There was a time when you could become a QA engineer without learning to code but recently, there has been a major industry shift towards automation.
As a result, in 2024 and beyond, you need to be able to write scripts to stand out.
But even in conventional testing, a QA professional who can write code will have the upper hand when making test cases.
And in this article, we are going to discuss this shift in detail. So, let’s get into it.
Benefits of Learning to Code for a QA
If you learn to read and write code as a QA, you can better visualize and understand the application, which in turn helps you to identify useful test cases for the application.
For example, a QA with the knowledge of how a developer wrote a particular page element with an if/then logic can ensure the test cases for it cover all internal logic.
Similarly, you can figure out endpoints of loops and test for boundary conditions more precisely if you know how to code.
You can extend functional test coverage if you have a good understanding of the source code behind the application. So, learning to code can help you perform better white-box testing.
The line between a developer and QA is thin in 2024. So, it is important you learn to code as a QA engineer if you want to experience software from the developer’s perspective.
Automation Engineers and Coding
As an automation engineer, the bulk of your job involves writing scripts. So, if you want to become an automation engineer, you’d want to learn test automation frameworks such as Selenium or Cypress.
In addition, a major part of the job for an automation engineer is to understand the source code to breakdown their test cases and cater to every aspect of the system.
In terms of executing test cases, an automation engineer can easily do it with Integrated Development Environments (IDEs). But these days, most of the testing is done in the browser, which makes the job a tad bit easier.
Automation doesn’t cover everything though. There are certain aspects of testing that still cannot be fully automated. For example, Selenium doesn’t provide error recovery mechanism and test reporting features — so, these tasks need to be performed manually.
How can QA professionals level up?
You can run your automation scripts on sample websites such as Saucedemo.
In addition to learning code, you can also learn other aspects of software development like database query, cybersecurity, command line, etc.
These are valuable skills for a QA engineer as you might need to test software performance and security at one point or another.
In terms of resources, you can learn to code from:
- Free online tutorials and courses on YouTube.
- University Courses on Coursera and Udemy.
- Mentorship from developers.
Alternatively, you could take a full course on QA Automation to level up. You could also follow a roadmap for learning automation all on your own.
Is Coding Worth it?
For a QA? No. For the end consumer? Perhaps.
The primary goal of quality assurance is to protect customer experience. A QA needs to make sure the consumer has a good experience while using a product.
Software defects can annoy customers. From a developer’s standpoint, failures exist within the code components and not the UI. So, a QA engineer can start thinking from a developer’s perspective which can be counterintuitive to quality goals.
Adopting this mindset can be detrimental as QAs can miss UI defects and inconsistencies in the UX. As a result, the end customer gets a functional product, but the user experience takes a hit.
2024 is sure to bring a mindset shift in QA and at the forefront of this change is the necessity for QA professionals to code.
As automation continues to become integral, proficiency in writing code can help elevate a QA’s abilities in addition to providing them with a comprehensive understanding of coding intricacies.
Learning to code empowers QAs to envision and craft comprehensive test cases and bridge the gap between manual and automated testing. Automation Engineers can also use tools like Selenium or Cypress, to improve efficiency.
However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the limits of automation. The transition to automation can also result in a shift towards developer’s mindset, which may inadvertently compromise the end-user experience.
So, balancing coding prowess with a holistic approach in QA is the primary challenge in this era of automation.