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Is There Value In Writing Automated Tests?

Testing is an essential issue for dev teams. Most teams agree that tests are good, but many teams still don’t do them for a myriad of reasons. But when it comes down to it, what is important is, are automated tests worth the time they take to make?

In my experience working with different teams who both do and don’t write automated tests, it pays off very quickly to invest in automated tests. There are many reasons, but the biggest are that writing tests reduces bugs, creates better thought out code, and makes the code safer and faster to modify when business needs change.

Reduces Bugs

One of the most widely known reasons for writing automated tests is that it reduces bugs. It does this by forcing the developer to think about and write tests for the possibility of failures and edge cases. The fact that developers are consciously thinking of all the edge cases and actively testing them will significantly reduce the amount of annoying hard-to-find bugs that plague lots of software!

Creates Better Code

One reason automated tests add lots of value is because writing them improves code quality! The way it does this is by the developer to interact with the code in the process of writing tests, which can help highlight the flaws of the interfaces or code.

Another side effect is knowing the code needs to be tested can also make the team think more thoughtfully about the code interfaces and levels of abstraction. This planning and thinking through the structure of the code can really have a positive impact on your codebase. This all can be done without automated tests but they provide a good incentive to make writing the tests easier.

Change Business Logic Safer and Faster

The final and arguably most crucial reason to write automated tests is that it allows for business logic changes to be made quickly and safely. Changing tested code is substantially easier to alter because you instantly know if your changes break anything. This is huge because business needs change regularly and to be able to quickly make changes without fear of breaking the code.

It should be clear now that automated tests are essential for writing quality software that is flexible and able to adapt to changing business needs. Spending a bit extra time upfront writing automated tests will increase the chances of a successful project. It also gives your team the peace of mind that their codebase is clean, well tested, and easy to modify confidently when changes are required.

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