Thursday, January 19, 2012

No More Automated Test Engineers

As I reviewed several candidates’ resumes recently, something bothered me.  The open position is for an Automated Test Engineer for Agile Teams.  I am looking for an automated test engineer, but I find that I am bothered by the automated test engineer role.  After I thought about this for a while, I realized that I am still thinking about the “Whole-team” Test Automation post.  If everyone is an automator, then there is no need for an automator.

The common thing about the automation engineers I have met with and interviewed is that their current career path depends on the ignorance of their testing colleagues.

Even though it may seem to be disingenuous (I grew my career as an automation engineer), but I see no place for it anymore.  The presence of an automation engineer at a company is a sign of a problem.  In all likelihood, it means that a two-tiered system exists in the company’s test team.  In a proper agile test team, all members of the team have the skills of automated test engineers and are ready to use them whenever they are needed.

BTW:  I recruit for automation engineers because the industry has not caught up with us yet. I look forward to a day when the base expectations of a software tester include high levels of technical proficiency and mad testing skills.


  1. Why not rename the position "Agile Test Engineer" and speak to the attributes, including strong automation skills (or at least desire to develop these skills), in the "key requirements" section?

  2. That is very close to what I tried -- I looked for an Agile Tester. Even after stating exactly what I wanted, the candidates I got were mostly non-technical, traditional testers. It seems that the technical ones only respond to positions with the work 'automation' in the title.

  3. I think that the day when the base expectations of a software tester include high levels of technical proficiency and mad testing skills will be soon because every day more companies and testing teams need professional like that, We could notice right now if we check QA jobs webpages, most of the jobs are for automated test engineers for agile projects.

  4. Ok, building my own skills off of what you are saying, I should be offended (like you mentioned you came from the same background). After being in an Agile-ish environment, and subsequently interviewing for the same skills you are looking for, find that your thoughts are right on. With the development world developing faster and more efficient, testers are forced to become even more efficient and test those changes faster and better. What's the answer....automation. Agree wholeheartedly that any organization wanting to develop better code faster must require a tester to have automation skills.

    1. Hi BeHo3372,

      Thanks for sharing. Hopefully as the two of us (and more and more like-minded people) recruit for our teams, we can change the profession....Bob