Automation testing process: when and how (not) to automate?

Are you interested in automated software testing and want to know what all is included in the automation process? In the article you will learn in which cases you can automate and when you should avoid automation. Last but not least, we’ll debunk some myths about test automation.

Automation testing tools make it possible to automate the manual tests with the help of technology. Thus, it is a specific type of software testing that is based on automated test case execution through an automated tool. The goal is to streamline the overall test execution process as well as the tester’s work, reduce testing time, reduce costs and eliminate errors caused by human inattention with the intention of achieving the best possible quality of the final product.

Phases of automated testing of software products and applications

The test automation process consists of a set of activities that are divided into 6 phases based on when they occur within the testing process. The first and most important step is to understand the requirements. This is essential before the automation tester even starts with automating.

Based on the requirement, he defines the scope of automation and selects the right automated tool, which represents two further phases. As part of the scoping, it is the tester’s job to find suitable test cases that can be automated. Then comes the mentioned choice of suitable tool. He takes into account the requirements, budget and goal of the project, expertise and complexity of the programming.

In order to reuse and update the test scripts, we need to create and set up an automated framework. Scripts will make even robust tests sustainable. The next step is to prepare scripts for the test cases that have been selected for automation.

The last phase is the CI/CD integration. Continuous integration and continuous delivery. It is currently very often used in IT companies – it is a handy tool that allows you to schedule the execution of test cases on demand or set up automatic execution of cases after their deployment to the program.

Which test cases can be automated in software development

Although test automation brings with it many benefits, not all test cases are suitable for it. We will therefore list four cases in which tests can be automated. (See our article manual vs automation testing.)

  • Time-consuming tests – automation helps to reduce test execution time.
  • Repeated testing with a large data set – in this case, automation saves a lot of effort on the part of the tester.
  • Testing critical program functionality – automation can be performed on test cases aimed at verifying critical application functionality with the highest priority.
  • Parallel testing – in some cases, such as when running a test with multiple users in parallel, manual testing is not possible or is very difficult to implement.

Not all tests are suitable for automation

Now that you know what to automate, it’s important to pay attention to the test cases that can’t/shouldn’t be automated.

  • Rarely used functions that are time-consuming to write – from an ROI (Return on Investment) perspective, these types of functions are not worth automating.
  • Not yet tested, newly designed test cases – for new test cases, it is advisable to perform manual testing first, which is less costly due to the likely error rate of the new program.
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) – UI testing is best done using manual tests, as even the smallest change would result in test case failures.
  • Usability testing – automation is not feasible with currently available technologies.
  • Exploratory testing – this kind of testing can’t work without constant learning about the program and simultaneous testing, which makes it impossible to automate.


Tester for automated testing looking on a computer monitor
Automated testing reduces the time required to perform tests

When should we use automated software testing?

It is ideal to start creating an automated framework in parallel with the development team, after defining all automation options during the test planning phase. For test case scripting, the program should be stable and without frequent changes – then we can start automating.

In which cases automated testing is not recommended

There are also test cases where automated testing is not appropriate. For example, automation should not be performed by automation tester with insufficient expertise in the automation tool or programming language. Unless they know the full potential and all the functionalities of the tool or programming language they are using, it is extremely unlikely that they will lead test automation to a happy ending.

He also will not be praised with the incorrectly chosen test cases for automation that we mentioned above, or with choosing the programs with frequent changes. These require regular maintenance and the associated higher costs. We do not recommend automation even in the case of inefficiently written test scripts, e.g. with limited or insufficient validation. As a result, the test results could be evaluated as false positives, which could mask real errors in the application.

Myths about automated testing

Along with the automation of test cases come misconceptions about the process. Below we will introduce and straightforwardly debunk the most common myths about automated testing

  • Test automation is expensive – if done correctly, automation can reduce the costs that would otherwise be spent on manual testing in the long run.
  • We can do full automation – unfortunately, 100% automation is only possible in very specific programs and cannot be implemented in all test cases.
  • The best automation testers are developers – every tester should know at least the basics of programming, so that they can understand the founded bugs and work with them properly. However, the program still needs to be looked at primarily from a tester’s perspective to ensure the best possible user experience.
  • Automated testing will replace manual testing – the rise of automation has brought with it a reallocation of tester roles into IT testers for manual testing and testers for automated testing, but manual verification will always be necessary for final application control. Therefore, automation is not and will not be able to eliminate the need for manual testing.

Each test case is unique and the actual testing should be handled accordingly. Whether you choose automation or stay faithful to manual testing, you can develop your skills here at msg life Slovakia. You can read about us here. In return, we offer you perfect employee benefits and an above-standard software tester salary in msg life slovakia . If you are looking for no experience IT job or if you are an experienced IT tester, you can find a place in our team, so don’t hesitate, check out our job offers and send us your CV today.

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