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AI killed the testing star

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AI is all over the place and it is taking our jobs away. Or at least this seems to be some sort of  conclusion way too many people come to, after being constantly bombarded by either very superficial and bombastic headlines and articles of by overly enthusiastic people. Yet it’s been around for quite some time, and we still have our jobs. Though with each new breakthrough in AI it seems that old fears come back. Just as the song was saying that the video killed the radio star, will AI kill the testing star?

Let’s first address the fear of losing our jobs to AI. Aside from being something absolutely natural for a human being to be afraid of changes, we also have some history of panic attacks in the testing world. This has been happening quite a lot in past 30 years or so – every few years someone comes up and says something in lines of testing is dead, is dying, everything will be automated and similar. Of course, many of these comments were mere clickbait with much deeper and stronger message beneath (which we will explore), however, the industry in general often took the bait and started acting without understanding the nuances of testing at all. This also means that misinterpretation lead to another whole bunch of publications and politics in the line of just dismissing entire idea of testing. Humans being humans, we could say.

Anyhow, let’s dig a bit deeper, shall we?

Software development is a constantly evolving discipline. Every year we have new frameworks, new technological advances, new user and business needs. And the software development side is definitely advancing in its craft. But what about testing? It seems that much of the industry has decided to split software development into two parts: development and testing. So, while development is moving forward, many testers struggle to keep up and feel overwhelmed. The decision to further divide the testing discipline into “manual testing” and “automated testing” did not help at all. In this situation, in fact, many testers fall behind and do not see it possible to advance their craft. On top of that, along comes ChatGPT, an AI-based chatbot prototype that is able to read requirements and design test cases. AI just killed the testing star.

Well, if you find yourself in that position, we have some bad news and good news. The bad news is that, if you do not do anything soon, your opportunities in the labour market will be very limited. But fear not, there is good news too! By embracing change and making smart use of technology and AI, we testers can take our craft to the next level and shine brightly again.

Easy to say, but how to achieve it, many will ask. As always, there is no one-size-fits-all rule, whatever the “10 things to conquer the world” Twitter threads may say. However, the first step will be to understand our current situation, where we are and where we are going. Also, a journey involves change – some changes will be fun, some not so fun and will require us to work hard, but one thing is for sure: no change will happen if we are not open to it. On that basis, it’s time to seek help. Fortunately, today we have communities (such as Ministry of Testing) and many individuals who contribute to the craft in a very open and inclusive way. The resources they share are at our fingertips, it’s a matter of tapping into them and starting to pave our way forward.

If you are just starting out in IT and are considering whether testing is for you, there are many possibilities out there that can help you discover software testing as a career option – one of them being the Software Testing Academy where you can build a good foundation for the next steps in your career.

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