SDET Overview and Career Path

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In this article, we will discover following things.

  1. What is SDET?
  2. Why SDET is needed?
  3. When SDET is needed to an organization
  4. SDET vs SQA
  5. SDET vs Developer
  6. SDET vs Automation Engineer
  7. SDET core responsibilities
  8. Other responsibilities of SDET to perform
  9. Career choosing as SDET
  10. Requirements to become SDET
  11. SDET Career Path
  12. Things to learn for growing SDET career

What is SDET?

SDET means Software Development Engineer in Test. It’s a role that is intermediate between a software developer and a tester. SDET term is first used by Microsoft. After then this term is used in giant companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, etc.

Why SDET is needed?

Due to some limitations of manual testers, nowadays organizations are looking for professionals who can adopt new technology and methodologies and take participation both in software process automation as well as testing. SDET professionals are skilled in both coding and software testing. They have deep knowledge of software engineering, SDLC, and STLC process. Therefore, SDET software professionals are highly on demand.

When SDET is needed to an organization:

1. When a software system is robust and tough to manage manually.
2. When data-driven testing is needed with a huge amount of data with lots of combinations with test scenarios.
3. When the entire process needs to be monitored continuously.


QA Job responsibilities

  1. Taking part in the project planning phase
  2. Writing acceptance criteria
  3. Writing and executing test cases
  4. Finding defects
  5. Applying various testing strategies
  6. Preparing status reports
  7. Creating testing documentations

SDET Job responsibilities

  1. Taking part in the project planning and design phase
  2. Verifying acceptance criteria
  3. Ensuring code statement and branch coverage
  4. Finding out and analyzing the root cause
  5. Conforming adequate non-functional testing is covered and gives support to developer and DevOps
  6. Reviewing the product code throughout the development lifecycle
  7. Doing bug advocacy if needed
  8. Creating test strategy and supports to SQA
  9. Creating and updating automation scripts for performing regression/sanity/smoke test suites
  10. Research and analyze various automation tools and SQA work process to make it smooth

SDET VS Developer:

The main difference between software developer and SDET is, SDET professionals are not committed with software development directly but has a proper knowledge over its architecture.

The SDET ensures better quality standards as well as a less defective software product.

We can call an SDET professional a Full Stack Test Automation Engineer.

SDET VS Automation Engineer:

Now a question can arise in mind that what is the difference between SDET and automation engineers?

In most cases, SDET and automation engineers are treated as the same. But there are pretty much differences.

SDETs are capable of reviewing the code itself, writing unit tests, algorithm testing, and approaching the test coverage having proper domain knowledge with a developer’s mindset. An SDET must have vast experience in software processes and how to test software.

On the other hand, automation testers can write scripts that can perform User Acceptance Testing and Regression testing automatically having partial domain knowledge.

Let’s explain it precisely. Automation Engineers write scripts for any platform like web/mobile/desktop which complies with all the test cases provided by manual testers so that it doesn’t need to test all the cases repeatedly by the manual testers.

But an SDET not only can write scripts but also measure the software performance, analyze the scalability, test if the backend process is fully functional by integration testing and able to automate the automation process by CI/CD tools.

Automation Engineers can be compared as a gray box tester and SDET as a White box tester.

SDET core Responsibilities:

  1. Taking part in both SDLC along with STLC process.
  2. SDET should know the internal architecture of a software process.
  3. Setup automation framework and write test script in various automation frameworks in any programming language on any platforms like web, mobile, and desktop.
  4. Researching test tools, methodologies, and software automation process.
  5. SDET should also able to set up, maintain, and operate test automation frameworks.
  6. Optimize software running process by performance testing.
  7. Working with the DevOps team to perform the deployment process smoothly.
  8. Ensures the final quality after software release in production.

Other responsibilities of SDET to perform:

  1. Investigate customer issues referred by the technical support team.
  2. Create and manage bug reports and communicate with the team.
  3. Ability to handle technical communications with businesses, DevOps, and other teams to understand client’s systems and requirements.
  4. Creating test plans, test strategies, and test cases.
  5. Analytical skill over complex software systems.

Career choosing as SDET:

If you love coding but want to work with software process-oriented activities like software testing, security, automation, and deployment rather than software development, then you can choose SDET for your career.

Requirements to become SDET:

In order to become an SDET professional, you should have the following 5 skills:
1. Programming Skill: Programming or software development is an essential skill to become an SDET professional. You don’t need to know any development framework essentially, but you must have good programming skills in any language like Java, JavaScript, Python, PHP, C#, etc., and Databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc. You can find the top 10 programming languages here.
2. Sound knowledge in SDLC Process: You should know the SDLC process properly and how software is planned to design, develop, and test, etc.
3. Agile and DevOps: You should know the CI/CD process, agile methodology, troubleshooting, basic server maintenance, and IT administration.
4. Communication and Time Management: You must have good communication skills and time management ability. Your mindset is to deliver tasks on time and wonderful team collaboration.
5. Learn Automation Tools: Automated Testing is the heart of SDET professionals. So you must learn automation framework, tools, and technology like Selenium, Appium, TestNG, Cypress or another JS-based framework, API automation technology like Spock and REST Assured framework, JMeter, Postman, BDD tools, Docker, CI/CD tools like Jenkins, Circle CI, etc.

SDET Career Path:

Every career has its own way to reach the final destination. SDET role follows these steps to achieve the career goal.
1. Jr. SDET:
Experience Level: From fresher to 3 years of experience.
Responsibilities: Create automation test scripts, write test cases and bug analysis, learning new tools and technologies.
2. Sr. SDET:
Experience Level: From 3 to 7 years of experience.
Responsibilities: Working with several test automation frameworks, contributing software architecture design, investigate technical issues and solutions, optimizing software performance, creating test automation strategies, Ensures product scalability, participating CI/CD process management, deployment process, and guiding juniors.
3. SDET Manager:
Experience Level: From 7 to 10 years of experience.
Responsibilities: Working along with Sr. SDET, collaboration with other departments, and managing team.
4. Test Architect:
Experience Level: From 10 to 15 years of experience.
Responsibilities: Design software architecture for multiple projects, Requirement analysis, and collaborate with clients and stakeholders, Supervise development team, and test team about any technical dependencies.
5. Managing Director:
Experience Level: From 15 years to later
Responsibilities: Controlling all business operations, giving strategic guidance to the management board, ensures the company achieves its financial vision, mission, and long term goals.

Things to learn for growing SDET career:

You can start your SDET career by learning the following essential things. On this website, we will learn very basic things about these topics. But keep in mind that, you must have to be up to date with the latest tools and technologies.
1. Java / JavaScript
2. MySQL / MongoDB
3. Automation Framework like Selenium / Cypress / Puppeteer
4. GIT for version management
5. TestNG / Mocha as a test runner
6. Appium for mobile app testing
7. BDD for behavior data-driven testing by Java or JavaScript
8. Spock / REST Assured / Axios Framework for API automation
9. Postman for API testing and collection runner
10. JMeter for load and performance testing
11. Jenkins / Circle CI for continuous integration
12. Docker for automating the application deployment process
13. Shell Scripting for understanding CLI command
14. Apache / NGINX for server management
15. AWS / Azure for cloud computing

We will learn all things gradually.

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One Comment on "SDET Overview and Career Path"

    […] Testing is the process of evaluating a system or its components with the intent to find that whether it satisfies the specified requirements or not. In simple words, testing is executing a system in order to identify any gaps, errors, or missing requirements in aspect to the actual desire or requirements. Software testing is mainly 2 types. (a) Manual testing b) Automation Testing […]

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