What Is an Automation Specialist?

By Indeed Editorial Team

April 30, 2021

An automation specialist is an IT expert in charge of developing and designing new software systems by reviewing, repairing, maintaining and testing systems to improve business operations. They focus on performing analysis and research to determine the weakness and strength of existing systems. You can develop knowledge and skills in this field and help various organizations manage, facilitate and oversee business automation. In this article, we discuss what an automation specialist is, what an automation specialist does and what requirements you should fulfill to start your career.

What does an automation specialist do?

Automation specialists develop and execute web-based programs to automate the software system, transform and deliver the organization's operating data. They have many tasks and responsibilities they complete when working on automation projects, including:

  • Design and implement QA quality tests using scripts that automatically test system operation

  • Find opportunities for automation within the computer software processes

  • Write code to automate specific processes

  • Install databases and applications crucial to automation

  • Configure hardware and electronic parts

  • Test operating system performance

  • Identify quality issues and bugs in service, development and business processes

  • Collect requirements from end-users, customers or clients to create the best automation strategies

  • Collaborate with other business departments to understand how automation can improve a company's productivity

Automation specialists earn an average salary of $44,725 per year in the U.S. It's important to understand that this estimate might vary depending on the geographical location of the employment, your level of experience and the size of an organization.

Related: How To Use Automation Testing In 5 Steps

Requirements for automation specialists

To become an automation specialist, follow this step-by-step guide to help you start your career:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

To pursue a job in the automation industry as an automation specialist, you must complete a four-year bachelor's degree program. You can earn your degree in computer science, information technology or computer systems management. During your education, you'll gain knowledge in database management, automating systems, coding basics, cybersecurity, troubleshooting IT systems and cloud computing. Earning a bachelor's degree in automation engineering or any related field can help you establish the fundamental knowledge you need to complete your duties as an automation specialist.

2. Complete internships

Finding IT internships enables you to gain extensive experience in automation engineering or related field. This allows you to apply the knowledge you gained in the classroom to real situations and learn about the practical duties of working as an automation specialist. Internships can offer you a better experience and help you decide if you're passionate about a career as an automation specialist. Completing an internship also shows potential employers that you're committed to furthering your knowledge and experience in IT. Be sure to complete internships in fields related to this job and increase your chances of employment.

3. Gain work experience

After earning your degree, gain experience in automation by looking for entry-level IT jobs related to system administration, database administration and computer programming. These roles can give you the expertise and skills you need when overseeing the computer system automation process. Look for professional opportunities where you can practice skills related to automation engineering, such as:

  • Software testing

  • Computer programming

  • Verbal and written communication

  • Risk and cybersecurity management

  • Database management

  • Customer service

Related: 8 Automation Testing Interview Questions (With Answers)

4. Pursue certification

As an automation specialist, you can pursue relevant certifications to enhance your professional skills and help you stand out from other candidates. Applying for IT certifications related to automation can validate your skills to employers and give you an opportunity to review your own knowledge and abilities. Here are some certifications related to automation engineering:

  • ISA Control Systems Engineer (CSE) Licensing

  • IIST Certified Software Test Automation Specialist (CSTAS)

  • ISA Certified Automation Professional (CAP)

5. Consider a master's degree

You can pursue a master's degree as an optional step to becoming an automation specialist. Getting a master's degree might offer you advantages when applying for jobs and advertising your skills to employers. Having a master's degree may also be a requirement for senior automation specialist positions. If you choose to pursue a master's degree, choose a program in information technology, cloud computing, business administration or computer science.

Related: [What Is a Cloud Engineer?](https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/cloud-engineer)**

6. Join IT groups or meet-ups

As you search for a potential employer, be proactive about building your professional experience by joining IT meet-ups or groups might where you can learn more about automation processes and interact with colleagues. During these meet-ups, you might find job connections or expand your knowledge by having conversations with experienced IT professionals.

7. Sign up for a professional association

While pursuing your automation specialist career, it's crucial to belonging to a professional association. You can join professional organizations related to IT and automation engineering to find employment opportunities or take professional development activities. Use these opportunities to develop friendships and look for a mentor to help you advance as an automation specialist. Professional associations can also provide you with regular updates related to the automation industry to ensure you have accurate knowledge of best practices in your field.

Related: Cyber Security Skills: What They Are and How To Highlight Them in Your Job Search

Skills for an automation specialist

Automation specialists require a combination of interpersonal and technical skills to succeed in their positions. Here are some essential skills automation specialists in their day-to-day work environment:

Automation and robotics

As an automation specialist, you should understand how both digital and physical automation processes work. Understanding how robotics and automation work can help you provide your clients with useful solutions to their automation needs. Ensure you're proficient in the system automation process to develop your ability to solve computer software issues through automation.

Capacity for learning

Your ability to learn new things or trends in the IT field can help you thrive in this industry. You may need to quickly develop an understanding of tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Being able to gain skills quickly can help you adapt to the needs of each client and improve your performance at the workplace.

Computer science

Computer science skills like knowing how to operate a computer, managing software, controlling cybersecurity threats and testing computer applications are essential for developing software automation systems. You should also have coding skills so you can create and insert the proper commands for automated tasks.

Project management

As you automate software, you might also have to manage IT projects and work with others. Being able to delegate tasks, track automation results, implement improvements and collect project data all require you to have project management skills. Having strong project management skills is especially important if you want to grow into a leadership role where you make decisions about automation projects.

Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills are critical when creating automated systems. You should be able to identify computer software issues, analyze the problem and think of the actions you could take to improve the outcome. You can use your analytical and problem-solving abilities to offer timely resolutions to automation issues, handle troubleshooting issues and create technical automation control systems to prevent issues before they occur.

Speaking and writing skills

System automation often involves input from multiple colleagues and clients, making communication skills especially important. You should know how to explain solutions to computer software issues in a simple manner that non-technical individuals can understand. Along with being able to articulate technical ideas in conversation, you should be able to use your writing skills to write policies, make code notes and communicate via email.

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