Ajoy Kumar Singha
What is manual software testing? Boardly, Manual testing is activities which are executed by human such as gathering requirement, writing test cases based on the requirement and executing those test cases on the build (compiled code).
Whereas, automation software testing involves using a tool for writing and executing test cases/scripts. Computers (tools) are fast, reliable, capable of multi tasking, they do not require coffee breaks. But the point of concern is "tools cannot think." Your automation test cases/scripts are as best as your manual testing test cases. Tools convert manual test cases into executable scripts, nothing else.
On the other hand, a human can think. They have the ability to think on their own and make decisions. They can decide and write test cases on the areas scripts cannot reach. Also all test cases cannot be automated. Tools cannot decide the usability factor of an application.
The best way a tool (Selenium, QTP, Rational Functional Tester, Silk etc) can be used is where there are large number of regression test cases which are required to be executed over and over again, build after build. Also tools (LoadRunner, WebLoad, JMeter) are best used when it comes to performance testing. It can replicate large number of virtual users and generate loads of desired quantity which will be very difficult for human testers to do.
Using automation software testing is very helpful but the simple answer to the question - "Can automation replace manual software testing?" is "No".
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Ajoy Kumar Singha
Let me be very clear. I am not against any Certification program. I just wanted to share few incidents that I came across recently.

I saw an advertisement few days back in some orkut community. Somebody called ‘super boy’ claimed that he can clear any certification exam and he has a good ‘link’ with testing centers. He had given his email with the advertisement. I shared the advertisement link with few of my seniors and mentors in testing community. They too expressed their disappointments about this.

I wanted to know what he is actually doing it. So I sent him a mail asking what all exams he can clear for me and what are the charges involved. Next day he replied with a link to blog. I do not want to give link of his blog here because that way I will popularize his blog and more people will fall for fake certification exam. Anyway I visited his blog and found what process he is adopting to clear the exams.

This is what I got from the FAQ section of his blog –

1. How can you clear a certification exam in 1000 rupees?
A. I have very good relation with the testing centers. I pay a lot of money to them and purchase the exam question papers from them in black and sell the same paper to many people and gain profit. So for 1000 rupees I will give the exam question paper in pdf format.

2. Certification is an online exam, and exam questions are not same for all then how can you sell a single question paper (same paper) to many people?
A. Your exam questions will be selected randomly from the exam server. The question paper includes all the questions that are there on the exam server. So all your exam questions will be selected from my question paper only.

3. Will you also provide the answers for the questions?
A. Yes.

4. What is the guarantee that I will pass the exam? What if I fail the exam?
A. Till now I certified many number of people not even one person failed the exam. 100% exam pass is assured. Since I am giving you the exact question paper with answers the probability to fail the exam is negligible. If you fail the exam send the hard copy of your score card to my address, your money will be refunded. No questions will be asked. I guarantee you pass the exam.
For double security I will give you 2 sets of question papers. You will find 90% of the questions similar in both the sets which give you confidence and double security.

5. You said you already certified many people, what is the proof?
A. I can show the screen a shot of my email conversation, people saying thanks to me.

6. Where do you stay? Can I meet you directly, what is your contact number?
A. I am staying in Bangalore. You can meet me. My mobile number +91-XX601226XX.

7. After the payment, how do I get the question paper and how long it will take?
A. Question paper will be sent in email with in 24 hours, after receiving the payment.

8. For how long the question paper will be valid?
A. I suggest you to write the exam within 2 weeks. Please send me an email 3 days before writing the exam asking for the updates. If there are any new questions added, I will give you the new set of questions. You need not pay anything for this.

9. I am busy with my schedule and I cannot write the exam with in 2 weeks, I want to write the exam after a month or later will you provide the latest one at that time?
A. Yes. You can write the exam at any time. Just contact me 2 weeks before writing the exam I will give the latest ones.

10. Can you write my exam?
A. No.

11. I'm in Canada/US/UK so will I still get the same questions writing it here. Do you have any international people passing the exam?
A. Certification is an online exam and exam questions are same all over the world so you can choose any testing center of your choice (world wide).

12. How can I pay the money? What are the payment modes?
A. You can pay the money in any of the 3 ways.
1. You can transfer the money online or deposit by cash by visiting the bank.
Andhra bank Account number: XX0810XXXX53XXX. Account is in the name of Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx. Bangalore - J P Nagar branch. MICR code: XXXX011XXx, IFSC code: XXXXB0001X0X. Account type: savings. 
Or 2. You can transfer the money to my PayPal account. Please transfer the money to this PayPal account: xxxxxxxxsales@xmail.com. If you are transferring through PayPal please transfer 25 US $ because to receive and with draw the money using PayPal charges applicable.
Or 3. You can transfer the money through western union money transfer. If you wish to transfer through western union please ask me for the details.

Wao! Lots of information and a well planned method of exploiting present certification exam method. He claimed he can clear almost all certification exams that includes Adobe, Apple, Avaya, BEA, Black berry, Cisco (CCNA, CCNP etc...), Citrix, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Lotus, Microsoft (MCDBA, .NET, MCPD etc..), MySQL, Network Appliance, Oracle (OCA, OCP), Redhat RHCE, SAP, SUN (SCJP, SCWCD, Solaris), Sybase, SAS etc.

I contacted him further asking whether he can clear my ISTQB exam. He took two days to reply to my query. He confirmed that he cannot clear the exam as this exam. It is because the ISTQB exam in India was still pen and paper based, not online. ISTQB India has recently started allowing online exams. So I contracted him again. This time I also mention ISEB ISTQB exam (Exam code ISEB BH0-004) which is also online based and the exam commonly taken at Prometric centers. He confirmed again his inability to provide the questions and answers of ISTQB India exam and ISEB ISTQB exam as according to him “these exams are not conducted from dumps (exam server)”. However, he said he can clear other popular Software Testing certification exams such as QTP, LoadRunner exams.

I said I am not against any certification exam. But after the above incident (kind of investigation on certification) I might want to change my opinion about exams which are based on dumps or question banks. ISTQB still passes my investigation. But then ISTQB should also come up with more stringent measure to stop any misuse of its exam facility. Should not the certification exams include some kind of practical examinations too as we did in 10+2 Science Chemistry Salt analysis practical session?

A good cook will know all recipes and he even can recite them at times. But just memorizing recipes does not make anyone a good cook. Certification doesn't convert a bad tester to a good tester. A good tester with certification doesn't automatically become a bad tester either. But it is high time we should improve the examination method that we follow today.

Your thoughts?
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