What is an SDET ?

Sep 4th, 2012
What is an SDET ?

If you are a software developer looking for a contract or full-time job with companies like Microsoft, Amazon, etc., you've probably been approached by enough recruiters that asked you if you'd be interested in working as an SDET. Your first reaction would be - Testing, now way, but then they start talking about how it involves a lot of coding and now you are confused.


Well, here are a collection of articles that try and explain what an SDET is and does.


From Scott Louvau's blog on msdn http://blogs.msdn.com/b/scottlo/archive/2005/06/29/434121.aspx


From Seth Eliot's blogs on msdn

            Part 1 http://blogs.msdn.com/b/seliot/archive/2010/04/18/what-is-an-sdet.aspx

            Part 2 http://blogs.msdn.com/b/seliot/archive/2010/04/21/what-is-an-sdet-part-2.aspx


From a discussion on Stack Exchange http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/44623/microsofts-software-development-engineer-in-test-position



Sample job descriptions


Google QA Engineer


The area: Test Engineering

Google Test Engineers guarantee that our company's software works every time for every user while scaling to the highest levels. We tackle huge technical challenges that push the limits of computer science. Our team is a collaborative, global organization consisting of engineers with the highest levels of technical depth, programming skill and a passion for quality.


The role: Software Engineer in Test

As a Software Engineer in Test on our Seattle and Kirkland teams, you will examine, validate, and test large scale software development and deployment projects as well as help design and build intelligent systems that can explore various use cases and scenarios.

Google's large variety of products offers an amazing range of opportunities for you to make a big impact on the quality of software seen by millions of people around the world. Your primary responsibility as a Software Engineer in Test will be to work with the development and test engineering teams to automate testing, create new test harnesses, implement new automation tools and create innovative automated test systems.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • BS degree in Computer Science (In lieu of degree, 4 years relevant working experience).


Preferred Qualifications:

  • MS or PhD
  • 1 year relevant work experience.
  • 3 years of development and/or test automation experience. Experience in network programming and/or developing/designing large software systems.
  • Strong programming skills in C, C++, Java and/or Python. Good scripting skills in at lease one common language (Perl, Python, Shell).
  • Highly proficient in UNIX / Linux / Windows environments. Experience with Flash development and MySQL.
  • Knowledge of internet technologies, distributed systems, TCP/IP networking, databases, and Linux kernel.


Microsoft Bing Job Description

The Display Ad Platform is looking for an experienced SDET to build the platform that enables advertisers to improve their ROI on their advertising campaigns through targeted advertising. A core initiative is to develop an industry leading Targeting system across all our ad products and services. Effective targeting helps an advertiser reach their core audience and will drive value to the end customer. Microsoft needs the best targeting system to win in our online efforts. We are working on innovative ways to model user activities and provide relevant ads leveraging user intent resulting in a positive ad experience to the user. You will own the design, test and delivery of targeted advertising services that will help move advertising revenue towards targeted display advertising. You will get the opportunity to create innovative solutions for advertisers and end users.

We are looking for a SDET who understands software testing methodology and has passion for product quality and solving complex automation problems. The candidate must also have experience in test automation tool development and knowledge of Internet based services, Web technologies and familiarity with IIS/XML Web Services. We are geo-distributed team with teams in China, Israel and US. You will be required to work closely and collaborate in product/test development with the geo-distributed teams.


- 2+ years of software development or testing experience
- Strong coding skills in C#/C++ and .NET
- B.S. in Computer Science/Engineering

Experience in online ad platform technologies and familiarity with web services and multi-tiered client and server distributed applications is preferred.

This position offers unique opportunities to contribute in many different ways, from shipping the user targeting platform, to working closely with partners and enabling them to build models for targeting and working with data miners and researchers on algorithms to improve the user targeting features. If you’re excited about making a direct impact on the success of Microsoft’s Online Display Advertising business, then we look forward to talking with you.



Amazon SDET job description

The Amazon Instant Video (AIV) team is offering a truly exceptional opportunity to be a part of a small team working on industry-leading instant video service. This service is used daily by a massive audience on Amazon’s websites, through a variety of devices and will also be featured on the new Kindle Fire. The AIV catalog contains over 100,000 titles, including new and popular titles as well as long-tail and self-published content.  The AIV team is committed to delivering the highest quality customer experience, from massive selection and intuitive shopping to online and living room viewing experiences. 

Our quality engineer team is using open source technologies to build automation tools (no manual testing ) and test frameworks. Our systems meet remarkably high standards of quality, performance and reliability, and operate around the clock on a massive scale. We want to highlight though that we don’t have pager rotation to cover our 24x7 systems. You will design, plan, execute and automate tests of front, middle and back-tier software across a variety of architectures and cutting-edge technologies. You are a talented, detail-oriented and enthusiastic Senior Software Development Engineer in Test who is passionate about quality and is enthusiastic about new digital products. 



The person chosen for this position will have the opportunity to contribute their creative ideas and energy to Amazon Instant Video.  Duties include design, implementation, documentation, and maintenance of test automation programs, the creation of software tools used to perform build verification and regression tests and driving the software development process towards quality-centric methodologies.



Basic Qualifications

• Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or related field and 4+ years relevant work experience, or 6+ years relevant work experience
• Expert level Java
• Experience building and designing test cases
• Experience with testing methodologies (unit, Scrum)

• Familiarity with Linux or other *nix operating systems.

• Experience with scripting languages such as Perl or Ruby


Preferred Qualifications

• Knowledge of professional software engineering practices & best practices for the full software development life cycle, including coding standards, code reviews, source control management, build processes, testing, and operations
• Experience with distributed computing and enterprise-wide systems
• Experience in communicating with users, other technical teams, and senior management to collect requirements, describe software product features, technical designs, and product strategy
• Experience developing in a Linux environment
• Experience with web services and databases, preferably Oracle and SQL

• Familiarity with video technology and/or embedded software a plus



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