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Created on 30.05.2022

IT jobs: What exactly does a test automation developer do?

Mike Aeschbacher, you work as a developer in test automation with PostFinance. What do you do, what technologies do you work with and what do you find challenging about your job?

Mike Aeschbacher, what exactly does a test automation developer do?

The idea behind testing is to essentially scrutinize websites, apps or computer programs that companies are developing before they are rolled out to users, or even afterwards if they are already being used. Whilst our colleagues in manual testing perform these checks manually, we write software programs that allow automated tests to be performed, especially in the case of more complex procedures, or repetitive testing.

Where is automated testing needed?

Let’s take the PostFinance App as an example. Any functions that customers can use via the app must be tested, for instance transfers from one account to another, or switching languages. In the case of an account transfer, the correct sum needs to reach the right place. And when switching from German to French, it’s important to ensure the information is actually visible in the selected language, and that the texts match. The more frequently a function is used, the higher up the testing priority list it’ll be. How often a test is repeated will vary from product to product. The PostFinance App is tested two or three times every day on various mobile phones.

What exactly does your role entail?

If a function is to undergo automated testing, we write the necessary software. As a basis, we use an automation framework that we developed – and are constantly expanding – which can be used to control smartphones/the PostFinance App remotely. Our role also involves finding solutions so that repetitive testing can be triggered automatically at the required rate.

What is your professional and educational background?

I completed an apprenticeship as an application developer at Swiss Post, which gave me the opportunity to work as a trainee in various IT teams within Swiss Post Group after a one-year basic training course in IT. During my first apprenticeship, I worked in manual testing for PostFinance, which is how I got into testing. I’ve worked in this team since PostFinance’s test automation department was created. I’ve now worked for the Group for ten years, and in test automation for about seven years, with a few breaks. Last autumn I also completed my part-time degree to become a technician in computer science specializing in application.

What do you think is especially attractive about working in test automation at PostFinance?

I feel that at PostFinance, opinions are valued, regardless of management level or communication channel, which I really appreciate. Everyone’s equal. This mindset and the culture of trust have an impact on day-to-day work here. I’m free to chip in with my own ideas and to put them into practice.

What are the biggest challenges you face working in test automation?

In test automation, we try and balance testing and development. We not only offer software for automated testing, but also interfaces that allow manual testers to build automation solutions with our tools without having to develop them themselves. It’s quite tricky to try and strike a balance that works for both us as developers and the manual testers who do not have development experience. It is also a challenge keeping up to speed with the all the different technologies, if only in terms of all the smartphones and browsers we deal with. If you want to automate something, then you need to get to grips with the underlying technology first. As a matter of fact, we are classic full stack developers who are capable of doing everything. After all, test automation is an all-rounder job. We can’t rest on our laurels. For us as computing nerds, this is challenging and exciting at the same time because we’re always learning new things.

And how do you keep up to date?

We get lots of on-the-job input, for instance from the development teams behind the apps, or from e-finance. If there’s something we don’t know, we learn about it and acquire the necessary expertise. Either independently using tools like Google, or as a team. We have an open team culture where we share knowledge and learn new things. 

What technologies do you work with?

Online we mainly use Angular (front end) and Java Spring (back end) at the moment. MongoDB and PostgreSQL are used as databases in the background. The automation framework we mentioned earlier, which we set up, is based on Java, and uses Selenium for web automation and Appium for mobile automation. The automation infrastructure is made available using Docker.


Mike Aeschbacher

Mike Aeschbacher works in the test automation team at PostFinance.

Welcome to the PostFinance IT department

We’re developing and progressing in IT. Why? Because we are all about moving forwards. We are spearheading digitization with innovations and new technologies. And this is where you come in: we are looking for pioneers like you to help us shape the future. Are you looking for an exciting challenge in a dynamic environment? Welcome to the PostFinance IT department.

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