Over the years, test automation has been one of the most sought-after skills in the IT job market. There is no shying away from the fact that most of the high paying roles require testers who can code and automate.
But where does that leave the good old testers who are passionate about testing?
This is a question people often ask. I often bump into really good testers struggling to find work as they don’t have automation skills.
To answer this question, we first need to see how organisations are evolving their software delivery processes and teams to deliver quicker, respond to change and build predictability.
Most big software houses have already embraced ‘Agile’ ways of working and tailored them.
Though Agile does not mandate automated testing, the whole idea of delivering something working at the end of each timebox (ex. Sprint, Iteration, Program Increment) requires features to be tested within the same timebox. This has resulted in slick Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD) mechanisms which form the backbone of software delivery.
Testing is no longer viewed as an activity which is carried out on a software release following completion of development. Testing now goes hand in hand with development (where feasible).
The way organisations are structuring their project teams is also changing. Testers are now embedded in cross-functional agile delivery teams. This has led to reduction in roles like Test Team leads and Test Managers.
Siloed test teams with layers of management are gradually disappearing.
With these new ways of working and cross-functional teams, methodologies like BDD (Behaviour Driven Development) and TDD (Test Driven Development) are becoming the norm. Testing has caught-up and now automated tests are being developed alongside the actual application.
Most testers can longer afford to be dev-agnostic and are required to code, understand Development & DevOps practices and complement the same.
With this context, it’s easy to visualise the direction most conventional software development projects are taking and the growing need for test automation skills. Going forward we are likely to see more and more organisations take this direction and the need for these skills is only going to increase, eating away into the traditional testing roles.
Coming back to our original question, is there are future for testers with no automation skills – it depends on where you are in your career and the domain knowledge you have acquired over the years.
For someone trying to build a career in testing or if you have just started your first job as a tester, its imperative that you try and embrace test automation.
This will not only help you build a sustainable career, but also open up new avenues from a career progression perspective. If coding is not your cup of tea, it’s prudent to explore specialist areas in testing like Usability and Accessibility where the human aspect is not replaceable easily.
If you are someone with niche domain knowledge, where test automation is not feasible or still evolving you could probably get away by not joining the automation bandwagon.
But for most of us who have been involved in testing web-based applications, mobile applications, APIs and other enterprise software it’s not going to be easy sailing going forward.
There will always be roles which don’t require automation skills, but they are likely to be few and far between. Most of the high paying roles in blue chip organisations are demanding these skills and its key to try and upskill or be left behind.
To see how you can up-skill and start your journey towards Test Automation with Java checkout your Developer In Test course.