Preparing for RPA Interviews

If you’re new to RPA and are getting ready to apply for your first job, you’re probably wondering what to expect in the interview process. 

Most likely you’ll have at least two interviews: one (or possibly more) that covers typical behavioral interview questions to gauge cultural fit, experience and background, and a technical interview (usually with an RPA developer at the company) whose purpose is to gauge RPA technical skills and experience.  Here we’ll be taking a closer look at this second category- though some of the topics may be relevant to general interviews and discuss what you could expect in a technical interview and how best to prepare. 

Elevator Pitch 

It’s likely that the interviewer will start the conversation by saying, “So, tell me a little bit about yourself.”  You’ll want to have a polished, 1–2 minute answer (aka “elevator pitch”) ready to go with this one since it forms the interviewer’s first impression of you and can really set the tone for the rest of the interview.   

I like to think of the elevator pitch less as a selling of yourself and convincing them that you’re absolutely the best person for this job, and more of an overview of who you are as a person and why you are pursuing this role.  This question can be especially advantageous if you have a different background than the traditional candidate for this role.  It allows you to highlight the experiences, skills, attributes and values that make you unique and right for this position but might not show up on your resume- and not just work experiences, but also life experiences that have shaped and developed you as a person.   

For example, I have an obvious gap of several years in my resume.  The elevator pitch allows me to address this in a positive way - I was a military spouse and decided to step back from the workforce due to my husband’s deployments when we had young children, moving overseas, and ultimately taking care of a child with a terminal illness - and highlight skills and values that are exemplified in my journey to RPA, such as the willingness to take risks and learn new skills.   

 
RPA Knowledge and Experience 

After the introductions, the interviewer will probably dive right into asking about your RPA experience or ask follow-up questions to the RPA-related topics you mentioned in your elevator pitch.  Obviously, addressing experience can be tricky when pursuing your first RPA job.  If you’ve gone through the WYWM RPA pipeline, it’s important to mention that you were trained through an authorized training partner of UiPath, Blue Prism, and/or Automation Anywhere and became a certified developer (if you have taken the exams).  Be sure to mention that you completed the software- agnostic RPA Analyst course as well and are knowledgeable and experienced with the RPA documents.  This is an area where most developers are not trained but it is necessary in any RPA position.   
 

This is also a great time to bring up the RPA projects you completed for the WYWM courses in order to showcase your practical knowledge and experience.  Be prepared to discuss the objective of the project and how you configured the bot to achieve the desired result.  If you really want to impress, have a project or two ready to go and ask the interviewer if you can screen-share and run it in real time.  Be sure to discuss how exception handling was used in the process and how the queues were managed in the Control Room or Orchestrator.   

In addition to these, the interviewer may ask general questions about RPA to gauge your level of understanding.  Here are a few to think about: 

They may also ask more specific, scenario-based questions such as: 

It’s possible that they will send you a process to automate ahead of time and then will discuss the assignment in the interview.  For a consultant position, they may have you prepare a presentation based off the assignment and present that.  This not only helps them see your technical skills, but also gauge your fit for a client-facing role where the ability to explain technical concepts to a non-technical audience is important. 

In preparation for the technical interview, check out the RPA Challenges on Rallypoint.  These are about the same level of skill that you will most likely see and may be similar to the questions or projects you’ll encounter during the interview process. 
 

Other Technical Skills 

RPA projects often involve other technical skills.  Any additional skills you have, such as SQL, programming languages, data analytics, cloud computing, etc, should definitely be on your resume.  If they are, the interviewer will probably bring them up and want to hear more about your experience with them.  If they happen to ask whether you have experience with a certain skill that you haven’t had any exposure to yet, don’t worry!  The best answer goes something like, “I don’t have experience with that yet, but I’m always eager to learn new skills.”  Since technology is constantly evolving, demonstrating a willingness and enthusiasm to take on new challenges is the most important thing.  If you’re new to RPA, this is obviously something you’re good at- don't be afraid to emphasize this in an interview.    

In addition to technical skills, you’ll want to highlight any project management and agile methodology experience you have, both on your resume and in the interview.  For any position, particularly if you are applying for a consultant or other client-facing role, RPA technical skills are just one part of the job.  The ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, actively listen and other strengths related to emotional intelligence are all necessary.  Be sure to highlight your experiences with and aptitude for these.  Remember that from the employer’s perspective, these are much harder to teach than technical skills. 

