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Transition to an automated testing environment sounds tempting. Shorter time to market, improved test coverage and accuracy, reduced costs of testing, possibility to find bugs earlier or prevent them from happening… Isn’t it all worth a little hustle?

Indeed! With an exception that the hustle is usually bigger than many companies expect. 

Not to bog down in all the troubles connected with this change, we suggest to approach it strategically and think of what might go wrong before your team starts the transition:

By far not every tester converts to automation engineers

It’s a common misconception that automated testing is the next logical career development step for manual testers. Yes, it happens. But no, it’s not as easy as a vertical promotion, when an employee fits a higher position thanks to collected experience only. 

In fact, the transition to automation requires a lot of effort and learning that takes many specialists out of their comfort zone. This is why not all manual testers opt for that direction or manage to convert successfully in the end. 

So before making a decision to train your whole manual testing team and make automation engineers out of them, take a closer look and assess your team members carefully: Do they really want to convert (or do they just fear to lose their job)? How many of them know how to code? Do they have the discipline for learning new things? Do they have the right skills for the new role?

And here is a small hint: If testers in your team are ready to convert to automation engineers, they most probably are already doing that by learning how to code and taking online courses in their free time, as well as storming their managers with suggestions to try automation testing practices. If you haven’t spotted such activity and talks, the chances are that your testers chose a manual testing career to avoid coding, and thus automation engineering is not their thing. In this case, your efforts to convert them will most probably go in vain. 

Training your manual testers can be freaking expensive

If you do see the potential in your testing team and want to proceed with training them, be ready to face often higher than estimated costs of the transition. Here is why:

1) Training takes longer than expected

Even when it seems that the transition can be done rather quickly, the odds that you get autonomous specialists who don’t need to be looked after are pretty low. In practice, testers who convert too quickly still lack knowledge and experience. The code they produce is often buggy, randomly copy-paste and thus creates more problems for production than benefits. The proper transition needs time and patience. 

2) In-house transition pulls opportunity costs along

Training testers on your own leaves a few questions unanswered: Who will be handling testing when testers are busy with learning automation? Who will teach them?

Involving developers into teaching testers how to code might look like a cheaper solution but will take developers out of their main tasks, and thus lead to lost opportunity costs. Not to mention that “a good developer” isn’t equal to “a good teacher”. 

3) Life is simply unfair

Keep in mind that it’s also possible that your precious automation engineers might recognize their higher value after training is done and leave you shortly after the transition. Sadly, no one is safe from this scenario. 

Hiring experienced automation engineers is a painful, expensive but necessary step

Hiring QA professionals instead of growing your own ones is often considered to be a luxury that only tech giants like Google or Amazon can afford. However, at the end of the day, it’s not such a bad decision considering all the costs and risks related to training testers in-house. 

Hiring a good automation engineer is hard. And finding someone who would agree to overlook the team in the transitional period is even harder. Luckily, hiring is not the only option you have. Companies often opt for more cost-saving solutions like hiring a freelancer or a software house. The latter can not only ‘land’ you a QA specialist or a QA team for a specific time or project, but also help with organizing the transition, take care of training without hazarding production. Check out how this works and what are the costs of such services by contacting us here

We hope you found this article useful. We’d love to hear about your experience of converting to automation and help you with your testing struggles. So don’t hesitate to drop us a line in a comment section below. 

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