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It did not take me long to fall in love with software testing. I don’t know what gives me more pleasure, finding faults in someone else’s work or contributing to quality of something! Whatever it is, I enjoy testing and by testing I mean manual testing.

Anyone following recent market trends in QA world would be forced to think about diminishing importance of Manual Testing , or should I say exponentially increasing popularity of automation testing.

There seems to be a unanimous agreement in the testing community worldwide about the ever growing need and significance of Automation. Some people even think and claim that Automation is the saviour and can replace manual testing altogether. I think its not right to compare manual and automation testing to prove the worth of one over the other. Each has it’s own Pros & Cons and can peacefully survive together in the industry.

Having been involved in automation as well in past few years, I undoubtedly realise the advantages it can give to a project. At the same time, I completely disagree that it will ever REPLACE manual testing. Manual Testing is and will always be the big brother, a pre-requisite to automation most of the times, if not always.

Automation will always be beneficial in terms of NEED FOR SPEED, repeatability, reusability but can never be a substitute for tester’s critical eye and subjective assessment.  An automation test will only do what the tester has programmed it to do. And to know that correct “what-to-do” , one needs a tester’s mindset and skills.  Manual Testing is always the behind the scene on-going activity for automation testing! And I can’t think of any machine/program that can work better than a human brain!!

For an automation project to be successful, right tool and skills are required. Automation tests are often limited by the tool’s limitation. If not maintained on a regular basis, automation tests can soon become useless and a wasted effort. Requirement Traceability and measuring Test Coverage are also big challenges for Automation. 

It’s extremely important to cautiously work on the strategy, cost involved  and ROI before jumping into automation. If a team is not following right strategy and processes in doing manual testing, it is almost certain the same will be inherited by the automation project. Automation can be a huge win when employed in combination with Manual Testing after proper planning and using correct strategy.

 I am not an Automation Specialist, still do not underestimate the importance of Automation in any way. It may be the current buzzword, but to think that Automation can be the only testing to certify a piece of software or it is more important that manual testing is an injustice to all the wonderful manual testers out there. I would love to keep my foot in both camps and enjoy the best of both the worlds.

Happy Testing :)

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