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Automation Engineer Skills And Responsibilities

What is an automation engineer?

An Automation Engineer is a professional whose main goal is to automate tasks and processes. The goal is usually to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of workflows.

Automation Engineer Skills And Responsibilities 2023

While Automation Engineers don’t have to be software engineers, by default. They can be any engineers, actually.

But given the unrelenting boom of the IT sector around the world, most Automation Engineers these days are in the IT sector and are software engineers.

The domain of automation sort of intersects with software development and system administration. So, an Automation Engineer has to be an all-rounder.

Important Automation Engineer Skills:

Programming and scripting languages:

Programming and scripting languages are the basics, here. The bread and butter, so to say.

This is simply because they facilitate efficient task execution. There are a few industry favorites.

Python is popular for its ease of use and ability to automate complex tasks.

Java and JavaScript, essential in web automation, improve the reliability and speed of web and server-side applications.

Bash and Shell scripting skills enable streamlined routine operations in Unix/Linux systems, boosting productivity.

Familiarity with data serialization formats like YAML and JSON is important for efficient data management across automation tools and cloud environments, improving system performance.

Automation tools:

This one’s a bit obvious, of course. Automation tools are indispensable.

They enhance the efficiency, reliability, and consistency of software and systems.

They simplify complex tasks, reduce manual effort, and minimize the potential for human error.

For instance, Selenium and JUnit are pivotal for automated testing, which allows for quick identification and rectification of software bugs, thereby ensuring high-quality software.

On the infrastructure side, tools like Ansible, Chef, and Puppet help automate setup and configuration processes, which is particularly useful in large-scale environments where manual configuration can be time-consuming and error-prone.

Terraform stands out in managing infrastructure across multiple service providers by using Infrastructure as Code, enabling engineers to handle complex and diverse infrastructure setups with relative ease.

CI/CD Tools:

Proficiency in Continuous Integration/ Continuous Deployment tools is another important technical skill for Automation Engineers.

These tools integrate the work of all developers on a project, automatically testing each change before it is merged into the main codebase.

This helps catch and rectify errors early, leading to better software quality.

Tools such as Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, and Travis CI automate this entire process, reducing the need for manual intervention.

They also facilitate Continuous Deployment by automating the release of new changes to the production environment. This ensures that software updates can be released quickly and reliably, which is very important these days.

The adoption of CI/CD tools is, therefore, a key component of modern DevOps practices and an important skill set for Automation Engineers aiming to streamline software development and delivery processes.

Containerization and Orchestration Tools

Containerization and orchestration tools are transforming how software is packaged, deployed, and managed, making them crucial for automation engineers.

Docker, a leading containerization tool, packages an application along with its dependencies into a lightweight, standalone unit known as a container.

This ensures that the application will run reliably in any environment, reducing the "it works on my machine" problem and facilitating a smooth transition between development, testing, and production.

Orchestration tools like Kubernetes take this a step further by managing how and where these containers run.

They handle tasks such as load balancing, scaling, and secret management across clusters of machines. Kubernetes automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications, thereby handling the complexity of operating at scale.

As more organizations adopt microservices architectures and move towards cloud-native applications, the importance of understanding and using containerization and orchestration tools will only grow for automation engineers.

Cloud Platforms:

Cloud platforms have become a cornerstone in the modern IT landscape, making them an essential area of expertise for automation engineers.

Platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offer a vast array of services, from basic computing and storage resources to sophisticated machine learning and analytics tools.

Automation engineers use these services to build, deploy, and scale applications with significantly less upfront investment and complexity than traditional on-premises infrastructure.

Moreover, these platforms offer automation-focused services and APIs that engineers can use to automate routine tasks, such as scaling workloads or managing backups. This not only saves time and effort but also improves the reliability and performance of systems.

Finally, many cloud platforms offer managed container orchestration services (like Amazon EKS, Azure Kubernetes Service, and Google Kubernetes Engine), which can simplify the process of deploying and managing containerized applications.

As such, familiarity with cloud platforms is essential for Automation Engineers today.

Version Control Systems:

Version control systems, particularly Git, are very important to Automation engineers.

They allow engineers to track changes to code, scripts, and other files, providing a comprehensive history of modifications.

This functionality enables multiple engineers to collaborate effectively on a project, merge their changes smoothly, and revert to previous versions if necessary.

For Automation Engineers, Git isn't just used for code – it's often employed to manage configuration files, automation scripts, and even documentation.

This ability to track changes can be vital when diagnosing problems or understanding the impact of changes.

