Why QA Engineers should have some coding skills
It is my firm believe that over time, QA engineers should learn how to code, or at the very least, understand code basics. Not that they need to be developers, but being able to understand code logic, write scripts, or even full on code, is a tremendous asset.
By going through the fun and frustration of coding, it provides a better understanding of what devs go through so it's less likely there will be those, "This is broke!", moments. It should also give insight into what sort of information helps developers understand and isolate issues.
Further, coding opens up lots of new avenues. The logic of how a program works will make more sense.
Engineers can write scripts for themselves that save a ton of time.
Tools like Alfred and Keyboard Maestro can become testing tools.
It can lead to writing better and more efficient test cases-if A and B work, then C and D will work as well, thus saving time.
It can result in better questions during stand up and grooming sessions. If the functionality works this way, it means these pieces are in play. These pieces work this way. Therefore, I should make a test that confirms "this." And if "this" works, everything in between worked.
In many respects, QA can be a jumping point to a developer role. There is a lot of talk right now about "Shift Left" where Developers and QA work far more closely to create and test software faster. For that to be successful, both sides will need to learn aspects of the others' role.
Over the past 5 years, I've added some Bash Shell Scripting to my bag of tricks and it's saved massive amount of headaches. I've created "apps" and shortcut tools in Keyboard Maestro that I've used for testing. Don't ever doubt I can click a button 1000 times and overload your "Save" button. I've been able to use Groovy to run scripts to help create and parse data. Not to mention writing automation that has saved me hundreds or hours worth of manual testing.
To be honest, it's a great time to be in the QA arena. There are fantastic tools available to accomplish more work in less time than ever before. Even a small amount of code prowess can lead to huge results.
A bit of shell scripting can parse 1GB text files.
A bit of Groovy can parameterize a text file and make dozens of different examples in seconds.
A bit of PowerShell can complete dozens of jobs with one command.
Using Katalon Studio or even the Katalon Recorder can save hours, even days worth of manual entry.
A hot bit of RegEx can boggle your mind.
And with each success, it opens up the possibility of more success. Finding information is merely a click away. There are tons of YouTube videos to get started. There is Udemy and PluralSight for more structured courses. There is Test Automation University geared for the QA community. And of course there are sites like StackOverflow to ask questions, get help and find some pretty cool examples.
You don't need be at a level to write APIs or understand all the intricacies of Instantiating Objects to get some code working for you. With an understand of IF statements, the For and While loops, what an Array is, and a few other straightforward concepts, you can build some useful tools and scripts. From there you will become a better and more efficient QA engineer. From there you will be assigned to bigger and better projects.
With all the languages and tools out there, it's harder to make excuses than finding a tool you can work with.