; The SET Career Path | Google Operating System News

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The SET Career Path

The SET Career Path

By James Whittaker

I've had a number of questions about the SET role and it seems I have confused folks when I say that the SWE is a tester and the SET is a tester and at the same time the SWE is a developer and the SET is a developer. What could possibly be confusing about that?

Oh, yeah. Right.

My next series of posts are going to detail the role of the SET and all will eventually be clear but some clarification on career path seems worthwhile.

SETs are developers who write test code and automation as their primary task. They are in every sense of the word a developer. When we interview SETs, SWEs are on the interview loop and SWE questions are asked. They are not all of the interview, but they are part of it.

This means that the skill set that our SETs possess makes them perfect candidates for switching to the SWE role. There is neither incentive nor deterrent to do so. SETs and SWEs are on the same pay scale and bonus structure (I have both roles reporting to me so I have real visibility into salary data) and their promotion velocity (again based on actual data) is roughly equivalent. This means that SETs have no outside influences to prompt them one way or the other.

The key factor is really the type of work you are doing. SETs who find themselves involved in SWE work usually convert to SWE. SWEs are also drawn in the opposite direction. Much of this happens through our 20% time work. Any SET interested in SWE work can take on a 20% task doing feature development. Any SWE interested in automation can find a group and sign up for a 20%. Right now I have both SWEs and SETs involved in such cross pollination.

The ideal situation is that the title reflects the actual work that you are involved in. So if an SET starts doing more feature dev work than automation, he or she should convert, same for SWEs doing automation work. In my time here, conversions in both directions have happened, but it is not all that common. The work of both roles is engaging, interesting and intense. Few Googlers are walking around bored.

Bottom line: do the work you are passionate about and capable of and the right job title will find you.

No comments:

Post a Comment