IT testing automation is an important concern of businesses, and a growing field in which IT professionals are able to make a name for themselves. If you are not already involved in automated IT testing, here are a few of the most important skills to have when holding an automation related position.
1. Configuration Management (CM) Software Experience
Mitigating development drift is essential for implementing reliable automated procedures, so familiarity and skill with some of the more common CM tools is important. These programs include names like Puppet and Chef, and they help to manage large systems and high volume databases. Without these tools, managing complicated systems can take untold amounts of time, and as more staff would be needed to complete the project, there would be a greater chance of issues arising within the setup. One or two small issues can result in automated procedures failing to work correctly.
Testing in general is the use of troubleshooting methodology on a large scale to find errors that have not been made apparent, and automated testing is the use of programming tools to facilitate this troubleshooting process. For this reason, it stands to logic that if you intend to design systems that automate troubleshooting, you should have a firm grasp on the technical aspects of troubleshooting. Since it involves both routine steps in addition to ones that require more intuition, troubleshooting knowledge will better enable you to make a functional and useful automated assistant.
3. Development Methodology
Far beyond the need for technical knowledge, proper testing design requires integrating a large number of systems together, while incorporating a multitude of workers and inputs. For this reason, familiarity with processes and standards, such as ITIL and DevOps philosophy, play a role in the proper development of testing software. In-depth knowledge of these processes will help your production speed, make sure you deliver a quality program, and ensure that it is in compliance with any standards.
4. Coding and Scripting Expertise
There are a few programming languages which are essential when dealing with automated tests, or simply automation in general. These are generally object oriented with powerful functions already included, or they are designed for easier understanding and to ease the integration of coding from multiple programmers. Luckily, the languages used for automation are relatively common: C and its varieties, Python, Perl, Java, Ruby, and Shell. Expert knowledge in one or two of these is necessary. There are programs that may alleviate the need for extensive programming knowledge, such as UpGuard. That said, not every situation can count on an outside resource to work perfectly, and programming knowledge is a generally helpful information set throughout IT.
While certifications are mostly official recognition of skill with certain hardware or software, the importance placed on them by businesses indicates how important the skills are, even in specific fields, like automation. The top certifications include ones such as PMP, MCSA, VMP, CCNP, various standard certifications, and CompTIA Server+. The PMP (Project Management Professional) certification also relates back to number three on this list.