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.
test-able.blogspot.ca 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 uTest.com 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.
Learning test automation is obviously not easy for manual testers. It includes learning a programming language, a test automation framework and unit testing. It takes time, focus and perseverance. So let's assume that you took a test automation course or learned all these things by yourself.
What do you do now?
How do you get a test automation job without experience?
There are a few things that I did with this blog that you can do as well. They will help a lot with getting your desired automation position: 1. create your own blog and dedicate it to learning and practicing test automation Choose a name for the blog that is related to test automation: Example: test-automation-practice.blogspot.ca learn-and-practice-test-automation.blogspot.com
You can create the blog in minutes for free using Blogspot or Wordpress. Or any other blogging platform that you like. You can even build your own site.
2. write on the blog for recruiters and companies Everything that you write on the blog should have one purpose only: to convince other people that you know test automation and can write code for it. When writing for the blog, try writing less articles but with more content instead of more and shorter articles. Try writing more about what you learn and do and less about general topics such as what test automation is and how it works. IT recruiters are interested in finding you a job in test automation. Learning about test automation in general is not so important for them.
3. keep the blog focused on test automation The blog becomes less effective if you mix test automation articles with articles on other topics. If you want to blog on other topics, consider creating a separate blog.
4. while learning test automation, start writing articles about
new things that you learned; write about new programming concepts, about new test automation framework components, about unit testing, about other skills like xpath and css selectors
post samples of code that you wrote, lots of samples
obstacles for your learning and their solutions
questions that you have about test automation
5. as soon as your automation knowledge gets better, start working on a project that automates the functional testing for a well known site Choose a well known site first. Select a few functional scenarios that the users of the site are going through. If you select a site that has an ecommerce component, avoid automating scenarios related to user login and shopping cart. Start writing the test scripts for the selected user scenarios.
6. keep improving the test scripts for the selected site while your knowledge gets better As soon as you learn things like explicit waits, implement them in your scripts. After learning how to create your own classes using the page object model, change your scripts for these new concepts. Refactor the code of the scripts to make the scripts easier to understand, easier to modify and shorter.
7. create a public repository on GitHub.com and publish there your code from time to time Give access to the public to the code. Share the GitHub repository link on your blog. 8. keep learning about programming and test automation and keep improving your code One of your goals is to use the blog to convince recruiters and companies that you know programming and test automation. The IT recruiters do not know how to evaluate if your automation code is good or not. But your potential employer can do that. So work hard on creating the best code that you can.
9. start connecting on LinkedIn with IT recruiters You are building the blog for recruiters and potential employers so you need to link with them. 10. from time to time, add links of articles from your blog to your LinkedIn profile You can also publish articles on LinkedIn. All your connections including IT recruiters will get your test automation updates.
11. update your LinkedIn profile with your new programming and test automation skills
12. keep learning and keep blogging 13. add the blog link to your resume
How do all these help you finding a test automation job? The blog and your GitHub code repository will be the proof that
you do know programming
you do know test automation
you can write good test automation code
The blog and the GitHub code repository become your test automation experience. There are more benefits to having a testing blog. First, your technical writing will improve a lot by creating articles for the blog. Second, writing about test automation will make you think more about what you learned. In order to explain other people about test automation, you will have to have everything clear in your head first and this will just strengthen your knowledge.
You can apply at this point in confidence to test automation jobs since you have everything that it is required - skills - experience - proof Good Luck with the job search!