To better explain, I mean marginalized in terms of tasks assigned, and not socially marginalized. I will further explain the situation.

Now, to give a better background:

I started an internship in embedded at this company in july that lasted for 4 months. In november, I started my job as full time. Now, as far as the job post and interview are, the requirements were pretty clear and that pleased me.

Thing is, for the whole internship, me and the other 3 interns did nothing else but writing automated test cases in Python. Was a bit of a let down for me, but I said it's fine for now, since it's an internship, and it's also my very first job, so I rolled with it.

Fast forward and I got into full time. From 4 people, only me and another guy got hired. The other guy, already by the end of the internship, got switched to development for a quite important feature, alongside a junior dev. I, remain still, as of today, just tasked for fixing failing automated tests, and nothing else.

I noticed that I kind of am kept away from development on the current project, since my senior (which was supervising us in the internship) and my project leader seem to really avoid giving me anything that is not related to automation testing, hence is why I even spend at times, hours without anything to do, since automated test cases don't fail all the time.

I am a bit frustrated by this. The job was clearly in embedded, and not for an automation testing engineer. Maybe I'm not seeing something in the picture, maybe I'm just stupid since I'm a noob in the industry.

I feel like an idiot since everyone is busy with development tasks, while I'm the only one in my team doing what I do. At the end of the internship, I spoke about this to my supervisor and my project manager. Let's say that they all went with the "eventually you will..." thing, but nothing changed so far.

Have you ever encountered such a situation? What would you do in my place? Is it my fault? I'm really confused and frustrated honestly.

I apologize for the long post. Thank you.

  • What kind of job did you originally apply for? Jan 20, 2020 at 14:53
  • It was an internship in embedded. That was also clear by the requirements in the job post, and what I was asked in the interview.
    – CatalinC
    Jan 20, 2020 at 14:57
  • 3
    It's only been ~six months. I would give it one year at least. Jan 20, 2020 at 15:02
  • Well, that sounds reassuring a bit. I'll be patient then.
    – CatalinC
    Jan 20, 2020 at 15:08
  • And what is the problem? Automating tests is important as well. Having free time at a dev job means you get to be paid for studying new skills. Consider learning new tools and frameworks, maybe even automate the automation of tests. Pyhton and some of its frameworks might be in higher demand than some embedded tools. That being said, you probably feel like you need more tutoring, so maybe express that to your supervisor. If you want to work with development of the actual embedded thing, then talk about this, and a good manager will know when to involve you (which might not be right now).
    – Mefitico
    Jan 20, 2020 at 18:57

5 Answers 5


It may be the case that the group just needs someone to deal with automated tests for the time being, and you drew the short straw (so to speak).

On the other hand, it may be that you were seen as being good enough to bring on board -- you were hired, after all, while half of your intern group was not -- you have some skills that need to improve in order to be trusted with higher-risk work.

The only way to find out is to ask. So ask, explicitly, what's up.

But make sure when you ask you phrase it appropriately -- positively and forward-looking. Not: "I'm unhappy that I have to work on this crummy stuff, why did I get stuck doing it?" but rather: "I would like the opportunity to work on that cool stuff, what do I have to do in order to get such an opportunity?"

  • Thank you. I guess I'll try to bring up this subject with my superiors again.
    – CatalinC
    Jan 20, 2020 at 15:07

Seems like your senior trusts you with writing test cases more than he could afford you to put into something else. That's a very common practice in software industry. I had the same situation where I was put into some technology stack that I wasn't too keen on working and barely ever had work. So I proposed to my manager that I find myself often available and not doing anything, give me another task alongside this one. This way I didn't give any kind of bad impression since I didn't reject my current tasks.

He actually liked the idea and I was pulled into another project that was much more interesting. Eventually, through my sweet talking, performance & workload, I convinced my manager to put me into the other technology for full time.

If this doesn't suit well to your situation, you can always utilize your free time and research on things you want.

