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Posted July 13, 2023

17 Automated Testing Insights from an Industry Expert

Nikolay Advolodkin shares his top automated testing insights, including benefits, how to get started, avoiding common pitfalls, and more.


In today's fast-paced digital landscape, software development companies face the challenge of delivering high-quality applications quickly. One solution that has gained significant traction is automated software testing. Organizations can achieve repeatability, improve time-to-release, and enhance overall software quality by leveraging automated testing tools and methodologies.

In this article, I discuss my top insights into automated testing, including benefits, how to get started, avoiding common pitfalls, and more. You can also watch my recent video on this topic:

The top 20 test automation questions answered with Nikolay Advolodkin
Video: Top 20 Automation Questions Answered

1. Repeatability is a Foundation for Reliable Automated Testing

One of the primary advantages of automated testing is its repeatability. Unlike manual testing, where human error can creep in due to fatigue or lack of attention, automated testing offers a consistent and repeatable approach.

With automated testing, computers can execute tests with precision over and over again, ensuring accurate and reliable results. This repeatability reduces the risk of missing critical bugs and allows for thorough regression testing, guaranteeing the stability and functionality of the software throughout its lifecycle.

2. Accelerating Time-to-Release with Confidence

Another key benefit of automated testing is its potential to improve the time-to-release of applications. Major enterprise companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook embrace automated testing and leverage it to deploy software multiple times a day. By automating tests at different stages of the software deployment process, organizations can detect and fix issues early, streamlining the development lifecycle. Accelerated release cycles also empower businesses to deliver features to end users more frequently, staying ahead in a competitive market.

3. Getting Started: Resources for Success

For those eager to embark on their automated testing journey, numerous resources are available to provide guidance and support. Test Automation University is an excellent free resource offering videos from industry experts covering various automated testing concepts. Additionally, my blog at, cultivated over the past eight years, contains valuable lessons learned, informative articles, and instructional videos. While platforms like Udemy offer courses on automated testing, be cautious as the quality and relevance of such courses may vary due to their low price points.

4. Know the Different Types of Automated Software Testing

There is a wide range of automated testing types, nearly replicating the possibilities of manual testing:

  • Automated functional testing verifies that the application behaves as expected, ensuring its core functionality is intact.

  • Accessibility testing examines whether the application is accessible to users with disabilities.

  • Front-end performance testing, often overlooked but crucial, focuses on optimizing the application's speed for an exceptional user experience.

  • Automated security testing assesses the application's resistance to potential vulnerabilities, safeguarding sensitive data.

  • Unit testing, integration testing, load testing, stress testing, and visual testing (an underrated approach) are among the many options available for automating different aspects of the testing process.

5. Choose the Right Test Automation Tools

Selecting the right automated testing tool for your needs can be challenging. The process begins with thoroughly analyzing your organization's current software development environment, skill sets, and culture. Factors to consider include ease of adoption, compatibility with existing systems, learning curve for team members, and compatibility with the types of applications being tested. Evaluating multiple tools through a proof of concept allows for an objective comparison. Look for tools that align with your organization's needs, demonstrate ease of use, create stable and maintainable tests, and offer comprehensive support and documentation.

6. Measure Effectiveness to Drive Business Value

To gauge the effectiveness of automated testing, it's essential to align your metrics with the overarching goals of your organization. The primary objective of automated testing is to enhance software quality and expedite the release process. By measuring factors such as reduced time spent on manual testing, decreased bug leakage rate, faster time-to-production, improved collaboration between teams, and enhanced user satisfaction, you can effectively demonstrate the business value of automated testing. When you can show a positive return on investment and tangible business benefits, stakeholders will be more inclined to support and invest in automated software testing initiatives.

7. Integrate Testing into Your Development Process–Seamlessly

Integrating automated testing into your development depends on your current stage and challenges. If you are just starting out, identify specific pain points that automated testing can address, such as long development cycles or high bug rates. Conduct a proof of concept using tools that align with your criteria, focusing on ease of implementation and test stability. Once you have identified a viable solution, integrate it into your continuous integration (CI) pipeline and establish a regular testing cadence. Sharing the positive results and collaborating with developers and managers will foster wider adoption and integration of automated testing across the organization.

8. Improved Testing Quality Enables Developer Confidence

Effective automated testing improves software quality by providing developers with a safety net. With each code change, there is always the risk of introducing new bugs or breaking existing functionality. Automated tests act as a safeguard, enabling developers to make changes and push code through the development pipeline confidently. By strategically placing tests at appropriate levels (unit, API, UI, etc.) and continuously evolving them to align with changing requirements, teams can ensure their software remains reliable, functional, and of high quality.

