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What Does An Automation Engineer Do?

An automation engineer takes charge of developing detailed design specifications and any other documents. Automation engineers develop automation software that is based on certain requirements for the involved process. They conform to local standards, international standards, and other process-oriented guidelines. Their duties also include the simulation and testing of automated machinery and processes. The must-have skills for this position include configuration software experience, scripting and coding expertise, certifications, and in-depth knowledge of technology.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real automation engineer resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Work with GitHub to manage source code repositories and perform branching, merging, and tagging depending on requirement.
  • Manage the national design and implementation of desktop systems, including LAN, electronic messaging, and PC build and support.
  • Perform inter-departmental audits documenting ISO compliant results with associate corrective action requests in order to achieve company-wide certification.
  • Develop automation scripts for quality assurance in Perl and ruby.
  • Analyze modules and designer test scenarios and test scripts in UNIX environment.
  • Set up or update configuration files on shell script for system setup in Linux environment.
  • Execute the batches (shell scripts) in UNIX that invokes Java programs and SQL loader to load data into tables.
  • Involve in documenting test cases and packaging test suites and making them available to all of engineering and QA using JIRA.
  • Debug the test scripts, create batch tests, verify the test results and report the defects using JIRA & ALM.
  • Design and develop automation framework settings and implementation of Java, JavaScript.

Automation Engineer Overview

An automation engineer annual salary averages $82,908, which breaks down to $39.86 an hour. However, automation engineers can earn anywhere from upwards of $63,000 to $108,000 a year. This means that the top-earning automation engineers make $45,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become an automation engineer, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a quality assurance tester, tester, software tester, and systems tester.

Automation Engineer Jobs You Might Like

Automation Engineer Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 13% of Automation Engineers are proficient in Python, Test Scripts, and PLC.

We break down the percentage of Automation Engineers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Python, 13%

    Implemented Switches and Routers configuration keywords function for RobotFramework library using python library telnet.

  • Test Scripts, 5%

    Identified Test Cases for Regression Suite and designed Automation test scripts using Descriptive Programming and advanced Object Identification methods.

  • PLC, 5%

    Core Responsibilities: Building and troubleshooting control systems Planning and implementing projects Programming and Troubleshooting PLC controls systems

  • HMI, 5%

    Installed HMI Touch Screen Interface for automated packaging operation

  • Java, 5%

    Designed, developed and implemented Keyword Driven automation testing framework utilizing Java, TestNG and Selenium WebDriver.

  • Control Systems, 4%

    Monitored automation and controls systems design, specification, programming, simulation and testing and development of control systems.

"python," "test scripts," and "plc" aren't the only skills we found automation engineers list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of automation engineer responsibilities that we found, including:

See the full list of automation engineer skills.

After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming an automation engineer. We found that 65.4% of automation engineers have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 15.3% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most automation engineers have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every eight automation engineers were not college graduates.

Those automation engineers who do attend college, typically earn either a electrical engineering degree or a computer science degree. Less commonly earned degrees for automation engineers include a mechanical engineering degree or a computer engineering degree.

Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become an automation engineer. We've found that most automation engineer resumes include experience from Arrow Electronics, Lumina, and General Dynamics. Of recent, Arrow Electronics had 493 positions open for automation engineers. Meanwhile, there are 221 job openings at Lumina and 198 at General Dynamics.

If you're interested in companies where automation engineers make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Google, Bloomberg, and Gilt Groupe. We found that at Google, the average automation engineer salary is $143,342. Whereas at Bloomberg, automation engineers earn roughly $141,492. And at Gilt Groupe, they make an average salary of $133,758.

View more details on automation engineer salaries across the United States.

In general, automation engineers fulfill roles in the technology and manufacturing industries. While employment numbers are high in those industries, the automation engineer annual salary is the highest in the technology industry with $91,712 as the average salary. Meanwhile, the retail and manufacturing industries pay $83,428 and $83,383 respectively. This means that automation engineers who are employed in the technology industry make 17.5% more than automation engineers who work in the automotive Industry.

