What Is SDET? Role and Responsibilities Explained

There is confusion among the Tech community as to who is an SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test). Are they developers who can write tests? Or are they testers who can help automate tests through writing codes? And why was this role even created?

Ever since Agile got introduced to software teams, it has changed or rather affected many designations and positions. To name a few roles like project managers, test managers, dev managers, module leads, etc. Agile preferred calling each person in the team as team members or scrum team members, rather than dev, test or PO, etc. It has slowly resulted in a skillset overlap between different roles that have caused development and testing to work closely together.

SDETs are IT professionals who can work equally and effectively in both development and testing roles. They participate in the entire software development process and software testing. Their knowledge is entirely focused on testability, robustness, and software testing and development performance.

Comparison Between SDET and Manual QA

As the name suggests, manual QA testers test an application by hand. They are like any normal customer who uses an application but with a focus on minute details and edge cases by trying different input combinations.

Behavioral or Functional Testing in QA mainly concentrates application’s functionality. Functional Testing focuses more on the external factors in an application, such as how users use the app and what they expect it to do when given a certain input, as opposed to how the app actually works internally.

SDETs focus on applications from both Functional Testing and White Box (The term ‘white box’ is used because of the internal perspective of the system) perspective. In other words, they know how the app works on the inside and how to test it by poking it from the outside—which ensures higher quality standards and fewer defective software products.

Software Development Engineers in Test must know all about Black Box testing and be proficient programmers to ensure that their products are of the highest quality and less buggy.

When Do You Need SDET?

Today, organizations are looking for a professional who can do two things: develop and test software. This is why hiring SDETs makes sense, as these engineers can work on both sides of the software development process.

Benefits of having SDETs in your team:

  • – SDETs can automate acceptance tests by leveraging their coding skills.
  • – These professionals have the best of both worlds: They can think like developers and deal with customers.
  • – They provide extensive code coverage through unit testing.
  • – They ensure that the application is functioning correctly through UI testing.
  • – Can develop, deploy and run the application individually.
  • – Work with the development, program management, and design teams to ensure that the technical aspects of a project are implemented correctly and that the user experience is flawless.

What Skillset Must an SDET Have?

Since an SDET is a profession that encompasses many different areas of expertise, one also needs a wide range of skills to be successful.

  • – A tester should have knowledge of software architecture, the programming language used to build it, and the frameworks used in it.
  • – They should be able to debug the bug, check logs for errors and create reports.
  • – They should be able to build, deploy, run & manage the application individually.
  • – They should be able to investigate customer problems referred to by the technical support team.
  • – A tester should know DevOps tools and monitoring, databases as well, performance and security testing of the software and preventive solutions, and basic bug fixes if needed.
  • – Good verbal & written communication skills.

Ideally, an SDET should be familiar with C#, .NET, Java, or other programming languages. Someone who has worked in an agile and DevOps environment will have a distinct advantage. An SDET should have experience with various test methods and tools like MS Test, NUnit, TestNG, and Selenium WebDriver.

Who Is Looking for SDETs?

Companies are adopting new technology and methodologies, which is why Software Developer Engineers in Test jobs are in high demand. Here’s a list of fields in which SDET software professionals are needed:

  • – FinTech
  • – Gaming
  • – Software Development

An SDET professional is a hybrid of a developer and tester, with some project-management skills thrown in. This unique skill set makes SDET jobs more challenging and rewarding in the current marketplace.

Salary and Perspectives

According to Payscale’s research the average yearly base salary of SDET in the US is $89,000  (15.03.2022). Meanwhile, the average Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer Salary is $72,000, and Average Software Tester Salary is $56,000. 24% difference is quite significant, isn’t it? 

And it’s not only applicable for the US. For example, according to the research of ITjobsWatch the average salary of SDET in the UK is £65,000. Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer, in turn, is offered 18% less on average.

A lot of Software Developers in Test continue their career as Senior Software Engineers with an average salary of $120,000.

Learn Mobile Native Test Automation to become an SDET. We have a dedicated online course:

Test Automation at Engenious

At Engenious, we are all about test automation. It is our niche expertise that we are particularly proud of. We are committed to growing our community and supporting incoming SDETs with different resources, free webinars and much more.

If you are interested in learning more about our company you can subscribe to our social media platforms. 

If you’re looking for an exciting career change and ready to learn how to automate tests for iOS apps, we can help. We have created a special course called – iOS Test Automation with XCUITest. It’s 100% hands-on training for the testers who would like to make a shift in their career and become Mobile SDET.

October 27, 2022

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