Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Have to Hire an SDET (Software Development Engineer Test) for iOS, What Should I Ask?

One, of many, of our beach rock finds.
This was the question I got a few weeks back when an acquaintance from Xcoders messaged me to say he had to interview an SDET, for their iOS product, later that day. He did not know what to ask and what areas he should ask them to dive into. Did I have any suggestions?

So, over Twitter I gave a couple quick ideas on what to ask.  Here is that list, expanded a little.
  • What frameworks have they used to test iOS?
    • Compare the differences between those frameworks.
    • Go review this answer on stack overflow about iOS Testing. This will give you a rundown of the testing frameworks and tools for iOS.
    • What are the pros of those frameworks? What are the cons? And the next question...
  • Have they done UI Automation testing? How? What were the results of that testing?
  • How do they manage their tests? It should be better than I don't. Tools used to track the tests to know what coverage you have is essential.
  • How do they report on them? Not much good doing tests without being able to report on the results.
  • What are the different granularities of tests and how have they used them in past positions? Which do they find the most useful for iOS?
    • Unit Tests
    • Functional Tests
    • End To End Tests
    • UI Automation Tests
    • Manual/Adhoc Testing
  • What difficulties have they had testing iOS?
    • Or maybe the more blunt; What have they found to be unsuccessful or not of value when testing iOS?
    • Ask this since it might highlight the one area you want to concentrate on they might hate.
  • I have seen testers write great and sometimes not so great bug reports. 
    • How do they log a bug? 
    • What information is important? 
    • They should have an opinion on what to include.
  • Most iOS apps use a web service back end of some kind. How do they test the results of web service calls?
    • They should be saying Charles (or alternative packet sniffer like WireShark) here and using a proxy to sniff the HTTP packet flow.
  • Whiteboard time
    • Give them a simple method (Objective-C based please), just the definition and what the method is supposed to return.
      • For example, something that takes a string and returns a sorted array that includes each unique word found in the string. I just has to be complex enough to cause them to write several examples.
    • Ask them to write testcases for this method.
    • Do they know the syntax of Test::Unit style or RSpec style?
  • Can they program? If not, then you don't want them as an SDET. The whiteboard coding question should be a breeze for them.
  • Do they know scripting languages? Ruby? Python? Javascript? 
    • They should since the tools built on top of Apple's iOS testing frameworks are normally written in a scripting language.
    • They will also need to integrate tests with build systems which means command line knowledge and the ability to script command line jobs.
That was the short list I came up with with some additions once I expanded on the brief Twitter exchange.

Anything else you'd look for or ask?

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