How to break into a QA Automation Career?

QA automation career

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Looking to get into a QA Automation career? This is one of the best tech jobs to break into without a degree!

The field of QA automation offers exciting career opportunities for individuals passionate about software testing and automation. With the ever-increasing demand for high-quality software and faster release cycles, organizations are seeking skilled professionals who can design and implement effective automation strategies.

A QA automation career path provides a progression from entry-level positions focused on writing automated test scripts to more advanced roles involving architectural design, leadership, and strategic decision-making.

This article explores the diverse opportunities within the QA automation field, highlighting the skills, responsibilities, and growth potential that professionals can expect as they navigate their careers in this dynamic and essential domain of software development and quality assurance.

Let’s get into it!

qa automation career path

What is QA Automation?

QA automation, or automated quality assurance, refers to the use of software tools, scripts, and frameworks to automate various aspects of the software testing process. It involves writing and executing automated test scripts that simulate user interactions, validate software functionality, and identify defects or issues.

QA automation aims to streamline the testing process, improve efficiency, and reduce manual effort by automating repetitive or routine testing tasks. It is particularly useful for regression testing, where previously validated functionality is retested to ensure that new changes or updates have not introduced any unintended side effects.

What is Automation Testing?

Automation testing is a software testing technique that involves using specialized tools and scripts to execute pre-defined test cases and verify the functionality of an application or system. It aims to automate repetitive and manual testing tasks, thereby increasing efficiency, reducing human error, and speeding up the testing process.

In automation testing, test scripts or test cases are created to simulate user interactions with the application or system under test. These scripts are developed using automation testing tools or frameworks that provide a scripting environment or programming interface.

Here’s a look at the test automation process:

The Automation Process

The automation process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Test Script Creation: Test scripts are created using automation tools or frameworks. These scripts define a series of actions, inputs, and expected outputs to be performed on the software under test.
  2. Test Environment Setup: The testing environment is prepared, including the installation and configuration of the necessary software, test data, and any additional dependencies required for the automated tests.
  3. Test Execution: The automated test scripts are executed using the chosen automation tool. The tool simulates user interactions, validates expected outcomes, and compares them against the actual results.
  4. Defect Reporting: Any discrepancies or failures identified during the automated test execution are reported as defects or issues. These reports typically include detailed information, such as the steps to reproduce the issue, screenshots, or log files for further analysis.
  5. Test Maintenance and Enhancement: As the software evolves, automated test scripts need to be maintained and updated to reflect the changes in functionality or user interface. New test cases can also be added to enhance the test coverage.

Some commonly used tools and frameworks for QA automation include Selenium, Appium, Cypress, TestComplete, and JUnit. These tools provide features for recording and playback of user actions, assertions for verifying expected outcomes, and integration with other development and test management tools.

QA automation offers several benefits, including increased test coverage, faster execution, repeatability, improved accuracy, and the ability to run tests in parallel or across different environments. It complements manual testing efforts, allowing testers to focus on more exploratory or complex scenarios while automated scripts handle repetitive tasks.

However, it’s important to note that not all testing can be fully automated, especially when it comes to user experience, visual validation, or certain types of testing that require human judgment.

Therefore, a well-rounded testing strategy often combines both manual and automated testing approaches to achieve comprehensive test coverage and ensure high-quality software releases.

QA Automation career path and career growth trajectory

The career path for QA automation professionals can vary based on individual interests, skills, and opportunities within an organization. Here is a common progression that many QA automation specialists follow:

QA Automation Engineer/Tester

This is a test engineer or automation engenner job. It is the entry-level position for QA automation professionals. They primarily focus on writing and executing automated test scripts, maintaining test frameworks, and collaborating with manual testers and developers to ensure effective testing of software applications.

Senior QA Automation Engineer

As professionals gain experience and expertise in QA automation, they can progress to senior roles. Senior QA automation engineers often take on more complex projects, provide technical leadership, and mentor junior team members. They may be responsible for designing and implementing advanced automation frameworks, optimizing test processes, and resolving technical challenges.

QA Automation Lead/Manager

With additional experience and leadership skills, QA automation engineers can move into management roles. QA automation leads or managers oversee the entire QA automation process, including resource allocation, project planning, and coordination with other teams. They may also participate in strategic decision-making, budgeting, and establishing best practices for QA automation within an organization.

