Software testing is an indispensable part of the software development life cycle, enabling companies to release high-quality software that meets user expectations. With the accelerated pace of development and the complexity of modern applications, more than manual testing is needed to deliver comprehensive test coverage. This is where test automation comes into the picture. The key benefits of automation testing elevate software quality assurance and testing efficiency.
This article will look more in-depth at some significant ways automated tests supercharge testing efforts and drive better software development outcomes, along with the test types suitable for automation. Lastly, we’ll compare manual testing with automated testing.
What is Automation Testing
Automation testing involves using special software tools and scripts to test a software application. The main goal of automation testing is to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and test coverage of the testing process. This is done by automating repetitive and time-consuming manual testing tasks.
In automation testing, test scripts are written to automate the execution of test cases. These scripts can simulate user interactions with the software, like clicking buttons, entering data, and going through different screens. Automation testing helps repeat tests, checking that new changes don’t break existing features, and running many tests.
Benefits of Automation Testing
Automation testing offers several benefits that contribute to the software development process’s efficiency, effectiveness, and overall success. The key benefits we will examine include:
- Saving time and money
- Faster feedback cycles
- Improved testing accuracy
- Earlier bug detection
- High return on investment
- Reusability of test scripts
- Increased developer productivity
- Legal compliance enablement
- Performs tasks that cannot be done manually
- Enhanced test coverage
- Risk Reduction
- Optimized use of Human Testers
- Parallel test execution
- Distributed test runs
Leveraging test automation can eliminate some of the most labor-intensive, repetitive, and error-prone aspects of manual testing. Let’s explore how automating tests can lead to faster releases, reduced costs, and unambiguous quality gains.
Saves Time and Money
One of the foremost advantages of automation testing is dramatically faster test execution. Tasks that take humans hours can be completed in minutes with automation scripts. When regression test suites with thousands of test cases need to be rerun for each iteration, automation makes it feasible.
Without automation, for large enterprises, conducting comprehensive manual testing for every release is cost-prohibitive and virtually impossible, given constrained timelines and limited testing staff. Automated scripts alleviate such resource limitations.
With reusable test scripts, savings multiply over time. Automation consultancy firm Test Monitor determined automation leads to a 40% – 70% faster testing process. Research by Capgemini showed a 60% reduction in testing time and cost savings of up to 30%.
For example, a 100-hour manual test suite traditionally needs five testers and two weeks to complete. With a conservative 50% time savings estimate, automated tests finish in 1 week with fewer testers required. Considering hourly rates for test engineers, savings can run into six figures for a significant application.
Faster Feedback Cycles
With executable specifications and validation protocols encoded into test scripts, automation feeds objective quality feedback into Agile development iterations.
Whereas manual test cycles commonly spanned multiple weeks between versions, automation collapse cycles to hours or days. Finding defects sooner accelerates remediation. Catching issues while features are fresher in developers’ minds results in faster diagnosis and repair.
Early feedback exposes unfinished work and drives continuous improvement. When spec changes can be rapidly propagated into test scripts, agility thrives. Confidence is fostered to progress functionality in small increments.
Test debt and bottlenecks for legacy systems are reduced through test suite automation. With faster test repetition, more frequent releases become achievable without sacrificing quality.
Improved Testing Accuracy
Even with their best intentions, humans are vulnerable to fatigue and concentration lapses when executing repetitive test plans. Through unrelenting precision, automation overcomes human shortcomings.
Manual testing demands constant context switching between test cases and application states, siphoning cognitive resources. Automation eliminates such multitasking, unlocking absolute focus on the system under test. With software managing sequencing and data inputs, accuracy improves.
Earlier Bug Detection
Automation testing drives earlier discovery of software defects, enabling cheaper remediation costs and reduced technical risk from lingering bugs.
With exhaustive test cycles condensed from months to days, integration flaws, logical errors, and feature omissions surface faster. While late-stage defects cost 50 to 100 times more to fix than those caught early, automation shifts detection left.
