Manual and Automation tester : one job or two different?

Angie Jones mentioned during her talk today that asking one person to do both types of testing is putting 2 roles into 1. I’m strongly agree with this statement, but I would like to hear more thoughts about it. Why would you disagree? why would companies / managers see it’s a good decision?

It’s a bit of a cop out answer, but I think it depends. In my previous job it was definitely 2 different roles. But we had 2 people in the team skilled in both so it depended on the task as to which role they would perform.


I don’t understand the point of defining if they are one role or two roles.

If the point is that it has to be done by either one or two people, either answer is clearly a poor generalization, because it doesn’t take into consideration any context (the people who perform the work and the work itself). Some contexts will drive to have people specialized in creating automated checks and people specialized in testing. Other contexts will drive towards the same people doing both.


I do both in my current role, but I have the luxury of time. We are a small company with infrequent releases, which gives me time to do everything I believe that we need to do for testing a system.

That being said, there have been times when I have let the “explore” part of testing to other team members, while I have done the “program test steps into our test environments.”

However, in most cases, there are different enough techniques in automating testing than there is to exploring a system that it should be two different roles, even if there is a lot of overlap.


Depends on the tester. A manual tester with some development background and interest will likely gravitate to some automation over time. Then you have the so called SDET roles - not necessarily testers at all, as such, providing test automation infrastructure to the people who do the testing.

That last point represents the biggest conundrum for me, as I upskill. It’s fine I can learn things like Java (easy since I was a developer 20 odd years back), Selenium, Cucumber and so on but it seems a rounded modern developer has a range of other skills around build management, scheduling, the various container types, cloud (AWS/Azure) and so on (and more terms than I have time to Google, let alone actually learn about in any detail). In other words, how far to go…

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I perform both roles, to be honest if I did not I think I would end up being quite bored in my role only doing one of the two, the output from my team means I can generally manage both roles quite comfortably. I will also pair with developers in my team writing unit, acceptance and integration tests, while I will cover off the release tests on my own.

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In my opinion, they are 2 jobs. But in some cases, they are 2 Jobs that can be done by the same person in different situations. In my team, the number of devs is equal to the number of testers(yeah we’re part of the lucky ones) and all members of Q.A have enough dev knowledge to do automation. We all take Automation or Manual user stories depending on our skill in that particular case.

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They are two different roles.

Manual testing involves a lot of exploratory, big picture
thinking, including thinking about scenarios from a business angle
that easily are not caught by any one else! Sounds a
bit heroic, but yes.

Automation involves learning the functionality and scenarios
from others, developing and maintaining the scripts, and
framework upkeep.

If one is asked to do both, well, it is doable, but not an ideal
state of affairs.

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Of course, they are different. I strongly agree. But, an aspiring tester always likes to practice both the roles, right? In my company, one person is working on both types of testing, more conveniently.

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The challenge is the dedication of time and effort in these two roles. Especially, automation needs a lot of maintenance, which in itself is a very involved task.

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I see automation as making my job easier as I don’t repeat my tests. A manual QA is more aware of flows and in a better position to automate. Coding has been simpler than before and with no code automation tools, its never easier than before. When you have 2 set of roles, chances of losing out on scenarios are max. Now I check manually and quickly automate rather than waiting someone to do it.

Also this is making QA job modern, updated and more relevant.

In my opinion, QA should get into non functional tests and include them as part of agile testing with tools and bringing process. Bringing automation brings more time for exploratory testing.

In a nutshell, an idea QA should know both manual, automation in both functional and non-functional testing. Its the responsibility of QA to bring the quality practices to team.

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