• Alex

How to get a test automation job without experience

Updated: Feb 11, 2018

There is high demand today on the job market for manual testers with test automation skills. But the paradox is that there are few qualified testers available. Why is this? One reason may be that manual testers are not learning programming and test automation due to their concern that it is not possible to get an automation job without work experience. This article tells you how to get a test automation job without having work experience. It is based on my personal experience and on the reason for creating this blog. was created in 2011. I was then a full time employee (last time working a full time job) for a major online Canadian company. The job started 8 years before so I felt ready for new challenges and projects. For that company, I created the testing department, hired the testers, implemented the testing processes and tools. The testing team went from 2 testers in the beginning to 14 testers when I left. In summary, I added the testing team to the software development department. I thought that I knew my job very well.

But in the same time, I was a bit anxious and wondering if I would be capable of performing well for other employers. So, to get control of my job change anxiety, I pushed the pedal a little bit on self training and looked into things that I did not know yet like: - exploratory testing Good books such as the "Exploratory Software Testing" by James Whittaker and "Lessons Learned In Software Testing" by James Bach taught me what exploratory testing is and how it is done. - mobile testing "Tap Into Mobile Application Testing" by Jonathan Kohl has been of great help here. After the learning phase, I practiced both mobile and exploratory testing for about 2 years in more than 800 projects with with great results. - test automation The first test automation tool that I worked with was Quick Test Professional (QTP). My employer at that time purchased the full suite of Mercury Quality Assurance tools which included Quality Center, Load Runner and QTP. Even after learning the new skills, something was still missing.

I was looking for a way of making public who I was from a professional point of view. I was also searching for something that will make me different and more interesting for recruiters than the other testers.

I always considered that having a work portfolio is the best instrument of getting more work. After seeing the quality work produced already, new clients have the confidence of giving you more work. But what portfolio did I have at that time? What could I show about "Alex the tester" to a recruiter or a company interested in hiring me? After reading James Bach's advice to new testers that they should blog about testing, I created the blog.

Initially, the blog had 1 purpose only: to expose more information to public about my testing experience, knowledge and skills. What I do, what I learn, what I read, what is interesting for me, what testing problems I am struggling with. My thought was that exposing lots of information about my testing on the blog will help me find other jobs. And it did. It really did. Recruiters and companies interested in hiring me were able now to not only see my resume but also read my blog and find there evidence about my testing skills. After a while, the purpose of the blog changed.

I started being more interested in test automation so I thought that the blog can become the repository or portfolio of my test automation experiences. Everyone interested in hiring me was able to read the blog and based on the information found there decide if 

  • I have the required skills

  • I have the proper mindset when it comes to testing

  • I did relevant work in the past

  • I am a good candidate for the interview

The blog became a way of providing proof that I can do test automation through the published articles, code samples, articles published on other blogs, etc. I am talking about my blog but what does this have to do with the article's topic?

So going back, how can anyone get a test automation job without having any automation experience? This is one of questions that I am getting from people that want to learn test automation. They think that learning test automation is good and useful. But, in the same time, they don't have the confidence that companies will hire them due to the lack of practical experience. So this concern holds them back and in many cases they postpone the test automation learning until later.