Starting a Career in QA Automation

Tips from a Seasoned QA Automation Engineer

Alexandru

Alexandru

Software Development Engineer in Test at Softvision
Alex is a Software Development Engineer in Test with 3 years of experience in this field, and over 5 years in IT industry. He started as a Game Tester, then moved to QA Software Engineer and finally to QA Automation Engineer/Software Development Engineer in Test. He's interested in the latest automation frameworks and new technologies which help and make the life easier. His main goals are to improve the custom automation framework with more and more new features and to increase the automation coverage. Alex's professionally hobbies are to improve his technical skills and to mentor other people in this field, and his personal hobbies are sports, fishing and driving.
Alexandru

So, you just finished your university studies or you’re working in other areas of Software Development and want to start or change your career direction as a Software QA Automation Engineer.

Before starting this you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do I want a career in Software QA Automation?
  • Does this career fit my expectations/goals?
  • What programming languages can I use to write code?
  • What about the automation frameworks?
  • What are the most used technologies?
  • What areas could be automated?
  • Do I like web, mobile or backend?
  • Is it possible to automate everything?
  • How do I get started?

First of all, you should know the following: this is the most amazing job! So, if you have the possibility to start a career as a QA Automation Engineer do not hesitate. Programming is like art, and you are the artist. This means there is no limit on what you can do using your imagination.

Let’s get back to the above questions. Take some time to answer them, and then come back to read the rest of the article.

Why do I want a career in Software QA Automation?

As I said before, this is the most amazing job.  But this question has an infinite number of answers, so you should have in mind that your answer is the best. You don’t have to compare yourself with others, because this is you and this is your goal – to become a QA Automation Engineer.

Does this career fit my expectations/goals?

You should know your goals before embarking on this journey. You should know you have to work hard and keep up-to-date with the technologies and trends to be better each and every day. If you want to both code and test a software application, this is the expectation from such a position. Are there challenges? Oh yeah! Every day you are facing new challenges and every day you are developing new skills in this area. One thing’s for certain, you won’t be bored that you have to do same stuff.

What programming languages can I use to write code?

Every programming language can be used to write automated tests. Depending on the project you land you will have to use a specific programming language. The most used programming languages in the Automation Testing world are Java, Python, and C#. If there is a desire to learn more and more, you don’t have to worry if you are not familiar with these programming languages. It’s ok, because this is your starting point. Nobody is born with this knowledge. You must keep this in mind. My subjective opinion: Java. Why? Because it is cross-platform and there are a lot (and by a lot I mean A LOT) of online sources, documentation and engineers available to help you to face complex challenges.

What about the automation frameworks?

There are many automation frameworks in different programming languages. Let’s see some of the automation frameworks by categories:

  • Web UI – Selenium, Cucumber, RobotFramework(Selenium based), etc.
  • Mobile – Appium(Selenium based), Calabash, Robotium, etc.
  • APIs – RestAssured, jMeter, Fiddler, etc.
  • Desktop – AutoIT, Winium (Selenium based)

You should focus on one area in the beginning. Once you gain more experience you could also start to improve your technical skills in other areas. A good QA Automation Engineer should be able to give good expertise in different areas. I’m recommending to start with Selenium WebDriver. This is one of the most used automation frameworks and you have a lot of online documentation. In my opinion, it is also the easiest to learn and understand.

What areas could be automated?

In the above section, I gave some examples of the automation frameworks grouped by their area. You could automate Web Applications, Mobile Applications, Desktop Applications, APIs, DBs and the list could continue. You should keep in mind that in the Software Development world there are many areas and services which are developed every day. Those services should be automated. And that’s where you come in: the Automation Engineer.

Is possible to automate everything?

Maybe this is the greatest question of our days. Some engineers say yes, some say no, but the truth is there are a lot of scenarios which could not be automated. Keep this question in your mind and try to answer it everytime you are facing a difficult task. It motivates you to answer “yes” and you will find a way to complete that task.

How do I get started?

Starting something new can be difficult. When you started to learn how to ride a bike, you probably fell multiple times, but you got back up and continued to improve so that finally you were able to ride the bike without falling. There is no success without falling. And there is no direct way without curves to success. Don’t be afraid to start something new. Start with small steps. Read tutorials, watch videos, practice every day. Learn as much as you can about new technologies and approaches and keep up-to-date. The starting point is the most important. You must have a good start to have a bright future. Be strong! Be confident! Nobody and nothing can stop you from transforming your dreams into reality. Don’t forget that.

Next steps…

Improve yourself! Do not hesitate to take on the hardest challenges, because those challenges are what define you as a great QA Automation Engineer. I hope this article answers your questions about what it means to be a QA Automation Engineer, what our day-to-day responsibilities are, what challenges you may face and how to face them.

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Alexandru

Alexandru

Software Development Engineer in Test at Softvision
Alex is a Software Development Engineer in Test with 3 years of experience in this field, and over 5 years in IT industry. He started as a Game Tester, then moved to QA Software Engineer and finally to QA Automation Engineer/Software Development Engineer in Test. He's interested in the latest automation frameworks and new technologies which help and make the life easier. His main goals are to improve the custom automation framework with more and more new features and to increase the automation coverage. Alex's professionally hobbies are to improve his technical skills and to mentor other people in this field, and his personal hobbies are sports, fishing and driving.
Alexandru
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