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10 Major Differences Between Automation & Manual Software Testing.

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

Kazeem Razaq @K.Razaq / 6:00 PM EDT. June 30, 2022.

automation software testing

Automation and manual software testing are two very different concepts. But if you're trying to streamline your testing process as much as possible, it may seem like they're the same. But they're not. I am going to show you why this can't be further from the truth. This article will explain the major differences between automated and manual testing that can help you make a wise choice.

Automation testing and manual testing are both essential for software development. Automated tests help developers to verify their code, while manual tests can be used to find defects that would have been missed by automated tests. However, the two types of testing are not equal when it comes to cost. While automated testing is low-cost in comparison with manual testing, it has its own set of limitations that make it unsuitable for certain situations. In this article, we will discuss some major differences between these two types of testing and what makes automation preferable to manual testing in some situations.

Software testing is one of the highest-level concerns for software development teams, yet it gets very little attention. This is unfortunate and may cause defects to linger undetected even after deployment and increase the risk to the overall security of the production environment. While automated verification methods can reduce manual inspection overhead dramatically, there are still some elements unique to manual testing that need to be considered before going live with your code.

manual vs automation testing

The automation vs. manual software testing debate is a topic that comes up often when talking with new QA engineers, existing testers and even developers. One side says, “Automation is the way of the future” while another says it’s just another way of cutting corners on quality assurance (QA). In this article, we're going to delve deep into 10 major differences between automation & manual software testing which you should know if your latest idea involves robots doing testing instead of humans.

Software testing is a complex and expensive process. Unfortunately, many organizations don't invest in testing. They either believe in adopting an automated testing procedure or they just simply don't have the budget to hire additional testers. The fact of the matter is that an organization can reduce costs by investing a bit more on automated testing procedures such as Selenium Webdriver and TestRail, which allow testers to focus more time on writing code for the software application than on executing human-driven tests.

While both methods can be used in parallel, automation is usually performed on large-scale projects with multiple teams performing tests. Manual testing is typically performed by one or two individuals during an isolated incident.

testing automation

What is Automation Software Testing?

Automation is a process that involves automating software testing, which is the process of testing a program by using an automated tool. Manual testing is the practice of performing tests on a software development project or program to determine if it meets the requirements and expectations of the user.

Automation testing is used for all levels of testing, from unit testing through integration testing and end-to-end testing. Automated tools can be used for all three types of test cases: functional (unit), regression (functional), and performance (functional).

There are many benefits to automated testing:

  • Reduced cost: Automation reduces the time required for manual testing and increases the number of tests that can be run in parallel during each phase of development. Automation also reduces the human effort required for maintenance and enhancement by reducing the number of bugs that need fixing.

  • Improved efficiency: Automated tests help you gain insight into your code more quickly than manual testing because they perform all possible combinations of input values and conditions within certain limits, which allows you to detect bugs earlier in the process when they're easier to fix.

  • Improved quality: Automated tests reduce or eliminate human error due to errors in writing test cases or incomplete knowledge about how testing works.

  • Increased productivity: Automation can increase productivity by reducing idle time spent waiting for people, improving communication between testers and developers, and increasing throughput by helping testers focus on tasks at hand rather.

A few examples of automated processes include:

  • Scheduling – A computer program can schedule an assembly process on a factory floor by placing workers into work gates and assigning them tasks. The program also adjusts staffing levels based on the actual workload in real-time.

  • Inventory management – An inventory management system (IMS) tracks the movement of products through production lines by detecting when product parts are out-of-stock and reordering them automatically. This can help ensure that products are always available for shipment to customers on time.

  • Billing – A billing system automatically generates invoices for customers according to rules set up by human operators as well as business rules that are defined within the system.

  • Speed - Automated tests are faster than manual ones because they have fewer variables and can be executed multiple times without having to wait for the user to run them again. Manual testers also have to wait for their turn, which slows down their testing process and can cause errors if they get behind schedule.

  • Quality - Automated tests are more reliable than manual ones because they don't run into human error as often as human testers do. All automated tests are written by programmers who know how their programs should work better than anyone else; therefore, they can write comprehensive test suites that cover all possible cases and scenarios since they understand how their programs work best

software testing

What is Manual Testing?

Manual testing can be performed by someone who has expertise in certain areas such as security, database design or web development. Manual testers are usually considered to be less skilled than automation testers because they do not use automated tools to perform their test. Manual testers also have less access to information about the software being tested, so they may miss critical bugs in the software. Manual testers are also more likely to make mistakes when performing their tests because they are not following a set procedure or checklist when evaluating each part of the application.

Manual testers are tasked with manually performing their tasks and checking if the program they created works as intended. Manual testers will use a variety of different tools when performing their tasks, including:

  • Text editors (like Notepad)

  • Visual editors (like Notepad++) and Eclipse)

  • Source code control systems (like Subversion)

Automation vs. Manual Testing

Automation has become a popular method for automating manual tasks such as data collection, data entry and analysis. Automation reduces the amount of time required to complete these tasks, making it easier for developers to focus on their main responsibilities. This allows them to maintain productivity while still ensuring quality assurance (QA) standards are met by testing every piece of code before it is deployed onto the production server.

Automation is a process of controlling the testing through which software is being tested, while manual testing is the act of performing software testing manually. The major difference between automation and manual testing is that automation allows the tester to test the application without any human interference, whereas manual testing requires human intervention. Automated testing tools are used for automating repetitive tasks, thus making it faster for testers to carry out their work. Moreover, it is more effective than manual testing in terms of time and resource management.

Automated Testing Vs Manual Testing: What Are Their Benefits?

