Differences between QA and SDET

There is a common misconception that Quality Assurance (QA) and Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) is the same.

While both QA and SDET play vital roles in the software development process, there are key differences between the two. Quality assurance is focused on the quality of the software, while, SDET is focused on the quality of the code.

QA testers are responsible for ensuring that the software meets the requirements set forth by the business, while SDETs are responsible for ensuring that the code meets the requirements set forth by the business.


Differences between QA and SDET

The importance of Quality Assurance

There are two main topics of quality assurance: QA and SDET.

QA is focused on preventative measures, ensuring that defects are found and corrected before you release the product.

SDET is focused on detecting, and finding defects after you release the product.

Both are important, but which one is right for you depends on your skills and interests.

If you like to find and fix errors, QA may be a good fit for you. If you’re more interested in finding defects after you release the product, SDET may be a better option.

If quality assurance is your interest, consider pursuing both roles to gain a deeper understanding of how the software works and how to make it better.

What is Quality Assurance (QA)?

Quality Assurance (QA) is the process of monitoring the procedures and methods intended to ensure the quality of a product. The term ‘Quality Assurance’ is very familiar in the software industry. It is presumed to be synonymous with ‘Manual Testing’ or ‘Tester’. But this job title does not only exclusively rely upon manual testing; an ‘Individual’ can have the job title of ‘Quality Assurance’ and might also perform Automation Testing.

What is a Software Development Engineer in Test?

SDET is the acronym for Software Development/Design 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. These are professionals whose skills are in Software Development as well as Quality Engineering. They not only participate in developing 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.

Two perspectives on software testing

All two professions, namely, Quality Assurance (QA), and Software Development Engineer in Test(SDET), are somehow related to each other.

The professional abilities, the roles and responsibilities, the tasks, and the knowledge required, are factors that differentiate these two from each other.

Qualities of a good quality analyst

  • To succeed in the tool industry, there is no need to strengthen technical knowledge of programming.
  • Proficiency in setting up processes for bug ticket tracking, testing, and maintaining proper communication.
  • Programming skills in Manual and Automated testing, and knowledge of different testing tools.
  • Duties and responsibilities Objective-C, Swift, iOS.

SDET expectations

  • Technical knowledge of languages.
  • Knowing about the available test methods and associated tools.
  • Ability to understand and work with “Agile” and “DevOps” methodologies.
  • Identifying bottlenecks and limitations and automating their resolution.
  • Understanding of design patterns of BDD
  • Understanding and using object-oriented design principles

The two job titles at hand – Quality Assurance (QA) Engineers and Software Development and Engineering (SDET) – have very different skill sets and requirements.

There are also certain soft skills, like teamwork and communication, that tie these two jobs together.

It’s important to keep in mind that despite these similarities, they each possess unique aspects and qualifications that you need to understand. In particular, it’s important to understand that development is a very technical job, while QA and SDET are more focused on problem-solving.
  • Very good interpersonal communication skills.
  • Qualities of a leader.
  • Both are important to writing content.
  • The ability to understand emotions and control them.
  • Able to adapt and able to respond.
  • Study quick.

SDET and QA salary comparison

Salary for SDET/QA Software Engineers will vary depending on their experience, industry, skills, knowledge, employer, and potentially even bias if an employer has a preference for any certain individual or type of applicant.

When it comes to SDETs, graduates from names are most definitely going to earn more than those from an unknown or lesser known school.  Since SDET is a more sought-after position, salaries are higher than for a generic automated tester.

Manual QA testing involves recording and replicating real-world user behavior, producing a stable environment for testing, and ensuring that you’re not releasing an application with defects. These testers have specialized skills, making them a valuable asset to any IT team.


In conclusion, there is a big difference between QA and SDET. QA is mainly responsible for manual testing while SDET is responsible for both manual and automation testing. QA is more focused on the business side while SDET is more focused on the technical side.

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