Rise of the Software Development Engineer in Test – SDET

October 20, 2019    By Admin

“Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence!” – Edsger Dijkstra, Dutch computer scientist.

The industry today has awakened to the fact that testing is actually more important than programming. Testing apps requires a bigger budget for tools and resources compared to programming. Every organization today is hunting for the best possible talent. Earlier software developers used to write code and testers checked it for quality. This won’t suffice today.

Software Development Engineer in Test (SDETs) are skilled professionals who are adept in the arena of both QA Engineering and Software Development.

Though it’s great to have someone with skills and expertise that are high in demand, it also creates a bit of confusion as to what really comprises the duties and responsibilities of SDETs. A regularly faced ambiguity is regarding the difference between an SDET and a QA Engineer.

SDETs vs QA Engineers

While the roles of SDETs may seem very similar to those of QA Automation Engineers, with even most of the tools and language expertise required being the same (Selenium, Java, and Jenkins), there are certain very obvious and clear differences between the two roles.

An SDET, in layman terms, is a developer who instead of working in the product development team, works as part of the test team. In essence, SDETs are responsible not only for writing code but are required to test the code as well. SDETs are required to continuously write, test, and fix the code they write. Their roles and responsibilities are based on the Agile lifecycle model. SDETs usually are professionals who have very strong analytical, technical, and problem-solving skills.

On the other hand, QA Engineers are testers who do not need to have any programming experience as they usually are not exposed to the code. This clearly creates a demarcation between the roles and responsibilities of SDETs and QA Engineers.

SDETs: The Need

With the need and importance of software testing accepted across the globe, what, when, and how to test are areas that have never stopped evolving.

Most of the products and apps today require end-to-end Test Automation – especially in the areas of Functional, Performance, and Security Testing. SDETs, with their dual abilities in the areas of code development as well as performing tests (such as those listed), are a great fit in today’s’ digital age. They help improve the Code Quality by performing strict and detailed source code reviews along with checking for the Testability of the code.

Armed with specialized testing knowledge of multiple tools, techniques, best practices, and processes, SDETs today has become a crucial part of development ecosystems. Based on their development experience, knowledge of technical architecture and design, and their programming skills SDETs are required to write a code to test the code written by developers. In addition, they are also required to write unit tests and also perform white box testing.

Following is a list of a few tasks that SDETs are usually responsible for:
  • Building robust, scalable, and high-quality test automation solutions for functional, regression and performance testing
  • Developing code for quality automation and ensuring extensive unit test coverage of the code
  • Building, customizing, deploying, and managing the environment/ test automation frameworks
  • Checking for product scalability, reliability, consistency, and performance
  • Participating in design and architectural discussions
  • Performing high-class debugging
  • Preparing Test Reports

In essence, SDETs are Customer Advocates who influence product design by understanding end-user expectations. While functional and automation testers will always be required, SDETs may prove to be the all-rounder that most organizations are looking for.

iPivot has a decade of expertise as an independent testing services provider. Contact iPivot’s team of testing experts for your testing requirements.