Skip to content

Here be monsters – how fear fuels discussion about test automation.

We fear what we don’t understand, and we don’t understand what we don’t know.

Embracing Automation: Enhancing, Not Replacing, the Human Element in Testing

The concept of automation often triggers a wave of concern and misunderstanding. There’s a common apprehension that automation equates to the redundancy of the human tester. However, this perception is far from the truth. The integration of automation into testing processes isn’t a narrative about replacement but enhancement. It’s about leveraging the strengths of both machines and humans to achieve a more efficient, reliable, and thorough testing process.

Understanding Automation in Testing

The fear of the unknown is a natural human response. For testers who have primarily worked in manual environments, the idea of introducing automation can seem daunting. The word “automation” might conjure images of a fully mechanised process where human input is deemed obsolete. Yet, this couldn’t be further from the intended purpose of automation in testing. Automation isn’t about supplanting the creativity and insight of human testers with robotic precision. Rather, it’s about harnessing technology to eliminate the propensity for human error in repetitive tasks.

Automation in testing refers to the strategic use of software tools to perform pre-defined test cases that would otherwise be manually executed by testers. These automated tests are designed to run checks on the software being developed, ensuring that the code behaves as expected in various scenarios.

The Role of Automation

At its core, automation streamlines the deployment process. It meticulously executes a consistent series of steps to deploy new versions of the codebase into a precisely configured environment. This level of precision and consistency is achieved through the specification of deployment steps as code, which, like any other code, is subject to review and testing.

One of the first steps in an automated testing process is the execution of a smoke test. This initial check confirms the presence of the expected software configuration and version, setting the stage for further testing. Subsequently, the automated system undertakes various predefined tests. These are the repetitive, albeit necessary, tasks that ensure every change made to the code is thoroughly vetted. Such tasks, while crucial, can be monotonous and time-consuming for human testers.

Human Ingenuity and Automation: A Synergistic Relationship

The real magic happens when automation frees human testers from the tedium of repetitive checks. With the groundwork laid by automated processes, testers can focus their expertise on more nuanced aspects of the software. They can delve into exploratory testing, probing the newly introduced features and functionalities. This shift allows testers to employ their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to ask meaningful questions and investigate potential issues that automated tests might not catch.

Exploratory testing, characterized by its unscripted nature, benefits immensely from human intuition and creativity. Testers can navigate the software, making real-time decisions and uncovering issues that may not be evident through automated testing alone.


Automation in testing is not a harbinger of obsolescence for human testers. Instead, it’s a tool that enhances the testing process, allowing for a more efficient allocation of human and machine resources. By automating routine and error-prone tasks, we enable testers to focus on areas where human intuition and ingenuity shine. The goal is to foster a testing environment where automation and human expertise coalesce, leading to software that is not only thoroughly tested but also imbued with the critical insights that only humans can provide. In this way, automation and human testing are not adversaries but allies, each playing a pivotal role in the quest for flawless software.