Improve Your Automation Skills Part 2: Where Do We Start?
As automation testers, we need to have at least a basic understanding of programming languages in order to improve our skill set.
Which begs the question: without knowing programming languages, is it possible to be a good automation tester in the IT world? In my previous article, I addressed “Why Automation?” – now, I will talk about how to build your automation skills set.
I will address this from personal experience. When I decided to switch my profession to Automation Tester, I did not have programming language skills at all – only my Information Technology class in college. I saw that this field was getting popular, and I was interested in IT – so I saw an opportunity to advance my career within a field of interest.
Inspired by my friends who also proceeded down this path, I did some research and found out that there are websites like Udemy to learn programming language skills. In addition to Udemy, programming language skills can also be learned from YouTube – nowadays you can find everything on YouTube! Though, coding schools are more beneficial as they will train you as an automation tester and help you improve the skills that you need.
I learned that self-motivation is such an important aspect in every corner of our lives. I started to learn Java, which in the beginning was challenging because Java is one of the most difficult programming languages to learn. I watched some videos, joined some classes, and I practiced many times. I believe that practice makes (nearly) perfect, and though I had a difficult time occasionally, I was confident that my skills would improve with advice from instructors. After practicing with an instructor, I honed my skills on my own, along with the help of practice websites like Coding Bat, Edabit, and Replit – I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly my coding skills improved.
My journey in programming language started in this way, and it still continues. Believe me – after you see for yourself that you are capable, you will really enjoy the challenges that arise, and nothing will stop you!
Let’s go over some key points of learning a programming language:
- Study programming concepts and structures as well as coding languages
- Search top programming languages and decide one of them as your preferred one (it can be easy or little hard, it is all up to you).
- Get your online classes from Udemy or YouTube – even some universities are offering free programming language classes.
- Prepare your notebook (some people like to take manual notes, some people use their pc)
- Get help from different websites (Guru99)
- Do coding practice exercises on different websites (this must be done in order to improve).
- Obtain certificates
Great Manual Testing Skills
To become an excellent automation tester, you will be required to have an experience in manual testing as well. Viewing software from the perspective of a real-time user helps the tester to identify UI. You need to first have hands on experience with manual testing. Without manual testing skills, it will be hard to follow the automation requirements. Understanding the domain very well will help you to create your test scenarios and test cases.
As we know, we cannot automate web applications 100% – some testing can only be done manually. In this case, we turn to SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) and STLC (Software Testing Life Cycle). These are required to know how testing is performed at each step. This also makes automation of the manual test cases easier.
Expertise With Automation Tools
There is a wide range of automated testing tools available in the market that provide excellent benefits to an enterprise. To excel in the automation testing field, the tester should have a good understanding of and exposure to the automation test tools mentioned above.
Test automation is not something you do in a vacuum all by yourself. You must work with all team members to use the development skills you have acquired to help the project or team reach their goals.
Clear Understanding of the Business Requirements
A skilled automation tester must know the application inside out from both frontend as well as the service layer before the testing phase begins. When we don’t know the application very well we have to become good partners with our other team members.
Maintain Good Team Communication
Good communication and collaboration skills are key for automation testers. They are interacting not only with their manager also with developers, business analysts, and stakeholders. Communication will help them before and during the testing phase. As we know, some companies are following Agile, in which communication and teamwork are critical to each phase. Without communication, teamwork is impossible.
When automation testers are done with their test scripts, they may need to work with developers and other team members to integrate those tests into a code repository. During the test execution process, if any defect retest fails the testers (aside from raising the defect in a specific tool) can also communicate to the developers in the daily stand up meeting.
Think About Data and Workflow
Something to consider when starting to automate is what data do I need to complete the automated script? Do I need a user account to login? Do I need a customer already in the system to do something with, or can I create my own customer to use for just automated testing?
The data that is needed is usually something that is part of the workflow that is being automated. What does that workflow look like? Are multiple different people involved in getting from point A to point B? Are there any gaps between steps that take time or wait on some other process to complete? Tests that are well defined, and a straight shot through a workflow are the best candidates for test automation. Identifying good test candidates from bad test candidates is a skill you can improve over time. Knowing that this information helps make that decision early when assessing tests is an important fact of the automation practice.
Willingness to Learn New Technologies and Trends
Automation is at the forefront of the growing list of technologies and trends in the IT field, so getting on track in this field is key. So – how can you be on track for automation skills success?
It is helpful for automation testers to be active on social media like LinkedIn and follow technologies and read articles will help to see what is trending in IT field. There are many websites that assist with learning the latest tools and technologies, as well as gaining certifications. Having these additions to your resumes will boost current and future career opportunities.
Time Management Skills
We need to have time management skills in every area of our profession – not only in automation. This skill helps us to achieve our goals in a short time and helps to increase overall productivity and ability to meet delivery deadlines.
There are many ways to improve time management skills, including:
- Use sticky notes to help you remember your next task
- Maximize your productivity and complete tasks with efficient scheduling
- Leverage tech – there are many time management apps for android and IOS devices for you to download and use
- Take notes in Notebook or download applications like Sublime Text or Microsoft OneNote
Improving knowledge is important in every aspect of life; this gives us self-confidence and inspiration in both our professional and personal realms. It is important to know where to begin improvement in your career skills; help from knowledgeable co-workers is an invaluable resource, as they might give you information you wouldn’t have thought to seek out otherwise. A key element to improving your automation skills is coding practice – after you feel comfortable with coding, you may begin to work with automation. We should not forget that practice makes (near) perfect – with coding and automation, practice is key. As automation testers, our goal to improve ourselves, keep learning new tools, share our knowledge with our co-workers.