“With Good Program Architecture, Debugging is a Breeze, because Bugs will be Where they Should be” - David May
Imagine two boxes in front of you. One is painted black, with a big red circle on top; while the other is painted white, with a big red circle on top. This red circle is common to both the boxes; however, are the boxes same in terms of appearance. The answer will definitely be a ‘NO’. In spite of the common red circle, the first box is black; while the other is white. The same logic applies to the issue of SDET vs. Automation Engineer as well.
Both IT professionals happen to be associated with the software testing phase of the Software Development Life Cycle. Moreover, they do have certain common responsibilities, leading many to use the two terms interchangeably. However, technically, this is not correct. Consequently, the difference between a Software Development Engineer in Test and a Test Automation Engineer is what shall be accounted for in this blog.
In this blog, we shall take up the issue of Automation Engineer vs. SDET. The comparative framework will be built on the basis of similarity as well as difference between SDET and Automation Engineer.
Another loosely used term which is confused with that of SDET is that of Tester. If you wish to read more on the difference between the two, do read our blog on “Difference between SDET and TESTER”
What is SDET?
SDET stands for Software Development Engineer in Test. The position refers to an IT professional who happens to remain engaged, both in the development as well as testing of the software. The role of a SDET can be understood as an intermediate one, between a purely tester role and a purely developer role.
These are professionals who are skilled in Software Development as well as Quality Engineering. They not only participate in developing test cases and writing test scripts, but SDET testing also helps in fixing bugs as part of the process. Thus, they help in replacing repetitive manual testing with automation. Their responsibilities include test automation tool development development as also creating test automation frameworks.
If you wish to know more about the position of a Software Development Engineer in Test, along with developing an idea about their key role and responsibilities within an organization; do read our blog on “SDET Meaning: The Future of Software Testing”
Given the association of SDETs with the phase of software testing as well as given their test automation capabilities; it is quite commonplace to consider them as substitutes for Automation Engineers. However, this is not entirely true and it is definitely important to evaluate the issue of SDET vs. Test Automation Engineers.
Who is an Automation Engineer?
A Test Automation Engineer is essentially someone who is responsible for automating solutions for software processes. They are mandated to devise and modify existing technology so that it requires less human interaction.
Automation Engineers are required to work in close liaison with other teams for identifying and eliminating issues by acquiring requirements and executing process test automation. In the position of an Automation Engineer, you will be required to:
- Look for suitable opportunities for test automation within software processes
- Build and run QA Automation Tests as well as execute tests with automation scripts for systems, applications, hardware, software and network
- Detect Quality Issues and Bugs in business processes
- Implementation of the Project Structure
- Acquire requirements from end-users and clients for developing the best automation solution
- Collation of the Process
Within the category of Test Automation Engineer, happens to be the group of Automation QA Engineer. An Automation QA Engineer is responsible for conducting automated testing for the purpose of evaluating the functionality of the software end products. As a Quality Assurance Engineer, they help in determining quality, albeit, they do so with the help of test automation tools, unlike QA Manual Testers who largely rely on Manual Testing.
If you wish to read in detail about the professional job role of an QA Automation Engineer, do check out our blog on "What is QA Automation and What is QA Automation Engineer?"