Benefits of Automation Testing
Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - June 14, 2021
Companies developing software in 2021 really cannot afford to compromise on speed. To stay competitive in a constantly evolving online market, they have to release software and consequent updates fast and consistently. It is not possible to accomplish this without introducing automation into the development and testing process – most effectively via DevOps and CI/CD methodologies.
In particular, test cycles require automation so as to keep up with the speed of development and software release. With 2-week sprints developing whole new features at one go, testers have to run comprehensive test cases fast, with perfect accuracy.
This is impossible to accomplish with manual testing alone. Automation testing is the only way to keep pace with Agile development, and comprehensively verify software for all possible bugs.
This article will discuss 8 major benefits of automation testing, revealing why it should be a fixture in all development ecosystems in the modern age.
- Saving Costs
More often than not, one hears how expensive automation can be to set up and implement in the initial stage. This is true, but here’s what most testers/developers/management ignores: manual testing costs far more in the long run.
As proof, have a look at Paul Grossman’s white paper: Automated testing ROI: fact or fiction? He illustrated this by showcasing a test scenario in which automation testing was able to reduce the cost of each test hour from $78 to $17.54.
Contrary to popular belief, automation testing is more cost-effective in the long run. Manual testing cannot run repetitive tests (such as regression testing). As the software expands, more features have to be tested, which increases pressure on manual testers. With automation, they have to test more, which makes errors more likely and takes far more time for tests to complete – all of which increases costs and degrades software quality.
- Swifter Feedback
Needless to say, test automation via frameworks like Selenium and Cypress accelerates test case execution. Machines work faster, which is especially useful for repetitive tests like integration and regression testing.
With faster tests and quicker results, teams can get feedback more frequently, which helps them detect issues and improve functionality. Frequent and fast feedback cycles are an integral part of Agile life cycles. Devs are meant to push code, get feedback and consequently refine the code. This is an iterative process that must occur in every sprint.
Test automation allows tests to be run fast enough to yield accurate results in short sprints, accommodating agile teams’ need for quick, comprehensive, and flawless feedback. This is not possible via manual testing.
- Better allocation of resources
With automation taking care of mundane, repetitive tests, QAs can devote their time to activities that actually require their discernment and intellectual engagement. For example, they can spend more time on formulating new test cases, deciding advanced testing metrics, reviewing automated test results closely, or running tests that cannot be automated (usability tests, exploratory tests, ad-hoc tests, etc.)
Additionally, with fewer monotonous tasks to deal with, testers can be more engaged in their day-to-day work. This keeps them happier and raises team morale – all of which leads to a better quality of work.
Note: QAs can use pair testing to run quick manual checks, share knowledge, and eliminate the more obvious bugs before pushing code to production.
- Guarantees higher accuracy
Given that manual testers are human, they will make mistakes. No matter how meticulous they are, manual testers cannot be expected to deliver 100% accurate results. People get tired, miss steps, and make other errors. Automation, however, runs a script perfectly every single time, and records results in the exact detail it has been instructed to.
- Increased Test Coverage
Among the many advantages of automation testing, this one stands out. By virtue of automation, QAs can execute a much larger number of test cases. More tests ensure maximum coverage of requirements and features in every test cycle.
Wider test coverage increases the likelihood of identifying bugs, which prevents avoidable issues from escaping into production and contributing to a low-grade user experience.
- Detects bugs earlier
With automation at hand, developers can run unit tests on their workstations before pushing code to version control. Subsequently, a series of other automated tests (integration, regression, etc.) are also run automatically. As quickly as it is created, every patch of code is tested extensively. Bugs are detected early on, when they tend to be easily fixable and their impact quite minimal.
Early bug detection leads to early debugging which is much easier to do. Bugs that escape into pre-prod stages are much harder to eliminate, as they will affect large parts of the software under test. In fact, this is the whole crux of the shift left testing strategy which intends to identify and resolve bugs as early as possible in the development process. This improves software quality and reduces time spent in resolving issues later in the pipeline.
Read More: Common obstacles in Automated Testing
- Does what manual testing cannot
Even the largest QA teams in the world cannot match the speed, range, and accuracy of an automation framework. For example, automation tests can be used to simulate the activity of a thousand visitors to a site for load testing. Unless a QA team actually has a thousand members willing to visit a website simultaneously (a completely unrealistic scenario), manual testing cannot accomplish this.
Similarly, for testers seeking to perform cross browser testing on multiple browsers and browser versions, manual testing may not suffice. Automated Selenium testing would be required to run the requisite number of tests with a short duration of multiple real browser-device OS combinations.
- Maximizes ROI
Faster tests lead to faster results. This, in turn, speeds up product release without compromising on software quality. Achieving accelerated time to market leads to increased Return on Investment (ROI) for a business.
The Role of Real Devices in Automation Testing
No matter the software, automated tests must be executed on real devices and browsers. Remember that device fragmentation is a major concern for every developer and tester. Every website has to work seamlessly on multiple device-browser-OS combinations. With 9000+ distinct devices being used to access the internet globally, all software has to be optimized for different configurations, viewports, and screen resolutions.
In this state, no emulator or simulator can replicate real user conditions. Software needs to be tested on real devices so that they can work in real-world circumstances such as a low battery, incoming calls, weak network strength, and so on. If an in-house lab is not accessible, opt for a cloud-based testing option that offers real devices. BrowserStack’s cloud Selenium grid offers 2000+ real devices and browsers for automated testing. That means users can run tests on multiple real devices and browsers by simply signing up, logging in, and selecting the required combinations. Testers can also conduct Cypress testing on 30+ real browser versions across Windows and macOS. Detect bugs before users do by testing software in real user conditions with BrowserStack.
Do not release software without testing on real devices. When users visit, they will encounter bugs and errors that could have been easily avoided, and disruptive user experiences will result in the loss of users.
One cannot overstate the benefits of automation testing. Given the customer demands for new features every few weeks, organizations have to incorporate test automation to keep up. Since inadequate user experience will almost certainly get software uninstalled and downvoted by customers, the importance of automation testing cannot be questioned anymore. Without it, developing software that appeals to users becomes significantly more difficult.