Hi! I’m Takuya Suemura at Autify. I am primarily a Test Automation Specialist who promotes the importance of automated testing both internally and externally. I also work in technical support, meaning I help solve technical issues in users’ environments. Recently, we have begun recruiting Technical Support Engineers (TSEs) who, as the name suggests, specialize in technical support. Technical support is absolutely fascinating to me, and several other corporate blogs have also discussed its appeal. However, awareness is still not where it should be. The importance of TSEs is well understood overseas. Compared to initial response staff, Tier 2 and higher-level technical support require more advanced technical skills and knowledge, which is reflected in their salary. Meanwhile, in Japan, TSE positions are often treated as junior-level jobs. In this article, I would like to shed light on what TSEs do, what makes their roles attractive, and what skillsets you need to become one.

The role of TSEs at Autify

Autify is a test automation platform that’s used for a wide range of websites. Naturally, behind these websites are a wide range of tech, including JavaScript libraries and frameworks, etc. That alone makes testing complicated. To make matters even more complex, Autify supports cross-browser tests. If you include real mobile devices and OS versions, it’s not hard to imagine the sheer number of combinations that have to be tested. It’s not uncommon for tests to not run correctly on certain browsers, operating systems, or websites. The Customer Success team (the CS team) are the first ones to hear about such issues. If it’s a general (known) issue, they will point you to the relevant FAQ article or suggest a temporary solution using JavaScript or something similar. If the CS team cannot solve the issue, they will create an investigation request task, which gets passed on to the Technical Support team. We often receive issues such as the UI element not behaving as expected after clicking, or actions such as text input not working in complicated UI. The primary role of TSEs is to review these inquiries swiftly and, if possible, prepare temporary solutions for the customer. We will often provide the workaround as JavaScript steps, but in some cases, we may do a hotfix (an urgent fix issued separately from regular releases).

The difference between TSEs and other engineers

There are several reasons that we distinguish TSEs from other professions, such as back-end engineers. One reason is to solve problems faster by having a separate cycle from the development cycle. Autify uses Scrum development, where each sprint lasts for two weeks. Therefore, if we were to stick to this cycle (without plugging in), the initial response to an inquiry may take up to two weeks. It’s not good to keep the user waiting. We used to address this issue by having a “CS Day” when each engineer would prioritize requests from the Customer Success team. However, we have changed this system; now, TSEs handle requests on a separate cycle from sprints. Of course, TSEs do not work entirely separately from the development team; they also develop in the scrum cycle with the development team. TSEs work in both development and support, which makes them responsive and flexible. Another reason is to show respect to troubleshooting professionals. Troubleshooting is an art. It takes a certain talent to sort through all sorts of information, isolate the cause, make inferences, and identify the root cause as quickly as possible. If you can work like that and have a passion for it, you would be extremely valuable, especially with technical skills. We distinguish between TSEs and other engineering roles to emphasize that we are looking for both skill and talent. We are looking for skilled troubleshooting experts. Your expertise will be highly valued at Autify.

What makes TSEs an attractive role

As the title says, I think the strength of TSEs is that you get to know everything. Autify is a platform for test automation, but its components are many and varied. Autify Recorder, a Chrome extension that records tests, the AI-based element identification component, and Autify Cloud, the real browser environment, are some of the main components. Of course, the applications being tested are components too, and so are OSSs (open-source software) such as Selenium. When something goes wrong while a client uses Autify, the first step is to quickly identify which part of the system is causing the issue. To identify the issue, we need to be aware of what each component does. Of course, it would also be helpful to know where each log is stored and what the most recent changes were. TSEs need the ability to look at things cross-sectionally without being overly focused on a specific area. It’s the perfect job for curious people who want to be involved in the product broadly, rather than being specialized in one area. Something else that makes the TSE role attractive is that you get to solve puzzles. Technical support can sometimes be like playing detective. When an issue arises, technical support needs to piece together fragments of information, such as logs and stack traces, infer what happened, and verify it. Sometimes it can seem dull, like a completely white jigsaw puzzle. But it’s very satisfying when the last piece falls into place. Similarly, you get elated when you finally find the correct information in a huge log. Those of you who don’t like this kind of work wouldn’t understand, but those of us who do love it!

Skillset and mindset required for TSEs

In terms of hard skills, TSEs require knowledge of automation tools such as Selenium and knowledge of JavaScript and web browsers. Since you will troubleshoot for various websites, you will also need a good understanding of how web applications work. Front-end knowledge is especially beneficial (I didn’t realize how much front-end knowledge I’d need until I joined Autify!). Also, knowledge of the latest frameworks such as React and Vue and older libraries such as jQuery can be helpful. This is because the websites being tested may be built with old technology. In terms of back-end, knowledge of protocols such as HTTP, authentication techniques, encryption, and proxies are often helpful. Soft skills are just as, if not more, important than hard skills. To be successful in the role, you will need to be a passionate troubleshooter and have an intense curiosity to know everything. You would need to proactively get information from various sources. To be a truly reliable TSE, you will need to be so familiar with Autify that you can confidently answer any question about it. No one wants to encounter issues, but TSE is a job for those who enjoy encountering various edge cases and mysterious phenomena every day (of course, the users are the ones who suffer the most, so we want to prevent them as much as possible!). I’m the type of person who’s a passionate problem solver with a deep curiosity. Having someone similar would be reassuring, and I think we’d get along well.


I hope that this article has helped you understand why TSEs can be appealing, even though it may seem dull. If you’re interested, we’d love to hear from you!

TSE Job Description and Application Form