by Richard Bradshaw, Ministry of Testing

Test Automation, a term everyone in testing probably hears on a regular basis, but what is it? If we listen to consultancies and tool vendors, it’s the holy grail. If we listen to some gurus in the testing space it’s the current and future of testing. Others are more conservative. However, I commonly hear people say Test Automation when they actually mean Automated Testing, to be frank, they’ve become synonyms.

This confuses me. As a skilled tester I use automation and tools all the time, some I create, some I download, but automated tests they are not. I’ve built automation to help my team create data, I’ve built low tech dashboards and I’ve built tools to install my mobile app under test on as many devices as I could connect to my computer. I’ve written tiny little scripts they saved me hours on a weekly basis. All these tools provided a lot of value. I’m also built numerous architectures to do automated checking, which just like my tools provided a lot of value. My focus on all these occasions was my testing mission.

So, what is Test Automation? How can we succeed with it? What skills do we need to succeed with it? Questions I’ve been pondering for the last four years, and I think I finally have some answers. Not just answers though, I also have lots of actionable advice for you to take back to work. This advice will be woven between real examples like those listed above, exploring why I created them, the skills needed and how they helped me with my testing mission.

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Speakers’ bio

Richard Bradshaw is an experienced tester, consultant, trainer and generally a friendly guy. He shares his passion for testing through consulting, training and giving presentations on a variety of topics relating to testing. With over 12 years testing experience, he has a lot of insights in the world of testing and software development.

Richard is currently the BossBoss at the Ministry of Testing, co-creator of the Automation in Testing (AiT) namespace, blogs at and Tweeting over at @FriendlyTester and also the creator of the YouTube channel Whiteboard Testing.