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Career Path: How to become a QA Test Automation Engineer

You have chosen your career and now are ready to go down the path of becoming a QA Test Automation Engineer. With the increase of web-based applications, there are companies across the world moving away from manual testing and looking to hire individuals with this skill set. You can find QA Test Automation Engineers in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, finance and others.

Getting Through the Door

While seeking a job as a QA Test Automation Engineer, you will need to learn the basics. Although businesses are moving towards automated testing, it is su...more

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Career Path: How to become a QA Test Automation Engineer

You have chosen your career and now are ready to go down the path of becoming a QA Test Automation Engineer. With the increase of web-based applications, there are companies across the world moving away from manual testing and looking to hire individuals with this skill set. You can find QA Test Automation Engineers in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, finance and others.

Getting Through the Door

While seeking a job as a QA Test Automation Engineer, you will need to learn the basics. Although businesses are moving towards automated testing, it is suggested that discovering the principles around manual testing and the differences between them both is a great place to start. If you are new to the testing field, you will need to have some knowledge of programming languages to understand the software application being tested. You also have to figure out the platform the application was built on, the databases used, the web services (if any) connected to the system and other key elements to get your tasks completed.

Other technical skills that can give you an advantage include proficiency in languages like Python, Java, PHP, C, C++ or Java, as well as experience with APIs and standard data formats like XML and JSON. Some of the other minimum requirements that you will need to qualify as an entry- or junior-level QA engineer include:

  • A good understanding of the automation testing life cycle (ATLC) and QA processes
  • Basic SQL skills along with experience using automated testing tools
  • Experience in database concepts and defect tracking tools
  • Familiarity with Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems
  • Good analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Can architect and design code
  • Able to work in a team environment

Degrees and Experience

Companies usually look for QA test automation engineers to have a degree in computer science, engineering or another related field. You can also learn needed skills through online courses and earn experience as an intern getting hands-on training or freelancing. Employers will look for you to be knowledgeable of software development methodologies such as Agile and Scrum.

Working as a Junior-Level Engineer

As a junior-level engineer, your main responsibilities will be to assist in the development and implementation of automated testing. You will prepare test data and integrate test suites into a continuous integration framework like Jenkins. A junior-level engineer can troubleshoot and debug issues when test failures are observed along with comfortably use automation tools like Selenium WebDriver. You will document and report test statuses, as well as outcomes to senior-level engineers. Creating new and maintaining existing script and code for the test automation framework is also part of the job.

Moving Up the Ranks

You have acquired more experience as a QA test automation engineer and are ready to move up a level in your career. Staying up-to-date on the latest technologies in the field is a great way to acquire the knowledge needed to grow. Expanding your tech skills, as well as becoming certified will help you achieve your goal. There are ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualification Board) certifications based on different experience levels. You can also become a Certified Associate in Software Testing (CAST), a Certified Software Test Engineer (CSTE) and a Certified Professional in Selenium Automation Testing (CP-SAT) among others.

Advance Your Career: How to become a Senior QA Test Automation Engineer

Senior QA Test Automation Engineers have a leadership role. They will take part in the creation and reviews of project test cases. Communication and collaboration with software developers to determine the cause of issues and team managers in order to get everything completed on time is a part of their responsibilities. Senior-level engineers will report and track defects, as well as build test automation frameworks. They can also execute manual test cases that validate the code quality and functionalities.

Study the Core Fields

To be an expert QA test automation engineer, you have to be skilled in your field. This involves being aware of the latest technologies, such as in automation testing tools. Gaining more experience with object-oriented programming and concepts, as well as test-driven development (TDD) is important. Senior QA test automation engineers are able to multitask and take ownership of the tasks at hand. Being adept in risk-based, exploratory and performance testing is a must. You also need to be knowledgeable of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), as well as testing tools like SoapUI and JMeter.

