How To Become A Software Engineer In TEST: A Complete Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A software engineer in test (SET) is a professional that generally creates software by developing and testing a product. These engineers usually write components of the development code and frameworks and make tools to test that product. By understanding the multiple responsibilities of a software engineer in TEST, you can decide whether this is the right career path for you. In this article, we discuss how to become a software engineer in TEST and explore their salaries, the industries that may require them and the skills required to become one.

How to become a software engineer in test

Knowing how to become a software engineer in TEST can help you prepare better for this role. Here are the steps you may follow to do so:

1. Earn a degree

Most employers may require a minimum of a bachelor's degree when hiring a software engineer in TEST. If possible, consider completing an internship as part of your studies. This can give you the opportunity to apply advanced technical skills in a hands-on environment, and it may give you an idea of the industry or niche in which you would like to specialise. The degrees you can opt for may include a bachelor's in science, a master's in science, a bachelor's in engineering and a master's in engineering. Other relevant degrees may include majors and specialisations such as:

  • computer programming

  • computer science

  • computer engineering

  • software engineering

  • software design and development

  • software testing and quality assurance

2. Gain work experience

Employers may prefer new hires with prior work experience. One option can be to work as a software tester to gain experience in a related role. This can allow you to progress from a tester to a software engineer in TEST while still working for the same company.

It is also possible to learn new skills on your own through various information available online. Many blogs and video series can offer tips on how to develop the skills and traits needed for software engineer in TEST jobs. If you go this route, consider starting a personal project to test your technical skills. Creating a project portfolio can be a good way to demonstrate your skills to potential employers.

3. Earn additional certifications

Though many employers may not require certification to work as a SET, it can be a good way to gain experience and demonstrate to employers that you have the necessary skills. The following are some examples of common certification programmes:

  • International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB)

  • Certified Associate in Software Testing (CAST)

  • Certified Software Testing Engineer (CSTE)

4. Increase your network

Consider joining a professional organisation to meet other software engineers in TEST and learn about new job opportunities. Searching online for professional forums or meet-up groups may be beneficial. Spending time with people who work in the field can help you learn more about the field, keep up with trends and find work. Consider taking the help of a mentor for advice, experience and references when applying for jobs.

Required skills for a software engineer in test

The field of SET may require you to have both soft skills and technical skills. If this field interests you, you can consider working on the following skills:


As a test software engineer, you may require communicating with developers and managers regularly. It is critical that you comprehend the developers' exact requirements when they send them to you. It is possible that the software you receive from the developers has multiple bugs and issues. You can fix the smaller issues yourself and ask the developers to fix the larger ones. Being able to present the requirements and the deadline is important in these situations. With such frequent communication, being able to communicate effectively through verbal and written communication can be very beneficial.

Related: Verbal Communication Examples in the Workplace (With Tips)

Organisational skills

A job in SET can sometimes become challenging, depending on the projects. In times like these, being able to order, structure and prioritise tasks in your everyday life can be important. By staying organised at work, you can efficiently finish your tasks before deadlines and avoid additional work pressure. Being disciplined with physical organisational skills at your workplace can help you increase your productivity and efficiency. For example, keeping your workplace clean and organised can avoid the loss of documents and break your workflow to look for certain reference materials.

Related: Organisational Skills: Definition and Examples


Companies may sometimes form smaller teams for specific aspects of a larger task. How well the team bonds can determine how well the team works together to complete a task. When there are no designated team leaders, it may be beneficial to take command of the team and divide tasks according to the team's strengths to complete the work efficiently. Understanding the importance of teamwork can help you become more successful in your role.

Related: Traits of an Effective Team Leader


SETs often find problems and issues with the developers' work, and this can have a negative impact on the developers. Having a positive attitude can make the issues look like an opportunity to grow and have a positive impact on the people in your workplace. During times of excess work pressure, it can be beneficial to stay positive to help you remain unaffected by the work pressure.

Programming skills

SETs generally analyse multiple different codes and program their own tests. Since their job is to understand and test other codes, they could have a deep understanding of the common coding languages in the field used for development. Since there can be different ways of writing codes, understanding the documentation and performing tests to understand the code can be important. Usually, a deep understanding and usage of data structures and algorithms is also a requirement of a software engineer in test.

Related: 40 Common Java OOPS Interview Questions (With 4 Sample Responses)

Quality assurance

Quality assurance can strengthen the authenticity of the product. It generally involves paying attention to all stages of the project development to ensure no stage can cause issues in the project at a later stage and understanding the ideal project standards. There are many roles that may involve quality testing with whom the software engineer might collaborate, including quality assurance tester, auditor, manager and engineer, among many others.

Related: What Is Quality Assurance? (Plus QA Job Descriptions)

Salary of a software engineer in TEST

The average base salary of a software engineer in TEST is ₹34,327 per month. The salary of an SET can vary depending on:

  • Years of experience: Usually, you may get higher pay if you have more experience in the field.

  • Education: In the entry-level, the level and quality of your education may affect your pay. By earning a degree most related to your field, you can earn more than you might with an unrelated field.

  • Performance reviews: Individual performance can have a direct relation with your pay and can also determine your promotions in the company.

  • Professional associations and certifications: Sometimes memberships and additional certifications can have a positive effect on your pay. Certifications in your field may not only help you with your pay, but also increase your knowledge in the field.

  • Shift differentials: In certain companies, the clients or a part of your team may be in a different country. In such cases, you may work in different shifts, which can pay you more and give you additional benefits.

Difference between an SET and a tester

Here are the responsibilities of an SET and a tester that can help you differentiate between the two:

Responsibilities of an SET

The responsibilities of a software development engineer in test include:

  • They test the software during the development of the software.

  • They design, implement and test the software.

  • SETs may have high-level skills in coding.

  • They check for bugs during development and rectify bugs themselves.

  • They may work along with the developers during the development cycle.

Related: How To Become A Software Tester: A Step-By-Step Guide

Responsibilities of a tester

The responsibilities of a tester include:

  • They test the software after completion of the development.

  • They check whether a software has bugs and defects.

  • A tester prepares test reports and reports bugs to the developers.

  • Testing usually does not involve designing and implementing designs on the software.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles