replaced by automation. The time gained can thus be used more wisely – QAs can focus on deeper and more creative tests to uncover hidden bugs.

Let's take regression tests as an example. Imagine you are under constant pressure to release new features. This carries a big risk of releasing a buggy application. Test automation comes to the rescue here, speeding up regression testing significantly. This, in turn, reduces the time between integrating a new feature and launching it. In the end, the sooner you release new features, the more competitive you will be.

Fast development and delivery is also a major determinant among the respondents of the Industry Survey by Kobiton:

Nearly 30% of respondents said that the speed of delivery is the metric that best indicates successful test automation implementation, and 51% of them stated they release software updates daily or weekly.

Some of the benefits you get by speeding up the testing process with automation are:

  • Shorter software development cycles
  • More frequent releases
  • Quicker application changes and updates
  • Faster time to market

Save time

Another advantage of automation testing over manual testing is that it allows Quality Assurance specialists to do more testing in a shorter time.

In manual testing, QA specialists usually carefully go through application screens, try various use cases and input combinations, compare the results to the expected behavior and record their observations. It requires them to be highly involved in everything from test case writing to actual test execution.

Tests are repeated often for source code changes and other situations, such as hardware configurations and multiple operating environments.

An example would be tests that run 100 login scenarios one after another or in parallel on several devices. Performing it manually would not make sense, as it is too time-consuming.

As the report ‘2022 State of Test Automation’ by Perfecto indicates, manual testing is the most time-consuming activity in the testing cycle.

Source: 2022 State of Test Automation by Perfecto

In automated testing, on the other hand, tests are executed automatically via test automation frameworks, along with other tools and software.

While it takes a lot of time and effort to initially set up automated test cases, once tests are automated they can be reused. What is more, they can be executed any number of times, reducing the time to run repetitive manual tests from weeks to hours, depending on the complexity of the software. Because of this, your team can complete test execution in less time.

The automation tests give us a 35% time savings relative to manual tests, according to scalac)

Automated tests can be executed much faster than manual tests, but also can be expanded to perform tasks not possible with manual testing. They are less error-prone and less labor-intensive.

Another advantage of automated testing is that your team can spend less time validating newly developed features. QAs save a lot of time out for the more valuable task of actually writing and maintaining testing code.

Finally, with each automated test, confidence in the developed software increases, time is saved. In the end, your team will be able to focus on the quality of the product, which is, after all, the most important thing here.

Wider test coverage

Another big benefit of automated testing is the increased test coverage, which allows teams to scale up their suites and run tests in parallel on multiple devices and operating systems.

Test coverage is one of the measures of test quality. It indicates how much of the application under the test has been tested.

Manual testing can help you get high-quality test cases, but it puts limits on how many tests can be run. For example, when it comes to about 100-percent test coverage for a complex web application, achieving it manually can be very difficult.

Automation enables QA Engineers to spend time writing new tests and then adding them to an automated test suite. As a result, it increases the test coverage for your product, which means more features are properly tested. It will result in applications of higher quality.

Early bug detection

A recent study published by Cambridge MBA students has found out that

developers waste 620 million hours a year debugging software failures, which cost companies $61 billion annually.

The report also revealed that software engineers spend 13 hours on average to repair a single software failure.

This means that not only will you lose revenue when your website or app doesn't work, in addition, your clients will turn to your competitors for better software. Not to mention the money you lose because of the number of resources needed to find and fix bugs.

Automation testing makes “shift-left” testing (pushing testing toward the early stages of software development) much easier by documenting the software defects. With instant feedback and immediate status reporting, including logging of all incidents and failures, developers can fix software faster.

Moving the activity of creating test automation and planning for it to the left also forces you to clearly document your features and user paths. To conclude, well-prepared test automation written earlier means earlier detection of defects, which translates to faster delivery, a better product.

On top of that, automation often allows us to discover bugs that manual tests have missed. The manual testing process may not be accurate due to the possibility of human error, while the automation process is reliable because it is code- and script-based.

When to automate?

It is definitely worth thinking of test automation if the benefits mentioned above – such as speeding up the development process and the roll out of new features, increasing the quality of your product, or reducing operational expenditure – are important to your business.

Additionally, the process of testing various parts of new software with little to no human involvement makes sense from a cost perspective (you can save money and still deliver a quality product) and when time is crucial (for large, long-term projects, automation can save time, frustration, and money).

To implement or convert manual testing to automated testing, you might want to analyze the appropriate tasks/test cases and determine the return on investment (ROI).

Apart from that, there are various aspects that can help understand whether automated testing fits a given scenario or not. The following are some of the key factors of whether automated software testing should be the preferred option:

  • Complex and/or time consuming tasks
  • Impossible or difficult to run manually tests
  • Repetitive tasks
  • Tests run frequently
  • Basic smoke-level tests
  • Functional testing
  • Performance or load testing
  • Advanced GUI testing
  • High-risk cases
  • Critical components
  • Cross-platform testing

Summary

Manual and automated tests are the basis of smoothly functioning software. You need to think about testing as soon as you start implementing your software. Creating an automation strategy and a strategic testing process might be in order, especially if your software will contain advanced features. This way you will avoid mistakes and your software will be in perfect condition.

Remember that automation testing does not rule out manual testing. What is more, the two types complement each other. Like manual testing, its automated counterpart requires a strategy preceded by proper planning, monitoring and control processes.

Photo of Magdalena Lozowska-Pereira

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Magdalena Lozowska-Pereira

Quality Assurance Engineer at Netguru.
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