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When it comes to hiring test automation engineers, do you know what to look for? Test automation skills are important, but just because a candidate possesses those skills, does not necessarily mean they are fully qualified for the role. The truth is, automation engineers must have a breadth of knowledge from general testing through development to make them successful.

Automation Requires Development Skill

To put it simply, test automation is software development. In order to test code, a new software program must be coded to run that test, requiring engineers to possess a deep knowledge of development best practices. They simply must be able to create a test program that is usable, maintainable and reliable.

Many candidates try to enter the field with experience in only IDEs that record and play back scripts. Others write complex tests tied to HTML that directly manipulate the browser. While these are not inherently negatives, it often means that those candidates are not experienced in development best practices or automation frameworks, which are essential skills for effective test engineers. When interviewing potential test automation engineers, it is wise to include questions that speak directly to things like development, frameworks, abstraction levels, DRY and DAMP.

Automation Requires Restraint

It is not necessary to automate every test, and it is important to find engineers who know when automation is necessary and when it simply is not. Just because you can automate, doesn’t mean you should. This understanding requires an engineer to see the big picture, to make discerning choices that are best for the project, and to be system thinkers.

“System thinking” is about seeing the system as a whole, and understanding how each separate piece of the system integrates with others. This type of thinking allows the engineer to see how automated testing on one piece of the system may not be reliable within the framework of the whole. Truly effective automation engineers don’t dive in to automation with both feet; they analyze the situation and determine whether the time and resources required to automate will generate real results and will be worth the effort.

Often, problem-solving questions are ideal to uncover whether a candidate is truly a system thinker. Watching a candidate work through their process can help you determine whether they have the development skills and the critical thinking abilities to deliver real ROI in automation testing.

Are You Seeking Talented Test Automation Engineers?

If you are looking for tech talent who are skilled test automation engineers with the depth and breadth of knowledge and skills to succeed, work with the expert IT recruiters at Talon. We can connect you with permanent or contract staff who can help you achieve your goals.

 

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