Will all software testing eventually be fully automated, or does manual testing have a permanent role to play in developing usable products?

1.1k views1 Upvote10 Comments

Chief Technology Officer in Software, 51 - 200 employees
While automated testing can handle repetitive tasks, regression testing, and certain types of functional testing efficiently, manual testing brings the human perspective, intuition, and adaptability. 

A combination of both manual and automated testing approaches, known as a balanced testing strategy, is often the most effective approach to ensure software quality and a positive user experience.

Few places where Manual testing trumps automation testing : 

Exploratory Testing
Usability and User Experience
User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
Edge Cases and Unpredictable Scenarios
User-Centric and Contextual Testing
Early Testing and Exploratory Discovery
Maintenance and Regression Testing

SVP of Global R&D in Hardware, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
All Software testing will never and must never be automated. Manual testing will be a permanent feature of all testing. I see a lot of value in Manual testing for 
1) Breaking the system 
2) Exploratory testing
3) Usability
4) Serviceability tests 
Automated tests on the other hand are very effective in doing regression tests, White Box tests, Combination of tests in parallel, Long Run tests, API tests, Scalability tests, Load test etc. 
VP of IT, Self-employed
I think its analogous to autonomous driving cars.... eventually we'll get there... 
CISO in Software, 10,001+ employees
Manual, ad-hoc and targeted testing will also be manual.  Especially for UX and usability testing.
Director of Engineering in Software, 51 - 200 employees
This is a very debatable question! You can find multiple points of view from Quality Engineering Experts. But I believe that for a successful engineering structure, a balanced approach between manual and automation strategies is a winning approach. You will be able to use the strengths of each for better quality deliverables.

- Automation vs Manual Testing depends on the maturity of the product and the engineering teams involved. Quality by design and the mindset involved is the most important thing to implement first in all levels (product management, team level within each expertise, SRE...). There will then be different phases where the gauge will pass from full manual testing to manual testing assisted by automation and then to automated testing reinforced by user journeys, UX testing, and exploratory testing (Manual).
- Automated testing is meant mainly for approving non-regression tests (E2E + Visual Testing), API compliance (API Testing), and performance SLAs (Stress/Load Testing)...In general repetitive tasks (Frequent/Critical ones mainly). That said, automation tests can't replace the critical thinking, intuition, and domain expertise of Quality Engineers.
- Exploratory Tests/User Journeys tests/Edge cases testing/UX Testing... can't be fully automated and Manual testing outperforms by far any automation attempts even if in certain cases, automation testing still provides some assistance (Chaos Testing)

Director of Corporate Development, Self-employed
We will eventually get close to a complete test automation, but the goal post will move further away at that point.  So we will always need some portion of manual testing for reasons like test to break.  The assumption of test automation is also the availability of valid test data points, which in many cases may not be possible thus needing manual intervention to do the test.
CIO/CTO in Services (non-Government), 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Any white box tests will be mostly automated. Black box tests that require UI verification and objectivity on layout, and language will likely continue to be manual, but with the new advances in AI, that may change in the future to be also automated.
Senior Vice President, Engineering in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Automation testing can greatly minimize the reliance on manual testing, but it cannot entirely eradicate it. By employing automation tools and scripts, tests can be executed rapidly and with accuracy, providing benefits such as enhanced coverage and cost efficiency. Nonetheless, manual testing still holds significance in areas like user experience assessment, exploratory testing, and initial test creation. 
Human testers bring unique insights, creativity, and adaptability that automated tests may overlook. Thus, a blend of automation and manual testing is typically required to ensure thorough software testing and the delivery of top-notch products.
Director of Technology Strategy in Services (non-Government), 2 - 10 employees
In my view, it will be a balance based on how much automated dev there is.

Automated code writing should be balanced with manual testing so there is at least a set of eyes across it.

Conversely, Manual coding can be supported with automated.

I don't see it as either/or. It's And
CTO, Self-employed
I think we're approaching a point where testing can be fully automated, but there will always be complex flows involving sign ups and payments where manual testing is a corner stone of the strategy. At the agency I run, we have no more manual QA testers though. Engineers write their own test and perform their own QA on features they build where needed. With a quality team that's all the manual testing I've found we need with the modern tooling we have. So we're definitely moving in the direction of less manual testing than we had ten years ago.

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