The rapid evolution of automated testing

In the 13 years that I have been working in IT, much has changed, especially in QA automation. I’ve seen the coming and passing of the original “record and play” automation which literally recorded the keystrokes of a tester to replicate a test situation.

As a C/C++ programmer, my interest in QA has been in the complex problem solving and programming that goes into today’s automated testing. So when Coherent Solutions was preparing to create its own state-of-the-art automated QA service line, I was intrigued.

As part of the initial team that set up the automation center, we faced these challenges:

  •  Understanding where automation had been and where it was going.
  • Forming a cohesive team that would work well together.
  • Uncovering trends and investigating existing tools, approaches and solutions.
  • Formulating data vectors.

I was tasked with developing the QA Automation Center’s goals and processes, which led me to gather information on expertise and potential that already existed within our company, as well as to create our list of needs. And because we did not have a lot of preconceived notions about QA automation, we were able to take a fresh view of how to set this up. Fortunately, we had quite a few good programmers who were interested in broadening their skills with this new endeavor, learning new programming languages and tools, as well as helping to build a service line from the ground up.

Now, two and a half years later, Coherent Solutions is one of the few organizations with a dedicated QA automation team. We are 40 people strong and growing. Clients have learned the value of investing in high quality testing, which ultimately saves them money by reducing errors and redevelopment, and speeding up product development time.

Creating a professional community

Another place where we have been on the forefront is in creating a robust QA Automation community here in Belarus and nearby countries. COMAQA (pronounced komyaka) is a place where professionals can share and learn from each other via conferences and informal meet ups. Working in partnership with leading technical educational centers here, we have developed some high-level expertise within Coherent. In fact, we have designed a number of courses on automated testing for those universities.

The point of COMAQA is to pave the way for new QA engineers. We were not able to tap a lot of expertise in this area when we founded our QA Automation Center in 2013. So we attended conferences in other countries to tap what knowledge was out there, bringing it back home. Now Coherent is a leader of QA automation in Belarus. Our people are asked to speak at conferences and I’m proud to say that we are leading the way to popularizing QA automation as a unique sub-group within the IT development sphere.