“What is the career ladder for a test automation engineer?” is a commonly requested question. That’s an excellent question because this position is typically seen as a flat one, making it difficult for managers and practitioners to see how a team member might advance within it.

Here’s a breakdown of the levels for automation engineers and software developer engineers in test (SDET), as well as specific criteria to aim for when moving up.

Level 1: Junior automation engineer

Junior automation engineers are unfamiliar with the process of automating testing. They may have testing skills but lack coding experience, or they may have little coding experience but no testing experience.

Because the test project and automation framework have already been developed, junior automation engineers can add tests to the suite. They are effectively putting together tests using pre-existing building blocks.

Because this is a software development project involving coding, architecture, and testing abilities, a junior test automation engineer should not be tasked with constructing a test project from the ground up. More senior automation engineers or feature developers should assist them.

Level 2: Midlevel automation engineer

Midlevel automation engineers have strong coding and testing abilities can automate tests and can add new test functionality to a current test project and framework.

A midlevel automation engineer, for example, can develop supporting classes and functions for new pages, components, or services as needed using an existing framework rather than relying on other team members to do so. A midlevel automation engineer, on the other hand, isn’t nearly ready to start from scratch on the complete test project.

Level 3: Senior automation engineer

Senior automation engineers are skilled in both coding and testing. They can create a test automation project from the ground up in addition to producing automated tests.

Senior automation engineers are familiar with a variety of test-specific design patterns and when to apply them.

Engineers at this level are frequently reviewers of test-related pull requests and assist in the development of team best practices. These automation engineers may teach developers how to construct tests and code that can be tested. They can also tell which tests should be automated and which ones aren’t worth the effort.

Because they have delegated much of this activity to developers and young automation engineers, senior automation engineers don’t spend as much time creating tests as they used to. Instead, they devote more effort to developing the test framework, which will aid others in creating tests. In an effort to actively listen to what the tests are saying about the product’s condition, these engineers are also more involved in monitoring and triaging builds.

Level 4: Automation architect

Automation architects are well-versed in all aspects of software delivery. They can not only create testing projects from the ground up, but they can do so in a way that is both maintainable and reusable. They have a strong grasp of coding and software design principles, as well as when and when abstractions should be used.

Automation architects are knowledgeable about a variety of automation solutions and can correctly assess new tools for their team’s needs.

A good automation architect can write automated tests at all levels, including unit, integration, and end-to-end. To improve their test suites, skilled architects are even comfortable using multiple methodologies and tools.

While automation architects may write some of the most efficient tests you’ve ever seen, this isn’t always the best use of their time. Instead, they’re more likely to be found designing test frameworks and internal tools to aid other engineers in their work. Some of these tools aren’t only for tests; they’re also productivity solutions that go beyond tests.

Automation architects are frequently assigned to entire departments rather than a single sprint team due to their vast skill set.

Level 5: Automation team lead

Automation leads are in charge of directing a group of automation engineers. They mentor and provide strategies to people who are junior to them.

Automation team leads, like automation architects, understand how automated tests fit into the larger picture of software delivery and frequently use their skills to build CI/CD pipelines, optimize test execution, and ensure that automated tests are consistently providing fast and reliable feedback to the team.

Automation team leaders are frequently tasked with expanding their army of SDETs, and hence interviewing and hiring responsibilities.

Other stakeholders, including managers, business owners, Scrum masters, developers, and testers, work with automation leads on a regular basis. They assist these essential individuals in comprehending the role of automation and the ways in which it might contribute to its success.

Level 6: Consulting automation engineer

The ability to create a winning test automation approach is what most consulting automation experts are engaged for. They will frequently create an initial test project as well as a few tests to present a proof of concept that the team can utilize and grow.

Many automation consultants are hired on a temporary basis to get the team on track, but some firms hire consulting automation experts on a full-time basis. Consulting automation engineers frequently brainstorm for numerous teams and departments while working as a full-time permanent employee, forming a company-wide test automation strategy.

At this level, automation engineers have a wide range of experience and have studied it to find common challenges, methodologies, and strategies that may be found in most automation projects. As a result, they are able to predict problems before they occur and advise on the best course of action to lessen or eliminate problems entirely.

The top consulting automation engineers not only provide technical competence but also assist firms in establishing a culture that encourages test automation.

Reach for the right rung

The test automation career path has a lot of depth and plenty of opportunities for advancement. You now know what it takes to go to the next level thanks to this classification guide.

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Also Read: https://www.guru99.com/software-testing.html