Code-free, AI, and RPA: 8 automation testing trends for 2024

Certainly, automating everything in testing may not be practical, as some tasks demand manual execution. However, relying solely on manual processes is time-consuming and prone to errors. Statistics indicate that human error contributes to 90% of accidents! Hence, a balanced approach incorporating both manual and automated methods is essential. In a recent article, we discussed the trends in manual testing for 2024. Now, let's shift our focus to automation and delve into what lies ahead in this domain for the upcoming year! 

Trend #1. Code-free test automation

Automation is a goal for 57% of organizations aiming to enhance employee productivity and performance. However, automation faces some difficulties at the implementation stage. Numerous challenges in automation stem from scripting issues, posing obstacles to achieving continuous testing objectives. 

Code-free test automation is a rising trend in 2024. It revolutionizes software testing by eliminating the need for manual coding skills traditionally associated with test automation. This approach empowers testers and quality assurance professionals to create automated test scripts without delving into intricate programming languages. 

In this trend, testing tools provide intuitive interfaces and graphical elements that allow users to design test scenarios through simple drag-and-drop actions, visual flowchart representations, or other user-friendly methods. This approach not only reduces the learning curve for testing teams but also democratizes the automation process. It enables professionals with domain expertise but limited coding experience to contribute effectively to test automation efforts.

Trend #2. New AI capabilities

64% of business owners stated that AI would improve business productivity, and 42% believe it will streamline job processes. This is the case when reality meets the expectations. The integration of AI and ML in automation has resulted in an average operational efficiency boost of 40% across diverse industries.

While discussions about the transformative impact of AI on testing are prevalent, its widespread implementation is still in progress. AI, primarily through machine learning, aims to enhance automation, leading to improved outcomes. The integration of AI is not just about technological advancements but also creates opportunities for specialized roles, such as data scientists and AI quality experts.

Testers equipped with skills in testing AI-based systems and utilizing AI-supported testing techniques will be highly sought after. The rise of AI is reshaping the role of QA engineers within software development teams. As testers redefine their roles, the industry needs to creatively integrate AI without stifling creativity.

The list of the most basic methods for applying AI in test automation includes AI/ML test categorization, intelligent test generation, visual validation testing, optimized test maintenance, improved test coverage, adaptive continuous testing, and natural language processing in testing. In addition, AI algorithms contribute to better, faster, and more efficient report creation. Predictive models assist in decision-making, while AI-led analytics aid teams in identifying high-risk areas and enhancing test coverage.

Trend #3. Predictive analysis

Predictive analysis in test automation involves the use of AI and ML algorithms. These algorithms analyze past test data to predict possible problem areas in software. Instead of relying solely on historical testing outcomes, predictive analysis leverages advanced algorithms to identify patterns, trends, and potential areas of concern.

By utilizing predictive analysis, test engineers can anticipate and proactively address areas that may be vulnerable to faults or errors in the software. This proactive approach enhances the overall effectiveness of the testing process, leading to improved software quality and a more efficient testing cycle. Predictive analysis empowers testing teams to go beyond reactive problem-solving and take preemptive measures based on data-driven insights, ultimately contributing to a more robust and reliable software development and testing process.

Trend #4. Robotic process automation

The anticipated growth of the global robotic process automation market is from $13.86 billion in 2023 to $50.50 billion in 2030, with a forecasted compound annual growth rate of 20.3% over the specified period.

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a technology that utilizes software robots or "bots" to automate repetitive and rule-based tasks within business processes. These bots are designed to interact with digital systems, applications, and data like a human employee would, following predefined rules and instructions. RPA is useful for automating routine, time-consuming tasks, allowing human workers to focus on more complex and strategic aspects of their roles. 

RPA involves the application of artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and IoT. This transformative technology has reshaped the software testing landscape. Notably, various industries, such as automotive, currently harness RPA for developing self-driving cars. Therefore, RPA is anticipated to emerge as a specialized testing focus in 2024.

RPA can automate the generation of test data, helping testing teams create diverse datasets for different test scenarios. This is particularly useful in scenarios where a large volume of test data is required. RPA bots can be employed to automate the execution of test scripts. This helps in executing repetitive test cases across different environments, platforms, or configurations, ensuring comprehensive test coverage. RPA can assist in automating regression, data migration, and integration testing. Also, RPA can assist in automating UAT processes, helping businesses simulate real-world user interactions to validate that the software meets user requirements. Furthermore, RPA can automate the generation of test reports and the analysis of test results.