Finding even 20% of bugs sooner with automated API testing or test-driven development techniques results in significant savings. Fixing defects pre-release compared to post can cut rework expenditures in half. It also prevents escaped defects from irritating users.
High Return on Investment
Test automation yields a substantial return on investment (ROI) when accounting for software professionals’ salaries and quality costs.
Test automation requires considerable upfront effort to build frameworks and develop maintainable scripts impervious to application changes. But by spreading these costs over many test runs, applications, and years, automation leads to order-of-magnitude improvements in cost efficiency.
Studies by test consulting leaders like QASymphony and TestPlant consistently demonstrate test ROI averaging 600%. IDC Research found 600% to 800% ROI and a 50% reduction in unplanned work and rework post-release.
For context, average stock market returns hover around 10% annually. Even conservatively, test automation’s financial payoff is formidable.
Reusability of Test Scripts
Since automated tests are implemented via programming languages like Java, C#, Python, or shell scripting, they are modular, encapsulated code units. Test building blocks remain unaffected by application changes unrelated to their focused intent.
These test assets retain long-term value across UI refreshes, underlying hardware migrations, and even new versions of target software. Extendable test frameworks promote further amortization.
With some maintenance for adaptation, leveraging and repurposing test scripts boosts productivity multiples beyond the original authoring effort—savings compound with each new application consuming them.
Increased Developer Productivity
By the shoulders of automation, developers carry lighter testing burdens. Automation tackles the tedious aspects developers traditionally conduct manually.
Instead of exhaustive manual build verification and fears of unknowingly breaking existing behaviors with each code change, automation safety nets catch regressions early via continuous integration pipelines. Test outcomes shape rewrite versus refactor developer decisions.
This feedback cycle optimization enables developers to progress new features faster. Freed testing capacity also allows them to architect more strategically leveraging patterns that facilitate automation.
Legal Compliance Enablement
Comprehensive documentation of testing activities is compulsory for regulated industries like healthcare, finance, industrial equipment, and others.
Test automation furnishes concrete evidence of repeatable test processes and auditable reporting trails demanded by regulatory audits. Electronically signed automation logs support compliance claims and minimize audit friction.
Negating risks of non-compliance citations or fines that average $14 million, structured automation practices provide quality control rigor that satisfies regulators.
Performs Tasks That Cannot Be Done Manually
Certain types of testing are unrealistic for manual testing, like load testing thousands of users or data validation across massive datasets. Test automation makes these tests not just possible but also reliable and repeatable.
Software quality attributes like reliability, performance efficiency, and recoverability would be largely speculative without automation. Automated testing provides objective measurements.
Enhanced Test Coverage
Due to resource bandwidth limits and deadlines, manual test coverage focuses on common happy paths, often neglecting edge cases. However, users follow unpredictable patterns.
By exhaustively generating test data combinations, automation broadens scenario exploration. Lengthy test flows spanning multiple areas can run unattended rather than the fragmentation of manual testing. Thorough test repetition fills coverage gaps.
Automation tools also enable performance, security, and configuration testing that is difficult for manual processes. This expanded testing scope exposes oversights early.
With automation augmenting testing depth and frequency, risks from undetected defects or insufficient due diligence are lowered.
High percentage test automation maximizes technical risk reduction while bolstering user confidence that quality measures are working. It becomes a competitive differentiator toward winning market share.
Automation testing is compulsory for mission-critical domains like medical, financial, or real-time system software. Severe failure risks cannot be mitigated to negligible levels without exhaustive retries spanning configurations and load levels.
Optimized Use of Human Testers
Even with unlimited access to automation tools, human insight remains instrumental in designing test plans and analyzing results.
By relegating repetitive test execution and data comparisons to software, automation liberates human testers from these rote tasks. Their expertise is retargeted from tactical clicking to strategic planning and decision-making.
