How to Get Better: Understand Roles > Beaufort Fairmont

How to Get Better: Understand Roles

I’ve been writing lately about how to get better as an automation engineer (here and here). So far we’ve focused on advancing in a technical sense and specifically with becoming better at programming.

There is much more to automated testing, however. Recently, I’ve been trying to write a post about understanding typical Automated Testing roles. After about 4 attempts here is…


Two roles that are important for us as automation engineers to understand are:

  1. Tester
  2. Automation Engineer

The responsibilities for the Tester role (as I see them) are:

  • Understand stakeholder requests
  • Determine if requests are implemented inline with stakeholder desires
  • Provide timely and accurate feedback (about differences) to Stakeholders & Development

The responsibilities for the Automation Engineer role (as I see them) are:

  • Create mechanisms to expose whether stakeholder requests are implemented inline with stakeholder desires
  • Create mechanisms to give feedback to Stakeholders and Developers faster, more clearly, more reliably and concisely.
  • Support the running and maintenance of said tools.

Many times these roles are given to one person. Sometimes doubling up on these two roles is manageable but the large majority of the time it is not – even with small teams.

Automation engineers are software engineers focusing on building tools. That is a very different skill than testing, one that takes a lot of focus and dedication. It is generally a full-time role, although it is rarely executed or understood to be such.

A Tester role is different. It is easily dividable between people. Much less specialization is needed at the technical level. Testers are in a position to more easily handle interrupts and be responsive.

Planning is different between the roles. The tester need only plan usage of a system and design of a test.

Automation engineers have to implement tools in a fashion that they are ready for Testers to use at a specified time – more like developers.

Understand the roles for you team and you’ll understand more about how you fit in and how you can become more of an asset with regard to automated testing.

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