One Last Suggestion... 

As you start searching for a job, one of the most beneficial things you can do is network with other RPA analysts and developers.  LinkedIn makes this easy; a friendly connect-request letting them know you’re new to RPA can pave the way for insightful conversations, or even possibly job leads and referrals.  Don’t underestimate the power of connections - it’s one of the most powerful tools you can use when searching for a job, especially in a new industry.   

Blue Prism Certification Exam

If you’re getting ready to take the Blue Prism RPA Developer Certification Exam (AD01), you’ve come to the right place!  Here we will walk through the steps to gain an overview of the exam and discuss some strategies and tips for studying.  

Exam Details and Scope

The first thing to do is create a Blue Prism Portal account (https://portal.blueprism.com) if you haven’t already done so.  Once you are logged in, find the University tab and click on Certification.

On this page you’ll see info for all of the certifications that Blue Prism offers.  Today we’re focusing on the Developer Certification Exam, but I do want to point out that Blue Prism just introduced a brand new Associate Developer Certification.  The WYWM course was designed to prepare you for the Developer Certification, but you can read more about the Associate Developer Certification Path to decide if it’s a good option for you.  Feel free to reach out to one of the Blue Prism instructors on Discord if you have any questions or want to discuss that further.  

The first page has basic exam details, while the second page contains the scope of the exam.  This is extremely helpful to use as a study guide to ensure you have a solid understanding of the topics that will be covered in the test.  As you go through the Scope section, here are a few things I’d like to note: 

Additional Training through Blue Prism University

You can enrol in the Blue Prism Developer Certification Path for free and have access to all kinds of lessons.  For the purpose of the exam, I recommend going through the Mandatory Guides training, and specifically focusing on Advanced Exception Handling, Advanced Work Queues, and Development Best Practices (which you can find under lesson 7). These lessons all have quizzes at the end that are helpful for getting a feel of the type of questions you may encounter on the test, as well as PDF guides for you to download.  I highly recommend reading through and thoroughly understanding these guides before the exam

Other Tips

The exam has 60 questions in 60 minutes, so you need to be as efficient as possible within the allotted time.  When you come across a question that starts with a screenshot of a complex process, it’s a good idea to read the question first before looking at and understanding the process.  Chances are the question is only asking about one small part of the process (exception handling, for example) and there’s no need to waste time understanding what the entire process does.  


In addition to the tips above, one of the best ways to practice is to go through sample questions to become familiar with the wording and format that you’ll see on the actual exam.  You can find numerous practice tests online, just be aware that many answers are incorrect.  Come check out the WYWM Blue Prism Developer Discord channel for lots of test example questions and challenges.  Search for older ones and also keep an eye out for new content that we’re putting out.

UiPath Certification Exam

If you’re getting ready to take on the UiPath RPA Associate Certification Exam (UiPRA), welcome!  Here we will walk through the steps to get an overview of the exam and discuss some resources and tips for studying.

Exam Details and Scope

You can find exam information by going to https://www.uipath.com/learning/certification. If you scroll down to “Get Certified in 5 Easy Steps”, UiPath provides a number of really useful links. 

Click on RPA Associate Exam Details to pull up the Exam Description Document. Here you will find a list of Exam Topics that you can use to study for the test.  This is extremely helpful to use as a study guide to ensure you have a solid understanding of the topics that will be covered on the exam.  

You’ll also see the Exam Details on this document which are good to know.  With 60 questions in 90 minutes, you should have enough time to answer each question without being rushed and possibly even review them all.  

Practice Exam

UiPath offers a practice test that gives you a feel for the types of questions you’ll encounter on the real exam.  You’ll find the link for the Associate Practice Exam under Step 3.  After you take the test, you’ll see the questions you answered incorrectly along with the topic each one relates to to aid with further studying.  You can take this test as many times as you like; however, the bank of questions remains the same though the order is random. 

Other Study Tips

On the certification exam, you may be asked questions about the order of steps you would take to achieve something, such as adding a package, passing arguments in a workflow, or publishing a package to Orchestrator.  Practicing answering these types of questions without being in UiPath can be useful as you study.  

You’ll also see questions where you need to pick the best activity based on a specific scenario.  Having a solid understanding of Excel activities and table functions is necessary for these.  

