Every time a new technology enters our lives and advances enough to automate tasks, there is a hue and cry about humans losing their jobs to machines. But we forget we are the ones making technology work for us. Just like how newspapers might’ve got digitized but ‘news’ isn’t a yesteryear concept, Chat GPT hasn’t replaced writers instead helps them fight writer’s block, movie theaters aren’t dead just because the OTT says ‘Tudum!’, Manual Testing isn’t going anywhere either, as simple as that!
When we think of a manual tester, we often picture a person rigorously testing an application with a set of data, writing test cases, scenarios, and creating a lot of bug reports. And that’s true! Manual testing involves human testers performing a series of actions on an application to ensure that it is functioning as intended. It is a time-consuming process and often requires a significant amount of effort to produce accurate results. But in the age of Web 3.0, with a lot of advanced tools and technologies readily available for software testing, many people believe that manual testing jobs are going to become extinct and soon test automation experts and AI are going to take over them.
But that's not entirely true. 100 percent automation is just not possible yet because even the most popular test automation tools still have certain human dependencies, like avoiding errors and delays in software releases. We cannot automate UI/UX and User Acceptance Testing because humans are the focus of this area. Even today, manual testing is widely used in many organizations, particularly for smaller projects or those that require a high degree of human intuition.
There are a lot of other areas of software testing where one cannot be successful without human intervention:
Exploratory Testing is an area where automation won’t be able to take over any time soon. It entails diving deep into all areas of an application and unveiling it like the layers of an onion, coming up with a new way of doing things. It requires you to look for problems and break the system intentionally. Only humans can innovate and discover different ways of performing the same tasks. Automated tools will never be able to compete with this.
Manual Testing gets another point for not having any environment limitations. It doesn’t need any specific platforms to run, which is a requirement for automated tools.
Game Testing is also very challenging to automate. Games have interactive material and simulating 100% of the player engagement is impossible. Therefore, manual testing is necessary for conducting comprehensive UX testing in games. Automation testing is only useful in terms of Regression, Functional and Smoke testing.
Additionally, AI is still vulnerable and can't replace the critical thinking and decision-making abilities of human testers. Automation testing is supplemental to Manual Testing, not a replacement for it. Automation is supposed to reduce unnecessary time spent on performing redundant tasks, indirectly aiding performance enhancement.
Also, complete automation is still expensive and time-consuming. Businesses have to bear the costs of maintenance of the automated tests. Feeding the automation hydra also requires people and resources, pulling the attention away from revenue-generation endeavors.
So, Manual testing jobs are not going to vanish anytime soon. However, the job requirements and expectations have evolved, and manual testers are expected to have additional skills like knowledge of automation testing, coding languages, and data analysis to stay competitive in the job market.
Manual testers are surrounded by fear, constantly worrying about their relevance in the industry. Like all professionals, what they need to do is keep up to date with the latest test management and automation tools that require less code, as well as mobile emulators for testing mobile applications. Learning API testing will benefit both mobile and automation testers. If you ask me, my suggestion is to start learning tools like autoMagiQ, ACCELQ, Katalon Studio, TOSCA, Test Complete, Selenium IDE, Postman (API Testing), JIRA (Test Management & Bug Tracking) etc., that will keep you relevant and versatile.
There is a popular saying, “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one”. Being a jack in the field of software testing helps you move to different projects, different domains and work on different devices as well.
In conclusion, Manual testing jobs are not going extinct, but testers need to keep themselves updated with the latest technologies and learn new skills to in the ever-evolving software testing industry.