The advantages of automated testing include:

  • Time: Automated testing saves time because automated tools allow testers to perform repetitive tasks quickly and efficiently.

  • Error Reduction: It reduces errors by inspecting only those elements which are critical to your application’s functionality or performance.

  • Increased Productivity: It increases productivity as it allows developers to focus on developing new features instead of performing repetitive tasks such as mouse clicks and keystrokes -- saving the company lots of time and money.

Major Differences between Manual and Automation Testing.

1. Cost

Automated testing is more expensive than manual testing. Automated testing requires a dedicated team of engineers, who have to create the automated tests and integrate them into your build process. An automated test requires an infrastructure that can run your tests smoothly and on-demand at any time. It also necessitates having a software tool (such as Selenium) or hardware device (such as a robot) which simulates human behaviour and clicks on whatever you want it to click on in order to test the application correctly. You will also need testers who understand how these automated tests are written so they can create or modify them as needed, as well as be able to troubleshoot when something goes wrong with them.

2. Coverage

Manual testing is not as effective as automation. Automated testing is more thorough, flexible, scalable and reliable.

3. Accuracy and Reliability

Manual testing is more accurate and reliable than automation. If a software tester is familiar with a certain project, they can use their knowledge to test the product in ways that don’t have to be repeated every time they want to test something new. Manual testing is also great for finding bugs in places automation would never think of looking.

Automation can be used to test many different scenarios that manual testers might not be able to do on their own, but it still has its limitations — namely, it isn't as flexible or adaptable as manual testing. Automated tests are pre-written scripts that go through predetermined steps before reaching a conclusion about whether or not there's an issue with the system being tested. They're also prone to errors if there aren't enough safeguards put into place beforehand by developers who know what kinds of situations could arise during normal usage (or misuse).

automation vs manual testing

4. Test Scope

Automated testing can test a lot more than manual testing. If you’re on an IT project and there’s a feature that you want to test that requires the user to interact with several different pages and tabs, you would have to write scripts for each page and tab combination. With automated testing, all those interactions can be tested at once because it will automatically navigate through all of them while performing actions like opening, closing and clicking on links in between each page transition. This saves time by reducing the number of tests required and reducing your overall workload.

5. Maintenance

Maintenance is a major consideration for any testing project. Automation requires more maintenance than manual testing, and this is especially true if you're using open source software. When you use a commercial product, like Selenium or Appium, your maintenance costs are usually limited to bug fixes and security updates. You can also roll back an update if it causes problems, which is not possible with open source software.

Maintaining the test suite also comes with a high cost in terms of developer time and effort. In general, automation frameworks require more maintenance than manual tests because they tend to be less stable over time and require frequent tweaking to make them work correctly again under new conditions or environments.

6. Test Execution Time

Test execution time is one of the most important differences between manual testing and automation. Manually running tests can be quite slow as it requires a lot of human intervention, multiple steps and effort. Automation tools require less involvement of humans and run faster than manual testing.

Automation tools can be used to execute tests in parallel, distributed environment or virtual environments which make them more efficient than manual testers.

7. Test Documentation

When it comes to manual testing, documentation is important. If you don't document your tests and results, you'll have a hard time understanding what a particular test did or didn't do. Manual testers must also be able to identify the cause of bugs quickly and accurately, because they are often working on small teams with limited resources.

In contrast, automation tools allow you to write scripts that run automatically based on defined inputs in your software codebase. Automated tests are usually much faster than manual ones—but they're also less flexible and accurate (think speed vs accuracy). Automated tests have been shown to have fewer bugs than manual ones; however, they can't detect as many types of defects or provide as much detail about those defects when they do find them."

8. Reporting and Analysis

In an automated software test, you can generate reports automatically. This means that you will be able to see the results of your tests as soon as they run. This is a huge advantage over manual testing because it allows testers to see problems in real time and fix them before they become too big of an issue. Since automation makes reporting easy, it also makes analysis easier too. You can quickly analyze all of your tests in one place instead of having to go through each one individually or manually compare multiple reports together.

Automated software testing is also great at producing standard reports that are easy to read because they’re machine-generated—they don’t have typos like humans often do!


9. Complexity of the Application

This is a big one that often gets overlooked. Automation can be used to test complex applications, but it's not always the right tool for the job. This is especially true when you're talking about highly variable data inputs and systems with lots of moving parts—it's easy for test cases written by hand to cover more ground than any automated solution can manage. When your application has a lot of components (like an e-commerce website), manual testing may be more effective because it allows you to verify results at each step in the process. If this sounds like something that would apply to your product, then it might be time to consider hiring some manual testers!

10. Control and Flexibility

Automation requires a higher level of control. For example, if you want to test the same scenario in another browser or device, then you need to go through the whole process again. Manual testing is flexible. You can use it on any device and any browser because it’s not automated. However, this flexibility comes at a cost: it’s more time-consuming and difficult to manage than automation.

The major difference between automation and manual testing is cost

So, what's the biggest difference between automation and manual testing?

It's cost. Manual testing is more expensive than automation. Automation is more cost-effective than manual testing. Automation is also more accurate, reliable, flexible and scalable compared to manual testing.

Now you know some of the key differences between manual and automated software testing. It may seem like there are a lot of them, but ultimately it all comes down to one thing: cost. Automated testing costs less than manual testing because it can run more tests in less time, with fewer testers and less overhead. This means companies save money on their budgets while also getting higher quality results from their products or services. Want to learn more? If you are interested in becoming a manual testing or automation software testing professional, BusyQA can help you achieve that. We not only offer courses led by top professionals, but also paid internships, and our students are hired by every single one of Canada's Top 100 companies. Click here to start.


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