Teaching test automation: industry meets academia

On April 11, 2016 I gave a lecture at Krakow’s AGH University of Computer Science about “Test Automation: More than Automating Tests”. I tried to answer the following questions:

  • What is test automation and why use it (or why not)?
  • What are small and large examples of test automation in industry?
  • What challenges are there in test automation in industry?

The lecture was part of a 4 open lectures program on Testing Web Applications in collaboration with Akamai Technologies, where I work. It was followed by laboratories with students. I taught how to test a distributed application with both Web UI and REST API:

  • Black box testing of the application
  • Automating GUI tests with Selenium
  • REST API white box testing with curl and  REST-assured
  • Mocking bank REST API with ServerMock

Materials

All materials from the lecture and laboratories are now publicly available:

 

Why do I do this?

In my previous post I tried to understand why so many candidates fail to get a technical tester job positions. Part of the problem I found through the survey was because candidates do not have enough technical skills and those who have do not apply for such job positions.

Obviously, there are many reasons why this happens, but I would like to focus on the following two:

  • Universities have recognized recently testing as a career path but do not teach practical skills industry needs.
  • Testing as a career has a bad PR.

To better picture that let me quote here one of surveyed subjects:

Many companies looking for testers claim they need someone to automate or able to learn automation and then it turns out that it is only about manual tests, and automation was just PR, which was supposed to persuade a candidate to accept a contract. When you sign a contract, hardly anyone resigns.

I have chosen those two reasons because those are the two I am able to help with. Particularly, I can share my experience about companies where test automation was a real thing and, in fact, interesting and challenging. The skills I learned there are also something that I could teach future testers.

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Bartosz Kwołek and Marek Konieczny from AGH university, and to Chema del Barco, Małgorzata Janczarska, Piotr Szpor, Ela Sermet, Michał Pażucha and others from Akamai for the feedback on my presentation and laboratories. I owe also many thanks Patrizio Rullo and Félix Cachaldora Sánchez for helping with implementing application in Ruby (I didn’t know Ruby at all before!).

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