QA Automation Architect

As professionals advance in their careers, they may choose to specialize as QA automation architects. These individuals focus on designing and implementing robust automation architectures, frameworks, and strategies. They provide technical guidance and solutions, evaluate new tools and technologies, and ensure scalability, maintainability, and efficiency in automation efforts.

Quality Assurance Manager/Director

Some QA automation professionals may transition into broader quality assurance management roles. These positions involve overseeing the entire quality assurance function within an organization, including both manual and automated testing. Responsibilities may include managing teams, defining QA strategies, establishing quality standards, and driving continuous improvement initiatives.

Quality Assurance Consultant/Trainer

Experienced QA automation professionals with strong expertise and industry knowledge may choose to become consultants or trainers. They provide consulting services to organizations, helping them optimize their QA processes, implement automation frameworks, and improve overall testing efficiency.

They may also deliver training sessions or workshops to share their expertise with others in the field.

The career path for QA automation professionals can be flexible, and there may be variations based on individual goals and opportunities.

Continuous learning, staying updated with industry trends, and acquiring additional certifications in automation tools or frameworks can help professionals progress in their careers and explore new avenues within the field of QA automation.

Who is QA Automation for?

QA automation is primarily for organizations and individuals involved in software development and testing. Here are the key stakeholders who benefit from QA automation:

  1. Software Development Companies: QA automation is beneficial for software development companies of all sizes. It helps ensure the quality and reliability of their software products while improving efficiency and reducing time-to-market. By implementing automation, development companies can enhance their testing processes, increase test coverage, and detect defects early in the development lifecycle.
  2. Quality Assurance (QA) Teams: QA automation is particularly relevant for QA teams responsible for testing software applications. It enables them to automate repetitive and time-consuming test cases, allowing testers to focus on more complex scenarios and exploratory testing. Automation enhances the accuracy and reliability of test execution, speeds up testing cycles, and enables quick regression testing when new changes are introduced.
  3. QA Engineers and Testers: QA automation is for professionals working in the field of quality assurance and software testing. It offers an opportunity to enhance their skills in: automation tools, scripting languages, and frameworks. QA engineers and testers can leverage automation to streamline their testing efforts, improve productivity, and gain a competitive edge in the job market.
  4. Software Developers: QA automation also benefits software developers who collaborate closely with QA teams. By incorporating automation into their development process, developers can detect and fix issues early on, ensuring that their code integrates smoothly with the rest of the system. Automation helps developers deliver higher-quality code, reduces rework, and improves the overall development workflow.
  5. Product Owners and Business Stakeholders: QA automation is valuable for product owners and business stakeholders who have a vested interest in delivering high-quality software products. Automation ensures that the software meets user requirements, functions as expected, and provides a positive user experience. It instills confidence in the product’s reliability and can lead to increased customer satisfaction and business success.

Where to find QA Automation Engineer jobs?

To find QA Automation Engineer jobs, you can explore various resources and platforms that specialize in job listings for software testing and quality assurance roles. Here are some popular options:

1. Online Job Portals

Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Monster have extensive job listings across different industries, including software testing and quality assurance. This is where you can find a software engineer or test automation engineer job.  You can search for “QA Automation Engineer” or related keywords, specify your location or preferred remote work, and browse through the available job openings.

2. Company Career Pages

Many companies, especially technology companies or those involved in software development, have dedicated career pages on their websites. Visit the career pages of companies you are interested in and look for job listings related to QA Automation Engineer positions. You can also consider reaching out directly to companies that align with your interests and inquire about potential job opportunities.

3. Software Testing and QA Job Boards

Websites specifically focused on software testing and quality assurance roles can be valuable resources for finding QA Automation Engineer jobs. Examples include:

QA Jobs (www.qajobs.com)

TechFetch (www.techfetch.com)

QAonAir (www.qaonair.com)

QAforums (www.qaforums.com)

Software Testing Help (www.softwaretestinghelp.com/jobs)

4. Professional Networking Platforms

Utilize professional networking platforms like LinkedIn to connect with industry professionals, join relevant groups, and follow companies in the software testing and QA domain. Networking can often lead to job opportunities or provide insights into companies that are hiring QA Automation Engineers.

5. Local Job Fairs and Meetups

Attend local job fairs, industry conferences, and meetups related to software testing and quality assurance. These events provide opportunities to network with professionals and interact directly with recruiters from companies that may be hiring for QA Automation Engineer roles.

