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Quality Assurance (QA) is the process of testing a system or application to prevent quality failures before its release into production. QA strives to deliver consistent results through standardized processes and procedures that systematically monitor various aspects of a product or service. Regular audits and assessments allow Quality Assurance to detect and rectify problems or variances that deviate from organized standards or requirements.
To release a product or its updates, QA is indispensable. Every code must undergo rigorous testing before it is launched in the market. In the agile world we live in today, with frequent build updates, QA can become a challenging and time-consuming task. QA automation testing provides a solution to these challenges by replacing manual efforts with automated scripts to expedite workflows and enhance the efficiency of the quality assurance process. While manual testing remains vital, automation can save both time and money.
Quality Assurance Automation, often called Automation Testing, involves developing automation scripts to run tests on software using automation tools. These scripts can be executed repeatedly, automating repetitive testing tasks that were previously performed manually by testers. QA automation testing not only increases test coverage but also eliminates the potential for human errors.
Automation testing can showcase test results using third-party reporting libraries, providing various statistics such as the number of tests passed, failed, skipped, environment details, execution time, step details, graphs, trends, and more. Beyond simplifying repetitive tasks, automation testing allows for more advanced tests that may be time-consuming or impossible to perform manually. It also frees up the software testing team to focus on complex test cases that cannot be automated.
Also Read: Best Automation Tools For DevOps
Repetitive Tests: When a project demands the execution of the same set of test cases repeatedly for every release, automation is the optimal choice. Automation not only saves time but also enhances execution efficiency by eliminating human error.
Data-Driven Testing: In scenarios where the same test cases need to be run with different sets of data, automation is the ideal solution. Manual testing of such cases can lead to boredom and the potential for missing data sets, while data-driven automation testing simplifies the process.
Number of Test Cases: The need for test automation depends on the number of test cases in a suite. For smaller projects with fewer test cases, manual testing may suffice. In contrast, larger projects with numerous test cases benefit greatly from automation.
Regression or Smoke Testing: Regression testing ensures that software remains defect-free after introducing new functionalities, and smoke testing validates the basic features of an application at the beginning of each test cycle. Automation is ideal for these suites as they must be executed regularly.
Order of Executing Test Cases: Some projects require a specific order for test case execution, making manual execution complex, time-consuming, and error-prone. Automation allows you to define the order and priorities of test cases.
Cross-Platform Testing: Executing multiple tests on different environments and systems manually is time-consuming and prone to errors. Automation enables the simultaneous execution of the same automation script on multiple systems.
Define Goals: Before beginning QA automation testing, it's essential to establish both short-term and long-term goals. Discussing the roadmap with higher management and stakeholders is crucial.
Test Approach Planning: Understand the various testing levels and create a test pyramid. Automation is not limited to end-to-end testing; it encompasses different levels of testing.
Choose a Framework: Selecting the right framework is critical. Various automation frameworks are available, and the choice depends on your project's requirements and the team's input.
Test Automation Environment: Determine which environment the application under test will be used for validation. An ideal test grid should allow parallel testing on multiple devices.
Risk Analysis: Analyze and communicate the risks associated with your automation testing strategy and tools to management.
Create, Execute, and Maintain Tests: Start by creating automation tests for critical features. Execute these tests regularly and maintain them to adapt to ongoing development.
DevOps Integration: Integrating with DevOps reduces the testing team's dependency, allowing anyone to execute tests and access reports.
Reporting: Reports should include the number of total test cases, passed, failed, and other relevant details. Reports should be understandable for non-technical stakeholders.
Review and Retrospect: Continuously review your test scripts and address false failures and issues that impact test case creation. Modify the automation strategy as needed to align with your original goals.
Both manual and automation testing have their places in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). The choice between them depends on several factors, including project requirements, time constraints, budget, system complexity, and the skills and expertise of the testing team.
Manual testing involves QA professionals manually testing the software, while automated QA testing uses tools and frameworks to automate tests, simulating user interactions.
Automated QA testing is crucial for companies practising continuous integration, where software is developed, tested, and deployed multiple times a day. Some key benefits include:
Saves Time and Money: Automated testing significantly reduces execution time, saving costs by eliminating the need for manual testing.
