We are travelling on the same boat my friend !!! :) As you are still in very early stage it is easy for you to make a transition. If you are passionate and willing to work hard this is my piece of advice for you which I am telling through my own experience :)
I am a guy who is passionate about Java Web Developement and in my first job I was placed into QA role, I had no choice but to accept the role and I need to work for around 1 more year.
Do not worry about your future, if you want to be a developer then be a developer and respect your job as an SDET.Try to master what you are doing at your job and after you come back to home try to practice your programming skills through programming competitions sites like Top Coder,CodeChef.com. These sites will help you develop your coding skills.
You can also help Dev-Team in your office by writing some utility tools to automate their work, in this way you can show your passion to be a developer so that people can recognise your talent and can move you to the Dev-Role.
Apart from that my strong suggestion is to take on side projects. Think about any idea like a webapp or a mobile app depending on which field you are into, start of by re-inventing the wheel like creating a shoppingcart application, a social networking site like facebook or any other application you use daily. Try to think how they developed that software and develop it. If you face any obstacles, divide your problem into small modules and google for them I am sure you will be able to find answers. Work for 2-3 hours daily after your office hours to keep your programming skills sharp.
One more idea I can give which I myself follow is Explore projects in github.com , this is a social network for all the developers to share their code. If you are trying to develop a shopping cart application, search in github and you can find many projects(hopefully). Try to study and understand how they wrote the code and try to implement the code in your projects. In this way you can develop experience not only by writing code but also reading the code.
Create a portfolio of your application by maintaining all your side projects in the Github repository so that you can show your manager that you are good candidate to fit into the developer role.
Once you think you have the confidence to write good, maintainable code then search for some open source projects and try to contribute to them. In this way you can find some real world experience. That's what I am aiming to do now :)
You can refer to this article here:
And coming to your another question, in my view a good automation engineer has a great opportunity in terms of salary than an average developer. So continue to give your best as an SDET and work hard to keep your programming skills sharp. After 6 months, if you feel that being and SDET is good and interesting to break things you can make that as your career!! Follow your passion!! :)