One of my colleague asked me if what I do is a part of software development. He said that can you call yourself a developer or a programmer/coder or someone who is creating/developing test scripts for AUT. I am not clear if I can call myself a developer?

I primarily work on web automation frameworks using Selenium, Java, TestNG, Maven, Jenkins etc.

Also, I have just started to work as a Automation Engineer since last year only. What can describe my work profile clearly?

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    If you can't explain what's your role in the team then you should reconsider your contribution towards the team ! – PDHide Oct 21 '20 at 21:40
  • You are a developer of automation framework for Web applications, someone else might be a developer of Web applications or embedded software in space rockets. Just like you might be a doctor for eyes or for lungs. And just as for eyes doctor it might be not easy to help people with lungs problem it might be not that easy to help in building Web applications even if you have experience with testing them. – dzieciou Oct 22 '20 at 6:47
  • Plse specify your role – Hemant Varhekar Oct 22 '20 at 7:49
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    SDET (Software Developer in Test) is often used as a title for test automation engineers. – charles ross Oct 23 '20 at 1:30

Yes, you can and maybe you should depending on the context. If you write code you are a developer, or programmer. Writing automated tests is coding in most cases. Look at this definition of programmer.

A computer programmer, sometimes called a software developer, a programmer or more recently a coder (especially in more informal contexts), is a person who creates computer software. The term computer programmer can refer to a specialist in one area of computers, or to a generalist who writes code for many kinds of software.


When I explain what I do to non development people. I say I am a Software Engineer with a focus on Quality. Software Enginering is from requirements to delivery, noone in a team does the whole lifecycle. To other developers I say I am a Software Engineer with a focus on Test Automation. I know how to make simple programs, but I am not sure I would hire me to build a complex systems from scratch on my own.

Still I think if you are programming for a software product feel free to call yourself a software developer, because you develop software even if it isnt for end-users. Some of my test automation projects are complexer than the applications that it tests ;-)

  • Re: "I know how to make simple programs, but I am not sure I would hire me to build a complex systems from scratch on my own.". Exactly! Both an ophthalmologist and a vascular surgeon are doctors, but I would allow only one of them to implant bypasses. It's all about specializations. – dzieciou Oct 22 '20 at 6:30

I'm not entirely sure if this is on topic or not. I mean, on the one hand it is because it has to do with testing. On the other, well, I'm not sure if it's actually answerable - but I'll give it a shot.

Whether you call yourself a developer or programmer or coder or software engineer is entirely up to you. You can put anything you want on your resume and it's up to the person who interviews you to do their due diligence to determine if what you said you did matches what you did. As far as I'm aware, no country has a board you have to apply to to put titles on your resume (although, I know using the word "Engineer" can have some rules attached, I have never heard of "Developer" or "Programmer" having the same level of scrutiny.)

If you feel what you do is an Automation Engineer, feel free to put that as your title on forms, work profiles, etc. If you think your boss would have a problem with it on official documents internally, well you will have to take that up with them.

It is certainly true that many automation engineers do a ton of programming in their efforts, and the only people I think saying you couldn't ever say you were a "programmer" would be junior programmers who are jealous that you'll steal their job - pay them no mind!

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