• Alex

Manual testers can learn test automation

Updated: Sep 3, 2018

This is a real story.

It was beginning of April, 2018.

I was getting ready for my first test automation boot camp taught in a classroom environment.

In the weeks before the boot camp, I contacted several local manual testers on LinkedIn letting them know of the training in case they might be interested in learning Java and Selenium WebDriver.

One of them messaged me back. I will call him John (not his real name).

He wanted to confirm that, after 5 days of training, he would be able to do test automation by himself. We talked on the phone about it and , satisfied with my answers, agreed to meet next day to discuss more.

Next day, during our discussion, he asked if I can guarantee that he would be able to get a job after taking the training.

My answer was not exactly what he expected.

I cannot guarantee something like this.

I can guarantee that anyone who attends all training days will learn a lot of new and useful things such as Java basics, unit testing, how to use the Selenium WebDriver library and the page object model.

But just attending the training sessions is not sufficient.

To have a good chance of getting a job, each student has to study all training materials, work hard, be patient, do all exercises and practice a lot after the completion of the training.

Since I am not involved in any of these activities and I do not participate in interviews, how could I guarantee getting a job?

The question was normal to ask since John was looking for a new testing job for more than a year and did not get many requests for job interviews. He wanted to change this and hoped that the training and the practical experience with Java and Selenium would help a lot.

The training started and John attended it.

He paid attention to each topic and asked lots of questions. In the classroom, by email and on the forum between training days.

He was slow on working on the homework assignments but still did them, one after another, asking for guidance and help when faced with difficult situations.

The training ended with a real life automation exercise. There was no time limit for doing it.

I strongly recommended each student to complete it for 2 reasons.

First, they needed a lot of practice.

Second, completing the exercise would provide them with code that could be shown to potential employers during interviews.

John started working on the final exercice and emailed me every time he did not know what to do or how to proceed. His progress was slow but steady. It took about 3 months to complete the exercise without using the page object model.

His code was using however methods that implemented the interaction with each page of the site.

Was this sufficient for getting a job? I was not sure. If the company wanted to hire someone at the intermediate level with potential of growing, it was enough, probably.

After about 2 weeks, I saw John again at a meetup where I was presenting on how to synchronize Selenium tests with the site.

He smiled when we met, shook my hand and gave me the news: he got a job!

He interviewed for a company who liked his testing skills and experience. They also appreciated the fact that he had now Selenium and Java training. But as a last step, the company wanted to test his automation ability with an exercise based on their site.

So John got a homework to do in 3 days. After 3 days, he went back to the company with the solution, demonstrated that it works, answered questions about it and got the job.

He proved that it is possible to go from being a manual tester with no development skills to getting a job that involves writing test automation code with Java and Selenium.

In a nutshell.

If you are truly motivated to learn test automation, have patience and perseverance, you will be able to do it.

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