What is an SDET? Part 2

Since I have started blogging, a pattern has emerged. I make a post on some topic, it sits out there for a few days, I get some commentary on it, I cogitate on it, and then I feel I have something more to say to clarify my initial point. Well, my last post What is an SDET? is no exception. Here in part 2 I share someinside baseball with you. I found a bulleted list of items I send to recruiters to explain to them what I am looking for in an SDET candidate. This list is reflective of my current role as Test Manager for the Experimentation Platform team at Microsoft, hence the .NET centric view of things. ….and yes, I am hiring SDETs!


What is an SDE-T?

  • Programming experience a must
    • Key here is that the candidate is a Developer. Strong QA candidates without development experience are generally not acceptable for this role.
  • Test Automation
    • Writing code to test code: UI and API level testing
    • Creating, modifying, or designing test frameworks
    • Good: Selenium, JUnit, NUnit, TestNG, etc.
    • Using “canned” products like QuickTest Pro, TestDirector, SilkTest is generally *not* sufficient
  • SDLC and Software Processes
    • Agile/Scrum a plus
  • QA interest / enthusiasm / experience
    • Created Test Cases, Test Plans
    • Debug / troubleshoot issues that they found (deep dive)
    • Bug reporting / triage / prioritization
    • Was responsible for guiding quality on production release
    • Functional, load, stress, user interaction testing
  • Customer focus
    • Customer facing experience a plus
  • "Soft" Skills
    • Communication
    • Driving consensus
    • Leadership
    • Creativity
  • Technologies
    • Must have experience programming a high-level OO language (C#, Java, C++, or C#)
      • C#/.NET experience highly preferred
    • RDBMS, SQL, stored procedures. SQL Server preferred.
    • Web technologies: HTML, JavaScript, web services, XML, CSS

How to sell the SDE-T role to a developer

  • Breadth of experience over narrow focus
  • End to end product expertise. From development to user interaction
  • Subject Matter Expert on product. Has input on product direction.
  • Career “big fish in a small pond”… a strong contributor can really make a name for him or herself. Easier than in Dev because do not get “pigeon holed” and because the QA field is more exclusive.