First Steps to Becoming an Automation Engineer

The Journey of a Manual Tester to Being an Automation Engineer

Being a manual tester for 12 years taught me that we always must work faster and smarter, for example, one way to test faster is by automating regression tests, so we can save time when the developer team makes a release, and we must ensure the environment is ready to be tested.

After many years of being a manual tester and taking long hours working day and night doing repetitive actions and testing the same modules many times , I decided to start my automation journey. With this blog, I may be able to help others by sharing key parts of my transformation journey to being an Automation Engineer. 
Generally, as manual Quality assurance (QA), we may not have a programming  background. So, the very first step could be learning one programming language and selecting an automation framework. Another important step is finding motivation, since without it, the journey may be harder. Finally, regular practice is critical to cementing knowledge. 

In my experience, I found the following to be extremely helpful.

Motivation

By this point in your career, you may have realized that to progress, you need to keep moving forward. Sometimes fear holds you back and prevents you from taking that next step. Although, here are some tips that can assist you: take time to review your progress and goals. Once you have accomplished some goals, it is ideal to set new ones. Find a mentor with experience in the topics you want to study, and always maintain a positive attitude.

Programming

Firstly, it is important to research the most commonly used programming languages or those currently in demand. This way, you can focus on learning languages that will be valuable throughout your journey. Some advice suggests starting with Java or JavaScript as they are commonly used, but Python has also gained significant attention recently.

Once you have chosen a programming language, selecting an automation tool becomes one of the most crucial decisions. For example, if you decide to learn Java, Selenium is a widely used tool to begin with. There is a plethora of documentation and online courses available to help you get started and practice.

Practice

Now that you have selected a language and an automation tool, it's time to practice! However, don't limit yourself to the exercises provided in the courses. The best way to learn and retain knowledge is through practice and creating your exercises. Try to create exercises on your own, using different data, URLs, and various types of validation. If your exercises don't cover different validations, it's an opportunity to learn even more by conducting independent research on automation processes and their tools.

Use the Internet for Help

One common misconception when starting the automation journey is thinking that you need to know everything. However, this is not the case. You don't have to be a programming expert or try to memorize all the documentation. The purpose of documentation is to be used as a resource and consulted whenever needed.

Everyone has access to the Internet for help and support, and you can also seek assistance from your co-workers. It is quite common for developers to share code on various platforms. So, if you don't have an answer right away, it's perfectly fine. You can search for it, and you will likely find something that can assist you. Practice will also aid in learning how to apply different solutions you come across.

Key Takeaways

  • Being motivated is very difficult but having very clear goals will always help to overcome fear.
  • My transformation to being an Automation Engineer has been a very useful and complete experience and helped me gain significant knowledge.
  • Starting new activities like programming is always hard, but the new skills can be extremely useful in your professional life.
  • Pushing our boundaries is an excellent motivator.
  • Practice makes perfect. 

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