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SDET vs QA Engineer: Unveiling the Differences

Software development and testing are the most crucial aspects of the software development life cycle. Within these domains, software development engineers in test (SDET) and Quality Assurance engineers (QA Engineers) have played magnificent roles in developing robust software. Although the duties of both individuals resemble each other and share common objectives, they have different approaches to maintaining quality. In this article, we will highlight the critical differences between an SDET and a QA engineer so you can have complete details regarding their duties and work.

What is an SDET and QA Engineer?

A SDET is a hybrid role that combines software development and quality assurance techniques for creating and maintaining test automation frameworks. As a result, he can ensure the quality of software products through automation.

On the other hand, QA engineers are primarily responsible for the manual testing of different applications and design test cases. Moreover, they execute them to report defects and ensure that the software meets the demands of the modern world. While manual testing is a significant part, they also performed some level of test automation.

SDET vs. QA Engineer

In the under section, we have highlighted some points elaborating on the main differences between an SDET and a QA engineer.

1 – Skill Set

The main difference between an SDET and a QA engineer is their skill sets. An SDET has programming skills alongside test automation, continuous integration, continuous deployment, and code review skills. In this way, he can review the SDET course to ensure that the development is done in the right way and that the testing approach is earning the quality goals.

Conversely, a QA engineer can perform manual testing with the help of functional, regression, usability, and exploratory testing techniques. He also has a firm grasp of the principle of test case designs and bug reporting.

2 – Testing Approach

Another major difference between an SDET and a QA engineer is their testing approaches. An SDET primarily focuses on automated testing. So, he designs and maintains automated suits that can perform repetitive and regression tests in a quick session

However, a QA engineer relies on manual testing to verify software functionality and quality. Manual testing is essential for giving centric testing and exploring the predefined false scripts that may not suit the product. As a result, he can ensure that the software behaves as expected by paying attention to the user interface and usability.

3 – Collaboration

Talking about collaboration, an SDET engineer is highly collaborative with software developers, product managers, and DevOps engineers so that he can participate in code reviews and discuss testing requirements. On the other hand, QA engineers mainly collaborate with business analysts and manual testers. Consequently, he can provide feedback on software quality and contribute to the Quality Assurance process

4 – Career Paths

The career parts of both engineers are different. An SDET engineer has a career leading to roles such as automation engineer, Quality Assurance leader, and test architect. Thus,  he can become a software development expert with solid coding skills. At the same time, the QA engineer may progress to roles such as senior engineer and QA manager. However, some engineers are specialized in their fields, such as finance or healthcare. As a result, they can come out as dominant players in this highly competitive landscape.

Final Verdicts

SDET and QA engineers both play critical roles in the software development and quality assurance processes. By focusing on test automation, framework, and development, SDET engineers ensure that your development process is aligned with the latest standards. On the other hand, QA engineers perform manual testing and use a user-centric testing approach to provide comprehensive software quality.

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