Trend #5. API and service test automation

The rise of microservice architecture has driven the demand for automation in testing applications and web services through APIs. As client-server platforms expand, testers need APIs that can function independently and collaborate seamlessly. Furthermore, the integration of APIs by development teams with other systems and applications is crucial for building a cohesive working system. 

Looking ahead to 2024, the next stage in test automation development will specifically target APIs and software testing services to unlock their maximum potential.

Automated API testing streamlines the verification and validation of API functionality, performance, security, and reliability in software development. Selection of a suitable testing tool is crucial for creating test cases covering various API aspects. Test scripts can be generated manually or recorded from API interactions, and they should encompass different endpoints, request methods, headers, and data formats.

Executing automated API tests involves running scripts against the API, either as part of a CI/CD pipeline or standalone test suites. Results are analyzed to identify failures or issues, with logs and reports aiding in debugging. Integration into CI/CD ensures automatic testing with every code change, facilitating early issue detection. Maintenance is essential, adapting tests to changes in API specifications, while documentation captures crucial information about test scenarios and expected outcomes.

Trend #6. Performance testing

Performance testing is a crucial phase in the SDLC designed to evaluate how a system performs under different conditions. The primary goal is to assess its responsiveness, stability, and overall efficiency. This type of testing helps identify potential bottlenecks, scalability issues, and performance degradation, ensuring that the software meets user expectations even under heavy loads.

One essential aspect of performance testing is load testing, which involves subjecting the system to various levels of user traffic to assess its behavior under stress. This helps determine the system's capacity and its ability to handle concurrent users without compromising performance. Stress testing, another facet, involves pushing the system beyond its normal operational limits to identify breaking points and understand how it recovers from failures.

Automating performance testing is important for several reasons. Firstly, automation allows for the efficient simulation of a large number of virtual users and diverse scenarios, enabling thorough testing under various conditions that may be impractical to achieve manually. Automation ensures consistency and repeatability in test execution, eliminating human errors and providing accurate performance metrics. Furthermore, it enables the rapid identification of performance bottlenecks, scalability issues, and potential points of failure, allowing development teams to address these issues early in the software development life cycle. 

Trend #7. Mobile app testing automation

Mobile app testing automation stands out as a prominent trend in software testing, driven by the booming usage of mobile devices and applications. With millions of diverse applications available across various OS Play stores, the demand for effective testing solutions is evident. The continuous development of technologies in software testing caters to diverse consumer needs, emphasizing the importance of E2E testing. Therefore, the trend of automation in mobile app testing is expected to persist until 2024.

Why is mobile app testing automation a trend for 2024? The diverse range of mobile devices, operating systems, and screen sizes demands extensive testing, which is challenging to achieve manually. Automation enables the creation of test scripts that can be executed across various devices, ensuring comprehensive coverage and detecting potential compatibility issues. Additionally, automated mobile app testing accelerates the testing process, allowing for faster feedback on app performance and functionality. 

Trend #8. Continuous testing

While continuous testing isn't a new concept, its prominence is anticipated to rise in 2024. As organizations increasingly adopt DevOps and CI/CD practices, testing needs to align with these methodologies. Continuous testing entails automating tests across the development pipeline, from code check-in to deployment.

The primary goal of continuous testing is to catch issues early in the development process, effectively minimizing the time and cost associated with bug fixing. It also provides ongoing feedback to developers, empowering them to make immediate adjustments. This trend signifies a further convergence of development and testing teams, emphasizing collaboration and automation.

Automating continuous testing in 2024 is essential due to the need for speed and efficiency in software delivery. The increasing complexity of software, coupled with the imperative for early issue detection, underscores the importance of automation. This approach enables enhanced test coverage, cost savings in the long run, and consistent, reliable testing. Moreover, automated continuous testing aligns with Agile and DevOps practices, facilitating seamless integration into the development pipeline. In a climate where staying competitive necessitates adapting to industry trends, automation remains a critical component for organizations striving for agility and responsiveness in their software development processes.