Automation Testing vs Manual Testing

Software testing is a vast domain that finds extensive applicability across the IT industry. Every software that is developed is first tested by a Quality Analyst across several parameters and then released in the markets. A QA is a professional who tests software for their credibility. Major leaders in the software testing industry across the globe are a1qa, QA Mentor, DeviQa, ITCube solutions, Sciencesoft, Oxagile etc. Let us understand what software testing is and how it can be done?

What is Software Testing?

Software testing is the process of evaluating developed software across several functional parameters to ensure it is in-line with the desired quality and specifications. It accounts for identifying or detecting any faults that may have occurred during the development phase. Software testing can be done in two ways:

a. Manual Testing

b. Automation Testing

As the names suggest, manual testing accounts for manual testing of the software while in automation testing, specific tools and scripts do the quality check. Let us have a better understanding of the two techniques;

What is Manual Testing (MT)?

Manual testing accounts for the traditional way of software testing that is done by a human called Quality Analysts. Under MT, the target software is tested and evaluated across several parameters and functions manually by the QA without the help of software, tools, and scripts designed to do the testing. Essentially, manual testing is done by hand and comes with human affiliation. The scope of MT holds high in products that come in direct contact with users. For example, mobile devices, laptops, wearable like earphones, smartwatch, etc.

There are six types of manual testing:

  • Black box testing
  • White box testing
  • System testing
  • Unit testing
  • Acceptance testing
  • Integration testing

 Off-late, QAs have started using another type of testing called Grey Box Testing. Under the grey box testing, the code of the project is partially known to the analyst and accounts for identifying context-specific defects in the internal structure of the target project. 

When to use Manual Testing?

Manual testing finds its applicability in several devices that are getting smarter by the day. Gadgets like mobile phones, touchpads, smartwatches, smart glasses, smart TV need to be tested in the field to be approved for human use. This testing accounts for manually finding out any defects that may be present in the device’s software or hardware. Test cases are run on the target product by the analysts or testers who manually generate the report of the test result. For example, when a new mobile phone is developed, the device is tested for durability, application crash, refresh rate, speed, etc. there might be a chance when the user accidentally forgets to lock the screen and launches an application resulting in the pocket dial. The tester needs to find out how if the software can detect that is a pocket dial or an intentional call is being made. There are several other examples like this that need to be field-tested.

Scope of manual testing:

1. Exploratory Testing

As the name suggests, exploratory testing is essentially the domain experts exploring the scope of a software basis their knowledge, skills, and intuition. Exploratory testing demands human creativity and analytical skills upon the software under test.

2. Ad-hoc Testing

Ad-hoc testing calls for experienced testers who have been in the domain for over the years and know every knick-knack of the product under test. It is informal testing where the tester does not require any documentation or requirement chart or test case to verify the product, it is highly knowledge-driven. 

3. Usability testing

The testing of software for its operability is called usability testing. The main criteria under this testing are to check whether the software is user-friendly and comes naturally to the user when it comes to applicability.

What is Automation Testing (AT)?

Automation testing is a process of testing the software for any defects with the use of automation tools and scripts. Manual intervention is minimal or nil in this case and the target software is evaluated by automation tools only. There are several automation tools present in the market like Selenium Webdriver, Ranorex Studio, HP QTP/UFT, LoadRunner, SilkTest, etc. 

When to use Automation Testing? 

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Automation testing finds its applicability in all test-driven developments. The written software gets tested as several stages across the test case written for it. Automation testing accounts for milestone testing i.e. testing the software after every considerable development.

Scope for automation testing:

1. Regression Testing

When there are frequent and regular changes in the code, automation testing is best suitable. Since they do not require any human intervention, there is no human delay or error and the regressions get timely tested for any defaults.

2. Load Testing

Automation testing finds its high applicability in scenarios of high load. Humanly it is not possible to test hundreds of users at once. Only automation tools can help in this case.

3. Repeated Testing

For tests that require a repeated running of the test case, automation testing is best suitable.

4. Performance Testing

The tests run to validate the code of performance, scalability, speed and other characteristics are called performance tests. Since so many features need to be tested at once and in integration, automation testing is best suitable. 

What are the key differences between Manual Testing & Automation Testing? 

  • It is done by human beings to check for any defects in the developed code
  • It is done by automation tools that detect any potential error or defect in the code.
  • MT requires a considerable amount of investment in human resources
  • AT requires a considerable amount of investing in automation tools
  • MT is highly time-consuming as the QA goes manually through all codes and looks for errors
  • AT is comparatively faster as dedicated scripts and tools consume less time to detect errors.
  • MT is suitable in cases only when a fixed and minimal number of tests are required to be run, say 2 or 3
  • AT accounts for load testing i.e. it can run through hundreds of codes to find out defects
  • MT is human-oriented testing that factors in the human touch in testing for usability. For example, when checking for user-friendliness.
  • AT is a machine learning program that is designed to detect any defects but cannot justify the human satisfaction level.
  • It is a less reliable technique as there are chances of human error in looking out for defects
  • AT is a more reliable technique for software testing.

What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Manual Testing?

Advantages:

1.     Higher applicability

2. Viable for short life cycle products

3. QA’s analytical skills perform the task

4. Preferable for projects that require GUI testing

5.     Less expensive than Automated Testing in initial phases 

Disadvantages:

1.     Highly time-consuming

2. Less reliability due to human error

3. Restricted to a few projects, cannot take high load

4.     Every project is a new start

What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Automation testing?

Advantages:

1.     Faster mode of software testing

2. Cheaper than Manual Testing in the long run

3. High reliability

4. Can be reused as automation program that is run once can be recorded to test similar projects

5.     Preferable for projects that require regression testing

Disadvantages:

1.     The initial investment is higher, in the automation tool

2. High maintenance costs

3.     GUI, captcha, AVs are difficult to be processed

Conclusion

Both MT and AT are efficient ways of software testing and come with their own set of applicability and limitations. Depending upon the project requirement and other governing factors like budget, the choice can be made easily.

Do you want to know which testing suits your project best? Reach out to us to know in the comments section.