Test automation increases the overall software efficiency and ensures robust software quality. There are specific tools that can effectively execute automated test cases, and help in comparing actual and expected results.
The automation of software testing is considered one of the most effective Testing methodologies. It has become a trend and a must for learning for Test Analysts and Software Test Engineers.
To specialize in software testing automation, you need to master a series of basic knowledge and methodologies. Also, you need to learn to program software and to handle some of the software testing automation tools.
Below we present the top 10 knowledge and skills you must learn to become an Engineer of automated software testing, such as learning to program, software architecture and databases, automated testing tools, execution and debugging, how to produce reports of results, practices to develop the cases and their continuous integration among other aspects.
1- Manual software testing methodologies and knowledge of the business area
Before entering the software testing automation, it is advisable to have knowledge in methodologies and manual software tests. Also, it is not enough to have some experience as a software tester.
This implies that you have the know-how in software tests, in various predictive methodologies and in Agile Testing.
Knowledge of the domain area, the processes and practices of the business area or industrial sector in which you are specialized are also important, for example applications of customer service in telecommunications, banks, retail, etc.
Knowledge of the domain area is essential for designing test cases and keeping track of errors, skills that you will also need when performing automated software tests.
Very little technical knowledge will serve you unless you have the domain of the business area.
2- Techniques and tools of automation of tests
There are several techniques of automation of tests, the most basic consist of developing low-level components that send test data to software components, and others make use of software testing automation tools.
Most are based on invoking the interactions with the system, which are dependent on the platform and consist of manipulating the graphical interface (UI) control at run time.
Some examples for different platforms are:
Desktop applications: Reflection, Windows API (use the Send Input API to simulate manual or keyboard mouse clicks), Microsoft UIA, Java in-process manipulation, among others.
Applications for mobile (Mobile): Androind UI Automator, iOS UI Automation, Appium, among other support tools for mobile software testing.
3- Software Programming
To become an Automated Software Test Engineer, it will be necessary to become a competent software programmer, for which you must select and learn one or several programming languages.
If you have previous experience in programming you can start with more difficult languages such as Java or C ++. If you do not have much experience (do you come from the manual software testing area?) There are less difficult languages such as Python and Ruby that also work with test automation frameworks and tools.
4- Databases and web technology
As an engineer in software testing automation, it will not be enough to have knowledge about the operation and process flow of the applications you test, but you will also need to know about its internal components and software architecture.
Hence, it is recommended that you study the basics of database technologies such as Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, etc.
As a manual software testing analyst you probably already have knowledge of the structured query language (SQL), you only need to expand that knowledge with database administration and architecture, as well as learn the patterns and antipatterns, common mistakes in the development of databases. Data.
Another prior knowledge that can help you to venture into software testing automation is to learn to perform load and stress tests using a tool with SoapUI.
5- Identification of elements in application software
To perform an automated test design, you need to know how the application is built internally, and the software components that make it up, such as HTML web pages, Java classes, Windows interfaces (WPF).
Then you need to identify which properties you should look for to identify the graphical interface (UI) controls, structuring these definitions of elements in a structured way for easier access.
6- Results Reports and Data Driven Test
In the use of software testing automation tools, it is recommended that you also learn how to develop test assertions in the framework of your choice (such as JUnit for example), in order to print (in text file) the results of your tests.
Without the reporting component, you can run the tests but you will not get detailed reports of the results.
On the other hand, in most cases you will need to run the same tests repeatedly but with different combinations of data, so it is also necessary to learn to parameterize these combinations in the software testing automation framework or tool, as well as to know How to design your test data.
7- Execution and debugging of automated tests
Another important knowledge that you must acquire is how to configure the executions of test cases and how to identify the root cause of the errors.
The challenge is to understand the flow from end to end (see point 1) of the application and its business rules.
Failures such as insufficient waiting time, unexpected pop-ups and events that did not trigger are difficult to identify and correct, especially when you do not have a test environment with the exact configuration to reproduce the problem.
8- Software engineering principles applied to software testing automation
Just as software developers need to apply software engineering practices and avoid common mistakes in programming, automated software testing engineers also need to produce clean code.
In this regard, they must apply good software engineering practices, such as:
Ease of reading: Create test cases that can be read easily from the business perspective. For this you can use your knowledge of the domain area.
Scalability: Think long-term and ask “what happens” questions when designing and programming automated software tests. What happens if members join the test team? What happens if the application subject to tests is going to be migrated from the desktop to the web, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android or any other? Can the test cases be reused and thus reduce the development work in the future?
Maintainability: You must learn methods so that your developments of test cases can handle situations such as the subject of testing is subject to new developments, incorporating new business logic and changes to the graphical user interface (GUI), which could ” break “your current test cases. Ways should be explored to parameterize the cases and avoid duplicity.
9- Code integration
Like the developers and their code, the test automation engineer must be able to integrate their automated tests into an application lifecycle management tool, in which the software is developed, tested, delivered and it is installed in production environment, this continuously (Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery or DevOps).
The Automated Software Test Engineer should not only know how to automate the tests, but also how to use the tools to automate the Testing life cycle.
10- Mini support tools
You must learn to use all the tools that can support you and facilitate the design and execution of automated software tests, some examples:
Inspect: Windows tool that allows you to select an interface and graphic element and see your accessibility data.
UI Verify: Framework that facilitates automated software testing and manual Windows user interfaces.
Spy ++: Allows you to see the properties of any Windows window.
Chrome Dev Tools (F12): A series of web authoring and debugging tools built within the Google Chrome browser. Other browsers such as Firefox also have their version for developers.
POSTMan: Tools for the development of application program interfaces (API).
Curl: Tool to transfer data to and from servers using any of the managed protocols, such as DICT, FILE, FTP, FTPS, GOPHER, HTTP, HTTPS, IMAP, IMAPS, LDAP, among others.
WireShark: Network protocol analyzer for UNIX and Windows.