Those who don’t really understand testing might not be able to understand the title of this post. Those in the testing world do. It is very difficult to master the art and science of manual testing. There are those who can work hard and learn the discipline, and others that simply have the gift. Testing is a career and a valuable profession. For those that chose to make it a career, it can be very rewarding and invaluable to those companies that employ them.
The manual tester is one that spends countless hours reading documentation, talking with developers and requirements teams, and years understanding the applications that they test. It is simply impossible to replace that expertise with a tester who does not have that background. It is not an activity of “cross-training” someone for a few weeks. Those within the organizations know who these manual testers are, and they are dependent on them to create robust test cases, help train and mentor others, and work with development, test automation, performance testing, and other teams within the company.
The manual tester is the ultimate advocate for the end customer. They anticipate what the customer is going to do, and often work with them directly to understand what is best for them. In fact, the customer, is a huge fan of the manual tester and often will seek them out for advice about the application or website. It is necessary for someone to have a deep understanding of the application and how the business flows operate, and manual tester is usually the one that has that knowledge. Developers usually focus on only a few modules, while the manual tester knows the entire flow. Unfortunately, those outside the testing world see the manual tester as a commodity and one that is replaceable by someone within the organization or an outside consultant. It is impossible for those without the testing background to see the value a manual tester brings to the table.
Manual testing has evolved over the years. Applications today are much more complicated than they were even just a few years ago. Often there is a mixture of front end, midrange, and mainframe applications that are involved within the business flow. This makes things extremely difficult to understand. In addition, other testing practices such as test automation and performance testing heavily rely on the expertise of the manual tester. Automation and performance testing might be a bit more glamorous, but the manual tester is the one that makes those teams shine. Lets also not forget that operations teams that often go to the manual tester to see where flows are not functioning properly. All revolve around the great one for guidance and direction.
While “The Great Manual Tester” makes a set salary along with benefits, the value that the person brings to the company is indeed priceless.