What exactly does an SDET do at Microsoft?

I have a lot of open SDET jobs at Microsoft, but good software engineers often pass on these opportunities because of the stigma attached to “test”.  Here’s some info I received from one of the hiring managers I work with at Microsoft that sheds some light on why the SDET role is actually super cool. 

When asked, a majority of the software engineers looking for their next career opportunity will say “I want to be a Dev!” without giving a position in test any real consideration. This tendency leads to several people missing out on some fantastic opportunities to apply their engineering skills to hard software problems. One of the main drivers is the general perception of the test role, some of the perceptions are comical (alarming to some but now me) such as “A bunch of monkeys banging on a keyboard”, “A person walking around with a clipboard doing the same mundane tasks over and over and over and over again”, “A person that wasn’t good enough to be a developer’, “A person that is not capable of solving hard problems”, “A person looking for an opportunity to get their foot in the door”, etc…

Here are some problems that I had to solve over my career in the test organization, as well as several problems that I would love some help solving for my current business:

  • Validating Disaster Recovery scenarios across datacenter boundaries that spans different geographical locations around the world.
  • Validating a cloud service can scale to tens of millions of users without actually deploying tens of millions of users in a test
  • Validating that a computer generated animation not only works but it also smooth  (doesn’t stutter etc…)
  • Validation that a piece of email can be assessed through all supported client side protocols (IMAP*, POP3, MAPI)
  • Validating that a class of applications written for a specific processor architecture will work on another architecture with no (minimal) changes

None of the work mentioned above can be effectively covered by manually testing or some ‘quick test script’.  End to end test
solutions had to be built/must be built to accomplish the right amount of validation . US patents were filed for some of the solutions required to solve the testing problems above. The job is hard, and it is very rewarding so if you like taking on hard problems and solving them with sound engineering skills then I recommend you say “I want to be a Tester!”

Email me if you want to discuss SDET jobs at Microsoft, or click here to view my current openings.

Jubal Ince

Jubal Ince

A recruitment marketing geek based in Portland, Oregon, Jubal Ince is a the Founder and Chief Talent Strategist at HireMob.

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