Software test automation is an ever-evolving field that continues to make massive impacts in organizations–reducing time-to-market, increasing quality, all while reducing costs. This post is an interview with a leading test-automation engineer, with depth of experience in the field. This interview will give you historical perspective and a fascinating view of where test automation is going.
Test automation allows you to deploy software much faster, much more accurately, and with much less cost. What’s not to love?
However, test automation is increasingly complex. Replicating customer behavior when they may be interacting with you on a computer, over a TV, on a smartphone, and numerous other ways becomes incredibly complex very quickly.
On top of this, software needs to interact on the back end in high volume, customized enterprise environments. However, top engineers are solving these problems every day and extending test automation to spaces that could previously only be tested with brute human force.
How do you ensure the experience for the customer is good across all of those platforms? You can’t throw a bunch of people at it to test every scenario. It’s too expensive and time-consuming. You need some way for a machine to check all of this quickly and cheaply.
About the Leading Test-Automation Engineer
We sat down with a BETSOL engineer to hear more about the future and trends of test automation.
Ignacio has been in Quality Assurance for 17 years, and in test automation for 10 years with experience in manual and automated tests, functional, system, and integration testing practices. He has also served in three Fortune 500 companies.
What do you see is the key benefit of having test automation as a company?[Ignacio]
Customers demand not only good products but also good quality and price. Test automation makes the difference in whether a company can deliver products of superb quality, quickly, and efficiently.
With test automation, it is possible to increase the speed of the testing to get better performance than manual testing, better quality, and all this is reflected in a low cost.
What are some surprising types of tests you’re able to automate now that you weren’t able to a year or two ago?[Ignacio]
I am always amazed at all that is possible to achieve with automation. There are a lot of automation tools depending on the market, but what I have seen continuously growing is mobile technology which is more and more demanding than a couple of years ago and every day it is possible to do more automation in this area than was done manually in the past.
What do you see as the future of test automation?[Ignacio]
We know right now that manual testing is decreasing with time and test automation is increasing and becoming more demanding and required for the different markets.
The technology has reached the traditional and new markets, and for most of them, test automation will be necessary to make them more efficient and competitive.
What is the biggest challenge when transitioning from traditional manual testing to automated testing?[Ignacio]
I had the opportunity to live this process myself, and based on my experience the biggest problem are the manual testers themselves. Many of them will have a fundamental opposition to the change, and the management should be smart enough to encourage the people who will be directly involved in this process, prepare and train them accordingly with time before the process starts.
What are the biggest mistakes companies make during these transitions?[Ignacio]
To expect that people will do this transition smoothly. It must be done step by step, hiring an expert in automation to help with the training and mentor the manual testers with the different automation tools to be used.
Another big mistake is to start automating everything, which only creates chaos. They should start with a good plan, evaluating first which manual tests can be automated, and concentrate the effort only on those areas.
How does test automation save companies money?[Ignacio]
By doing more testing in less time. This is reflected in the quality of the product and a good image of the company to the customers. With automation, it is possible to be more productive reducing the testing time and covering additional tests which normally cannot be done with manual testing because of restrictions on the number of resources.
If you were an executive, what would you ask your software delivery team to determine if they are ready to make the transition?[Ignacio]
- Which application and tests are going to be automated?
- Which percentage of the manual tests are going to be automated?
- Is the team ready and well prepared to start with test automation?
- Which automation tools are going to be used?
What advice would you give to up and coming software engineers interested in a career in test automation?[Ignacio]
This is a career with continuous growth and demand, which requires one to learn several automation tools and also be ingenious to achieve the objectives when the automation is not possible.
The work market is vast, and because of this, it is possible to finish specialized in a specific automation tool, or in a particular technology.
Always keep learning new technologies and automation tools for different areas like Desktop app, Web app, Unix, performance, mobiles, etc.
Test automation is massively value to software engineering. It improves quality, time-to-market, all while reducing costs. Getting insight from an industry veteran is a fascinating way to see where the field has come from and where it’s going.