The three companies that hire the most prestigious automation engineers are:

    What Quality Assurance Testers Do

    A quality assurance tester, also known as QA tester, has different responsibilities depending on the line of work or industry involved. In a computer development setting, they are in charge of working and coordinating with technical engineers. They have to conduct regular tests for new software and programs, identify inconsistencies, and find areas for improvement. Furthermore, a quality assurance tester must produce reports from the tests, which can be the basis of progress for further developments.

    In this section, we compare the average automation engineer annual salary with that of a quality assurance tester. Typically, quality assurance testers earn a $13,634 lower salary than automation engineers earn annually.

    While their salaries may differ, one common ground between automation engineers and quality assurance testers are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like test scripts, java, and jenkins.

    These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. An automation engineer responsibility is more likely to require skills like "python," "plc," "hmi," and "control systems." Whereas a quality assurance tester requires skills like "project management," "bug fixes," "data warehouse," and "back-end." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

    Quality assurance testers receive the highest salaries in the finance industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $79,390. But automation engineers are paid more in the technology industry with an average salary of $91,712.

    Quality assurance testers tend to reach lower levels of education than automation engineers. In fact, quality assurance testers are 9.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 1.2% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Tester?

    The role of technical testers is to test computer software for defects, bug errors, or any issues that may come across by an end-user. They mainly conduct product testing and prepare reports about any problems or recommendations for improvements. Other responsibilities include reviewing test plans, assessing and analyzing product specifications and requirements, and mapping out testing strategy. Technical testers also frame the test environments or support network management staff and system administrators. Qualifications for this position include knowledge of the database or structured query language, proficiency in Linux commands, and proficiency in defect tracking tools.

    The next role we're going to look at is the tester profession. Typically, this position earns a lower pay. In fact, they earn a $23,225 lower salary than automation engineers per year.

    A similarity between the two careers of automation engineers and testers are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "test scripts," "java," and "jenkins. "

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, automation engineer responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "python," "plc," "hmi," and "control systems." Meanwhile, a tester might be skilled in areas such as "metasploit," "test procedures," "troubleshoot," and "data warehouse." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    Testers may earn a lower salary than automation engineers, but testers earn the most pay in the telecommunication industry with an average salary of $80,127. On the other side of things, automation engineers receive higher paychecks in the technology industry where they earn an average of $91,712.

    When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, testers tend to reach lower levels of education than automation engineers. In fact, they're 14.8% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 1.2% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Software Tester Compares

    The responsibility of software testers involves the quality assurance of software development and deployment. Software testers conduct manual and automated tests to make sure that the software is developed for its purpose. They remove the issues and bugs within a product before deployment to users. Their responsibilities include software and systems analysis, risk mitigation, and software-related issue prevention. They should have skills in automation, programming, social networking, logical thinking, and mobile and web technology.

    The software tester profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of automation engineers. The difference in salaries is software testers making $12,037 lower than automation engineers.

    By looking over several automation engineers and software testers resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "test scripts," "java," and "c++." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from automation engineers resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "python," "plc," "hmi," and "control systems." But a software tester might have skills like "data integrity," "bug fixes," "software development," and "project management."

    Software testers make a very good living in the professional industry with an average annual salary of $86,052. Whereas automation engineers are paid the highest salary in the technology industry with the average being $91,712.

    When it comes to education, software testers tend to earn lower education levels than automation engineers. In fact, they're 6.4% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.8% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Systems Tester

    A systems tester is an information technology expert who specializes in developing test structures to identify the strengths and weaknesses of systems and software. They primarily work to identify and eliminate bugs to ensure quality and client satisfaction. They may also perform clerical tasks such as preparing reports and findings. Furthermore, as a systems tester, it is essential to recommend solutions against problem areas, all while adhering to the project's budgets and the company's policies and regulations.

    Systems testers tend to earn a higher pay than automation engineers by about $3,708 per year.

    According to resumes from both automation engineers and systems testers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "python," "test scripts," and "java. "

    While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "plc," "hmi," "control systems," and "git" are skills that have shown up on automation engineers resumes. Additionally, systems tester uses skills like test procedures, software development, os, and test reports on their resumes.

    Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The telecommunication industry tends to pay more for systems testers with an average of $107,145. While the highest automation engineer annual salary comes from the technology industry.

    Systems testers reach similar levels of education when compared to automation engineers. The difference is that they're 2.4% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 0.2% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.