Advice on Self-Learning Test Automation with Selenium WebDriver

Self-Learning web test automation is possible, here are my practical tips

Zhimin Zhan
9 min readFeb 25, 2021

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This is also included in my “How to in Selenium WebDriver” series.

Now and then, I receive requests for advice on learning test automation. The most effective way is to work with a real test automation mentor. For most, that might not be possible (unable to find one or unwilling to pay coaching fees). However, you can self-learn test automation. Here is my advice:

1. Make your mind on the test framework, not the tool

I highly recommend Selenium WebDriver + RSpec. Don’t fall into record/playback testing tools. Though they have been existing for over 20 years, history has proved they were wrong. Still, ‘new’ test automation tools in a form of record-playback come out and die every year.

Selenium WebDriver unquestionably dominates browser testing for a simple reason: Selenium WebDriver is a W3C standard. So you shall use Selenium WebDriver, period.

2. Scripting

Automated tests need to be in a scripting language, such as Ruby. Don’t fall into a fancy demo of testing tools. History tells us that GUI-heavy tools (such as QTP) were no good. Automated tests need to be very flexible, only a scripting programming language can offer that. That’s also why Selenium WebDriver defeated commercial web testing tools from big vendors.

If you don’t know Ruby, even if you are already very comfortable with another programming language such as Java/JavaScript/C#, I would strongly recommend you try Ruby. The actual Ruby/RSpec knowledge required for basic automated test scriptwriting is not much at all.

For more reasons to use Ruby for test automation, check out this article: “Which Selenium WebDriver Language Binding is the Best?

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Zhimin Zhan

Test automation & CT coach, author, speaker and award-winning software developer. Help teams succeed with Agile/DevOps by implementing real Continuous Testing.