Moreover, with the rise of DevOps and Infrastructure as Code (IaC), version control has extended beyond software development into the realm of systems and infrastructure.

With Git, automation engineers can apply the same version control practices to infrastructure configurations, leading to more reliable, reproducible, and traceable changes to IT infrastructure.

This makes understanding and utilizing Git a must-have skill for modern automation engineers.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC):

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a transformative approach to IT infrastructure management that's particularly relevant for automation engineers.

IaC involves managing and provisioning IT infrastructure through machine-readable files, rather than manual hardware configuration or interactive configuration tools.

This means that servers, databases, networks, and other infrastructure can be set up, modified, and managed just like software code.

Tools like Terraform and CloudFormation are central to IaC. They allow engineers to define infrastructure components and their configurations as code in a version-controlled way. When this code is executed, the tools automatically set up the infrastructure as specified.

IaC provides several benefits, making it critical for automation engineers. It enhances consistency, as infrastructure setup is repeatable and less prone to manual errors. It increases efficiency, as infrastructure changes can be implemented more rapidly.

It also improves disaster recovery, as infrastructure can be re-provisioned quickly from the IaC scripts. By using IaC, Automation Engineers can create more reliable and manageable IT environments.

This is again a huge developing trend for Automation Engineers. A couple of years from now, proficiency in IaC is going to become a non-negotiable.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Tools:

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools like UiPath, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere are becoming increasingly important for automation engineers.

RPA involves automating routine, repetitive, rule-based tasks typically performed by human workers. These tools allow engineers to design, implement, and manage software robots (or "bots") that can mimic human actions such as clicking buttons, typing, and reading screens.

The importance of RPA to Automation Engineers lies in its potential to drastically enhance productivity, efficiency, and accuracy.

By automating mundane tasks, companies can free up their human resources to focus on higher-value, strategic work.

Moreover, RPA bots can operate 24/7 without fatigue, and with fewer errors than humans, leading to improved operational reliability.

In addition, knowledge of RPA provides Automation Engineers with more tools in their automation toolkit.

While not applicable to every situation, RPA can be an excellent solution for many business process automation challenges, making it a valuable skill for automation engineers.

System Administration Skills:

System administration skills, specifically proficiency in Windows and Linux, are integral for automation engineers.

They lay the foundation for understanding how systems operate and interact, which is vital for successful automation.

Automation Engineers often need to write scripts and use tools to automate tasks on these operating systems.

Knowledge of Windows PowerShell or the Linux command line, for instance, allows engineers to create scripts that can automate a wide range of system administration tasks, from managing files and directories to configuring network settings.

Also, many automation tools and platforms, including container technologies like Docker and orchestration tools like Kubernetes, are Linux-based. That’s what makes Linux skills especially important for Automation Engineers working in DevOps roles or cloud environments.

Also, understanding operating systems aids in troubleshooting and problem-solving, enabling engineers to diagnose and address issues more effectively.

These skills ensure Automation Engineers can build robust, efficient, and scalable automated processes and systems.

Suggested: Automation Engineer Interview Questions That Matter

Automation Engineer Resposibilities:

Designing and testing automated systems:

The primary responsibility of Automation Engineers is to design automated systems.

This, of course, depends on the specific needs and operations of the organization. The goal is to create a system that streamlines processes effectively.

Designing an automation system involves defining its requirements and specifications, creating a detailed design blueprint, and choosing the right technologies and tools to realize it.

Once the design is complete, it is the automation engineer's role to test these systems rigorously.

This could involve unit tests, system tests, integration tests, and even user acceptance tests to ensure that the system functions as expected under different scenarios.

Monitoring these tests, validating the results, and modifying the systems to rectify errors or optimize performance is a key part of their role. Through this iterative testing process, Automation Engineers ensure that the system is robust, efficient, and well-suited to the organization's needs.

Troubleshooting and Maintenance of Automation Systems:

After the automated systems have been implemented, the automation engineer's responsibilities extend to troubleshooting and maintaining these systems.

This involves constantly monitoring the systems to ensure they are functioning optimally, diagnosing any issues that arise, and implementing appropriate fixes.

Besides routine maintenance, automation engineers also need to troubleshoot unexpected issues.

Troubleshooting can range from fixing minor bugs in the system to adapting the system in response to major changes in the operational environment. Essentially, the goal is to ensure the sustained effectiveness of automation systems.

Implementing New Automation Systems:

The implementation of new automation systems is another important responsibility.

Once new systems have been designed, Automation Engineers must then roll them out in the intended environment.

This involves setting up the necessary hardware and software, integrating the system with existing IT infrastructure, and configuring it according to the specifications defined during the design phase.