9. Avoid Common Pitfalls in Automated Testing

To avoid common pitfalls in automated testing, awareness is key. Understanding the challenges and best practices can save valuable time and effort. For a comprehensive list of patterns and anti-patterns, I recommend visiting my website at Some common pitfalls include relying solely on record and replay approaches (which often fail to produce maintainable tests) and trying to use a single tool for all types of testing, rather than selecting the right tool for each specific task. It's crucial to invest in skilled professionals with a solid understanding of software development and test automation, and to prioritize clean, maintainable code that adheres to industry best practices.

10. Implement Troubleshooting and Debugging with the Rights Tools and Processes

When it comes to troubleshooting and debugging automated tests, employing the correct tools and techniques is essential. Following the recommended practices and documentation the testing tools provide is crucial for effective troubleshooting. Generating detailed logs, judiciously capturing screenshots and videos, and leveraging built-in reporting features can greatly assist in identifying and resolving issues. Cloud-based testing platforms like Sauce Labs often provide comprehensive logging, screenshots, and video capabilities, which help to simplify the debugging process.

11. Keep Your Tests Up to Date

To keep automated tests relevant and reliable as software evolves, a robust automation design is crucial. Tests may change due to modified application requirements or improvements in test quality. When requirements change, it's appropriate to update or remove tests that no longer align with the application's functionality.

Additionally, ensuring tests are well-designed and closely aligned with the software's behavior helps prevent false positives and false negatives. Applying sound object-oriented design principles or solid programming skills, depending on the language used, will contribute to clean, maintainable code that can easily adapt to changing software.

12. Design Your Tests to Handle Unexpected Behavior and Build Resiliency

Automated tests should be designed to handle unexpected behavior gracefully. By adhering to recommended practices, utilizing proper logging and reporting mechanisms, and leveraging the capabilities of the testing tools, testers can effectively deal with unexpected situations. Leveraging detailed logs and stack traces, which many testing frameworks provide, enables efficient identification and resolution of issues.

Robust tests are not only designed to validate expected behavior but also to gracefully handle edge cases and exceptions, ensuring the overall stability and reliability of the testing process.

13. Manage Performance Issues Holistically

Addressing performance issues in automated tests requires a holistic approach. Factors such as the number of tests running concurrently, hardware limitations, and overall test execution time can impact performance. Strategies such as test arallelization, utilizing multiple test execution environments, and optimizing hardware resources can help mitigate performance-related challenges. Exploring techniques like load balancing and leveraging cloud-based testing services can also enhance testing efficiency.

It's essential to assess your specific situation and identify the underlying causes of performance issues before implementing targeted solutions.

14. Ensure the Security of Automated Tests to Protect Sensitive Information

Maintaining the security of automated software tests requires careful attention to sensitive information, such as login credentials and API keys. Best practices involve storing such sensitive data in environment variables and ensuring they are securely passed from local development environments to CI systems and beyond. Just like protecting private information in software applications is crucial, the same level of diligence should be applied to automated tests to prevent any potential exposure.

15. Manage Test Automation Costs to Maximize Value and Minimize Expense

Effectively managing the costs of automated software testing involves investing in expertise and understanding the value it brings to your organization. Hiring knowledgeable professionals who grasp the strategic benefits of automated testing and can implement it at an organizational level is crucial. By aligning automated testing initiatives with business objectives, tracking key metrics, and continuously assessing the return on investment, organizations can optimize costs while maximizing the value derived from automated software testing.

16. Demonstrate the Value Proposition of Automated Testing to Gain Stakeholder Buy-in

To obtain buy-in from stakeholders, it's essential to communicate the value proposition of automated software testing clearly. This entails identifying pain points and quantifying the benefits that automated testing can provide. By demonstrating how automated testing reduces manual testing time, improves software quality, shortens development cycles, and enhances user satisfaction, stakeholders can understand the positive impact on both business efficiency and customer experience.

By aligning automated testing initiatives with business goals and providing concrete evidence of its value, you can gain the support and endorsement of stakeholders.

17. Measure the ROI of Automated Testing

Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of automated software testing involves tracking relevant metrics and quantifying the impact on key performance indicators. Key areas to consider include bug leakage rate, reduced manual testing time, faster time-to-production, improved collaboration, and enhanced user satisfaction. By comparing these metrics before and after implementing automated testing, you can assess the financial and operational benefits.

Effective measurement of ROI not only helps justify the investment in automated testing but also enables ongoing optimization and continuous improvement of testing practices.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, automated software testing offers a multitude of benefits, ranging from repeatability and improved time-to-release to enhanced software quality and collaboration. By leveraging the right tools, best practices, and metrics, organizations can harness the power of automation to drive efficiency, deliver high-quality applications, and gain a competitive edge in today's fast-paced digital landscape. By understanding the value proposition, managing costs effectively, and securing stakeholder buy-in, you can embark on a successful automated testing journey that propels your organization towards faster, more reliable software releases.

Nikolay Advolodkin
Principal Developer Advocate at Sauce Labs
Jul 13, 2023
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