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How does automation help, really?
A little background about me. I've been in a QA position with the same company for over 10 years. The position was essentially started for me (typically, the company hired low-skilled temps on a as needed basis). My years with the company have given me vast product knowledge, the ability to provide next-level customer service, web development experience, and leadership/project management experience.
99% of our testing is manually performed with almost no automation at all. The exception to that has been some basic scripting that our developers have built into some of our applications (essentially repeating the same sequence of events to reproduce difficult-to-find bugs), and limited automation I've written myself for a web application we develop.
Our product library includes:
1. Arcade style games running on proprietary hardware
2. Arcade style games running PC Hardware/Linux
3. A custom web application (built from the ground up, no specific framework) to support the games we manufacture
What I'm wondering - what can I expect of automation tools out there? What kinds of QA tasks can be automated? What are we missing by taking the manual test approach? I have no doubt that we could built custom tools ourselves, but what benefit can some of the existing tools provide? I've looked around, and honestly I don't have a clear picture.
Thank you in advance!