Invest in Yourself

You have proven your expertise in the field as a Senior QA Test Automation Engineer. You can develop automated tests using an automation framework and provide assistance when needed. You are also proficient with REST APIs, JavaScript, Selenium Webdriver, Maven, Jenkins, Git, and other technologies. A good understanding of agile software development, as well as agile methodologies like Scrum will help. To gain an advantage, employers also like to see experience with mobile testing. Having a master's degree in computer science or engineering is preferred although a bachelor's along with five or more years of experience will suffice.

Don't Stop at Test Automation

You can further accelerate your career by getting more adept in coding and the design/architect of systems. Expand your knowledge by taking advantage of educational opportunities while on the job. There are organizations where you can gain valuable insight like the Association for Software Testing (AST) and groups you can join on LinkedIn, Google, Facebook and others to help you along the way. This can further accelerate your goals by helping you keep up with industry trends and building a strong network of skilled individuals that may offer access to potential employers.

QA Test Automation Engineer Job Description

We’ve done the research for you. After evaluating numerous job descriptions, we’ve written our own representative job description for a mid-level computer vision engineer with between two and five years of relevant experience.

As a QA test automation engineer, you will develop and build automated tests using specialized programming languages and tools. You can multitask and work efficiently in a team setting on critical projects to get them done. Our QA test automation engineers are self-motivated and display leadership qualities. We welcome diversity and encourage healthy debate and discussion.

What We Need Your Help With

  • Performing automation testing to web-based applications
  • Maintaining existing automated tests and tools
  • Implementing, designing and coming up with solutions to automate most manual testing preparation
  • Creating, executing and maintaining test automation scripts
  • Ability to write comprehensive test cases and test plans
  • Identify, document and track bugs, as well as do regression testing when resolved
  • Able to work in an agile environment and understand agile methodologies
  • Act as a mentor to team members to help develop needed skills sets

What We Look For

  • 3+ years of automation testing and software development
  • 2+ years of the unit, API, integration and using performance automation testing tools like JMeter, Jest, SoapUI and Nightwatch
  • Experience with black and white box testing
  • Experience with Docker, Jenkins and Terraform
  • Experience with automation platforms like Selenium, TestingWhiz, HP UFT and TestComplete
  • Experience designing and implementing test automation frameworks for both GUI and non-GUI interfaces
  • Experience with programming languages such as Java, Python, Ruby, HTML5, CSS and C#
  • Adept in database management with SQL Server and/or Oracle
  • Strong analytical, organizational, time management, problem-solving and interpersonal skills
  • B.S. degree in computer science, engineering or a related field, or equivalent experience

These Would Also Be Nice

  • Experience with the .NET framework
  • Experience testing SalesForce applications
  • Experience in the management and deployments of Java application servers WAS/Tomcat/TomEE
  • Familiarity with Appium open-source test automation framework
  • Understanding microservice architecture

Senior QA Test Automation Engineer Career Paths: Where To Go From Here

You are quality-minded, have acquired 10 years of experience and are ready to embark on a new challenge. The use of test automation engineers has expanded. Technology is advancing fast with companies blending Agile and DevOps for shorter delivery cycles, as well as moving towards reduced time to market. The rise of IoT (Internet of Things) devices and apps also give concern to security risks, requiring the need for IoT testing.

Senior QA Test Automation Engineers may work as Quality Managers where their responsibilities entail making sure that products meet consumer and client demands, work with other managers to meet quality benchmarks and ensure that quality and safety measures are implemented. There's the position of the QA Director who is tasked with executing a strategy across the QA department and other teams to establish that products are appropriately tested and work as intended. The role of VP of Operations will implement and develop strategies to maximize profits while maintaining quality, as well as provide leadership and create new revenue streams. A senior database administrator can also choose the position of a Chief Operations Officer (COO) and be tasked with overseeing and planning projects along with the daily operations of a company.

The positions listed generally require a bachelor's degree with a master's degree being an employer's preferred choice, such as an MBA in some cases. Managerial and industry certifications along with years of expertise in the field are a must-have on this journey. You will also need to possess not only excellent communication skills but be able to work independently, lead effectively and make important decisions for the company as a whole.

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