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From manual QA to test automation QA

Frane D.

2021-11-15

4min

Quality Assurance

The IT industry is very dynamic, and it becomes more complex as technology advances. Moving from manual to test automation can be a rewarding challenge.

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An unexpected journey 

Oh my dear Frodo… Wait a minute, this is not that story, but let me tell it anyway. It is a story of a single man's journey from manual Quality Assurance Engineer to test automation Quality Asurance Engineer (not in Middle-earth). 

Background story

With a bachelor’s degree in business economics, tourism to be more specific, I decided to make a shift in my career to IT because of my strong aspiration for computers, technologies, and everything related to them. I have been learning the basics of web development for quite some time - from HTML and CSS to more advanced stuff like JS, React, SQL GIT, etc. My first learning tool was freeCodeCamp (https://www.freecodecamp.org/learn) where I learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. QA Engineers, in my opinion, should have at least basic knowledge of these technologies because every day you will be required to work with them. I was curious like a cat (you know that proverb, “Curiosity killed the cat”) and was constantly learning and expanding my understanding of these tools. With all the completed courses on freeCodeCamp, I was eager to proceed to the next learning platform - Udemy. At that moment, my main goal was to learn something new every day, regardless of how small or how simple it was.

Start of manual QA

I started to work as a part-time Manual QA for mobile applications on mobile phones and tablets, both physical devices and emulators*.

” An emulator is a computer or program that emulates, or imitates, another computer or program. For example, emulators make it possible to run Windows on a Mac computer and vice versa.” https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-an-emulator-4687005

Basically, an emulator is software that is designed to simulate another kind of device. While working on it, my mission was to break that app. In my mind, I was like the kid who got a phone from their parents and I did multiple actions at once. "What would happen now? Will I break the app? Will nothing happen or will I perhaps activate a nuclear attack on the moon?".

At the time, my role was to build the app to the emulator, run the latest version and work on breaking it. It was mainly manual testing, but to come to that point, I needed a way to build an app for physical devices and emulators as well. It was a tedious task for someone with no prior experience in building mobile applications and actual practice with version control tools, like GIT. This was the moment when googling skills proved worthy here. Every problem you face during your work, probably someone somewhere once had a problem similar to yours.

“Google and Stackoverflow are your best friends”

Every developer, everywhere.

First Steps at Cinnamon Agency

” Automation Testing or Test Automation is a software testing technique that performs using special automated testing software tools to execute a test case suite.” https://www.guru99.com

In other words, Test Automation is a technique in which we, QA Engineers, develop a process for creating automated scripts for tests that are repetitive, and therefore when humans are doing these tasks, they are prone to mistakes. Also, last time I checked, computers are faster than humans at doing some tasks :)

For the mentioned project, we were using Selenium Webdriver in Java programming language. 

We decided to buy an Udemy course - “Selenium WebDriver with Java -Basics to Advanced+Frameworks”, and this is where my journey with Test Automation really began.

In my free time, I was learning about all the areas that one Test Automation engineer needs to cover - what Selenium Webdriver is, how it works, basics of Java, ways of locating web elements by ID, XPATH, CLASS and implementing them in a test case, how to push your local changes to Github with GIT, etc. What I've personally found very amusing was a small script that I wrote for automating Chrome opening and playing my favorite song on Youtube. It’s the little things that make us happy! :)

From that point on, my learning did not stop. I continued to expand my knowledge in Test Automation and have been going through the individual classes of the aforementioned Udemy course.

When I felt confident enough, I told my mentor that Test Automation is “The Thing” for me. I felt comfortable in Eclipse (IDE we are using for writing test automation scripts) and from that moment on, I was writing new TCs, maintaining existing ones, and planning for the future of our project regarding test automation coverage. 

Among the many benefits that Test Automation brings, covering Regression* and Smoke* tests is one of the essential.

“Regression testing refers to a type of software testing that is used to verify any modification or update in software without affecting the overall working functionality of the said software.” https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/definition/regression-testing

” Smoke Testing is a software testing method that determines whether the employed build is stable or not. It acts as a confirmation whether the quality assurance team can proceed with further testing. Smoke tests are a minimum set of tests run on each build.” https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/smoke-testing-software-testing/

CONCLUSION

The IT sector is very dynamic and it is becoming more and more complex as the technology is evolving. These are some of the reasons why this industry is beautiful, fulfilling, and interesting. To stay on track, you’ll need to learn, learn, learn.Being proactive and willing to improve your skills is essential for any successful developer, QA Engineer, Project Manager, Product Designer…

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