  • Interesting. I was in fact also curious to know if this test cases practice was common among beginners, so I'm kind of glad to know I'm at least not treated differently for some reason. Thank you for your answer.
    – CatalinC
    Jan 20, 2020 at 15:30

I read your complete post and I do understand your situation. According to me, there are multiple things you can do in this situation:

  1. Start interacting with your leads and managers and try to develop a friendly and healthy relationship with them. That is very important in the place you're working.
  2. Request your lead to put you on a development project (tell him that even a small project or some modules of a project will also do).
  3. When you have nothing to do, try to develop some useful code which you can discuss with the lead so that he/she will come to know your interest and will be confident for you.
  4. Apart from the job, enhance your skills with courses, certifications and boot camps. If you develop your skills, you can switch the job where you can get better opportunities.

I hope my advice helps.

Thank you.

  • Really nice. I know for sure that tomorrow I will have a talk with my superiors, but I appreciate all your other advices. I also like the idea of writing some useful code, might also help a lot. Thank you.
    – CatalinC
    Jan 20, 2020 at 15:33
  • The content of this answer is good, but the formatting needs a little help. I tried to edit it, but it said there were too few changes to save the changes. Jan 20, 2020 at 17:52
  • @CatalinC Thanks for appreciating
    – Arpit
    Jan 30, 2020 at 9:15
  • @computercarguy I would love to seek some formatting advice from you. It will make my content better. Thank you.
    – Arpit
    Jan 30, 2020 at 9:16
  • @Arpit, looks like Jay took care of it. Look at his changes and also look up how to format MarkDown, since it's very similar to how this site uses formatting. Jan 30, 2020 at 16:51

As a knowledgeable and capable worker, you deserve to work on meaningful and challenging problems. I'm sorry that you feel that you haven't been able to do that.

As another answer points out, you should speak with your manager (or another trusted leader in the organization if your manager is not being responsive) about how you're feeling. You should propose potential solutions such as completing the testing work but also taking on a core part of another project.

You might also take time to reflect on what personally excites you about projects you've worked on. Testing may be very important for the business, but may not align with what gives you energy. Different people have different "sources of meaning" and your own source of meaning could change from project to project. Think about what your source(s) of meaning might be, and share your thinking with your manager, who can help you find work that aligns. Potential sources of meaning (with examples) might be:

  1. Self - Enjoying learning new skills and becoming more productive or effective as an individual.
  2. Team - Enjoying seeing your team succeed as a group. Enjoying the development of others on your team.
  3. Organization - Enjoying contributing to an organization that is renown or achieving outsized success compared to peers.
  4. Customers - Enjoying providing a great experience or product for your customers.
  5. Society - Enjoying the chance to contribute to society as a whole (e.g., addressing global warming or disease).

I noticed that I kind of am kept away from development on the current project, since my senior (which was supervising us in the internship) and my project leader seem to really avoid giving me anything that is not related to automation testing, hence is why I even spend at times, hours without anything to do, since automated test cases don't fail all the time.

Besides continuing to work your leadership team for more firm timelines on when you can work on more embedded development, you can proceed more informally too.

Here's what I would recommend:

  1. Ask for access to the source code and use your down time to study on your own.
  2. Devour all documentation and diagrams.
  3. Talk with other embedded engineers over lunch or something else informal and build relationships. Try and ask them intelligent questions about the product and code.
  4. Identify the "nice" and knowledgeable engineers willing to take you under their wing. Then work with your leadership to be mentored by one of these people on a project.

There are many approaches you could try, but the important point is to keep trying.

Side note: Engineers that write code (embedded, software or something else) really need to write their own tests. There is very little accountability to write reliable code otherwise.

  • +1 for the four suggestions, -1 for the last paragraph. You might want to review the Joel Test, specifically the part about testers. The guy who wrote the code is usually the WORST person to task with testing that code. Jan 20, 2020 at 22:03

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