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Test Automation Trends in South Africa

The role of test automation engineer is not known to many in the job market. Due to the nature of this role not many  are willing to venture into it because they get deterred to learn it due  its high appetite in technical skills. To be relevant in any business one needs to understand the basic principles like supply and demand.  I have sieved through a list of  200  Job postings on  various sites listed below to gauge the demand of test Automation in the market :


Out of the 200 , 60% of the posts were duplicates from different labor brokers. That left 80 posts of which 60%  had  posts that were ambiguous and did not clarify what kind of skills were needed for the post or the data was insufficient. Other posts were outright looking for unicorns(This happens when the post is looking for 5 yrs experience in a tool released 2 years ago, has all the fancy  skills you can think of in the market. They want a certificate that is still in development at ISTQB.). It’s not clear if this type of posts can be attributed to the team not knowing what automation entails or are trying to loosen the entry criterion into test automation because the skill is scarce in south Africa.  See the snapshot below

The number of posts left with conclusive data were 30. The posts looking for candidates to join agile teams or teams that employs devOps were meticulous in their job requirements. One can safely say the most used tool and skill in test automation might have been buried in the obscurity of the posts discarded for this study.The purpose of this study was to determine the extend which manual testing is shifting to test automation and which tools are at the forefront of that shift. It is undoubtedly so that selenium or open source tools are beginning to take root because of IT start-ups are sprouting  in SA.The Column chart below shows skills needed in test automation market in South Africa.
test automation skills search

All Test automation tools have an underlying  programming language making it do what it does. To leverage on its functions or features these programming languages are used to realize business requirements using the tool.  Microfocus UFT tool is the current leader in test automation in South Africa, it reached a level where people assume that when they say they need a person with test automation experience people will automatically know its Microfocus UFT. An example I can use to emphasis this point is how every diaper is referred to as “Pampers” even though “Pampers” is a brand. The bar chart below shows the experience in test tools and their complementary sidekicks  that are explicitly requested on job post found on prior mentioned job sites.

test automation tools search

Based on the world Quality report, devOps and tools related to it are the upcoming thing. Another method I used to verify that the high demand and the shift happening to test automation is not as immediate as it sound in South African as compared to the global scale. I used one of  the most used trend monitor available for free , google trend analyser. According to google test automation is the most sought after as compared Test   analyst role worldwide. see the graph below.

When we zoom into the regions ,that  huge number of  test automation interest is largely accredited to global search. Test analyst role search puts South Africa as number one and Test automation is ranked  number 17, see snapshots below.

One can be rest assured that the test automation market in South Africa is not saturated yet although this status won’t remain for long. Agile practice is going to demand Test automation from software development teams if they need to be competitive.

google analytic test automation

Should one be interested in doing the same research in relation to their job,there are few challenges that I for one did not anticipate when venturing into this exercise. The list below is not  exhaustive  and is limited to my experience.

  1. 100 labour brokers advertising one position for one client creates 100 posts in a search making process of elimination  tedious.
  2. Elimination of vague job posts that had  assumptions in the role
  3. Job posts with contradicting requirements  and fictional skills.
  4. Using multiple terms to refer to the same thing for example the roles below mean the same thing
    • Technical Test Analyst
    • Test Automation Engineer
    • Test Automation Analyst
    • Test Analyst Automator
    • Automation Tester

Observations : 

  1. Agile and devOps teams don’t care much about Test certifications
  2. Commercial tools  will soon have to do more to compete with opensource tools
  3. Dual role testing resource demand is emerging , don’t know how prevalent  this one is going to be.
  4. Coding skills and devOps tools knowledge are the ones to place your bet on.

Test professionals interested in learning test automation , enrolling yourself in an introductory programming course won’t be a bad idea. I recommend java since it has a lot of reference materials on the web. You can go for python as the world trend suggest but at a junior level it won’t be easy to convince your senior test automation guys to hop on the python wagon anytime soon. Don’t get me wrong the more programming languages you are familiar with the better, it also improve your framework design skills. The triple threat of test automation technologies looming is  Selenium,Jenkins,XML or JSON.

1 Comment


Eye opening indeed, one restricts themselves by thinking that they do not meet requirements when looking at job requirements and tend not to apply. You are right, I attended one interview were they asked if I had automation experience and i said no, but they told me that executing test cases on the tool was automation and that’s when i realised that some employers do not understand the true meaning of automation

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