Manual software testing vs automated testing: advantages and disadvantages

Manual testing is at the beginning of every IT tester’s journey. Only when IT tester junior – student can create manual tests, he can slowly shift his attention to automated testing.

What is manual software testing?

Manual testing is a basic verification of the functionality of software, a program or an application, which aims to detect errors affecting usability. It is referred to as manual due to the fact that it requires human input. Thus, one manually checks the functionality of the software and looks for bugs.

The IT tester uses manual testing especially for new code that he is not familiar with. We are talking about so-called exploratory testing. This is because the automated test is set according to the conditions that the IT tester defines when creating the test case. In order to know what to look for in an automated testing program, the tester must first familiarize themselves with the application and its functionality. Well, this is exactly what a manual test is suitable for, where the program is not guided by predefined conditions, but by the tester’s requirements in real time.

Types of software testing

Both manual and automated software testing can be divided into several groups or levels. Each level is specific and suitable for detecting other software bugs .

Black box testing: testing software without looking into its internal structures

White box testing: testing the internal structures and functioning of the application

Unit test: specific units and parts of the system are tested, they are often automated

Integration tests: testing the combination of modules and groups, looking for a match

Acceptance testing: a test of the quality of a product or service

it tester's hand pointing to the software code on the monitor
Different tools are used to manage tests.

What tools are used for manual software testing?

As we wrote in our article on the most commonly manual testing tools, most testing programs allow you to create manual tests as well as automate them. Popular tools for manual testing are, for example:

  • Selenium
  • Jira
  • TestLink
  • LoadRunner
  • Bugzilla

Manual testing vs. automated software testing

Manual testing cannot be replaced by automated testing – at least not completely. The manual test is even a form of input that is required before the automated test can be defined. An experienced IT tester who works on a project requiring regression testing at the beginning of an automated test builds on manual testing experience. (Read the article What does a software tester do.)

Both types of test have their time and place, and both have their advantages and disadvantages:

Manual software testing– advantages:

  • It can be used for every type of application
  • Provides a high degree of flexibility and improvisation
  • Help in discovering new bugs in the application

Manual software testing – disadvantages:

  • Requires human intervention to perform the test
  • It is time consuming
  • It becomes repetitive for the tester
Alarm clocks, pen and keyboard on the desk
Manual testing is time consuming.

Automated software testing – benefits:

  • Huge help with regression testing
  • Minimizing human error (if the test is properly defined)
  • Reduces testing costs (in the long term)

Automated software testing – disadvantages:

  • Requires knowledge of programming when defining a test (e.g. JAVA)
  • Finds only tester-defined bugs in the software
  • Less flexibility and improvisation, not suitable for monkey testing

Continuous improvement and continuous delivery strategies, which we follow at msg life Slovakia, require a different approach to testing. Continuous improvement of the system means frequent code changes. Manually entering the test after each change would be extremely time consuming.

With a properly set up and defined automated test, the time, error rate, and workload for the IT tester is reduced.

Is there a difference in salary between manual and automated IT tester?

A software tester salary matches their experience and the technology they use. In the case of manual testing, the IT tester is also paid for doing the test manually – as opposed to automated testing.

Nevertheless, automated testing specialists are more highly valued, as their job also requires a certain knowledge of code, which allows them to create test cases for automated testing.

Different job description, same company benefits

At msg life Slovakia we make sure that our IT testing teams are satisfied with the working environment and conditions. Although the job description of manual IT testers and automated testing specialists differs, employee benefits are of course same for all. Whether it’s a pleasant atmosphere, fitness center, massages, corporate lunches, teambuilding events and many more.

Important is that the IT tester junior student has the opportunity to choose his path, whether it is progressing towards automated testing or towards a job as an IT tester consultant for insurance clients. One of the biggest company benefits is education, which can be applied in practice on projects.

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