We continue to hear more about test automation as more organizations are claiming success with their automation strategies. Just a few months ago at our local SQuAD (Software Quality Association of Denver) meeting, a panel of recruiters advised test professionals to learn some technical skills.
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That advice was repeated at last night’s SQuAD presentation, “Test Automation 101,” by Jim Hazen. Much of Hazen’s presentation centered around testers learning how to program. Many of the automation tools will require some degree of programming. “Even codeless and scriptless tools [require some programming skills.] At some point, you’re going to need to dig into the code.”
Hazen suggested books and online resources to get started. The first book he mentioned was Experiences of Test Automation: Case Studies of Software Test Automation, the new book by Dot Graham and Mark Fewster. Coincidentally, I’ve been emailing Dot and Mark about meeting at next week’s STAREAST conference to augment the recently published two-part interview I’d done with them:
Hazen talked about several automation tools and suggested the popular open source tool, Selenium, for those who’d like to get their feet wet with test automation. However, Hazen also warned that automation takes work, and believing some of the vendor hype can be one of the biggest mistakes groups make when implementing an automated test solution. Though certainly organizations who implement well will realize a strong ROI, Hazen warned that 70-80% of organizations fail on their first implementation of test automation.
As with any effort, it’s important to start with planning and making sure the staff is properly trained. The message is pretty clear that in this day of Agile development and automation test, it’s important for testers to get programming skills to remain competitive.