Ever thought of a career in both Software Engineering AND Testing?

Join DVLA as a Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) and you’ll help build world class digital services that pave the way for future business transformation. In this dynamic role, you can be part of an engineering team responsible for continually driving all aspects of quality improvements.

What is SDET?

SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test) is an IT professional who can work equally and effectively in both development and testing roles. SDETs take part in complete software development process as well as software testing process. An SDET professional’s knowledge is entirely focused on testability, robustness and performance of software testing and development process. They are also able to play a contributory or reviewer role in the creation of designs for production software.

In simple terms, this role is that of a Software Engineer with Testing skills. SDETs are skilled professionals in both Quality Engineering and Software Development.

When do you need an SDET?

Today organisations are looking for a professional who can take part in software development. At the same time, they should also handle testing of the developed software. That’s why hiring SDET helps them as they can work for developing high-performance code or designing the testing framework.

Benefits of an SDET Professional:

  • SDETs professionals can automate the acceptance test by leveraging their coding skills
  • These professionals deal with end users or customers and their experiences. They already possess engineering skills so they can also think like a developer.
  • Able to contribute to the application codebase from time to time
  • Can build, deploy, run & manage the application individually
  • Influence the development, programme management, and design teams on technical implementation and user scenarios.

How do SDETs fit in at DVLA?

“The software development process at the DVLA is genuinely cutting-edge: there’s nowhere else where I would be able to get the exposure to all the different technologies we’re using here. All engineers are open and supportive if you want to learn from them or if you want to demonstrate something new. I’m really encouraged to learn and to bring new ideas constantly. It’s hard work but very enjoyable.”

– Nigel Brookes-Thomas (Principal SDET)

What personal traits should an SDET have?

The ideal person would:

  • Be a confident self-starter with a curious mind
  • Possess high attention to detail
  • Be not afraid to challenge when needs be
  • Be a team player

What do SDETs do day-to-day?

  • Work alongside developers as well as the business stakeholders and strive to automate the acceptance criteria. This means in simple words is – an SDET first understands the requirements from acceptance/customer perspective and also has to understand the way the product is developed in terms of coding language, databases, etc, and then plans a strategy to automate maximum scenarios as possible.
  • Responsible for building robust, and high–quality test automation solutions for functional, regression, and performance testing.
  • Create reusable scripts/tools wherever required.
  • Contribute to both functional and non-functional areas of testing. Functional testing includes testing from functionality/requirements perspective and is largely driven by acceptance criteria or user stories. However, non-functional testing is equally important too. For example, how performant is the application, is the application secure enough, ensure that there are no hacks left in the app which could result in hampering the security of the app and might end up causing a great loss to both customers as well as the organisation.
  • They also participate in the design and architectural design discussions as well as provide effective feedback in code reviews.

How can I become an SDET?

Our Software Development Engineer in Test Development Programme is part of the Centre of Digital Excellence, which was set up in 2018, aimed at recruiting and developing talent in a number of digital areas, allowing us to progress with our digital transformation. A primary ingredient in the development programme are real-world experiences that allow students to practise and experiment with new tools and techniques. 

DDat Skills Snapshot

The table below shows the skills required at each level:

SkillJunior SDETSDETSenior SDETLead SDETPrincipal SDET
1Availability and Capacity ManagementAwarenessWorkingWorkingWorkingWorking
2Development Process Optimisationn/aAwarenessWorkingWorkingPractitioner
3Information SecurityWorkingPractitionerPractitionerPractitionerExpert
4Modern Standards ApproachWorkingPractitionerPractitionerExpertExpert
5Programming & Build (Software Engineering)WorkingPractitionerPractitionerExpertExpert
6PrototypingWorkingPractitionerPractitionerPractitionerExpert
7Service SupportWorkingWorkingPractitionerPractitionerPractitioner
8Systems DesignAwarenessWorkingPractitionerPractitionerExpert
9Systems IntegrationAwarenessWorkingPractitionerPractitionerPractitioner
10User FocusAwarenessPractitionerPractitionerPractitionerPractitioner