Automation in the field of software quality testing will not result in immediate, large-scale job losses as different technologies will coexist, and there is an uptick in upskilling.
These are the observations of an IIIT-H research paper Tool Smiths in Off-Shored Work: Socio-Technical Systems of Quality Testing in India .
In an attempt to understand the impact of automation, the authors, over a period of four months, interviewed dozens of quality testers, and studied their work culture in the cities of Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. The respondents not only included quality testers, but also those who went to upskill themselves at various institutes, and their instructors. The authors also took into consideration the literature which quality testers authored in several blogs. According to Prof Nimmi Rangaswamy, from IIIT-H’s Social and Human Applications for AI Group, and a co-author of the paper, quality testers have come to terms with the fact that automation will play an important role in processes. However, she points out that the critical thinking faculties of quality testers will continue to remain important.
“When the product become more complex, then testing too will become complex. You have to come up with scenarios. You will need more imagination to create scenarios. How will you automate these things? Human imagination becomes central here,” she says. While testers have come to terms with the fact that automation will bring about a massive change, they are also creating value for themselves, she adds.
The research paper seeks to highlight that the IT industry in India is not a monolith which is being transformed by automation, she opines.
“There is no uniform AI-driven technologies cutting across the industry. There will definitely be a change in the quality of jobs which is needed. But this does not mean that there will be a job loss. There will be job gains as well. There will be more complex testing which will come into the picture,” Prof. Rangaswamy says.