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These are the most in-demand roles in automation

22 Jun 2022

For those wondering what kind of automation jobs are out there, Hays Technology’s Tim Olsen gives a brief overview of the roles as well as the skills needed.

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Automation has become more commonplace across many businesses with the growth of digital transformation. More specifically, robotic process automation (RPA) is being increasingly used as a way to combat technical debt and to free up teams for higher-level work.

According to Tim Olsen, intelligent automation director for Hays Technology: “RPA also addresses the ‘long tail’ of programmes where there is a diminishing return on investment and areas which would otherwise have been left as a manual activity.”

However, there is still a lot of what Olsen dubs “automation anxiety” and he said a cultural shift is key to the success of implementing automation into any business.

“Similarly, uncoordinated, siloed approaches to automation spawn cottage industries with poor return on investment. It is important to consolidate automation governance within a centre of excellence to sweat assets and leverage resources to maximise benefits.”

He added that intelligent automation is wider than just RPA and now includes optical character recognition, process mining, chatbots, machine learning and business process management systems. “The delivery team needs to understand all of these capabilities and be able to utilise them selectively to broaden the scope of automation,” he said.

In-demand roles

In order to address the growing demand for automation, there is also a growing need for automation professionals. Olsen listed the most in-demand automation jobs that are out there at the moment.

  1. RPA developers: These are low-code vendor-certified developers, working in UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere and Power Automate
  2. Business analysts: These professionals are engaging with SMEs, identifying and qualifying opportunities, mapping ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’ processes, collaborating on solution design and supporting build and test
  3. Solution architects: They design optimal solutions at a high level, ensuring connectivity to applications and environments (primarily cloud), assuring security and compliance
  4. Process mining consultants: These would be experts in deploying, configuring and analysing process mining applications, to identify automation and lean opportunities within an organisation’s monitored processes
  5. Project managers: They are orchestrating the resources and delivery according to agreed methodology and standards
  6. RPA controllers: Their job is to perform service management, monitor bots, manage small change, optimise licence usage and manage faults
  7. Centre of excellence leads: They would be accountable for the overall governance and delivery of the centre of excellence, be the primary point of contact for business engagement, and manage strategy and vision as an automation evangelist
  8. Testers: They are responsible for the testing process, facilitating system integration testing and user acceptance testing, test data readiness and preparation of environments

The skills you need

Olsen said that because automation tends to be low-code and business-owned, the skills focus should be on agile delivery to get fast return on investment and build close relationships with SMEs.

“Developers need to be more collaborative and outward facing than ever before. The days of heads-down key crunching are over,” he added. “The delivery team needs to have a broad understanding of process optimisation and the automation ecosystem to find lean solutions that best fit the user journey.”

The growth of automation is leading to a shift away from low-skilled repetitive tasks and creating a greater demand for higher-skilled roles, especially in technology.

Olsen flagged that knowledge of associated technologies such as chatbots and natural language processing are highly rated, as is a strong knowledge of the vendor ecosystems.

However, while a certain level of technical skills will be needed to work in automation, soft skills will also be a critical piece of the puzzle.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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