The Switch from Manual to Automated Testing.

Mikhail Lazarau is a Junior SDET at Godel. He recently switched from manual to automated testing with help from the Godel Mastery and his mentor, Andrei Muliarchyk, Senior SDET. We sat down with Mikhail and Andrei to discuss the change in direction and the result he has achieved.

Mikhail, you recently switched from manual testing to automation testing. Can you tell us why you chose to change direction?

There were two reasons. Firstly, it is a logical continuation of a tester’s career, when you already understand the needs of the business and can apply the skills of a Software Engineer in Test (SDET). Secondly, I had a desire to dig deeper into the task and see how the ‘gears work’. I often look at the performance of an application based on the logic of its components. Basically, it is a bottom-up look that helps to complement the vision of the big picture.

After graduating from the Godel Mastery and becoming a SDET, has your mindset changed?

Not really, the work of a SDET requires a search for concise solutions, sometimes it’s not obvious to a beginner in this path. Now it’s necessary that the engineering ideas come from me, rather than manual testing. I strive to solve problems, starting from the expected answer and considering the comments from the mentors. While I’m busy with this, my thinking does not change that much as I adapt to new tasks. I’m still at the very beginning of the path, so it’s too early to draw conclusions about a change in mindset, however, I enjoy what I am doing.

What are your impressions of working as a SDET?

Before the Mastery, I studied Java in my own time. After getting into the programme, I found out I would be studying in .NET. Despite the similarities in the languages, I prefer .NET and had to let go of Java (at least for the time being). I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and learn new things – the fact that my first project as a SDET will be in PHP, challenges me. When I found myself on the project, I was introduced to the course, the list of daily SDET tasks and was showed what a PHP test framework is. As a result, it turned out that if you know the basics, the new language no longer seems such a daunting task.

Andrei, you mentored Mikhail in the Mastery. How did you find working as a mentor?

This was my first experience as a mentor for someone who switched from manual testing to automated testing. It was necessary to put more emphasis on the technical components, since Mikhail already knew the project side. He understood what they wanted from him as a tester. The main task was to improve his technical skills, teach him how to work with tools and show what automation is.

What happens after the internship ends?

After graduating from the Mastery, a person receives a set of skills that help them to study in the future and understand the inner components of automation on a project. We select a project for them, on which they can continue to learn. There is another option where we include a person in a project where there is an experienced automation engineer – it is important that there is a specialist nearby who can show how everything works.

In the case when a person switches from manual testing to automation, there should be a slightly different approach to adapting on the project. Mikhail formally came to the project as a SDET, but everyone understood that manual work was more comfortable for him. He didn’t need to be told how the project should go – it’s enough to form a vision of what a SDET should do and how to combine automation with manual testing. With Mikhail, intermediate meetings were held, during which his direction on the project was adjusted. Mikhail knows automation tools and what can be done with them. But how to act at the beginning or in the middle of a sprint, how to process tasks, automate it or not – this all comes with experience.

What advice would you both give to future interns based on your experience?

Mikhail: I decided that failing the Mastery was unacceptable for me, so putting myself in a challenging framework forced me to find solutions. The result would be growth over my success, there is no growth from the comfort zone. At first, I found it difficult, as I did not like to ask for help, but I found it much easier to establish a communication with a mentor.

Andrei: My main piece of advice would be that you shouldn’t be afraid. Of course, difficulties will arise, but there is always an opportunity to improve and grow. You don’t have to be a SDET that spends all the time writing tests. There are, for example, test architects who build automation processes on a project from scratch. You can be a SDET doing part of the manual work, but automation will be needed to save your own time.