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A lot of companies began to open vacancies for automated testers which are called SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test). This role firstly was popularized by such big companies as Amazon and Microsoft. And now, it is a common thing in actual job descriptions worldwide.

In this article, we’ll spotlight the work responsibilities of SDET and the skills you should improve if you are already an engineer in this field or plan to become one in the future.

Concept of SDET and its Interaction with Developers

So, first of all, SDET is quite a hybrid role in the software testing field. If we analyze a wide range of responsibilities of development and testing departments, we’ll see that software engineers will be closer to developers but will be thinking like real QA engineers.

Also, it’s quite obvious that SDET is the one who constantly writes a lot of program code that has to be clearly structured. He should know how to do a code review, no matter whether this code was developed by his colleague (also SDET) or SWE (a developer).

As follows, SDET can be considered as a test engineer who is responsible for product quality.

Software Development Skills which SDET Is Responsible for

  1. Ability to make, develop and maintain program code.
  2. Ability to do a code review and review other documentation that was created by test engineers; provide technical feedback.
  3. Understanding the process of creating frameworks, and the ability to implement frameworks inside test automation projects.
  4. Ability to create a test automation framework from scratch if necessary.
  5. Ability to analyze possible gaps in test coverage and integration tests.
  6. Ability to independently create a test infrastructure and CI/CD processes that combine different stacks.
  7. Can be a mentor for other engineers on the team.

What Is the Difference between SDET and Test Engineer?

One way or another, a test engineer is somehow related to SET but with more focus on doing other tasks. For this role, the main priority is product verification for customers, with the development department a mere second priority. For example, some test engineers at Google Corporation spend a lot of time developing code in the form of automation scripts that are responsible for user scenarios and can even imitate its activities. They are also responsible for organizing SWE/SET work, interpreting test results, and managing the supervision of test progress, especially in the final stages of projects.

The basic difference between an SDET and a test engineer is a focus on a user: without considering that the test engineer overlaps with the SDET on some automation issues. The test engineer is fully focused on customer-facing parameters, performs exploratory tests, and is busy creating automated software test scripts.

Should an SDET Know Programming Languages?

Yes! Any SDET has to be proficient in at least one programming language (no matter which one). You just need to make a choice and stick with it for a while. If you find it hard to choose, e.g. from Java, Python, or JavaScript – they are very popular, and a lot of products and automated tests are created on their basis.

As soon as you’ve learned one language, you should start learning the second one much deeper – because you will have to analyze a lot of diverse program code and create tests in these languages. Also, it’s worth noting that many software testing companies consider these skills when selecting potential job candidates.


Hopefully, this material has given you some insight into the SDET position and its role in the team. The SDET position is not only about testing at the level of creating various automated tests, it is also about the possibility of direct interaction with the development department when QA engineers perform work on an equal footing with program code developers.

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