Moving from automation into testing

I joined a thread on another forum earlier today and it got me thinking a bit, anyway thought I’d share what I often see even if on the face of it it seems against the current market view. Feel free to share your own thoughts on this or perhaps some people may be looking for help in making the transition.

The path from automation to testing can seem a bit odd but in many cases there is some logic behind it.

Often when people start in testing many companies focus on basic verification activities, these they want to automate so careers initially often go from a basic verification role to an automation role, market demand for this path is high.

What can happen over time is the individual gains deeper insight into testing and starts to see many more opportunities beyond the verification activities and perhaps at this point they transition into a testing role if they prefer the discovery element of testing over the verification element. Many in automation roles will also choose to stay and further specialize in automation, others will choose to move to development but moving from an automation role to a testing role is a very valid career path.

Similarly often companies themselves evolve the same way, initially focusing value on verification but over time seeing more value in discovery focused testing.

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The local market in my country (Bosnia) is relatively small, but, I have noticed a trend that people who know automation do get paid a lot more compared to testers who can’t code, sometimes the salary for an automation QA is up to 50% higher than manual, especially for juniors.

Often the market still sees testers primarily as verification focused particularly where they have self created high regression risk, so that makes sense that they will pay higher for coding and automation skills in those markets.

Here I am talking about testers who can code but choose to go beyond the verification focus and into the broader field of testing as a whole.

I see it as a much smaller market but looking for companies that see that higher value in discovery focused testing could offer interesting career moves with similar or higher pay.

One of the challenges within the market though is that sometimes those discovery focused testers are viewed the same as the old verification focused testers and can be grouped in the same basic testing basket when there value add are often worlds apart.

I hope the path will become more of an option as companies grow their testing understanding, I see signs of it in some companies but the older view still prevails.

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The way you use the word verification here @andrewkelly2555 . I am getting a compliance message, and not a testing picture. Products that have a high burden of proof forced upon them are verifying, not testing. So anyone working in that environment is probably going to rely on automation heavily? And yes, I agree these are worlds apart in terms of a person’s skills.

Higher pay for either role is going to come down to the local demand and supply problem, not so much skills. For example, verification can be outsourced to the lowest bidder, while testing by nature will often not be outsourced due to tight turn-around expectations. I’m not convinced moreover that coding skills makes as big a difference as people think it does to salary. We may in fact find that testers who code have the option to take up dev roles which pay more, and is not a reflection of their worth, but rather of their available choices creating market pressures that they can enjoy?

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Thanks for helping with this question!

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