Test automation developers (also known as test automation engineers) are software developers who design and write programs that run automatic tests on new or existing software – an essential part of the software development cycle.
Typical duties include:
using test automation frameworks
designing and writing test automation scripts
managing the testing process
investigating problems in software as a result of testing
researching and evaluating new tools
develop and monitor testing processes
working with QA analysts and software developers to find solutions
reporting on the results of testing to clients and colleagues.
Working hours for test automation developers tend to be standard office hours (nine-to-five), although you might not need to work in an office all the time. You may need to work longer hours if a deadline is approaching.
According to Glassdoor, salaries for test automation developers tend to start at around £30,000 but earnings will increase as you build experience. Those in an automation team lead role, for example, could earn around £45,000.
Typical employers of test automation developers
Software development companies.
Financial and professional services firms.
Public sector organisations.
Vehicle and aircraft manufacturers.
With experience, you could become self-employed and take on short contracts or consultant roles.
Jobs are advertised on targetjobs and by careers services. You’ll also find them on sector-specific jobs sites such as BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT’s site and those of specialist recruitment agencies.
You can become a test automation developer with a degree or without one. Many jobs are advertised to those who do have degrees, usually in computer science or a related subject.
School leavers can take an apprenticeship in test development. To find out more about getting into IT and technology via a school leaver route, see
Whichever level you’re applying at, work experience will give you an advantage. This does not always have to be a formal placement or internship. You can also look for ways to gain experience of programming and software testing tools such as Selenium through online courses and events, or through voluntary work or involvement with university societies.
Key skills for test automation developers
Programming languages, such as C# and Java.
Strong problem-solving skills.
Excellent organisational and time management skills.
Accuracy and attention to detail.
Teamwork skills, because most projects require input from individuals with different roles.
Self-development skills to keep up to date with fast-changing trends.
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