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Upskill to be a Test Automation Engineer


Author Gayatri, SDET Coach

2022-04-20 | 7 Minutes

Accelerated adoption of Test Automation

As companies across the world adopt Agile for application development, they are moving away from manual testing to automated testing. ‘The Great Resignation’ has further accelerated the need for automating software testing. Test Automation Engineers, who develop programs and write automation scripts to automate test case execution using test tools such as Selenium, Cypress, Postman, etc., are in demand across industries. This article provides insights into 'Test Automation Engineer' as a career and how to become one.

What do Test Automation Engineers Do?

Automation test engineers are responsible for creating test automation strategy, developing test scripts, executing automated tests, and analyzing the results to identify any issues with new and existing software. 

Automation Strategy - Automation engineers understand the requirements and create test cases for automation, or review the test cases written by the others and select test cases for automation. They analyze the execution steps, test data requirements, and plan test execution reports for the test scripts to be developed.

Test Scripts Development - Automation engineers using their knowledge of programing and test automation tools to create test scripts for identified test cases. They then test the script and debug the script (if required) to make it stable .

Test Execution and Reporting – Automation engineers schedule or execute the test scripts, review results of test execution, and circulate the results to the development team and development managers. If defects are identified in the software, they work with the development team to fix the issue and retest the same. Sometimes the test scripts fail during execution, in such cases the automation engineers analyze the reason for test run failures and fix the test scripts (if any problems are found). 

Skills needed to succeed as Test Automation Engineer

Programming languages - In general, QA jobs do not require coding skills. However, for automation testers, knowledge of coding basics that includes program design and data structures are key to design automation frameworks, and write and execute automated tests. Automation engineers don’t need to know every programing language, but should know at least one language supported by the automation tool to script tests. As an example, a popular test automation tool Selenium comes with a test domain specific language (Selenese), but most automation engineers use one of the common programming languages such as Java, C#, Ruby, Python to script tests using Selenium. Though employers prefer automation testers with knowledge of the coding language their organization uses for its projects, they primarily look for developer like traits in the automation tester, and expect them to know at least one of these programming languages. 

Automation testing tools - Most organizations expect the automation engineer to know the tool the organization has adopted. Some popular tools include Selenium, HP UFT (QTP), Appium, Apache JMeter, Postman and REST-Assured. API testing has become an integral part of test automation. Along with web / UI automation tools, knowledge of open-source API testing tools such as Postman and Rest-assured helps accelerate test automation career. 

Manual testing experience - Automation of all test cases may not be feasible, and in some scenarios manual testing is better and even faster. As an example, automation testing is not suitable for testing user-friendliness and customer UX, and manual testing is more effective. Software testers with manual testing experience possess the knowledge of test case creation, test execution, defect reporting and defect tracking tools. Automation engineers with experience in manual testing can adapt to the needs of the project, deliver better and faster outcomes, and therefore excel in their role as automation engineers.

Agile & DevOps- With the objective of developing a better code in a shorter time, companies are adopting ‘Agile’ and ‘DevOps’. Continuous Integration and Continuous Testing are becoming more of a reality today. Therefore, knowledge of Agile and DevOps concepts are important for automation testers.

Soft skills – Soft skills are key to most IT jobs today. Key soft skills that an automation engineer needs include critical thinking skills, analytical skills, domain knowledge, communication skills and interpersonal to collaboratively work in teams.          

Becoming a Test Automation Engineer

Whether one wants to be a manual tester or test automation engineer, knowledge of software development methodologies such as Agile and Scrum, the testing life cycle, and basics concepts of testing are essential, therefore a good place to start. Software test automation engineers will need basic knowledge of programming languages to understand the software application being tested and to use the test automation tools. Learn one of the common programming languages, such as Java, C#, Ruby, Python etc. Companies use test automation tools to automate testing, so software test automation engineers need to learn one or more software automation tools to develop scripts. Selenium, Postman and REST-Assured are few popular open-source automation tools. 

 Becoming certified helps automation testers accelerate their career and become visible to recruiters and employers.  There are ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualification Board) certifications based on different experience levels. You can also get certified and become a Certified Test Automation Engineer, earning the title of CTAE™ from the Skill Certification Board to launch your career.


With relatively low entry barriers, long-term growth potential, and an average salary of $70,300  ($60,000 – $110,000 range), a career as a Test Automation Engineer is attractive for those looking to enter the exciting world of software development. One can quickly acquire the skills needed through online courses, earn experience as an intern getting hands-on training or freelancing, and launch their career in the software industry.

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