The Difference between Manual & Automated Testing

In the previous article, we already learned about Software Testing in general (Software Testing Introduction, Software testing type).

Software testing is a huge picture with many pieces, but people nowadays tend to categorize it into 2 main types: Manual Testing & Automated Testing. This article will show you “The difference between Manual & Automated Testing” and “Why early apply Automation is worth the effort”.

1. What is Manual Testing?


Manual testing is a process of finding defects in the software manually. In this method, the testers will simulate end users to verify that all the features are working properly before software is released. As it is done manually, it doesn’t require any knowledge of testing tools but this way is really time-consuming.

Below are the stages of manual testing that any software product will go through:

Unit testing: Unit testing is the first stage in software testing. In this method, developer or tester uses the white box testing technique to test individual units and components of the software application to ensure that each unit of the software is working as expected.

Integration testing: After unit testing, the units, components, and modules are integrated together and then integration testing is performed. The purpose of this testing is to validate the functionality and reliability of the modules after integrated. Black box testing technique is usually used at this stage, but in many cases, both Black and White testing method are combined together.

System testing: In this stage, the entire system is completely integrated together to carry out system testing. Similarly, system testing is performed to ensure that the software is meeting its software requirements specifications (SRS). Black box testing is normally used at this stage.

User acceptance testing: User acceptance testing is the final stage in software testing before release. After system testing, the software will be tested by actual users to make sure that the application has met all the requirements. If the software passes this stage, it means that end user has accepted it and it is ready to go live.

2. What is Automated Testing?

Automated testing

Automated testing is a method using an automation tool testing tool to write and execute test case suite on the software application, comparing the actual results to the expected behavior and creating test reports. Moreover, automated testing tool also provides record and playback feature which is especially useful for regression testing.

When it comes to automated testing, it’s hard for testers to be good at it without programming skills. Automation testing is like development, so tools might require customization. But over time, testing tool has matured to simplify the process of testing. There are a lot of codeless tools in the market providing the graphical environment so that testers can easily create test cases.

Automated testing helps eliminate tasks that are too time-consuming and laborious to be performed manually, plus automated tests can be run repeatedly once they have been created. In other words, automated testing helps increase effectiveness and efficiency of software testing.

For the small companies, it’s hard to adopt test automation as it’s too expensive and difficult. The initial investments are considerable but in the long run, automated testing can help reduce time to market and testing effort, thus saving money.

3. The difference between Manual & Automated Testing

Difference between manual & automated testing

Manual Testing Automated Testing
Manual testing is time-consuming due to running test cases as everything is done manually. Automated testing is much faster than manual testing due to using the software.
Testers can observe the application during testing, making the user-friendliness better. Less UI feedback.
Less expensive in the short-term. It could be costly initially, but in the long-term, it will reduce the cost.
Low accuracy result. High accuracy result.
Less reliable. More reliable.
Programming is not required Programming is required.
Regression testing is time-consuming and laborious. Regression testing is easy due to using tools.
The same amount of time is required to execute the test cases. Once the test suites are made, it requires the fewer tester to execute test cases.

4. Why test automation?

Implementing automated testing can be challenging initially but the key benefits you are going to gain make it worthwhile.


By implementing automated testing, it can help improve code quality and development velocity. When code changes are not causing errors, developers will have more time to focus on each sprint goal. For example: with automation testing, you can save time with data-driven testing. Learn more:

Higher test coverage

Automated software testing can help you save time and increase test coverage. Lengthy tests are usually time-consuming and laborious to perform manually, this can be run with automated testing unattended on different computers with different configurations. automated testing also provides testers more time and effort to focus on more futures, thus leading to a higher quality of the application.

Higher accuracy

For the manual testing, human errors are inevitable during repetitive and monotonous manual tests. When it is done with automated testing, it can help avoid the risks of human errors, increase accuracy and save time.

5. How to implement Test Automation successfully?

implement test automation

Change the mindset

Implementing automated testing can be challenging initially. It’s very important to secure the buy-in of development, operations, and QA. This cannot be the sole responsibility of testers. Everyone has to work together to build a solid foundation and establish realistic expectations.

Test automation will lessen the manual testing burden, and automated tests can be run unattended, but this isn’t just about functional and regression testing through the user interface. By introducing automation earlier, you can cover the low level and introduce unit tests, as well as integration, API, database, and services testing. Starting automated testing in parallel with development can help to reduce dependency on the UI.

For this to be successful, your processes will have to change to accommodate it. You may need to break down requirements further, introduce new coding practices, and tweak your design process. You’ll also need stable interfaces for both the back-end and the front-end to ensure minimal disruption to existing automated tests.

Build a robust test automation foundation

There is no one-size-fits-all tool in test automation so you need to find the best tool for each type of automation then build a solid framework which pulls them all together.

Testers and developers need to work together on building a solid framework and using the right process. If you find that most of the tests have to be rewritten after each sprint, your test automation foundation will need to be improved.

Identify the right automation strategy

It is impossible to automate every test. You need to identify which tests need to be automated and figuring out which ones to automate is really challenging but it is an essential part of automated testing. Testers usually waste time trying to automate things that shouldn’t be automated. Others, on the contrary, waste time testing things manually that could be done more effectively with automated testing. Reviewing your test suite frequently to add tests worth automated and remove unsuitable ones.

Starting with small investments and analyzing the results before scaling up will give testers more opportunities to try things, make mistakes, and design even better approaches.

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