I have worked as a functional, black-box tester for over 8 years in the Software Industry. I am a skilled exploratory tester and have found a lot of critical problems in many products over the years.

I have been appreciated for my exploratory skills. I use heuristics to guide my test design and have been a reading a lot on the Context-driven school of testing.

However, I have never used such tools to aid my testing. I am still using old techniques to test.

Now, I see my value is declining. Organisations now want to hire technical testers that can write automation frameworks in Selenium webdriver, Java/python and CI/CT tools etc.

I know the basics of core java and a bit of selenium. Also, I am 30 plus, and I have seen that my motivation, drive to learn and remember has decreased drastically.

How can I make a smooth transition to become a Technical tester or SDET in the next year?


  • Marking as to close, because it is "primarily opinion-based". There other forums better suited for this discussion, such as the Ministry of Testing's Club club.ministryoftesting.com Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 8:01

4 Answers 4


Quote:- If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.

Automated testing requires more discipline compared to manual, Learning automation is not difficult but it requires a focused and planned approach. Keep this in your mind Cheating is acceptable in automation if you understand what you are doing. As you have more than two months to finish this year Follow these steps in the mentioned order.(Assuming 2-3 hours of study per day)

  1. Go to any free learning website, pick a language and start learning it. You should be done with the basics of that language within 10–15 days.
  2. Do some practice to gain concept on hackerrank, Geeks4geeks...etc. It should take another 7–10 days to get you comfortable with it.
  3. Now you know the basics of a programming language and can fairly do stuff using it like string manipulation, searching, sorting... etc.(Trust me if you reach to this stage, you are 80% done!!!)
  4. Download an IDE for Java(In your case) & Get familiar with it. It should take you another 1–2 days to get the basics of IDE.
  5. Now start to learn selenium. Don’t go in detail just understand the high level of it. Quickly skim through the content. Integrate selenium in your IDE. Should take 1 day.
  6. Now choose any demo website of your choice(which you know best).
  7. Now use StackOverflow or sqa.stackexchange to set-up the basic structure of code for selenium web driver in your IDE.
  8. Start automate login page only try to automate everything which you can do manually for the page. Don’t do anything other than this. Keep it simple, make it work if errors come up debug it. Once it starts working go through each and every line of code you have written for this and try to understand its need and importance. Devote 7–15 days for it in beginning.
  9. Take a break. Feel Happy and move to the next page. Keep implementing things & google wherever you are stuck and keep learning. Even most experienced Automation tester google very small things.
  • 1
    I'll note that if you're going to be using Selenium, then Geb is a fantastic JVM DSL on top of it that I've used for both screen-scraping and test automation. Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 0:32
  • This answer doesn't really take into account the fact that OP has a job and possibly a family... does that mean take your "day" estimates and multiply them by likely... 4-8x?
    – Mars
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 1:03
  • @Mars You are right... it depends on the individual, I am assuming a person will spend around 2-3 hours on daily basis as per need of an hour. Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 5:19
  • For test automation and lacking more information, Python is probably the way to go for OP.
    – Mast
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 11:26

Organisations now want to hire technical testers that can write automation frameworks in Selenium webdriver, Java/python and CI/CT tools etc.

Well, you already know how. It just takes time and action, you need to pick up one of these automation tools and learn it. That's your part and other ppl can only guide you on your way.


... don't let yourself be fooled by thinking that automation is the key to everything. I honestly think somebody like you with a lot of experience with context-driven testing is much more valuable as a Tester than someone who can code (in Java, Python etc.), but doesn't have this testing mindset. So don't try to get rid of it, just build on top of it by learning some tools.

Sorry if I'm off topic, but I see this attitude too often. Companies just hire Developers to do the work of Testers and they think how smart they are. I'd rather hire a good Manual Tester and teach them some automation tool than hire a good Programmer and teach them how to think like a Tester.


so just for motivation purposes. I have been working as Testmanager and also for functional tester for many years. I am in same position like you, changed it to Automtion engineer - and surprise - at the age of 38 years!

There are few steps how in my way it worked:

  • Broad your technical skills like Java and/or Phyton with Focus e.g. on automated Framework

In my case, I used Java with Selenium. There are couple of Online "How-to-dos" in generating testscripts e.g.

Art of testing Selenium

Appium Tutorial with selenium


In my ways I searched for different Online Tutorials starting with the very low level beginning of programming.

  • Learn with Online tutorials

I also started to broad my skills in Java (because we uses Java + Selenium) on free online Courses like Sololearn. There I Tried to broad my skills in Java and it helped me to understand the object-orientated programming language better.

Also very helpful is Angie Jones blog in Java



WHAT I DID wrong

Maybe it also helps you, what I did wrong starting my carreer as test automation engineer (at the age of 38). At the beginning I was desperated, because I was trying to much. This means learning different programming languages and using too many frameworks. Because I was also responsible for checking out the test automtion tools (e.g. SauceLabs, HP QFT, Selenium, Ranorex etc.). At the end I used too many time for research issues (What is the best autoamation tool, what is the best programming language for test automation etc.) But at the end, the test automation procedure works as the same (searching for xpaths / css selectors etc.). So in your case I would try to focus on Java/Phyton and Selenium. This will help you to gain deeper insight how test automation is generally working.

And afterwards you can broaden your skills step by step. That´s also what I am doing. Now I am 40 years and still learning... :-)


I have also been in similar situation in functional testing services. The way to transform to automation engineer is to get started with small steps.

  1. Pick any programming language Java or Python.
  2. Learn about the language concepts such as data types, inheritance, abstraction, interfaces, methods, classes, objects, String and Lists etc and try to creating programs around these regularly. It will make you more confident about language concepts.
  3. Practice as much as you can and be consistent and regular in your learning Every query in path of learning would be found on google.

Keep practicing and try to automate your application under test.

  • Robot Framework sucks as a programming language, but if you start with that you don't need to understand half the words in step 2.
    – JollyJoker
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 12:23

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