Is there a difference between automated tests and test automation?

If so, what are the main goals of the individual tests?


Some linguistic analysis might also help clarify:

Automated Tests - in this case, "Tests" is a noun; the test is a thing. "Automated Tests" are particular types of tests; ones whose execution has been automated via some kind of code so that a person does not have to manual execute the test. You can have 1, 2, 3.... hundreds of automated tests.

Test Automation - this can be a noun as in the subject of "Automation" with "Test" indicating the type of automation. But, it is also refers to an activity; the activity of automating a given test or set of tests. As said previously; "Test Automation" is a broader concept than "Automated Tests".

Hope this helps.


Automated tests are tests that can be run automated, often developed in a programming language. In this case we talk about the individual test cases, either unit-tests, integration/service or end-2-end tests.

Test automation is a broader concept and includes automated tests. From my perspective it should be about the full automation of test cycles from check-in up-to deployment. Also called continuous testing.

  • Continuous integration server picks-up changes in the source code
  • Starts running the unit-tests
  • Deploys (automated) to an integration environment
  • Runs automated integration tests
  • Deploys (automated) to an acceptance environment
  • Runs automated end-2-end tests
  • Deploys (automated or manual) to production

This is a combination of making automated tests by developers or testing engineers and DevOps people automating deployment.

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    I've also heard the term "automation" used to mean using software to help with testing. That might include things like generating fake data or putting the system in a state that makes it easier to perform a manual test. Really, the concept is more important that the specific term. – user246 Dec 9 '15 at 15:31
  • 1
    Good point, using and writing test tools might also be under the test automation umbrella even if not used inside automated release train. – Niels van Reijmersdal Dec 9 '15 at 15:41

To the best of my knowledge testing, in general, can be classified into two, Automated testing and Test Automation. Automated testing is the act of conducting specific tests via automation. Test automation refers to automating the process of tracking and managing the different tests.

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