How to gain experience when nobody wants to hire Juniors?

I am currently working as a manual qa but my career is at a dead end in the company I work for. I have learned Java, Selenium, TestNG, JUnit, Cucumber, Git and others all by myself. I have small projects in GitHub to prove I have some basic knowledge for junior automation positions. I also have an ISTQB FL certificate.

There are too few job offers for junior automation roles. How to gain experience when nobody wants to hire juniors?


The ISTQB foundation certificate alone is a great start even if it is just a piece of paper. Automation QA engineers are in short supply, it takes months to fill positions sometimes. I can only guess you want to get your CV reviewed by someone, tweak it and start applying for jobs that will give you that experience. You cannot really study your way into these jobs, you have to network a lot too. Getting your CV out there is the start.


Iโ€™ve noticed more so over the last decade or so that team models have changed significantly to smaller teams and this impacts both developers and testers.

Right now for example I am solo tester on three different teams and six or so products, being solo makes me test lead on those projects and that is a tough entry point for juniors, similarly a lot of products are being built by two or three developers and adding juniors in there is again a challenge.

On top of that remote work can make it even harder for juniors to fit in, most of my productive learning was done pairing with people I learned from.

It is though a model I really like but I can see why its challenging for juniors to get on board.

There are though still a lot of larger product based companies with larger teams that still have long onboard learning plans, sometimes even if these are not the best environments to work in they can give more opportunities for those entering the field. Look for companies that are actively advertising for juniors to get started.

I did some coaching recently and one of the juniors I thought was great, if I was hiring and they were interested I believe they could be thrown in solo very quickly under a supportive model. There are coaches and experienced testers out there, at workshops and meetups that sometimes all it takes is to get on their radar with a good impression.

There remains a high demand for good automaters as well, those hiring though still find it difficult as there are loads of people who seemed to jump straight into automation without solid testing skills or good coding skills first. They tend to be good at grinding out scripts but often struggle with CI elements, communicating their value and may lack the architecture skills that companies look for when they have small teams. With this abundance of junior level automaters even if they have multiple years experience it helps if you can have something like your showcase to stand out.


Being a junior is probably the hardest part of an IT career, especially if you take into consideration that every year there are new college graduates applying for internships and junior roles, also, there are people from other lines of work looking to get into IT.

To increase your chances, my advice is to try to stand out among the competition:

  • Look for local communities to join, this way you will expand your network by getting to know new likeminded people, some of these people might be working for local companies, and once you get to know them and they see you are eager to learn you might get them to recommend you at their place of work. Having someone vouch for you increases your chances notably.
  • Use social media to your advantage as much as possible, make sure your LinkedIn profile is nice looking and try to be active, connect with people, especially with recruiters
  • Try to take part in hackathons and similar events, or get involved in Open Source - activities such as these will increase your chances of getting noticed by people and it will be proof of your dedication
  • Consider maybe writing a blog to describe your learning journey, You donโ€™t need to be an expert at something to write about it, but this can give you some positive exposure.
  • Donโ€™t apply just for jobs that specifically require juniors, apply to other jobs too, since if a company really likes you they might find a spot for you or contact you later on if you leave a good impression.
  • Apply to companies that may not have an open job ad, just research a company before you do, send a nice cover letter explaining something like that you like their values, tech stack, etc., and are wondering if they have any openings in the near future.

My advice: look for open source projects where you can add value and do your bit.


You say youโ€™re already a manual QA, why donโ€™t you just โ€˜do itโ€™? My first experience of automation came about because I suggested to my boss that some of the manual testing I was doing could be automated. He gave me some time and I put something together. Sure, it was a bit clunky, it followed no standard at all and I had to rewrite it several times, but being able to run 100 tests in a few seconds was an easy way of proving my worth. I just went on from there.


Granted, I was a programmer already at that time, but we had no automation. I merely had to re-write the test tools (which took ages) we used to allow them to run a macro language (which I wrote I should have used embedded VBA, but well, you learn) and suddenly we could automate. It took a long time to make it even remotely be called โ€œautomatedโ€ in the true sense of it, but you start in one corner and learn by doing. Be prepared to throw away your experiments, and be ambitious but targeted in what you automate. Automate the things you hate manually doing first.


Hey welcome to the community Simon. Excellent suggestion, hope you stick around, stay toasty and dry.