In the ever-changing world of technology, companies are always on the lookout to speed up processes while not compromising on the quality aspect that their customers expect. Automation comes to the rescue of tech professionals and other industries where certain processes are automated to make the overall system more efficient.
However, the idea of automation scares many people, as automation itself means fewer people will be required to do certain tasks. But automation can be a boon if we can maintain a balance between man and machines.
In the tech world, artificial intelligence and automation are assisting human developers at every step of the software development life cycle (SDLC)—from project planning to estimation to quality assurance and testing. Automation continues to leverage the tech industry.
What can be automated in Software Development?
Today the role of a software developer looks quite different than what it was before 10 years and it is going to look different again 10 years down the line. However, one thing is certain—automation cannot replace real human developers anytime soon. Instead, automation and artificial intelligence is playing a big role in addressing various challenges faced during the software development life cycle.
Modern software development processes use distributed version control software along with a build process run on deployment. This is a perfect example of where automation can fit in to expedite the processes while also containerizing them. Developers can obtain the latest version of a software product simply by accessing the version control software and running the build script. The same process can help with deployment to production environments as well with minimal human interaction which prevents common human errors and speeds up things.
Most of the time modern software developers use many third-party libraries, APIs, frameworks, microservices, etc to build their product and function. These things often make deployment challenging—here is where automation can help build a standardized environment.
Another good area where automation can help is in the testing step of the development process. Tests help to maintain software integrity and user experience. Testing is a rather tedious and repetitive process for humans and can lead to burnout and errors over time. Automation helps run tests that quickly minimize time-to-market and increase chances of catching defects fast.
Areas to implement automation in the future:
Automated quality assessment – QA testing or Quality assurance testing is a time-consuming manual process with significant room for error. With automation, developers can quickly and accurately test their code. This improves the overall development process, allows to quickly fix the bugs, and shortens the development life cycle.
Automated code quality review and optimization – AI and automation will go hand in hand for developers to optimize their coding procedures during development and produce overall better codes. AI-powered software automation also incorporates “autocomplete” practices into the development process which boosts speed and accuracy.
Code generation - Automation can be used to generate test codes. Simple code generation involves simple logic but requires a significant amount of data to run tests. Automation allows developers to automatically generate test codes via different field inputs that run tests quickly and in a more comprehensive way.
Test avatars – Machines become "digital twins" of human testers by applying triggers in requirements and specifications posed by environments. A digital twin facilitates test-first concepts and takes advantage of version control systems for designing quality codebases.
Future for Automation in Development
In the future, developers will continue to leverage automation when there are defined repetitive tasks. Repetitive tasks often lead to burnout for humans. Through automation, developers can focus on more product and project-focused ideas to improve their job profiles.
Speaking about automation, we should remember that it cannot steal jobs and replace humans. Automation helps individuals handle complex repetitive jobs that require more time and effort than they are worth in terms of workable hours.
Humans still have to be involved in the development process to ensure the correctness of the work completed by the automated tools and help create the use cases of said tools. Developers may transition to more supervisory and project management roles but they will always have to tell the automated systems what to do.
Thus, developers should embrace the idea of incorporating automation into their jobs to make lives easier for them—the reason why they got into their careers in the first place instead of doing repetitive work.