Testers tend to think very quickly that if they use some tool or some script then quickly are doing test automation. The term “test automation” is actually a fuzzy one but it appears to be defined like this “Test automation is the use of software to control the execution of tests, the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes, the setting up of test preconditions, and other test control and test reporting functions” (Wikipedia).
I will not go in this post why there is the approach to split testers in only two categories defined as manual testers and automation engineers, which are both wrong and this type of simplifications give testing a bad name.
If I use a tool, a scripting language to automate the install process or the configure process its not test automation! Its just a process to help me reduce the time spend and I could do zero tests in meantime. I wouldn’t consider that test automation, but I would include it though in my testing process.
Any tool or script that helps me do my job as a tester is welcomed and it should be mainly the tester’s decision for the usage of it. Its should not be called automated or non automated.
Part of the productivity of a tester is his freedom, motivation, respect. That’s why in teams with large number of “testers” motivation is low, respect is low, freedom is low and eventually results are limited. The “wise” managers of this large teams adopt different techniques and have the sensation that are superior and their testers aren’t capable to understand. If they would had been in the lower level of the team model they themselves have created and had to accept the same rules, they will be the same! The advantage and experience will fade under the lack of motivation, low income helping with that. They try to grow competition within teams and give small bonuses that work for a while but eventually go to cause frustration or just not carrying.
Its not good to split activities of a tester in simple views unless of course you are not well intended. Great things are though created from simple items put together in an inspired way, similar to great testing.