Manual vs. Automated Testing: 8 Aspects to Keep in Mind 

Manual Testing vs. Automated Testing

According to a survey by PractiTest, 89% of companies use test automation in their QA process. To a greater extent, automation is used for functional and regression testing, this was confirmed by 75% of respondents. In addition, 49% of panelists noted that they need automation in load and stress testing.

This raises rather logical questions. Will test automation completely replace manual testing? Will companies still hire manual QA engineers? Let’s look at 8 points why it is impossible to do without this or that type of testing in a particular case.

#1. Usability check & exploratory testing

There are areas of testing that cannot be automated. First of all, these include usability, checking layout and translations, and exploratory testing. Computers are great at handling replays. They search for the bugs they are programmed for. However, they can’t provide the same kind of feedback as a user of a product. An automation engineer is primarily a programmer who has skills in the backend, developing and designing interfaces, working with frameworks. It is the manual tester who can check what first impression the application makes, how aesthetic it looks & how convenient navigation is. Moreover, they are not limited to strictly prescribed test cases and sometimes find such errors that no one could have foreseen. And this part of the QA process is difficult to automate.

#2. Perspective

Here you need to understand how complex and long-term the project is. The introduction of automated testing, its setup and maintenance require a lot of investment, as well as initial planning. All this is unjustified in the short term. The price of automation will be very expensive both in terms of return on investment and the final cost of the project. A good ROI is relevant for long-term projects with a large amount of work. For example, SaaS platforms, finance apps, marketplaces, highly loaded projects need automated testing. Manual testing is a suitable option for small or short-term web projects as well as personal sites.

#3. Execution speed

If we are talking about the speed of execution, then it is certainly impossible to compete with test automation. Manual testing will require a lot of time and large human resources.

A computer in 99% of cases will pass the test faster than a manual QA engineer. In addition, with the help of automation, parallel testing can be carried out, which saves a lot of time.

#4. Transparency of test results

Test automation is considered more objective —  the test results are easily accessible. Using various automated reporting tools, you can view statistics such as engineering performance, project ROI, pass rate trends, individual figures, etc.

Manual testing is inherently more subjective. However, using an organized test case management tools can help reach traceability & visibility of testing. Read more about how to conduct test runs easily, link issues directly to test executions & view the results with multiple charts.

#5. IoT testing

Smart devices are rapidly becoming integrated into everyday life, from fitness trackers to biosensors and everything in between. Today’s smart devices, such as location trackers, motion sensors and even smart clothes, come with an array of features that can be challenging for automated testing. As a rule, manual testing comes to the rescue here. Suppose, to check how correctly a smartwatch measures the number of heartbeats, it is enough for a manual tester to put on the device and evaluate the results in a matter of seconds. Creating a program for this type of testing is quite difficult. For this purpose you will need a QA company with experience in IoT integration. Connected devices (smart shoes, smart watches, armbands, heart rate monitors) tests are automated with moving hardware robots. But this is a rare exception. There are not so many companies that can do this and more often in the case of IoT, they resort to manual testing.

#6. Accuracy, reliability & test range

Unfortunately, manual testing is prone to human error. It is routine and tedious. Sometimes testers may simply not notice any issues. The tester can get tired, but the robot can not. It doesn’t get distracted, doesn’t forget, and checks as many times as needed. Automated tests can be programmed to run at night, which is also optimal in terms of efficiency.

Moreover, it is impossible to check everything in manual mode. There is such a type of testing as performance testing (includes load, stress, peak testing), for which the only solution is test automation. Indeed, to check what load the server can withstand, you will actually have to simulate such a load. Test automation is also ideal for regression testing due to the recurring nature & large test suite size.

#7. Flexibility

Although manual testing сan not provide 100% precise results and also can be time consuming but it offers greater flexibility than automated testing. As we have mentioned earlier, test automation needs serious planning. In the case of ad-hoc testing when we deal with frequent minor changes, manual testing is more efficient. It allows us to implement new features and quickly verify that they work as expected. Automated tests take a long time to set up, which prevents you from testing ideas quickly and easily.

#8. Recruitment

Manual testing doesn’t require any coding skills and is relatively easy to pick up. By contrast, QA automation engineers are highly sought after with lucrative salaries due to the difficulty of the skill set. Many people choose the position of manual QA engineer as the starting point for a career in the software engineering domain. For companies, this means that it is easier and cheaper to hire manual testers.


Many operations that were previously performed manually are now fully automated. Automated testing is ideal for repetitive tasks. It saves time & money on large projects and provides full test coverage. However, automated testing will never completely replace manual testing. It complements it, removes repetitive routine tasks from manual testers, and allows them to focus on more important work. Only the optimal combination of manual & automated testing can provide the most effective QA process.

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