There have been a dynamic shift in Software Engineering and software testing practices from manual to automated in most areas. With AI, machine learning, and the rise of automation tools, some think manual testing will be replaced by automated testing. This article will debunk this myth.


MYTH: Automation can completely remove the need for manual expertise

Quite a few technicians believe this shift to be universal, however, in reality, this is not the case. Automation can never substitute manual methods to the fullest extent. There are certain critical areas that require manual supervision.


Manual Testing should not be replaced when…

It is the requirement for ideal testing. For example, here are several areas where automation cannot substitute the preference is manual testing.

  1. Small projects: the overhead to implement an automated testing system is comparatively higher than traditional methods of manual testing. So to incur high installation costs for a small project is both a waste of money and efficient.
  2. User experience: A human can better understand another human. Expert manual testers imitate user behavior and then analyze the software according to their needs and demands. This results in a higher UX.  Almost impossible in automated testing without the help of a highly trained AI.
  3. Going into minute details: Automation works on fixed predetermined procedures of testing and is oftentimes not customizable. Though the results may be quicker minute defects can get ignored. So manual testing is mandatory to remove any bugs that may be neglected during automation.
  4. The high maintenance cost of automation: Automation may fall out of the budget of some of the small organization. They must prefer manual testing to escape high expenses or maintenance cost of automated methods.
Manual Testing should be replaced when…
It falls short of the requirements for ideal testing. Here are a few points where it is preferable to substitute with automated techniques.
  1. For repetitive steps: Automation is excellent for repetitive steps within the testing process and does not necessarily require manual expertise or supervision. Therefore, automation should be adopted to save manpower, time and energy.
  2. Saving Time: There is not a need to reframe the testing parameters every time checks are done for a part or whole of a software. Mechanisms are reusable, hence they save time and reduce the chances of any delay in software releases.
  3. Reducing human errors: When properly trained, artificial intelligence is more powerful than human intelligence, so it prevents any human errors in the testing of software, thereby making it a more reliable method.
  4. Works on complicated coding: Automated methods are designed to work on all kinds of coding and programs, including complicated ones. Manual methods may prove to be less useful when coding is complicated or new to the testers.

In conclusion, both methods have their own merits and demerits.  It is of note neither can substitute the other to the fullest extent.  It is true that many of the leading testing agencies are going the path of automated testing. As aforementioned, manual testing will never be replaced, however, the proper balance between manual and automated testing should be practiced.