With automation handling mundane aspects, talented technical minds apply their true potential to maturing test coverage, frameworks, and new test domains that automation cannot fully replicate, like visual, exploratory, and usability testing.
Parallel Test Execution
Where manual testing relies on sequential execution by available testers, automated tests maximize resource utilization by running in parallel unattended.
Test suites traditionally requiring days of manual interaction are packed into hours by multiplying test concurrency. Automation suites split tests across distributed nodes to optimize timing. Nightly automation suites catch defects sooner without cutting into engineering staff availability.
This parallelization cuts calendars between releases, drives continuous delivery of software changes, and enables on-demand regression testing, facilitating Agile processes.
Distributed Test Runs
In traditional techniques, testing occurs on production-equivalent staging environments, requiring significant capital costs to replicate scale.
Automation tools greatly simplify injecting tests across distributed access points. Scripts connect to software interfaces over networks as virtual users would, better mimicking realistic usage patterns. Load is spread by coordinating test processes across lower-cost commodity machines.
This flexibility supports earlier test introduction before fully provisioned staging environments become available, unblocking development Velocity limitations.
Which Test Types Are Well Suited for Automation
Many kinds of tests can be easily automated, such as:
Unit Tests: Unit tests focus on verifying the functionality of individual code units, like functions or methods, is correct.
Integration Tests: Integration tests validate the proper interaction between different code units.
Functional Tests: Functional tests emphasize checking the overall system functionality matches user expectations.
Performance Tests: Performance tests determine system metrics like response time and throughput meet requirements.
Acceptance Tests: Acceptance tests validate the system adheres to predefined customer or stakeholder acceptance criteria.
Security Tests: Security tests identify and resolve security vulnerabilities within the system.
Regression Tests: Regression tests pinpoint and fix unintended changes due to code modifications.
Smoke Tests: Smoke tests quickly assess system stability after changes to see if more detailed testing is needed.
Automating these tests requires test automation frameworks like JUnit, TestNG, Selenium, Appium, Cucumber, etc.
Manual Testing vs. Automation Testing
Manual testing and automation testing are two approaches used in software testing, each with its own advantages and limitations. Here’s a comparison of manual testing and automation testing:
|Slow, depends on the human tester’s speed
|Fast, can run hundreds of tests in minutes
|Prone to human errors and oversight
|Reliable, repeat same steps precisely
|Limited, and not feasible to test everything
|Broad, can cover a wide range of scenarios
|Cheaper for small-scale testing
|Expensive upfront, cheaper in the long run
|Can improvise tests for new or changed features
|Requires scripts to be updated for new features
|Types of Testing
|Better for exploratory, usability, and UI testing
|Better for functionality, regression, and load testing
|In manual testing, test cases designed manually
|Test cases scripted, can reuse libraries
|Manual logs need to be created
|Automatic logging of results
|Manual reports need to be compiled
|Custom reports can be generated from logs
|Requires staff with testing skills
|Requires staff to write test scripts
|No maintenance required
|Requires maintaining test scripts
|Prone to tester bias
|Unbiased, executes scripted tests
|Realistic test data needs to be provided
|Can use simulated test data
|Typically tested in the production environment
|Can test easily across environments
|Hard to scale by adding more testers
|Scales well by running more parallel tests
|Repeating tests is time-consuming
|Tests can be rerun with one click
|Humans can spot visual defects
|May need visual testing tools
|Ramp Up Time
|Testers need little ramp-up time
|Developing scripts requires significant ramp-up
|Test cases created as needed
|All test scripts must be completed upfront
|Hard to debug or reproduce failures
|Failures can be debugged via logs
As applications become more intricate and businesses seek quicker releases of high-quality products, the benefits of an automation framework become evident. Implementing automated testing is an efficient method that enhances the efficiency and coverage of tests.
At Canadian Software Agency, we offer QA services tailored to your needs. Our team of QA professionals employs diverse testing techniques, adhering to the highest industry standards and best practices. If you seek reliable QA testing services, don’t hesitate to contact us.