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Why Manual QA will never be a thing of the past

Is Manual QA becoming outdated?

With the growing popularity of automated testing in recent years, the question has arisen “could, or should, we replace manual testing completely?”. 

Well, in my opinion, the answer to this question is no, but let’s delve a little bit into why.

Automated testing is very powerful at doing simple tasks and doing it a lot. You can even have fairly complex automated tests that use tools like WebdriverIO to mimic manual tests. But let’s not forget – testing isn’t a simple role. If it was, then developers would have always just tested their own code and the role never would have been invented.

A large portion of the things that make testing a fairly complex and skill-heavy role can be covered off by having a QE, or someone with a ‘testers brain’ write your tests. 

This satisfies that those weird corner cases where something breaks somewhat unexpectedly can still be caught. The other side to the coin, which I feel is an aspect of a tester that is somewhat undervalued, is the ability to find issues with a user flow or user experience even when everything is working entirely as expected

Conclusion

We all know it’s entirely possible to write some amazing specification or great user flows, but when it comes to actually using the functionality; something just feels off. 

This is something that automated tests will simply ever catch.

If your company already heavily utilises automated testing, then it may be best to bake this role directly into your product team. Either way, for this reason, we’re always going to need a role doing some form of manual testing, no matter how good your automated testing strategy is.