10 May 2021

Have you ever wondered what the career ladder looks like for a software testing automation engineer? Despite the growth in this space, this is a common question. Leaders and aspiring employees alike can find it challenging to determine what steps to follow to create this career path. This article will break down everything you need to know about the career track to get to automation quality assurance.

CAREERS IN TEST AUTOMATION: THE CURRENT LANDSCAPE

While there isn't much data out there about this specific role yet, there are a few points we can look at to understand what's ahead. For example, a Bureau of Labor Statistics report projects that software engineers' employment will grow 22 percent by 2029.

This rapid growth indicates that professional quality assurance engineer jobs will increase as well. More quality assurance engineers, and test automation professionals will have to review the code written by software developers.

If that alone isn't enough, there's even more great news for those who want to enter this space. Compensation data also shows that people working in these roles can also make a great living. According to data from Glassdoor, the average salary for QA software automation engineers and similar job titles is close to six figures per year.

THE SKILLS YOU NEED TO GET STARTED

Once you know about the automation QA landscape, it's time to consider what skills you will need to succeed. What follows is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is essential to have knowledge and skills in these areas before applying for roles in the field.

1. Plan and Execute Tests

Unsurprisingly, it's vital that you're able to execute tests. Test execution includes creating plans on how to perform different kinds of tests. That skill will serve as your foundation as you make your way up the ladder and move towards software automation QA.

2. Automation

Next, you need to understand software testing automation, including the different tools available to you and how to use them. You should also be able to create your automation scripts using open-source tools. Note that tools and strategies evolve. That means this isn't just something you should know about before you jump into these roles. It's something that you must continue to gain knowledge on throughout your career.

3. Agile Software Development

Agile, in some form, is the prevailing software development methodology for project management. We've covered agile many times here on the blog, and it's popularity and growth are consistent. Since this method is considered the best practice for software project management, it's critical that you understand it. There are specific agile testing practices that you should be aware of to stay on the cutting edge of what's happening in the industry.

CREDENTIALS THAT CAN HELP START YOUR CAREER

Take a Software Boot Camp

Coding boot camps can be a great alternative to college for those that don't want to pursue a degree. Instead of spending four years in college, you can spend less than a year learning the practical skills you need to get an entry-level position.

Software Testing Certifications

Earning a certification is another way to stand out from a pool of applicants and gain the skills that you need for the job. These certifications may take around the same time to complete as a coding boot camp or longer, depending on your specific program.

Get a Computer Science Degree

A degree is the most traditional way to get into the field. One study shows that 58.8% of test automation leads have a bachelor's degree, and 38.5% of test automation leads have master's degrees.

THE CAREER PATH YOU CAN EXPECT

Level 1: Entry Positions

In an entry-level position, your primary focus is likely to be executing tests. This time gives you a chance to gain in-depth knowledge about test case management. Be sure to take this time to learn what it means to have a portfolio of tests, how you report on them, how to record your results, and how you keep the entire process organized. Your learning will work to your benefit as you move along on this career track.

Level 2: Moving On Up

You'll move into more professional levels as you gain experience using tools and executing tests. At this level, you'll learn your domain, about your company's software, and testing strategy. Be sure to leverage this. In this stage, you want to be moving toward participating in testing strategy and test case design. Your role will start expanding once you participate in these more strategic goals.

Level 3: Expert Status

Here, you'll start to look beyond testing strategy and test case execution. With this knowledge, you are looking at how initiatives fit into the overall business, increasing efficiency for your team. Test automation will come into play for you at this stage, and you'll be working in the role you have laid out in your career track.

Here's one thing to remember: It's not uncommon for the line that separates development and testing to become blurry. It's essential to embrace this. Being flexible, adapting, and collaborating with others in your organization will ultimately make you a more valuable resource. It will also help you reach your career goals.

FINAL THOUGHTS: THE AUTOMATION QA CAREER TRACK

Quality assurance is an essential part of the software development process. If your goal is to start working in automation QA, taking the steps above and understanding what's happening in the space will help you get there. It's an exciting time to be in software.

Here at Unosquare, we've successfully completed over 2,000 projects. We also have over 600 engineers and more than 120 distributed teams. We know what it takes to meet and exceed project needs. Want to learn more about us? You can go here to check out our blog.

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