Has anyone struggled with being an SDET and figuring out how to add value to a business?
Most of the other dev/engineering roles seemed to be much more clearly defined, for example at my company…
- Platform - Kubernetes, Terraform, Azure
- Backend - C#/.NET, Azure
- Frontend - React, Material UI, React Query, Next.js
- Fullstack - All the above
- BA - Write stories for a particular functional area
- UI/UX - Create figma designs for new/updated functionality
- Manual QA - Test stories and bugs
Where an SDET slots in is not obvious. We already have unit tests, in memory integration tests, PACT tests and Cypress tests setup by the developers. We are missing a small but broad set of UI tests but I don’t like this perception that SDET’s are just essentially black box UI test creators. We push out to production frequently so most UI tests are redundant because someone in the business will notice any high priority bugs that are introduced faster than it takes a UI test to run (e.g. an issue with login). Because of our PACT and integration test coverage we don’t feel we need a seperate set of black box api tests.
The other devs can understand the code you write as an SDET but as it’s often a departure from their day to day work there is rarely any interest. Those on the manual QA side are often interested in the outcome of automated testing but often don’t have the coding experience to understand what you are doing. As a result you end up stuck in this sort of purgatory where no-one truely is invested in the work you are doing.
I feel like just being a developer is better for getting a more clearly defined set of day to day tasks, that may or may not include some testing activities.
Those that feel comfortable in an SDET role what sorts of tasks have you done to add value to the business?