Being comfortable with string manipulations is really important.  You’ll probably see questions where you have to identify the correct expression from a list of options that just vary slightly from each other.   

Additional Resources

You can find additional practice questions at https://www.rpacertified.com/cert-questions-answers.html along with links to video lessons by Cameron McKenzie. Anders Jensen also has some really great YouTube videos if you want to review certain topics. 

Check out RallyPoint for several videos covering the exam overview, how to register for the test, and how to access your badge once you’ve passed.

Construction Engineer Pivots Career to Robotic Process Automation

Why RPA is a great career for someone pivoting industries

Robotic Process Automation, what on earth are you talking about? was the first sentence I asked
WithYouWithMe when its innovative testing platform spat out my potential tech career matches. I am an Engineer of construction, I lift stuff and move it, I use blunt heavy implements, hammers, sledge hammers, monkey hammers and cordless drills and I have been a football coach for the last 6
years so how can I possibly mess with robots.

RPA is in fact a low code, user friendly and easy to understand methodology that uses software to
copy the end-to-end repetitive tasks of humans so that they can concentrate on adding value to
their workplace instead of being bogged down with repetitive admin tasks. It is engineering and its
tools come in many forms, but my point here is that without question it’s a career that’s attainable,
does not require experience or previous technical knowledge and is easy to learn. Imagine someone’s face when they ask you what you do for a living and you reply, “I build software robots that mimic the actions of human beings” usually their reaction is priceless. So below I am going to try and explain why RPA is a great career to get involved in and why it’s important for the future.

It's Still In It's Infancy

RPA can incorporate a number of technologies like machine learning and language processing which
have actually been around for longer than you might think. Other advancements such as screen
scraping, which is used to extract data from websites, documents and programs also gained
prevalence in the 1990s. Then came the buzzword of all buzzwords, Artificial Intelligence with basic
RPA software being developed in the early 2000’s it started to gain mass attraction in 2015 when
very clever people built software platforms that put much of the above together to create the
modern RPA platforms we see today. Below is what the Blue Prism software looks like.

Because of its ability to take the mundane tasks away from the workforce so they can concentrate on things that require unique decisions, creativity and emotional intelligence, RPA has use cases in almost every sector of business and industry across the globe. It is already highly prevalent in big business especially in the tech space but there is now evidence to suggest it is being adopted widely across mid and small cap companies. In my own experience I have seen start ups looking at RPA almost from inception as a means to scale quickly and efficiently understanding that retro fitting it later on can cost a lot more than embracing it from the outset.

What Might Happen in the Future

As RPA becomes more and more mainstream its logical to assume that its uses will expand. As it takes over internal processes and becomes common place its likely that it will expand to external processes and then innovation could see it used and integrated with other tools on an industrial scale. 

As RPA and AI have become increasingly friendly it is also predicted that its use cases will expand from rules-based implementation to more unstructured and less basic automations. Understanding and dealing with unstructured data as well as using cloud technology and machine learning in more complex ways to contextualise, decipher and decide in a much more ambiguous way.

Thinking About What I could Achieve and Learn

As the title suggests RPA is a great future career, not only do you not need a technical background or a degree in computer science but its only really 5 years old. Technology does move quickly and that’s a good thing, it keeps you on your toes, it makes you stay ahead of the curve and if you like to learn and be involved in meaningful change then RPA can really satisfy those cravings. Being involved in something that’s got a long way to run and is changing the way business operates is something I personally never thought I could do. Yet here I am, a construction engineer a person used to heavy tools and machinery and now as a qualified RPA developer, I am excited to be at the forefront of change and my own growth has been off the scale. WithYouWithMe has taught me that the only barrier to entry is yourself, they have also shown me that like it or loath it technology is only going to become more and more important and embedded in our every day lives. RPA is at the forefront of this and its only just the start.

Written By Neil Liddle 

Associate Instructor RPA

Career Opportunities in RPA

So you’ve figured out what RPA is and are ready to jump into the WYWM RPA pipeline,  or maybe you have been working on the courses for a while and have a new-found love of automation.  And now you’re asking yourself, “What exactly are the job opportunities in the RPA industry?”

If you Google “RPA jobs”, you’ll likely notice three positions: RPA Analyst, RPA Developer, and RPA Consultant.  Here we will take a look at the distinctions between these roles, and what skill-sets are required and useful for each.

