Do only automation testers fit in a continuous delivery environment? Why?

OK, so we decided to ask one of those questions again - helping you figure out the role of a tester and think about the Continuous Delivery cycle. So what do you think? Let’s look at some of the answers we got already. Some controversial answers

You need tests.

Nope. Continuous delivery does not mean there can’t be any manual stages in the pipeline.

Nope, automated tests enable manual testers to do what they do best, find issues

If you just write tests/libraries for tests and don’t run or troubleshoot them you’re a developer. Otherwise you are a tester. I don’t think automation tester is a real thing.

There is nothing called automation testers. There are TESTERS.

That depends on your Project and delivery cycle. If its small or cases are small and quick then manual is fine, if its large then to meet the testing needs for the delivery cycle then automation is needed but that’s not to say everything can and should be automated, there are cases when you cannot or should not automate, for those depending on the number and time required to test you may need one or more manual testers.
There’s also another consideration, if your testing is data driven you may need a test analyst or additional skill sets to support testing and develop test plans/reports or data analysis.

Automation plays a key role here, as no manual effort comes close to the speed and reliability of automated test cases.
However, it is also important to have a mix of people who are more involved in the functional aspects as well. This is because while automating, testers often tend to lose out their mind-space to the technicalities of the test.
Although they should be able to balance it out, having test engineers who focus more on the exploratory side can provide valuable insights to improve the test design for automation.

The entire point of QA is continuous improvement. You want continuous delivery? You need continuous improvement.

No.
Continuous delivery can be achieved using manual testing as well.
But, agree that automation makes life little easier when working in CD environment.

If your stories are small enough, testing without automation can be quicker.

What would you add?

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The planning and design effort in continuous delivery environments doesn’t change. In my experience, the people asking valuable questions using examples at the ideas, planning and design stages are testers.

What about exploring the software? Discovering your unknowns? That requires exploratory testing. Having a good bank of automated tests should support that exploratory testing.

These skills aren’t unique to testers, but if you aren’t going to have a tester in the team performing those activities, then you’ll need a coach who can teach other members how to perform these activities.

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Folks with automation (and really, coding in general) are definitely preferred over strictly manual testers. Just like operations folks have shifted towards adding developer skills (i.e. DevOps), more and more test positions are similarly shifting.

If I were a hiring manager, I wouldn’t hire a tester without coding skills. I’d be open to a junior role with someone who’d just done a boot camp or some Udemy/other online courses and clearly demonstrated interest in growing/learning, but someone with years of experience but not even having picked up some basic shell scripting or otherwise would be a hard pass.