How To Make The Career Switch From Manual To Automated Testing

March 10, 2020 Catherine Tacopina

Automation is driving change across many industries, requiring many professionals to upskill in order to remain competitive. As a tech professional, you know you are not an exception to this rule. And while candidates do still drive the market, constant innovation means you need to keep pace with evolving industry trends. For manual testers, this is especially true as automated testing quickly becomes the norm. 

Companies that once relied solely on manual testing are now transitioning to an automated testing process, ” says Jennifer Hatton, Senior Managing Director at ES Technology, a division of The Execu|Search Group. “While there are certain scenarios where manual testing is still appropriate, automated testing can be a more efficient way to identify bugs and other issues within company products and programming.”

As automation testing becomes more wide-spread, you might consider making the switch as well. So, how do you make the leap from being a manual tester to an automation developer? Continue reading to learn more!

Learn a coding language and an automation tool

The growth of automation has led to a shift in the skills required for testing engineers. While your experience provides you with the foundational knowledge you need, you’ll now need to develop proficiency in both a coding language and an automation tool to make this transition. In particular, becoming proficient in Java and Selenium will make you stand out for automated testing roles. “Companies who are looking for automated testers are specifically looking for people who have some sort of background in both Java and Selenium,” says Jennifer. “While getting this type of experience is certainly an investment, it’s one that’s well worth it!” 

Attend seminars

An essential way to start building on coding and software engineering skills is to attend seminars regarding both. At these seminars, you’ll be able to get a broad sense of how these skills are changing the industry and how to build the framework of your foundational knowledge of both.

However, these seminars shouldn’t only be treated as learning opportunities. Instead, you should view any seminar you go to as a networking opportunity as well. The guests at these seminars are likely in a similar spot as you, and they may be able to connect you with an employer later on!

Sign up for classes

Attending classes for coding and software engineering will give you an in-depth look at how you can use these skills in order to transition into automated testing roles. Additionally, it will give you an opportunity to discuss future career options with someone who likely has connections and can point you in the right direction once you do begin to look for a job. “Someone teaching a course on coding and software engineering likely has some type of background and connections in the industry,” says Jennifer. “In this case, you’ll want to build a rapport with them. Not only can they help you land a job, but they could become a valuable professional mentor over the course of your career.”

Obtain certifications

Java and Selenium both have certifications you can pursue, and they’re something you should definitely consider obtaining. Not only will doing so give you a level of expertise in both, but they will also make you stand out to a hiring manager when you do begin applying for jobs. “Obtaining a certification is not only a great way to establish yourself as a subject matter expert, but also demonstrate that you take initiative,” says Jennifer. “In a field that is constantly evolving, making the effort to learn a new skill is something that can set you apart in the hiring process. Employers want to know that their employees can help them adapt to the latest and greatest tech trends, so a certification can be a testament to this commitment.”

Consider further professional development and  contract work

As you look to begin your career in automated testing, there are two options to consider — asking your employer for assistance in further professional development, and pursuing contract work in the field. “When an employee asks their manager about making this type of career transition, they may be willing to support their staff by paying for courses and seminar fees,” says Jennifer. “If your employer is unable to do this, however, you might want to consider picking up some consulting or contract work. This can help you get the hands-on experience necessary to be competitive, as well as get your foot in the door with a top employer!

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