During implementation, engineers also ensure the new system doesn't disrupt current processes or systems and is compatible with the existing infrastructure.

The process might include migrating data or processes from old systems to the new ones, and performing additional tests to ensure the system is functioning as expected in the live environment.

Implementing a new system often requires careful change management and coordination with various stakeholders, such as IT personnel, management, and the end-users of the system.

Automation Engineers might also need to train other staff members on how to use the new system or provide technical support during the transition period.

Compliance with Industry Standards and Regulations:

In many sectors, particularly in highly regulated industries like healthcare, finance, and energy, automation engineers must ensure that their systems comply with various industry standards and regulations.

These might relate to data security, privacy, reliability, and interoperability.

Engineers must stay updated on these standards and regulations, and incorporate necessary features and safeguards into their systems to ensure compliance.

This might involve implementing specific security measures, ensuring the system can exchange data with other systems in standardized formats, or building in redundancies to ensure high reliability.

Moreover, engineers must be able to demonstrate compliance during audits or inspections. This could involve maintaining detailed documentation of the system's design and operation, conducting regular self-audits, or cooperating with external auditors.

Non-compliance can lead to legal penalties, reputational damage, and other adverse consequences, making this an important responsibility for automation engineers.

Collaborating with Other Engineers and Professionals:

Automation engineers often have to collaborate with other professionals. These can be software engineers, system analysts, data scientists, IT support staff, project managers, and even non-technical personnel.

These collaborations can be for understanding the specific requirements of a system, coordinating on design and implementation, or working together to troubleshoot and maintain systems.

Also, collaborations aren’t restricted to the confines of the organization.

Automation engineers might work with external vendors, consultants, or regulatory bodies. Therefore, strong interpersonal and communication skills are essential for successful collaboration and, ultimately, project success.

Documenting and Keeping Record of Automation Processes:

Documentation is an essential but sometimes overlooked responsibility of an automation engineer. Proper documentation includes clear and detailed descriptions of the system architecture, code, functionality, and troubleshooting procedures.

This is vital not just for auditing and compliance purposes, but also for maintaining and upgrading systems, training new team members, and ensuring business continuity.

Documentation serves as a point of reference that can help teams understand how the system works, what decisions were made during its development, and how to resolve potential issues.

It also ensures that knowledge about the system is preserved within the organization, even if key staff members leave or change roles.

Well-maintained records and documentation enable faster problem resolution, smoother handoffs between teams, and better manageability of the system in the long run.

Suggested: Senior Automation Engineer Interview Questions That Matter

Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does an Automation Engineer do coding?

Yes. Coding is non-negotiable for automation engineers. These are professionals who literally have to design entire systems and processes for companies. Coding is a huge part of that. Important languages include Python, JS, and Java. Bash and Shell scripting are also quite important for Automation Engineers.

What is the salary of Automation Engineers?

We run a job board where we only list remote jobs. The average salary for Automation Engineers on our job board is around $92,000 per annum. However, once you add a few years of experience and skills, salaries can go well over $150,000 per annum.

Are Automation Engineers In Demand?

Yes. As companies move towards workflows and processes that are increasingly automated, the scope for engineers who help them do it is quite high. Thanks to the sheer pace at which companies are automating repetitive tasks, automation engineers have a lot of demand.

Can Automation Engineers work from home?

Absolutely. We’re a remote-only job board where Automation Engineer roles are actually quite popular. One of the things we’ve seen is that they’re not just popular in the US but around the world. So, yes, you can work from home as an Automation Engineer.

What are some Automation Engineer skills for my resume?

Technical skills:

  • Programming and Scripting Languages (like Python, Java, JS, Bash, Shell, YAML)

  • Automation tools like Selenium, JUnit, Ansible, Chef, Puppet, and TerraForm.

  • CI/CD tools like Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, and Travis CI.

  • Containerization tools like Docker and Kubernetes

  • Cloud platforms like AWS, GCP, and Azure

  • Git

  • IaC tools like Terraform and CloudFormation

  • System Administration skills in Windows and Linux

Soft skills:

  • Problem-solving

  • Communication

  • Teamwork

  • Adaptability

  • Project Management

  • Detail-oriented

  • Continuous learning


Automation Engineering is a field that’s growing and it also pays well.

If you’re looking for Automation Engineering jobs, check out Simple Job Listings. We only list verified, fully-remote jobs that pay well. For context, the average salary for Automation Engineers on our job board is $92,000.

Visit Simple Job Listings and find amazing remote Automation Engineer jobs. Good luck!

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