Lets catch up with automation. Tech world is moving way too fast.
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Looking back in the past, software testing was considered a non technical work. People used to hold a general perception that anybody could do testing. The field used to be a minefield of sorts, with testers ironically been due for recognition many times, and project success credit mostly evaded them. This obviously translated to testers paychecks at the end of the day.
Times are changing now for the good with the advent of automation in testing and most projects following the Agile framework. Software Testing has seen a paradigm shift in the last few years with automation testing hogging the limelight. If your organization has not witnessed this change as of now, rest assured as its only a matter of time with the world around you changing thick and fast. Software testers must be constantly learning. The world of technology is not stagnant. It changes at the blink of an eye.
At times, it is questionable as to whether the development or the QA team is responsible for automation. Many people have their own views on it. Some believe that it would depend on a number of factors as to who has the required skill set for the tool and product knowledge in the team, be it a developer or a QA. Others believe that QA team should take the onus for it.
Automation is the outcome of accelerated evolution of technology which has its own set of advantages. It allows to code the tests once and re-run at a later stage any number of times. Humans are prone to lose interest and concentration when same set of tests needs to be run time and again. Automation saves cost, energy and time in the long run, is faster and more reliable. It frees testers with some time to delve deeper with exploratory testing. It is one of the best methods for stress and performance testing.
This upheaval of sorts has put the testers community in a very different league now. Most testers find themselves in a critical situation where they need to sharpen their testing arsenal with modern day nukes (automation tools and development language(s)). This has undoubtedly put a lot of stress on the older generation of testers who proliferated with their vast repertoire ofmanual testing skills and powers. They find themselves under pressure to upgrade their skills. Substantial part of the QA community needs to upgrade itself as they do have a mastery in their craft (manual testing), but industry may not compensate them enough for that skill alone in coming times. Its time to move on with some specialization.
The irony is that ‘change is the only constant in this world’. Its a hard truth, that it is not easy to change or adapt to adverse conditions, once you have been habituated to a particular sort of environment. Change has always been a struggle and that’s why people generally try to avoid change as much as possible. It pulls them out of their comfort zones, which is equivalent to saying ‘change is painful’. It would do you a lot of good to deal with change in a constructive way. Refer Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. It is also a common phenomena that change takes its toll. No wonder that coming times may sees some unfortunate casualties on this front.
I will divide testers into certain categories for the ease of understanding their response to change. First are those who don’t want to change. Second are those who aspire to change but don’t want to work hard for it (common human tendency). Its a pity that there is no magic potion for you guys from any of Harry Potter series, as of now. Please keep waiting till the stock arrives. Next in line are those who try, but do not succeed due to reasons innumerable like lacking aptitude for learning/adaptation skills, resistance to change, comfort zone habit etc. These may be the unfortunate casualties on this front. Then there are those who somehow manage to attain mediocre skills which are just enough to keep them afloat. They keep getting their paychecks as usual in all probabilities, but have nothing special to boast of about their skill. Many othersmay achieve wonders and discover their hidden talents and flair for the new stuff.
It is apparent that developers turned testers may have an edge in automation which sounds natural, as coding is second nature to them and they are more privy of code breakup points. On the other hand, a manual tester learning automation will initially face technical hurdles which is expected. But as the saying goes that ‘practice makes a man perfect’. There is no shortcut to success.
A few tips are taking online/offline courses, joining forums, reading blogs, knowledge sharing with peer groups etc. There are many open source/commercial tools and related courses available in market related to automation, like Selenium, SoapUI and so on.
Passion for your craft make you excel in your field. If you enjoy doing testing, than learning to automate will make you feel more in command of your skill. You are not deviating from your core strength which is testing. Your knowledge is getting enhanced and this is a welcome change. Acquiring any extra skill has its own learning curve which takes time. Most companies are more than willing to train their existing staff in these new skills (if they see potential in them) instead of looking to replace them with trained professionals from the market (which is a much more expensive option).
Automation industry is still at a nascent stage with plenty of growth/changes/opportunities coming along with recent advances in technology like internet of things (IoT) which makes this field really demanding for the testers. So in a nutshell, change is not easy and manual testers are in a non enviable position with nobody really wishing to be in their shoes at the moment. On the contrary, challenge always presents an opportunity, which needs to be grabbed. There is a saying that ‘if opportunity does not knock, build a door’. Better build a door by learning to automate so the opportunity could knock.