Automation Engineer: Who are they and what do they do?
As more companies turn toward automating employees’ manual tasks, the workplace landscape slowly changes. There are many different (sometimes even polarizing) thoughts on how automation is going to affect jobs, but one trend is already clear: New jobs are emerging as a result of automation.
One of these jobs is Automation Engineer. So, what is an Automation Engineer and what exactly do they do?
The role of an Automation Engineer
The role of an Automation Engineer is centered around designing and developing the RPA element of automation, by creating software robots on the selected automation platform. But their work is not limited to this.
An Automation Engineer, along with SMEs, participates in identifying opportunities for automation within their company’s processes.
During the implementation phase, an Automation Engineer’s responsibilities include dealing with many technical challenges not only in their direct area of expertise, RPA, but also in other areas, such as machine learning, processing large amounts of data, quality control, deployment of ready solutions and others. The role of an Automation Engineer can include:
- setting up, fine-tuning and launching business processes in Control Tower
- setting up ML use cases
- launching the training and tests of IE/Classification models
- distinguishing and solving problems with training sets
- tuning OCR capabilities for better results
- understanding and using environment health checks
- transferring solutions from Development to Testing to Production
This means that one of the main requirements for an Automation Engineer is the ability to successfully communicate with other members of the automation team, including ML Engineers, SMEs, Data Analysts, and the IT team.
Automation Engineer skills
When talking about the skills and qualifications an Automation Engineer should have, it is important to separate what skills an Automation Engineer should have to perform their responsibilities vs the skills that are just nice to have. Let’s start with the former.
To become a good Automation Engineer, one needs a strong technical background:
- Solid knowledge of whatever programming language is required by the automation platform. If you’re working with WorkFusion, you need to have a strong command of Java (at least mid-level), including knowledge of handling Java exceptions
- Experience working with common data formats in Java: JSON, XML/HTML, DOC/DOCX, XLS/XLSX, CSV, TXT
- Proficiency in IDEs, such as Eclipse and IDEA, CI, code-review, VCS tools
- Understanding of HTTP(S) protocol
- Experience in regular expressions and XPaths
Another requirement for an Automation Engineer is good skills in RPA and ML-specific areas of the platform:
- Deep knowledge of use case and RPA dependencies
- Thorough understanding of the bot core, including understanding of the data flow and execution flow between the business process steps
- Skills in tuning OCR
- Experience in automating various types of web and desktop applications, including working with different selectors
- Knowledge of how to handle the data used in the process securely
- Basic knowledge of machine learning and data analysis
It is also nice to have these skills to efficiently work in an automation team:
- Work history in an automation project, knowledge of the RPA development process and division of tasks in the RPA team
- Prior experience in Java-based project delivery
- Good communication skills and ability to coordinate with other teams
While some of these skills can come through practical experience, others can only be acquired from specialized Automation Engineer training.
How to become an Automation Engineer
If you have decided to explore the career path of an Automation Engineer, Automation Academy is a great place to start.
We have designed a special Automation Engineer learning path for partners and customers that consists of several online courses dedicated to sharing the knowledge and skills required for playing this key role in delivering a successful automation project.
The courses take around 3–4 weeks to complete and cover all important knowledge areas required for becoming a certified Automation Engineer: developing bot tasks, building business processes, automating different types of web and desktop applications, understanding the basics of Machine Learning and using the AutoML component in automation.
After completing the learning path, you will be able to develop effective automated workflows that combine robotic automation and cognitive automation, thus helping people move to more valuable work.