From Manual Testing To Test Automation

The tester profession is relatively new compared with to the developer one.

Initially, the testing jobs were mostly about manual functional testing for client-server apps and websites.

Mobile devices and mobile applications existed on a very limited scale until a few years ago.

Many companies did not have a testing team at all so the testing of their products was done by their developers and clients.

Slowly, these companies begun to realize more and more that having a testing team is as important as having a development team.

So they hired many manual testers.

Being a manual tester was not difficult as, due of the novelty of the testing field, there was no formal education available.

Without formal education, a manual tester needed mostly soft skills and almost no technical ones:

– cognitive skills

– attention to details

– willingness to learn new things

– verbal and written communication

– ability of questioning how things work

– creativity

Testers were not technical compared to developers.

Test automation was in its infancy and the manual testing was in many cases the only testing done:

Things were good for manual testers for a number of years but then things started to change.

Websites were no longer sufficient for businesses so they launched mobile sites and native mobile apps.

The technology and testing advanced too with Selenium, cloud computing, test automation and API testing gaining importance.

The amount of manual testing done for business applications started to change as companies began looking at automating the repetitive testing tasks so more complex testing is possible:

So where is manual testing today?

I occasionally speak to IT recruiters about the job market.

I asked them about the testing jobs available today.

Are manual testing jobs still in high demand?

One answer was the “pure” manual testing opportunities are few.

When one is available, the competition is fierce with 40-50 people applying for it.

There are, however, more and more opportunities for testers with test automation skills.

Many companies have test automation frameworks that need to be maintained and improved or want to start their own frameworks.

Another answer was that most of testing roles seem to be hybrid roles.

The job requirement is that the tester is cross-functional and know both manual testing, a programming language, and a test automation framework.

For this type of job opportunity, the competition is low.

The recruiters cannot often find qualified people available and positions stay open for a long time.

Will this trend continue?

I believe that it will.

Testers that invest in their own career, know a programming language and have other technical skills will have the first chance of getting into the most of the job interviews  going forward. 

These testers will continue to get closer and closer to software developers in their daily job requirements and skills.

So manual testers will become software engineers in test or test developers.

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