As testers, most of us would have started our careers in Quality Assurance running manual tests. We may not have even gotten a chance to start designing tests right away, but execution is typically seen as one of the best places to get started with. Over the last few months I was working with a bunch of freshers in my organization helping them get ready for a speaking opportunity at our annual technical conference, Qualloquium. These are a bunch of very smart freshers who have proven their worth not just on their projects but also taken the initiative to speak at this conference. As I was working with them in preparation for this conference, I was asking each of them for their backgrounds. Some said they started their careers in automated testing – this opened up a question for me on which is the best place to start ones testing career in – is it the world of manual testing or the more technical automated testing space. As for our testers, even though they started off in the automated space, they would have been exposed to a few days or weeks of manual testing as that is where the tester first grooms his testing mind-set.
A good tester is often an inherent tester even outside his work life. He does not acquire his skills purely through training. Training augments his core skills with insights and hands on experience on test techniques, tools and practices. Besides the training, a few cycles of guided manual hands on testing goes a long way in strengthening his base as a tester. Also, just this hands on start will not suffice. Over the course of the testing career, even if the tester is tasked with automated testing (whether functional or performance), a tester should take some time every now and then to play around with the product under test and other competing products. Such exercises broadens the tester’s perspective, forces him to think more from an end user stand point, strengthens his product understanding and also gives him a much needed break from his core automation tasks.
Manual testing is a necessity in the world of testing. In fact, a tester’s mind-set is important for even non-testers as it strengthens one’s debugging and troubleshooting skills. We live in a digital world – surrounded by technology and devices. A curious mind and a hands on trait go a long way in making the digital experience more enriching and rewarding. Manual testing offers unlimited potential to build these traits and it will continue to be a core piece in the discipline of software testing and also the best place for testers to start off their careers with.