Could Robotics Process Automation (RPA) Be the Future of Testing?

According to blogger, Swapnil Bhukan, robotics process automation is indeed the future of software testing. In his blog post, Robotic Process Automation(RPA) evolution and it’s impact on Testing, he predicts that RPA will perform about “50 to 60% of testing tasks” by the year 2025. If you are not familiar with what RPA is, Bhukan also made a blog post describing what it is, how it works, and some of its benefits. Essentially RPA is a way to automate any repetitive task using bots that are taught how to do said tasks. Currently, according to Bhukan, RPA is only used to perform only about 4% of software testing tasks but that is sure to change as RPA technology advances. Today, the main use case for RPA has to deal with pretty basic data entry tasks.

The reason I chose to write about Bhakan’s blog post is because I found it quite interesting; especially since I was able to relate to the growth of RPA through past experience. Over the summer I had the opportunity to work an internship at an insurance company and all the IT interns had the pleasure of getting to sit down and talk with the EVP/Chief Innovation Technology Officer and ask him some questions. I asked him what kinds of new technologies the company was looking to invest in as well as what new technologies he was most excited about. His answer to both of these questions, requiring little time to think, was, hands down, RPA. Companies today are striving harder and harder to automate as many tasks as possible in order to save money.

One of the downsides to RPA, as Bhukan points out, is that it could potentially put many software testers out of a job. Some of the things keeping RPA form taking over the field of software testing at the moment are budgetary issues (RPA software is pretty expensive), companies being reluctant to adopt such new technology, and apprehension due to the possibility of losing customers if the tests aren’t done correctly. However, I believe that software testers may just have to realign their expertise as RPA technology evolves. By this I mean that the software testing professionals/developers should begin to learn how to teach these bots and leverage the bots’ usefulness in completing repetitive tasks; after all, the bots can only be as smart as those that teach them. I think Bhukan shares this view when he says at the end of his blog post, “sooner or later we (Software testing professionals) need to upgrade our skill set to train the Robots.”

 

September 24, 2017

-Caleb Pruitt

 

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