Increases Test Coverage: Automation enables the testing of a large number of test cases across multiple platforms simultaneously, providing coverage that's impossible with manual testing.
Improves Accuracy: Automation ensures precise and error-free test execution, preventing human errors due to monotony.
Early Bug Detection: Automation surfaces critical bugs in the early phases of testing, reducing the cost of fixing and enhancing team efficiency.
Fast Development and Delivery: Faster tests and quicker results allow teams to receive feedback more frequently, detect issues, and improve functionality.
Reusability of Test Scripts: Automation test scripts can be reused with minimal or no changes, making them cost-effective and efficient for multiple QA teams.
There is a wide range of automation tools available in the market for web and mobile applications. Here are some popular ones:
Selenium: Selenium is a widely used open-source web automation tool. It is compatible with numerous browsers, operating systems, and programming languages. Selenium supports parallel test execution and integrates well with other testing tools.
Appium: Appium is an open-source framework for automated app testing on Android, iOS, and Windows. It covers testing for native mobile applications, mobile web applications, and hybrid mobile applications. Appium is a cross-platform testing framework supporting various languages and integrates with Selenium client libraries.
Pro-Tip: Regardless of the framework chosen, it's crucial to test on real devices and browsers for accurate results. BrowserStack Automate and App Automate provide access to over 3000 real devices and browsers, maximizing test coverage and offering a more realistic testing experience under real user conditions.
A QA automation engineer is responsible for designing and executing automated tests to evaluate and assess the functionality of the system under test. Their duties include:
Test Design: QA automation engineers design tests and write test scripts to evaluate the system's functionality.
Installation and Configuration: They install and configure automation testing protocols and tools to automate test execution.
Test Execution: QA automation engineers execute tests according to a predetermined plan and report the results.
Test Coverage: They maximize test coverage by assessing the priority of test scenarios and creating execution plans accordingly.
Framework Creation: QA automation testing engineers create robust automation frameworks and set up continuous integration and deployment processes.
Collaboration: They collaborate with different teams to gather ideas for productivity improvements and expand test scope.
To make the most of quality assurance automation, consider these best practices:
Analyze Test Cases for Automation: Not all test cases are suitable for automation. Create a plan and analyze which test cases can be automated. Focus on automating smoke and sanity test cases, which are frequently run for every release.
Select the Appropriate Automation Tool: Choose an automation tool that aligns with your project's platform and technology. Consider the skills and preferences of your team when selecting a programming language.
Divide Work Based on Team Skills: Allocate tasks based on team members' skill sets. Some may excel at framework creation, while others are proficient at writing test scripts.
Create Scalable Data-Driven Tests: Data-driven testing is essential for executing test scripts with different data sets. Store test data separately for ease of use, maintenance, and scalability.
Testing on Real Devices: Test applications on a variety of real devices to ensure compatibility with different operating systems, screen sizes, and browsers.
Store Failure Logs: Keep logs and screenshots of test failures for debugging and reporting purposes. Testing is a framework that can be integrated with Selenium for creating test execution reports.
Automation testing is valuable for saving time, and money, and improving accuracy in the testing process. Combining automated testing with manual testing offers the best chance of identifying a high number of bugs and defects.
However, automation doesn't replace the need for careful planning, tool selection, script creation, maintenance, and continuous integration and deployment. Manual testing still has its place in software testing, and both approaches are essential for comprehensive quality assurance in the software development process.
Also Read: What is Automation Testing?
In conclusion, quality assurance automation is a powerful methodology for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of software testing, and when implemented correctly, it can lead to substantial benefits in terms of time and cost savings, improved accuracy, and early bug detection. By following best practices and selecting the right automation tools, organizations can streamline their testing processes and deliver high-quality software to the market.
If you want to polish your Automation Testing skills or want to make a mark in the industry then our Automation Testing Course is what you should be looking at right now.
With the ever-increasing demand for high-quality software, embracing quality assurance automation is not just an option; it's a necessity in today's fast-paced and competitive software development landscape. By leveraging the right automation tools, implementing best practices, and striking the right balance between manual and automated testing, organizations can ensure the delivery of top-notch software that meets and exceeds user expectations.
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