Automation testers struggle with manual testing

Hi, I have seen quite a few automation testers to struggle when they had to do manual testing. Whereas not the other way round (manual tester learns how to code). It has been a big surprise for me. Does someone have any insight into this? I thought that both types of testers are using similar mindset when planning and creating tests. Or not? Thanks a lot for your opinions and experience.

Great question!
I have similar views to what has been said already.

It’s hard to do both well, but not impossible. All depends on the person.

For me, a tester has a host of skills, which may include automation. I’ve worked with people who are great automaters and testers. And also many more who struggle to do both well.

From what I’ve seen it can be difficult to learn automation as a tester. I’ve created automation training in a previous role. To help “manual testers” learn automation. There’s so much to understand even before people can write a test, which is a barrier. For example, coding basics, version control, automated test design, maybe even docker.

Ultimately it all depends on the person. If the person wants to get better, they’ll seek out new idea and information. Hopefully with support from colleagues or the community.

I definitely agree with your observations. Personally, I think that automation testers should be regarded as developers (but they need testing experience to make the right decisions).

A manual tester would need a testers mindset and skillset.
A test automation developer would need a testers mindset but a developers skillset

A developer without testing experience (or the testing mindset) would struggle to make the right decisions regarding automation, but would not have any issues actually creating the tests. Unfortunately, without help from testing, the tests they do develop may not be very useful.

A tester without development skills would know which tests to develop, but may struggle with actually developing them. Without help from development, the tests would not exist to begin with.

I am a manual tester who moved to automation, so would definitely agree with the statement that a manual tester could develop automated tests. However, I don’t think a tester could go straight from manual testing to automation development without having the relevant skills and experience in the first place. For me, the transition from manual tester to automation developer was seamless because I’d spent years in jobs where I did both.

A manual tester could easily run tests and investigate failures. They could also carry out basic updates and maintenance of existing tests (in fact, this is a great way for testers to being to develop those essential development skills).

However, creating new tests or setting up an entire automation framework is a lot more advanced. These skills require more time to develop and most manual testers I know would struggle with this part of test automation development unless they already had the skills.