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Manual vs automated tester

I have always called myself a manual tester. But why really? What do I mean by that? It is very common in the test world to divide into two areas, automated tester or manual tester.

I think with that title I want to be clear that I do not code automated tests. I have worked with automated tests, although I did not write them.

How did the division between manual and automated testing really come about?

One theory is that you could not really describe the type of test you do when you do not automate, and then took the opposite word “manual” as a term.

Today, automated testing and manual testing are divided into two parts. I do it myself. But we should rethink. Instead, we should see it as a test process where the tester collaborates with the computer to get help with the technology. And that you then instead define which methods you use in your test process such as. exploratory testing, automated data generation, automatic output control, etc.

Manual Automated

The control lies with the tester, who makes his own decisions in the testing.

Testing new things experimentally. Not only to find bugs but also to design tests.


The control is outside the hands of the tester, with something else that limits the tester's decision.

Confirms a product's behavior through automated checks.

I use the method exploratory testing when I test, I perform the tests. But if I examine myself, I sometimes get help:

  • I write VBA in excel to generate test data
  • I use TFS to run my test cases
  • I run automated tests
  • I use JIRA to register my bugs
  • I use spellcheck in Word

And those parts are not manual, are they? Those parts fall into the category of automation. I have automated my way of working to get the most efficient workflow possible so that I can spend more time on my manual tests.

What conclusion should be drawn from this?

We are testers who use both parts, some of us use one part more than the other. I think this is because we have different interests and different ease for the technical part that requires coding. The reason I put myself in the compartment manual tester is that I feel uncomfortable having to write code. Then it is easier to say that I am a manual tester, so I know that I am clear about what I am working with against those who are not as experienced in the area. But from now on, I will take on the challenge of calling myself only a tester, with a focus on exploratory testing as my main method. My guess is that I will forget and call myself a manual tester in the beginning. But challenge accepted!

How do you see yourself as a tester? Do you place yourself in different compartments?

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