In our webinar last week, we had several unanswered questions. One question related to learning test automation if you are not a developer? We’ll try our best to answer here.

We have many on our staff who didn’t start out as test automation specialists but found their way toward learning test automation through a round about way. Let’s look at the skills or characteristics needed for test automation:

  1. Logical thinking
  2. Abstract thinking and problem solving
  3. Knowledge of application under test
  4. Coding

You notice that we list coding as last, while the most important skill is thinking logically. If you can’t think logically, well… You’re in trouble and maybe should get out of QA:)

Logical thinking means that you know how to prioritize and how to connect thoughts/scripts together. When to reuse things/scripts and when not to. On the other hand abstract thinking skills enable you to connect the right things together when it makes sense, and how to organize your scripts and framework to minimize maintenance so your automation code can respond to changes in the application so characteristic of an agile environment. Some may put Knowledge of the Application Under Test as the first skill needed, but as you know many automation testers have minimal knowledge of the application. Those that don’t know the application are left to code whatever scripts others who do know that application tell them to do!

And lastly, coding. Everyone seems afraid of coding. We take our automation testers through a training program where they learn a few commands or techniques at a time. First learning how to set up the automation environment, then learning how to write a simple script, understanding the code for that script and then learning a few additional techniques each week. After a few months, they’ve got the basics and are on the ground running. Difficult problems or logic requiring more complicated coding can be left to a ‘real’ programmer, but those are few. What’s important is to set up the framework first (by an expert) and then the ‘normal’ automation testers can fill in the framework or outline. Learning test automation is like writing a document. When you first get started, you need a more detailed outline… Then one day, you can write the outline yourself hopefully.