6. Recruitment Agencies and Staffing Firms

Consider partnering with recruitment agencies or staffing firms that specialize in the technology sector. They often have connections with companies seeking QA professionals, including QA Automation Engineers, and can help match your skills and experience with suitable job opportunities.

Remember to tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your experience and skills in QA automation. It’s also helpful to keep your online profiles, such as LinkedIn, up to date and showcase your expertise in automation testing. Additionally, consider networking and connecting with professionals in the field to expand your job search reach.

What terms to include on your Test Automation resume?

Include terms like test plans, api, javascript, api, and java.

When creating a Test Automation resume, it’s important to highlight relevant skills, experience, and achievements that demonstrate your expertise in automation testing. Here are some key terms and sections to include on your Test Automation resume:

  • Professional Summary/Objective: Provide a concise overview of your experience and goals as a Test Automation Engineer. Highlight your proficiency in automation testing and mention any specific areas of expertise or industry experience.
  • Technical Skills: Create a dedicated section to list your technical skills relevant to Test Automation. Include programming languages, testing frameworks, automation tools, and any other relevant technologies you are proficient in. Examples may include Selenium, Appium, JUnit, TestNG, Cucumber, Jenkins, Git, or scripting languages like Python or Java.
  • Experience: Detail your work experience in reverse chronological order, highlighting your roles and responsibilities related to Test Automation. Include the specific projects or systems you have automated, the testing methodologies and frameworks used, and any notable achievements or improvements resulting from your automation efforts.
  • Test Automation Frameworks: Highlight your experience with different test automation frameworks you have worked with. Mention the frameworks you have used, such as keyword-driven, data-driven, or behavior-driven frameworks, and provide examples of how you implemented them in your projects.
  • Test Automation Tools: Mention the automation tools you have utilized in your projects. Include popular tools like Selenium WebDriver, JUnit, TestNG, Appium, or any other tools that are relevant to your experience. Highlight your proficiency in configuring and using these tools to develop and execute automated test scripts.
  • Continuous Integration/Deployment: Emphasize your experience with integrating test automation into continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. Mention the tools or platforms you have used for CI/CD, such as Jenkins, GitLab, or TeamCity, and describe how you automated the testing process within these pipelines.
  • Agile/Scrum Methodologies: Highlight your experience working in Agile or Scrum environments. Mention your participation in daily stand-ups, sprint planning, backlog grooming, and collaboration with development teams. Highlight your ability to adapt test automation to fit Agile development cycles and deliver high-quality software within short iterations.
  • Certifications: If you have obtained any relevant certifications, such as ISTQB Foundation Level – Agile Tester Extension or Selenium WebDriver certification, include them in a separate section to demonstrate your commitment to professional development.
  • Education: Include your educational background, such as degrees, diplomas, or relevant coursework. If you have taken any additional training or workshops related to Test Automation, mention those as well.
  • Achievements and Projects: Highlight any notable achievements, such as successful automation of complex scenarios, significant time or cost savings, or improvements in testing efficiency. Mention specific projects where your Test Automation efforts made a significant impact.

Remember to tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for by emphasizing the skills and experiences most relevant to the position. Use concise bullet points and quantify your achievements wherever possible to provide concrete evidence of your capabilities.

Is QA Automation a good career?

Yes, QA Automation is a good career. From excellent work-life balance to career advancement opportunities, a six-figure salary and remote work options and other perks, this is a tech role you’ll be happy in.

This is not an entry-level tech role. You’ll have to have some Manual QA experience under your belt before you work in this field. If you do, and you’re looking to transition into QA Automation, I recommend the career training program, Careerist.

Careerist homepage

In a fraction of the time it would take to get a 4-year college degree, you can learn QA Automation and be on your way to learning these skills and landing a QA Automation job.

Read our Careerist review which breaks down how this training program works including the curriculum, length of the program, and a lot more.

What excites you about pursuing a career in QA Automation?

 

 

Jenn Leach, MBA

Jenn Leach is a Houston-based MBA with over a decade of experience in the banking industry. She writes at Millennial Nextdoor where she writes finance, money, business, and lifestyle content to help millennials create additional income streams online. Join her on Substack at https://jennleach.substack.com.

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