Software Engineer in Test
These roles are similar to QA engineers in that they tend to have a lot of the same responsibilities around test cases, planning, and quality testing. One key difference though, is that software development engineers in test (or SDETs) are also responsible for building and creating programs to help with testing and quality. Depending on the specifics of the role, this can mean more QA or more coding. The coding in the role is seldom on the product itself, but instead on other programs to help increase the quality of the product.
Sometimes SDETs can be responsible for developer tools — like a software build system, code repository — or deployment tools that can help other engineers write better, higher quality code. Even though the title is different, a good SDET could easily be a software engineer; they just think differently or have a passion for developer productivity. This is different than a QA engineer, who usually doesn’t have the programming chops required to succeed as a full software engineer.
Questions for Software Engineers in Test:
- Q: Why an SDET role over an SDE role?
A: Theoretically the roles should be similar in skill around coding, but different in the way they think and what the candidate is passionate about. Asking why they love testing and what draws them to that role is an insightful way to understand the candidate’s passion and what makes them tick.
- Q: Tell me about a tool you built. How was it used? What was the impact to the team?
A: This role is often focused on building tools to support and improve their team and process, so it’s important they think about their work in this context. How was the work defined? How long did it take?
- Q: Do automated testing tools make testing easier?
A: Possibly. For small projects, the time needed to learn and implement them may not be worth it. However, for larger or ongoing projects, they can be valuable. Follow up by asking for examples of common test automation tools. These include code analyzers, code coverage, recorders, load and performance tools, and many more. You can also ask the candidate about what each tool does.
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