1. creating the automation project (framework and tests) from scratch
This type of job is found in a company who does a lot of manual testing for its products and wants to reduce it through test automation.
There is no automation in place so it is the automation engineer's responsibility to
- design the automation project
- decide which automation library to be used
- decide how the tests will be created (as unit tests, bdd tests, etc)
- set up the automation project in source control
- create the automation framework
- create the automation tests using the framework
- start running the automation tests in the continuous integration process
This is the most fun and most rewarding type of automation job.
The amount of work is reasonable and the stress low.
2. creating tests using an existing automation framework
There are many companies that have started using test automation in the last few years.
Some of them have a good test automation framework used by a significant number of tests.
Your job is to create more tests and possibly make or suggest changes for the automation framework.
Since you just create tests using the existing framework, the work is neither too interesting nor rewarding.
3. redesign an existing automation framework
There are also companies that have an automation framework and lots of tests created but the framework is incorrectly built and the tests fail rate is high.
This type of job is interesting and fun since there is a lot of redesign required.
But with the fun comes also a huge amount of work since not only the framework needs a lot of changes but the tests as well.
The stress level is high as well since all framework changes need to be done with least amount of impact to the existing tests.
So far, the current job seems to go either in the 2nd or 3rd category.