A great read for me is “How Google Tests Software” by James A. Whittaker. Google, while they may be iterating on this concept, outlined two very distinctive roles in the testing world and it helped me to really understand where I stood in the STLC.
They discuss the SET and the TE, both of which are pretty crucial to the life cycle of testing. The SET (Software Engineer in Test) is basically a developer that builds tooling, infrastructure and write automated tests. The TE (Test Engineer) is the product expert. They perform risk analysis, build test plans, write automated tests, perform manual tests and really put the processes in place for the team to succeed on the testing front.
Each of these are two very big roles and it’s hard for one engineer to be both. Typically, based on skill set and experience, an engineer would be one or the other. It’s a great read from the company that puts out huge products at the pace of a startup.
This book helped me realize that I was trying to be a TE when I am definitely an SET. I could communicate my skill set much better in the interview process and also help my team in ways I couldn’t even have imagined because my efforts were much more focused on my actual skill set rather than what the company believed a quality engineer to be.