Dealing with a slow growth curve in improving automation skills and how that affects ones' career
I have been working as a QA since almost ~5 years now. While I am one of the senior QA in my team, and have brought in other quality aspects to the table, my automation skills are still "beginner". As my jobs have always been manual, with manual : automation ratio being 70:30 or best 60:40, I haven't in all these years been able to improve my skills. more specifically:
I seem to take quite more time to complete an automation task / user story as compared to my other QA team mates.
It takes me time to understand code. I can do it myself, but I need time, more time than my teammates need.
I am not happy about my debugging skills, though I am actively trying to learn from colleagues and myself. Also, I feel like I am not quite there when it comes to adding value to the automation framework.
My issues and concerns:
I feel like I am very slow to grow in this area, could that possibly cause me to get fired? Would it be a better idea to focus on other areas since I seem to be bad at this one?
Why is everybody so obsessed with coding and automation for Quality Assurance/Analysis?
Yes, use of tools does help in testing but its not what testing or QA is. There's so much to quality analysis than trying to automate everything.
Not everyone has equal skills. Some people are good at coding, while others are good at thinking and coming up with good logic. Since college days till current time, I've always sucked whene I tried to write a piece of code myself. I've tried to learn but the growth rate has been so damn slow because most of the time I just don't understand the code. But, I realised that soon enough (while I was in college itself) and also realised that I can come up with a logic for the problem with hand that can be a base for writing good code and solving the problem at hand. So, I write down the logic or algorithm on a piece of paper and give it to my friend (who is good at coding) and s/he writes the code as per the logic.
That's not just it. I am by each day learning how to ask right question at the right time and am always curious. This helps me a great deal in analysing quality of software that I'm testing. Plus, I also try to come up with easier ways for automation rather than writing the code my self. For example, My friend and I were trying to learn JMeter for performance analysis. Although he is good at coding we were finding it difficult to get our hands on JMeter. So I thought of doing it in an easier way and started searching for tools that can give me ready made scripts. I stumbled upon Blazemeter (Chrome's extension) and it worked out very well for us.
So you need to be good at identifying issues and also try to find out better solutions to slove those issues, not just for you but for your developers as well.
You can also train yourself with business analysis and project management skills to grow your career. Automation is not the ultimate or only reason for a good career in QA and testing.
I know a person (used to be my neighbor) how hasen't done actual testing himself (not even manual), but still is so good with his knowledge about QA and testing that he leads a big team of testers at his job place and infact I start my career as his trainee. He didn't need any tools or coding skills for his career growth. All he required (all anybody for that matter requires) is clear thought process, and priorities and a destinaiton in mind for growth. It may happen that the path or even the destination changes over time. Well, that's just the way things are. As you are traversing your path new things unfold and you have to rethink and try different things. But, each path and every individual's journey is different. So don't worry if your not as good at coding as your colleagues. Focus on your strengths and work on them to move forward.