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Need for SDET in Product Development

With the rise of digital ecosystem comprising new technologies like IoT, Cloud, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning, companies are adopting new business processes and development methodologies to meet the ever-growing needs of the end customer.   Companies have embraced Agile as part of their product development process to release products faster.  Achieving excellence in product quality also requires evolving and adopting modern testing approaches to deliver on customer expectations.  Quality assurance function has now gone beyond merely writing tests and executing it.

Smart product testing needs coverage from including multiple interfaces, components, hardware, software to testing the functionality, performance, security, load of the product as a whole.  Traditional testing process starts after the development is completed.  The development and QA teams work in siloes and there is no interchange of ideas and feedback from both teams.  Testers need not be developers or know how to code. Traditional testing approach increases technical debt when it comes to testing digital systems and solutions.   Technical debt occurs on releasing low quality and defective code resulting in increased cost of rework and reducing time to market.
To avoid this, new testing methodologies like DevOps, shift-left testing are on the rise for testing the digital ecosystem. SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test) is one such novel approach in product development.

In SDET methodology, the professional works equally in both development and testing areas and is thus involved in the entire development life cycle.   SDET is a developer who works as part of testing team or a hybrid of a developer and tester.  SDET creates, debugs, and fixes the code.  SDET is a developer who writes frameworks and tools to test products.   SDET can deliver high performance code, as they are able to uncover bugs in the development phase.  In addition to functional requirements, it looks at security, performance, scalability, reliability, and load testing requirements right during the design phase, which makes it easier to incorporate these non-functional requirements in a timely manner. It also finds the defects and risks, and thereby product architecture can be changed as needed earlier in the life cycle to save costly defect changes and rework later.

Testing multiple product variants including legacy products poses a challenge for testing teams.  SDET does extensive unit testing of the code thereby providing adequate code and test coverage initially in product development thereby reducing testing efforts across products.  Source code reviews and code testability becomes part of the agile process improving code quality and reusability drastically.  Thus, white box testing is carried out in a much more efficient manner.

SDET can understand the overall product features and related intricate technical specifications thereby helping in technical design reviews.  SDET debugs code as well as implements new tools and frameworks to streamline the overall delivery process.  SDET is able to emulate customer usage scenarios and convert them into testable requirements, test scenarios, and test cases at granular level. It can bring in the user acceptance and user scenarios perspective while design and development making the product market ready right from the start.  SDET works along with developers in an agile setup and automate acceptance parameters of user stories.  They bring in the much needed business perspective in the design and development phase. Thus, it helps in improving the overall product coverage and effectiveness by testing the product both from code and business perspectives.

SDET focuses on robustness and performance of the product.  As agile becomes more mainstream, software/product development cycles have typically become around two weeks long.  For each new feature that is released, automation needs to be in place for regression testing to ensure system does not break on addition of new features.  SDET brings strong programming and automation experience, and also introduces automation on multiple platforms like mobile, web, smart devices or cloud and can write functional, UI, API or integration testing automation scripts.  They are experts in tools like Selenium, Appium, Robotium, Ant, Maven, Junit, TestNG, Java, Python, Jenkins, Ansible etc. and take part in release management and creating the CI / CD (continuous integration/continuous deployment) pipeline for DevOps implementation.

SDET possesses good knowledge of Big Data technologies like Hadoop, Spark, Scala, Sqoop etc.  to handle the test data coming from multiple sources like sensors, devices, applications, mobile, web, ERP or CRM systems.  They are also experts in testing across cloud platforms and services like AWS or Azure. SDET also brings in the essential problem solving capabilities along with knowledge of diverse tools and technologies. They help to leverage testing best practices in the development process.

Ultimately, SDET brings in the necessary innovation needed at the design phase of a product because of their skillset.   Thus, SDET has become a necessity when it comes to designing a cloud native architecture, replacing monolithic with microservices based architecture, treating computing infrastructure as code or deploying containerized applications while implementing intelligent automation with DevOps throughout the product development process.

eInfochips supports many top tier companies in their endeavours in connected systems development. eInfochips’ quality engineering services provide comprehensive solutions and methodologies that enables product excellence. To know more about our quality engineering practices, contact us today.

Picture of Urvashi Babaria

Urvashi Babaria

Urvashi works as Product Marketing Manager at eInfochips, focusing on marketing to Wearable tech, IoT, home automation, consumer electronics and ISV industries. Urvashi has 8+ years of experience in strategy, transformation and presales functions. She holds an Engineering degree from Nirma university along with MBA from Great Lakes Institute of Management.

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