RPA Analyst

The Analyst’s role is to identify which manual processes in a company are suitable for automation, as well as to determine the priority in which the processes should be automated.  They have a solid understanding of the business’s structure, priorities and goals, and are the key communicator with the organization stakeholders, the subject matter expert of the process, and the RPA development team.  They are responsible for preparing documents such as the PDD (Process Definition Document), which lays out the details of the manual process. Lastly, they monitor and measure the effectiveness of the RPA process through user accountability testing (UAT) to ensure that it is delivering consistent value to the organization.

Because they are the key player between all of the different individuals invested in the RPA project, the Analyst needs to have excellent project management and communication skills.  They’re constantly asking questions about the details of the processes and the business’s strategies and goals, and are making sure the processes are in-line with the long-term vision of the company, so analytical thinking and problem-solving skills are a must.  It’s also important for them to have a strong understanding of RPA capabilities in order to bridge the gap between the manual process and the automated solution.

The RPA Developer

Typically, there is a team of Developers that work on a project together.  The lead developer (often referred to as the RPA Solution Architect) works alongside the Analyst to ensure the process is suitable for automation and then designs the solution.  The team of Developers build and test the automation with RPA software such as Blue Prism or UiPath.  After UAT is complete, the Developers deploy the solution as well as maintain the bots and troubleshoot when issues arise.

As you can see, the Developer has a much more technical role than the Analyst, so training and hands-on experience in RPA software is vital.  In addition to that, knowledge of programming languages such as VB.NET and C# is helpful and sometimes necessary depending on which software is being used. Though not strictly necessary, exposure to data analytics, SQL, and cloud computing might be a plus for certain projects.  Overall, the most important quality is that the developer is willing and enthusiastic about learning new skills as the need arises.

The RPA Consultant

A Consultant is essentially an Analyst and Developer rolled into one.  Often, Analysts and Developers are internal to a company and design and develop solutions for their own organization.  Consultants, on the other hand, typically work at consulting firms and provide solutions to external client organizations.  They are hired by the client to assess the organization’s needs and capabilities, and then design and implement automated solutions for them.

A Consultant’s skill set needs to span those of both the Analyst and Developer.  As a client-facing role, communication and collaboration skills are paramount, but the ability to design and develop solutions is also important.

Conclusion

So there you have it- the job opportunities in RPA.  RPA is a rapidly growing industry, and there’s an ever-increasing demand for implementation in organizations around the world.  With that comes a massive need for Analysts, Developers and Consultants who are not only knowledgeable about RPA, but also passionate about upskilling as the industry and technology evolves.

The Future of RPA

The Future of RPA

Robotic Process Automation current market size is estimated at USD 1.57 billion with 2021 to 2028
expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.8% (Source Grand View
Research). That’s a very strong growth rate prediction and an insight into where the future is
headed. Of course, these are estimates but it gives great insight into what the industry could
potentially be worth in a few years. With that here are a few key projections and future RPA trends
to be aware of.

RPA and the Cloud

Currently, RPA vendors mostly sell a licence or subscription to companies to use its software. It varies
quite a bit and at times this can be quite complicated. Anything from $995 per individual user to
$5000 per individual user and this goes up as the size and scale of the requirement rises. RPA has
been adopted mainly in-house by using a company's own tech infrastructure and servers and
allocating resources or computers to RPA solutions.


What is starting to take shape recently is the migration to cloud-based solutions. Cloud computing is
basically the idea that all of the hardware and computing power is shared via off-premise servers but
in order to qualify as “cloud”, this should be done over the internet. The advantages of cloud
computing include an organisation’s ability to provide really sophisticated and very powerful
solutions to clients almost instantly and on a massive scale. It provides fast applications and services
because there is no need to install software locally or buy hardware to accommodate expansion.


Cloud computing and cloud services also provide pay per usage, so the costs are dramatically
lowered for businesses and this effectively means all companies can harness the power of the cloud.
So it's logical to assume that the adoption of RPA will be widespread over the next decade.

RPA and Artificial Intelligence

Currently RPA largely works on defined rules but this is starting to change with more complicated AI
technology. As the two merge it is likely that bots will make more judgemental decisions that involve
unstructured data. Machine learning is a subset of AI and deep learning is a subset of machine
learning and they all fall underneath the AI umbrella. These subsets will add massive value to the
RPA space especially in the vision and language processing areas. It will allow documents to be
viewed holistically and decisions made and interpreted for subsequent automation.

