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Software testing automation and efficiency improvement realized by RPA

Introduction

In the field of software testing, “manual” testing is still mainstream. This is because continuous and complex operations are difficult to automate, and such tests require manual labor. However, there are various layers of software testing, including unit tests that check the basic operation of software and APIs, and tests that can be performed with test automation tools.

Currently, many companies are rapidly introducing RPA, which enables automation of operations, to cope with labor shortages. Speaking of RPA, it is generally recognized that it is used for normal work using a PC, but in fact, it can also be used for specialized work such as software testing. This section describes software test automation using RPA and process improvement for development work.

Software testing
Software testing

Current situation of serious IT human resources shortage

As already mentioned, many Japanese companies are currently suffering from labor shortages due to the effects of the declining birthrate and aging population. In particular, the labor shortage in the IT industry is serious, and the situation is expected to worsen rather than improve, and there is data that there will be a shortage of about 790,000 IT human resources in 2030. (* 1)

In this way, the IT industry faces the challenge of how to solve the shortage of human resources.
In the first place, the cause of labor shortage is also due to the bad image of the IT industry. It is not uncommon to dispel the negative industry image of “work is hard,” “cannot go home,” and “commuting on holidays is commonplace.”
Therefore, it can be said that improving the image by improving the business is an urgent issue.

The software testing requires a lot of manual work

In the field of IT, although programming languages ​​and development tools continue to evolve, it can be said that the improvement of the entire business has not progressed easily.

Software testing
Software testing

In the field of software testing, “manual” testing is still mainstream. This is because continuous and complex operations are difficult to automate, and such tests require manual labor. However, there are various layers of software testing, including unit tests that check the basic operation of software and APIs, and tests that can be performed with test automation tools.

Under these circumstances, innovations will occur that facilitate the automation of software testing. Introducing RPA.

RPA can automate the work done on a PC

RPA is an abbreviation for Robotic Process Automation, which is a software type in a PC that mainly performs routine work among white color (workers who perform office work and administrative work) desk work. This is a system in which a robot acts on behalf of and automates work.
RPA can streamline and automate desk work by PC by letting a software robot record the operation of the PC.

For example, when you perform the work you want to leave to RPA on your PC, the RPA tool replaces the operation procedure with an operation rule called “scenario” and memorizes it. Then, perform the subsequent tasks instead based on the scenario. The image is like showing a newcomer who has just joined the company the work procedure and teaching it.

The introduction of RPA has only recently progressed. In Japan, the word RPA has been used since 2016, and a big boom occurred in 2017, and it can be said that it is almost established now.
Product examples include WinActor and UiPath, but there are many other types of RPA.

Software test automation and efficiency improvement with RPA implementation

RPA was created to support white-collar work that does desk work, but recently, as another use of RPA, its introduction into software testing has suddenly attracted attention.

Software testing
Software testing

There are various layers of software testing, and there are dedicated tools for some standardized tests such as unit tests and UI tests, which can be used to automate tests and improve the process of development work. Will lead to. However, actual software testing involves more complex work processes, and it is not possible to automate all testing work with existing test tools.

For example, in the case of software such as ERP and CRM, there are not only simple processes such as data registration, deletion, and editing but also extremely complicated tasks such as linking with other applications. As a result, complex tests couldn’t be automated with existing tools and had to be manually tested every time the software was updated.

Moreover, the more complicated the test, the more skill is required on the tester side, so not everyone can test it. However, even in such a case, if the tester’s work is recorded by making full use of RPA and made into a scenario, it is not necessary to repeat the same process over and over again manually. In this way, the compatibility between RPA and software testing is attracting attention, and the number of cases where it is introduced in the field is increasing in recent years.

Advantages and disadvantages of using RPA for software testing

The benefits of using RPA for software testing are not just automation. No matter how skilled a tester is, as long as you are human, the probability of making a mistake is not zero. But once you let the RPA remember the correct test process, the computer won’t make any mistakes, so you can be sure that the test is done. In other words, it is possible to eliminate the testing mistake itself.
As a side effect, the amount of work done by the tester can be reduced, allowing the time spent on testing to be devoted to the design of more sophisticated test content.

What’s more, advanced testing isn’t possible for everyone, which often leads to the problem of being personal and overburdening the testers who can perform it. However, since the work that made the RPA remember the test can be reproduced many times, even a low-level tester can perform advanced tests using the RPA, and it is also possible to prevent the work from being personalized. It will help.
While there are such merits, there are of course disadvantages as well. One is that testers need to be proficient in using RPA as well as traditional testing tasks. To automate the test, the tester must be able to master RPA, which requires a new investment in education.

Also, RPA only repeats the instructed work, so even if the instructed content is incorrect, the work will continue without stopping in the middle. Therefore, in the worst case, you may notice the fact that the test was wrong after the product was released.
Furthermore, as an adverse effect of automation, there is a risk that the work content will become a black box. If the tester who created the test scenario leaves the site for some reason, it will not be possible to understand and correct the content, so even if the test content changes due to a software update, the RPA scenario change will be done. It may not be possible.

Therefore, when introducing it, it is necessary to proceed with the introduction with a view to the long-term maintenance of the created scenario.
When introducing RPA, it is necessary to consider these advantages and disadvantages and proceed with the plan while considering countermeasures.

in conclusion

As mentioned above, by introducing RPA, it is possible to streamline the process by automating software testing. But the most important thing is not just testing, but a solid strategy for how to run the entire software development process efficiently. An environment that depends on the abilities and efforts of a specific individual and a development system that specializes only in the abilities of special tools are prone to bankruptcy. Keep in mind that the top priority is the overall process operating system and that using RPA as an effective tool can yield significant results.

If you ever want to know about similar things, check out the Facebook page Maga Techs.

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