What Is SDET and Why Are Companies Paying Top Dollar to Hire Them?

What Is SDET and Why Are Companies Paying Top Dollar to Hire Them?

The full form of SDET is ‘Software Development Engineer in Test’ 

This role first originated from Microsoft and was later adopted by Google, Amazon, Adobe, Expedia etc. for replacing mundane and repetitive manual testing tasks with automation

Software development, as well as testing, are two crucial phases in the lifecycle of software making and an SDET is able to understand both, turning this into a very lucrative career opportunity!

Now, you may be wondering why is SDET testing so important, well to put it simply…

“If you don’t like testing your product, most likely your customers won’t like to test it either.”

–  Anonymous

Just imagine that Paypal (biggest international payments platform) has an error in its software code, where the programmer added an extra ‘0’ in the sending amount by mistake…

…due to which, instead of sending $100’s, every user is now sending $1,000’s and because of millions of transactions/minute there is a possibility that the company can lose BILLIONS in just a minute, resulting in an irreparable lose to their reputation and clients leaving their platform

So, in order to avoid such scary situations every company invests HEAVILY in testing, leading to BIG entry level SDET corporate packages of upto $100,000/year

SDET salary

SDET Roles and Responsibilities

They are known to take care of the following roles and responsibilities;

  • Ensuring the team is delivering high quality product to the client by performing extensive tests like Unit Testing, Component Testing, Integration Testing, Performance Testing, User Acceptance Testing and more. 
  • Performing Test Automation and setting up test frameworks for multiple application platforms like Web, Desktop, Mobile,  and API.
  • Verifying the business requirements SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Testable)
  • Interpreting customer demands and product objectives for running relevant tests.
  • Comprehending the flow of the code, on how it interacts with every different component and providing feedback to developers on quality of the code.
  • Creating Test Plan, Test Strategy, Test Case Development documentations
  • Taking part in product design discussions to offer input on the testability of functional elements, product designs, and planning or estimating.
  • Building and controlling bug reports in defect tracking tools like Jira.
  • Setting up daily reports of the Smoke and Regression Tests.
  • Creating various test environments and acceptance tests.

How to Become An SDET?

The road map of how to become a tester includes having practical experience by working in quality assurance or testing as well as development. Moreover, the answer on how to become a SDET also lies in the nurturance and cultivation of certain technical as well as non-technical skills which are indispensable for the role of an Automation Tester. We will cover these skill-sets in detail further in this blog.


When Do You Need SDET?

Today IT has become an inseparable part of all fast growing organizations and enterprises. Leading to an unprecedented rapid release of software and its adoption in the market. 

This is where SDETs help these companies by developing high-performance code or designing the testing framework because they play the role of testers as well as developers, thus, overcoming the costs and limitations of hiring multiple people to do manual testing by replacing them using automation.


Difference Between SDET and Tester?

The Test Scope for an SDET is usually much bigger as compared to a Tester because SDET engineers also know the coding details of the software and along with their programming skills; 

They conduct white box testing (i.e. testing the internal working and structure of an application).

While on the other hand, testers have no knowledge about the coding details of the software and with their limited programming skills; 

They only conduct black box testing (i.e. testing the functionality of the application without any knowledge of the internal structure of the program or code).

So, SDET Job Description is much more comprehensive as compared to a normal tester. 

Now, lets look at the main points of differences between the both…




Tests the software or system after the development Is actively involved in the coding and testing processes
Doesn’t know the design and implementation of software knows design, implementation and testing
Is only involved in the testing tasks Checks the performance of the software
Has less knowledge about software requirements Have all knowledge about software requirements and other aspects
Tester are people with less income skills They’re people with high income skills
Tester doesn’t know coding knows coding as well
Starting salary package is $50k-$60k/year Starting salary package is $90k-$110k/year
Has limited roles and responsibilities in software development lifecycle Has full role in all steps of software development lifecycle

Software Development Engineer in Test Skillset

An SDET develops automation to test software. 

Using creative ways to break the software during its functioning by designing scenarios and scripts to expose any issues in the Application.

Technical Skill-Set of an SDET

  • Programming skills — knowledge of one or more programming languages (JavaScript, Java, Python, C#, etc.);
  • Knowledge of test automation frameworks (Selenium, Cypress, Cucumber, Gauge, Saucelabs, Rest API, Junit etc.);
  • Designing skills — exposure to OOD(Object-Oriented Design);
  • Knowledge of testing methodologies and techniques;
  • Exposure to BDD(Behaviour Driven Development);
  • Expertise in performance and security testing;
  • Ability to build a test automation framework;
  • Expertise in SQL and NO-SQL databases;
  • Exposure to Agile + DevOps, etc.

Feeling Overwhelmed by the techy names? As a seasoned coder(at Apple) I can say this much that…

“They’re much more friendly and simple once you are introduced to them by an expert practitioner”


Non-Technical Skill-Set of an SDET

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Team work
  • Creativity


Benefits of SDET Professional 

  • Influence the development, program management, & design teams on technical implementation and user scenarios
  • They deal with end users or customers’ experiences, plus, with their engineering skills so they can also think like a developer.
  • They can automate software testing by using their coding skills
  • Can build, deploy, run & manage the application individually
  • Extensive code coverage through unit testing

Industries in Need of SDET

SDET professionals are largely required in the following sectors

  • Entertainment
  • Advertisment
  • Hospitality
  • Gaming
  • Finance
  • IT


Certification for SDETs 

All good companies know that certifications alone are not enough for solving real world problems. So, they mostly prefer candidates having hands on experience with live projects

So, having experience working in one of the top technology corporates in the world(Apple) and with a deep understanding of the IT sector I(Askar) started working on starting a world class institute dedicated for IT coaching and cofounded DevXSchool(Certified by the US Govt.) along with my wife Adina Tilek in 2019

Where handpicked, TOP IT instructors from FAANG(Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google) provide handheld coaching and support at every step to our non-technical SDET aspirants and make them job ready within just 6 months!

The Corporate Standard Curriculum at DevXSchool has helped our students land their first jobs at companies such as Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Bank of America etc. and 289+ graduates grab an avg. salary package of over $100,000/year

The course is especially designed keeping working professionals(such as you) in mind, so you can learn in your own time.

With Key Features Such As:

  • 108 hours of practical and real world solution focused training
  • Each session followed by relevant exercises
  • Industry specific project implementation
  • Soft-skills training and Mock interviews
  • Doubt clearing and technical support
  • Access to DevX private community
  • Recordings for flexible learning
  • Course completion certificate
  • Placement assistance
  • Resume review


SDET certification is not just a short upgrade from the normal manual tester. It’s a mix of developer as well as tester who has experience in…

  • Project management, 
  • Interacts and Understands end user software requirements, 

They have;

  • Product or domain knowledge, 
  • Participate in product or software designing, 
  • Know how to code and build test automation tools. 

This all-in-one skill set makes the SDET role a perfect fit and HIGH DEMAND within the IT department of almost every industry.

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