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Microsoft's Software Development Engineer in Test position

I just graduated and got a decent offer about SDET with a nice location and nice pay. I tried for several months but didn't get a SDE offer. So, I think, I can work and study. After 1 or 2 years, I want to find SDE job.

Is this a good idea? And is SDET career history to be a block?

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I'm not sure that this is a US thing or that I'm just out of the loop, but what are SDET and SDE? –  Deckard Jun 6 '11 at 6:07
    
SDET - software design engineer in test, apparently Microsoft's term for tester. –  scrwtp Jun 6 '11 at 8:21
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marked as duplicate by Anna Lear Sep 27 '11 at 20:19

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Your first step is to talk with your supervisor. Explain to him that you like the company. Then explain that you want to grow into an SDE role, and ask him what would normally be expected and required to make that happen.

If you are in a matrix organization (I've only ever heard Microsoft use the term SDET, and I don't know how Microsoft works), talk to your project boss AND your matrix boss (think "homeroom teacher"). If your project boss and your matrix boss are one and the same, you're probably going to have to talk to both of his/her supervisors (project and matrix.)

Based on that, you decide whether it is time to start jobhunting outside the company.

Before you do that, however, understand something: an SDET can have opportunities that an SDE will never get. A college buddy of mine took a test engineer job at one of the defense airplane companies. I ran into him there, I forget if it was during my interview visit or right after I hired in. A few years later, he'd parlayed that test engineer job into a flying slot, on call 24 hours a day for when Flight Test needed an engineer to ride backseat in a 2-seat F-16. (It was hilarious. He'd had hair halfway down his back as long as I'd known him, and his beard was even longer. Then he showed up one day with SHORT hair and CLEAN-SHAVEN. When I asked "What the BLEEP?", he said "Look under the desk", and pointed at two flight helmets. I said "I'd've done the same thing.")

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thank you for your advice and your story. And what I worried is, is that a lot of people (especially interviewers) has prejudice that tester is not a good developer? –  Andy Leman Jun 4 '11 at 6:47
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The fact of the matter is that test engineering is very different from develoment engineering, and good test engineers are HARD to find. If you get a reputation at your company of being REALLY good at testing things (and breaking them if they aren't rock-solid robust), you may find that your management considers you too valuable as a tester to make you an SDE. (This is when you hit them up for a raise: if you're valuable enough to chain to a test station, you're valuable enough to be paid WELL.) –  John R. Strohm Jun 4 '11 at 9:22
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