I originally started life as a Student Systems Engineer and latterly a Systems Engineer with the Police. This was a cross-functional role which included User Acceptance Testing organised by our supplier and evaluating Biometric Systems.
I enjoyed this aspect of the job and used the experience to find a role in Manchester upon moving back from London.
Software Development is transitioning from Quality Assurance to Quality Engineering. The skillsets are becoming more demanding and diverse.
Testers must avoid the trap of remaining in a manual Exploratory role and seek to develop skills across DevOps, Coding and Release Management.
Specifically focusing on test automation; cypress for end-to-end UI testing, Postman & Newman for API testing, k6 for performance testing.
Software testing will always require human intervention to compliment automated checking performed by tools implemented to shift feedback loops to the left. There could be a downturn in the number of manual roles due to prevalence of test automation and with the rise of Artificial Intelligence being applied to further enhance checks.
What testers must realise is that computers are no good at evaluating usability, look and feel of applications, performing exploratory testing to identify issues and enhancements. These are areas that will always require manual intervention.
Also, as I mentioned in a previous question, the skillsets of testers will expand exponentially with competency being required in DevOps and test automation. Testers unwilling to upskill and keep themselves up-to-date with the latest tech trends in DevOps and Test Automation will be in trouble.