As AI gets more and more familiar with RPA the complexity and the intricacy of the use cases grow.
It will be able to provide insights and predictive modeling to help humans make smarter and faster
business decisions.

Intelligent Automation

These are two words that seem to be cropping up more and more. Think of intelligent automation
like a digital worker, a robot able to operate more and more like an employee. As improvements are
made to AI algorithms the digital worker will be able to execute processes in real-time, running
through repetitive tasks as it sees fit and allowing the human to concentrate on creativity and areas
of business away from mundane repetitive tasks. This next step in RPA is likely to further change the
way RPA is viewed. Academics and experienced people in the industry advise that business will be
better served treating bots like employees, adapting the culture of the workplace to view RPA bots
are valid work partners, there to tackle the nuts and bolts of workflow process. All areas of company
infrastructure also need to work on how they view and deal with the digital workforce and there is a
lot to do and plan for in the future around this topic.

What Happens After Intelligent Automation

Once RPA reaches the level of a digital worker that’s able to make decisions and execute processes
mostly unattended, it will be interesting to see where it goes from there. The tech will likely run into
new issues around creativity and strategic thinking. There is not much research or planning around
what will happen at this point but it is clear to see that the future for RPA looks very bright.

Written By Neil Liddle
Associate Instructor RPA

What is RPA?

Did you know that RPA is currently a near-2 billion dollar industry and projected to reach almost 14 billion by 2029?  It’s also predicted to be adapted in some form by 90% of large organizations globally by 2022 and is the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market.

So what exactly is RPA? RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation, and is the automation of manual business processes using automation software.  Mundane, rule-based tasks can be automated with RPA so that the software mimics the actions of a human worker on their computer.

Imagine a human worker in a company’s HR department is regularly tasked with entering every prospective employee’s information into their system and emailing out offer letters.  The human worker pulls the information from multiple sources, enters it all on a spreadsheet before inputting the data line by line into a CRM, and then composes and sends off emails to each candidate for the job offer.  Not only is this task time-consuming and tedious as it must be done for every single prospective employee, it is also prone to typos and other errors every step of the way.

The wonder of RPA is that a “bot” can be configured to complete these same tasks in a matter of minutes or less with no errors.  Efficiency and accuracy of the process are improved, but the human worker also benefits.  Being free from these mundane responsibilities gives them the opportunity to devote more time to challenging and engaging roles such as interacting with and serving customers, solving problems that require critical thinking and creativity, and collaborating with co-workers.

From a business perspective, RPA increases quality, accuracy and productivity while reducing costs.  Employee satisfaction and engagement is raised because the mind-numbing tasks that they once dreaded in their workday are removed.

Customer satisfaction also increases when the customer is able to complete a task online 24/7 with the help of a bot instead of waiting for a human worker to become available during normal business hours.

RPA is currently most popular in banking and finance services, but is becoming more widely used in all industries from insurance and healthcare to logistics and manufacturing as well as the public sector.  To name a few specific examples, Walgreens implemented RPA in their HR department and improved efficiency by 73%. Coca-Cola used RPA to run HR audits, adding 16 extra hours to the workday while hiring no new employees.  Where previously their data was only spot-audited, 100% of their data is able to be audited every day while freeing these employees to add value in more-fulfilling roles

As you can see, RPA is a huge industry with massive growth potential over the next few years.  With the ability to give human workers more time to spend on meaningful, thought-provoking work as well as reducing costs and improving efficiency and accuracy for the company, RPA is absolutely the way of the future.  As we approach near-universal adoption of RPA in businesses over the next 5 years, there has never been a better time to dive into RPA and to be part of this wave of digital transformation.

UiPath RPA Associate Developer Exam Enrollment: How-to

Watch this video to understand the testing procedures, online experience, certification manager and scoring feedback.

UiPath Associate Developer Exam Prep

Watch this if you're ready to start studying for the exam!

Data Manipulation using Visual Basic - Part 2 (Strings)

This video uses UiPath Studio to build a simple process that shows some simple data manipulation using strings. It will help to confirm your understanding of data manipulation, strings, and UiPath Studio.