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SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test) professionals are a hybrid combination of software testers and developers. Currently in exceptionally high demand, the most capable SDETs in the USA work in companies like Cardtronics, The Testing Consultancy, and Baker Hughes.

But, what does it take to become a professional SDET? What are some skills and expertise that can steer you towards this profession? From the biggest mega-tech industries to the smallest start-up businesses, everyone needs SDETs to develop core applications and participate in their testing. Clearly, a lot goes into the making of a professional SDET.

This profession requires unmatched technical expertise and knowledge of software development, which is why SDETs are greatly sought after. They aren’t just testers but a mix of developers and software engineers, who are also customer advocates of some sort.

They require specialized information about product domains, software requirements, and overall project management. So, if you’ve decided to embark on this remarkable profession, here’s what to expect.


A professional SDET requires a strong Computer Science or Computer Engineering background. Since the field is related to software development and application testing, any technical degree would do. SDET professionals, however, are not the same as traditional testers.

They are more like software engineers who focus on Test Driven Development to help developers create the right module of codes. Therefore, proficiency in automated testing types and using standard tools like Postman, Terminal, and Selenium will make you a favorable candidate.

Whether you become a successful SDET or not, will depend mostly on your skill-sets. Experience in server side Java or C#, web-test automation and android application development will greatly help you in software development. You should be familiar with different test framework designs and agile testing methodologies.

If you have a genuine interest in software development and validation, then you need to be extremely well-versed in Python or Java. A background in computer programming languages will help you guide the developing process and assist in code building, ensuring that they’re created in a testable fashion.

What You Will Do

A typical day in the life of an SDET is filled with tech-savvy responsibilities. He/she has to automate test cases, validate, and document them after the testing and development is completed.

Since SDETs are part of the testing team, they are also pricy to the software codes. This unlimited access to codes is what truly sets an SDET apart from traditional testers and software developers. He/she has to actively debug the codes and alter them when necessary.

If a certain program needs further or different testing, an SDET will help design and administer it. Working towards continued adjustment of different software, an SDET also aims to maximize end user experience.

Some specific day-to-day duties include designing, developing and maintaining automation frameworks. Web application test cases have to be continuously evaluated along with the development of new and improved tools to enhance QA (Quality Assurance) efficiency.

An SDET also looks for defects, bugs, and regressions in the test cases, and must fix them quickly. He/she does so by designing, implementing, and debugging those specific information technology test cases and scripts.

Core Skills You Need to Get Hired

Now, that you know what to expect from this high-tech profession, here are the main SDET skills (technical and non-technical) to help you get there.

1. Coding/Programming

You need to have extraordinary coding skills. An SDET is also a software engineer; therefore, knowledge and implementation of programming languages like Java, .NET, or C# is a must. Additional experience in database concepts and cloud computing will also help in web application development.

2. Advanced Development Skills

This will include constantly checking test cases for readability and using advanced tools like test automation APIs. Good exposure to Behavior Driven Development will also help to collaborate with the developers and testers in effective software development.  They should have a good command on Agile software development methodologies like AGILE + DevOps management methodology.

3. Exceptional Testing Skills

After participating in codes, they have to be tested for validation. An SDET should have experience in various test methods and corresponding tools like NUnit, Selenium WebDriver, and MS Test. They should be able to use these automation tools to identify thresholds and bottlenecks in existing codes.

4. Communication Skills

SDETs need exceptional communication skills. With excellent written and verbal skills, SDET can read and understand different testing materials like bug reports, test cases, and test strategies. They should be able to collaborate with software developers and engineers to improve the test developments and communicate their thoughts to not just engineers but also senior-level managers and project heads.

5. Quality Assurance

SDETs are required to carry regular audit in the Development process and see where it’s lacking. Thereafter, they should recommend suggestions to overcome those bugs and technical constraints.

6. Project Management

SDET professionals are also part project managers as they work to develop and test software. They have to look over applications, design, and test them in order to move the projects forward and deliver on tight deadlines.  They review and evaluate software repeatedly and therefore, are well-versed in what methodologies will improve the software further, which makes them exceptional project managers.

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7. Customer Service

As professionals, they also have to think about how the technical product is understood and seen by end customers. SDETs should act as customer advocates and develop and test applications that meet the mark.

8. Time Management and Organization

The job gets demanding, especially when the code is being released; therefore, an SDET needs high-level time management skills to be productive and manage the workload.


You’ve probably realized by now that an SDET requires a highly technical degree, preferably in Computer Science. The technical and applied background will help you form a logic-based foundation and thrive in programming, coding, and developing skills.

Why You Should Get into This Profession

In the end, it all boils down to this. The SDET job future is going to be incredible. The highest gross salary of a typical QA engineer can rank up to $106, 067 in Houston, Texas.  Nationwide an SDET can earn up to $137, 509.

The direction of tech-inspired industries and the exponential growth of data have made people realize that testing is infinitely more important than programming. Testing apps require huge resources and budget to be able to find the best possible software solutions.

SDETs are highly demanded because they’re not only software developers, but they are also skilled in quality assurance. This is what makes this profession incredibly dynamic and versatile. While every organization requires developers and traditional testers, only SDETs have proven to be all-rounders for software development.

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