Question about QA automation that I receive every day

Learn manual QA first, then move to QA automation.

Learn manual QA first, then move to QA automation. NOT another way around.

Question: Do I need to learn QA automation to get my first QA job?


Let’s think like a hiring manager and compare requirements for manual QA and QA automator.

Manual QA should:

  1. Know how to test software
  2. Know how to file bugs
  3. Be familiar with software development process
  4. Ideally have a good domain knowledge, e.g., how credit cards are processed or how video conversion works

QA automator should:

  1. Have all skills of Manual QA
  2. Have strong programming experience (for example, with Java)
  3. Have strong experience with particular QA automation framework (for example, with Selenium WebDriver)

If I’m hiring Jr. QA for manual black box testing, I care about two things:

  1. Personality
  2. Practical understanding of QA methodology and software development process

QA experience and domain knowledge are always a plus, but if it’s a good person to work with and he understand QA, then in my book it’s enough to be hired.

It’s completely different situation in case of hiring QA automation engineer.

I’ve been doing QA automation for more than 10 years and I know exactly that:

It takes years of programming and QA automation experience before person can not only write clean usable code, but also know WHAT to automate and WHAT NOT to automate.

In most cases, unexperienced QA automator will cause a MESS simply because proper programming and proper QA automation takes MANY years to master.

That’s why I ONLY hire QA automators if they have years of relevant experience.

“But what if I want to do QA automation?” The answer is here.

Will manual testers be replaced by AI? (spoiler: Yes)

Will artificial intelligence replace qa testers?

Will artificial intelligence replace qa testers?

There is good news and there is bad news.

Let me start with bad news: AI (Artificial Intelligence) WILL replace software testers.

Let me continue with good news – the process (of replacement) will probably take a while and we’ll become jobless right before AI takes over humanity – the point when we are basically so screwed that it doesn’t matter if we are employed or not.

Let me elaborate.

The power of a manual tester is that he is a human with all CURRENT human advantages over the machine. For example,

  • we have creativity
  • we have drive for innovation
  • we have natural curiosity
  • we have unique abilities to learn new skills
  • we have intuitive/aesthetic FEEL about how things should work/look like

Those profound advantages is the reason why QA automation (at this point) cannot explore/learn/approach/test things the way we, humans, can.

For example, as a human:

  • you can test without specification
  • you can realize that checkout flow is confusing to users
  • you can feel that UI color combination is wrong

At this point, QA automation simply repeats what you program it to do, e.g., create new account or do a checkout. In other words, QA automation has NO intellect. That’s why current usage of QA automation is so limited and it’s so fragile – basically it breaks any time when it encounters any kind of unexpected obstacle, e.g., when programmer changes textfield id.

Complete replacement of manual testers will only happen when AI exceeds those unique qualities of human intellect and it’s allowed to apply those qualities in real life.

How soon will it happen? Nobody knows, but AI is still far away from being creative, innovative, proactive, curious, etc., – from being human-like.

Before AI takes over humanity, we, software testers, will still be needed and maybe even have some great times while constantly improving AI helps us be more productive and have more fun at work.

So, let’s enjoy it while we can and before it’s all over.