Mar 15, 2019

4 min

How to Hire a Team of Test Automation Engineers: Skills to Check and Questions to Ask

Although test automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it can significantly speed up, facilitate and improve testing. In this article we are going to answer the question about why you may need this team, share do’s and don’ts of a successful interview, and provide tips on hiring a qualified team of test automation engineers.

Why the Qualification of a Test Automation Engineer Is Crucial?

Test automation mostly consists of a software development activity and is a full-time job, and not something that manual testers can deal within a couple of hours a day. If you have no test automation engineers, it’s time to search for them.

Although test automation has become a lot simpler than it used to be, the expectations from an automation expert are now skyrocketing. It’s not much about running the tests anymore, it’s more about designing them. Anyone can perform test automation scripts created by a qualified automation engineer or a QA company. However, the skillset of such specialists is not something that can be acquired overnight by a manual tester. Very few of them have a solid grasp of common coding principles and practices, so it’s going to be a long and bumpy ride for traditional testers. However, in the test automation process software development skills are a must.

By hiring an experienced team of test automation engineers the company saves time and money on training and speeds up the transition to automation of QA testing services. All that adds up to the project ROI.

Building a Dream Team of Test Automation Engineers: Checking Skills and Posing Questions

Test automation skillset, practices and techniques vary for the web, desktop, and mobile products, so they require different tools. The most popular ones and those used by the Qulix QA specialists are Selenium, Appium, TestComplete, UFT, Ranorex. Some of them are distributed for free, while others require a license payment. They work with different back-end languages. require different coding skills may create steep learning curves, so it is better to consider prior experience and tools used.

Here is a comparison table:

Commercial tools like UFT, TestComplete or Ranorex usually cover the full technology stack (web/desktop/API/mobile), but boost expenses of the entire automation process. Therefore, they are usually selected by large-scale companies and corporations. At the same time, non-commercial tools, such as Selenium or Appium win leadership in their market segment. Although these tools require higher team qualification, they offer more flexibility and customization. The choice of a particular instrument is determined by a number of factors. If you are not sure which tool is right for you, the Qulix QA team is always ready to carry out a detailed comparative analysis of tools and solutions available.

As we get back to searching for test automation engineers: it is important to look beyond experience with one tool. It would be a perfect scenario if you could find enough test automation engineers that exactly match the demands. Keep in mind that the best possible hires are not necessarily candidates with vast experience with certain testing tools or stack. This way it’s easy to lose enthusiastic candidates with enough critical thinking and outstanding abilities for self-guided learning. That’s the reason why job description specifications and keywords should be selected very carefully.

Skilled automation testers combine enough business knowledge with sufficient experience in risk-based testing and test data management. Also, they should have experience with the environment of the extended system under test and know about service virtualization. These specialists are responsible for the entire product or an app lifecycle by identifying the right toolset and building cost-effective and seamless integration strategies.

It’s a good idea to build a team having at least one automation architect. The number of automation engineers required solely depends on the number and scale of your projects.

Here are the basic skills and aspects to revise in test automation engineers:

  • Programming languages;
  • Experience with web, desktop, mobile, API software;
  • Tools used;
  • Experience with CI/CD pipeline;
  • Experience with virtualization (specifically, Docker container platform);
  • Domain experience (it’s a ‘nice-to-have’ when the test cases are set).

When choosing an automation testing engineer (or a team), it can be useful to ask them a few questions to see if there’s something beyond the technical capabilities and if they are a good fit for your company or project. The goal of posing additional questions is to see whether a person can notice details that reach far beyond the obvious and is not going to just automate whatever is given.

Start by asking which cases to automate or not and if there are case studies to discuss. It can also be useful to get the candidate’s opinion on:

  • how to determine the effectiveness of automation testing;
  • how to choose the right tool and what aspects to consider;
  • if 100% of automation is possible or not (and why);
  • what are the key steps to implementing automation.

Avoid straightforward questions like, “Do you have experience automating tests for X app type using Y tool?”, as people are likely to repeat what they’ve already written in their resume. Ask instead,  “How would you go about automating tests for app type X?” The ability to answer this question requires far more insight and experience – and that’s exactly what you’re looking for. The Qulix team is proud of its expertise in manual and automated QA services. Instead of basic ready-made solutions, we go into detail and define appropriate strategies for each case.

If you are up to test automation, we are there to offer a feasibility study and our assistance in ROI analysis. Test Automation Engineers from the Qulix team can help to select the right tools and implement the framework. Test automation scripting and execution is always followed by metrics analysis and detailed reports.

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