There are a lot of automation “engineers” out there that are the test equivalent of code monkeys. They can copy-paste and modify/extend existing tests, but often struggle with any actual “engineering” work or testing, i.e. they don’t realize when they should be refactoring, approaching problems differently, missing the forest for the trees, etc, and they can only implement test cases that are spelled out clearly in acceptance criteria, really struggle to shift left and participate in requirement gathering or design discussions, etc.
My theory is that this is due to all the bootcamps and online courses out there professing to teach test automation. Folks get lured in by glossy sales pitches and dreams of large salaries, but don’t do their homework to realize that these type of training programs essentially get your foot in the door, and tech is one of those careers where you need to be constantly growing and evolving.
Often, these people have no actual interest or passion for tech nor testing, so it becomes really hard for them to push themselves to develop the deeper understanding and to build the context and skill sets they need to be strong coders and/or testers.