Now, it may seem strange to have my second post talking about what I don’t want to be, however it is a combination of me affirming what it is about what I enjoy about my job as I see it currently, and how it feels to me the industry is moving.
Automation engineers, programmed checkers, toolsmith, or any other term that you may wish to use, is someone who writes code/tests/scripts for a program to run, which for where I am is Selenium using Java. The purpose to be able to run monotonous tasks that need doing multiple times, freeing up time to allow other work to be done. It is only a brief summary, but there may be people who have no idea what I do or what I am talking about, and I don’t want to get them lost in terminology and acronyms that mean nothing to them! I also know some differentiate between tests and checks, as well as how automation can be replaced by programmed, or that automation has become this giant buzz word without a full understanding of what this means.
I have nothing against automation itself. When I’ve been asked to check a web page that has had a change to make sure it hasn’t been broken by something else being fixed, having a tool to run that check for me is great. But creating and maintaining all these scripts just sounds dull to me. If I wanted to do this, I would have gone more towards the role of being a developer over a tester, but I know it’s not for me.
The biggest part of testing that I enjoy is being an explorer. I want to be given a site, a piece of code, a problem of some kind, and then figure out what it should and shouldn’t do. I want to be the one who works out what should be automated, and then hand it over to the automation engineer so they can do what they need to. A friend of mine that I affectionately call Hodor is the opposite to me. He can’t stand the exploration, and would automate as much as he can. Sadly we don’t work together, or we would make an ideal duo. That doesn’t make either of us more or less of a tester to the other, and in fact proves that we can still test and add value, but in different ways.
The reason I wanted to write this is it feels to me, that if you don’t want to be an automation engineer, you are getting pushed aside in the world of testing. Even where I work, to be a Senior Test Analyst, if you can’t write an automated script and execute it, or perform performance/load testing, then you won’t ever get to be in that role. I feel like by wanting to be happy in what work I do, and knowing what I want to do, I’m closing more doors to myself than if I went down the route the industry feels like it’s forcing me.
Am I seeing a future that won’t actually happen, or do I need to accept the future and force myself to like it?