Are software Testing Certifications worth it?

(Andy) #83

I have the ISTQB Foundation and the BCS Intermediate certifications, I had to go through them as part of being placed into a test manager role during an IT reorganisation.

Do I refer to them, use the reference material or open the books…nope not really. Sure some of the bits and bobs are kinda fun…boundary value analysis or state diagrams, but really a whole certification for just those little pieces?

In my opinion certifications are not worth it. Although I have been tester, test manager and currently test lead…I still have an enormous amount to learn, testing is an ever increasing field of knowledge. To say that Mr X is a great tester because he has ISTQB or another cert is madness. Sure looks pretty on your CV, but bears absolutely no relation to how good you are as a tester.

Sadly, it appears that in many hiring companies it’s requested as a needed skill (really a skill??). Where I am now it forms part of the progression plan for a Junior Test Analyst to Test Analyst, just seems I cant escape it all sigh

(Kim) #84

Are they worth it??? I haven’t read everyone’s comments and apologies if I repeat but the answer to this question is twofold.

WithIN the actual testing community ISTQB Foundation seems to hold little cred. I paid a firm a ridiculous amount of money for a 2 day course, sat the exam, passed but never really referred to it again.
Trying to get an interview with a recruiter who knows nothing about testing but see’s certification as a means to verify “how good you are” seems to be the norm, so it can potentially open doors to someone starting out.

On the other hand I sat the CAT course which was an intensive 4 days hands on and 1 day of practical and written exam (yes I passed) which I have referred to extensively. I guess it depends on what kind of methodology your company/team uses.

Everyone needs to make that judgement call about what’s best for their own professional roadmap. As for myself the learning will never stop and the key to a good tester is being darn curious about EVERYTHING :slight_smile:

(Andy) #85

Love it…maybe needs to be on a T shirt :slight_smile:

(Patrick) #86

From my perspective… i buyed the book for the CTFL, to prepare myself and started into working in QA some weeks later…

One of the main criticism i´ve heard against the Certifications is that they are outdated or not close to reality. I can say that if you read the CTFL-Book and start in an agile team, working as a tester - you can relate to the criticism but to nothing of the book :wink: (imho)

(stephen) #87

Same boat. Just under the required pass mark.

Constantly being asked when my contract ends by companies, and how I could be tempted to new projects at a senior level.
If I am not challenged, or find an interest in a project, I’m not willing to move.

(Olaf) #88
Sadly, it appears that in many hiring companies it’s requested as a needed skill (really a skill??). Where I am now it forms part of the progression plan for a Junior Test Analyst to Test Analyst

This sounds so familiar. I think it may be safe to say that some companies, no matter how “up-to-date” they say they are, are simply recycling the old truisms, and ignoring the fact that things have moved on, and that experience and knowledge count for very little, as the people doing the searching and/or hiring don’t know enough about the posts they’re filling!

(Paul) #89

One of the things that came out of the Sydney Testers panel discussion on the job market last night was the complete ambivalence of ISTQB and CS degrees by the recruiters on the panel. It made no difference to their candidate selection.

(Mari Tarendi) #90

As I’m relatively new to testing, my only experience with software testing certifications so far is with ISTQB Foundation level and even though it doesn’t do any harm, it didn’t have any long term value to me either, since I have forgotten most of the content by now (took the exam couple of months ago :unamused:). This might happen when you’re obliged to memorize the content of an entire book within short period of time. There were mainly two reasons I took the exam in a first place: 1) my company requires the certification in order to move on from junior position to specialist level, 2) my darn curiosity (can’t help it)

(gordon) #91

Is that a bit of selection bias though?

The kind of recruiters who would choose to go to a tester meetup have enough involvement with the testing community to know the limited value of ISTQB whilst there are plenty more recruiters out there not close to the community who are the ones that include ISTQB on job adverts?

(Robert) #92

Probably true, Gordon, but our experience from the Midland Testers meetup here in the UK is that the number of recruiters turning up seems to keep increasing. We can only hope to continue this trend!

(Paul) #93

I agree with you that there is selection bias at play here. Also the fact that they were specialist testing and dev recruiters might also mean that they would be close enough to the industry and community to have a more realistic view of the value of ISTQB in candidate selection. It also depends on the types and preferences of the clients they have.

However they did also say that Sydney was a very competitive and crowded testing and test automation market, sometimes with 300-400 applications per place. It is surprising and welcoming in that case that they stated that ISTQB and CS degrees weren’t considered even as a candidate filter pre-interview.

(Sean) #94

I feel late to the party on this one. But it is still a highly relevant thread.
While in my tenure as a QA Lead at my current role I had been asked by a couple of my team members about training /certification. Their queries were around ISTQB and advancing through the ‘career paths’ set out in the ISTQB certification.
Many (many) years previously I did the ISEB Foundation course as I felt, at the time, that I needed formal training and a professional qualification in my field as a form of validation in my chosen career.
I felt (personally) I hadn’t gained any new insight from the course other than some terminology that could construe a common language. Over the years I discovered that the certification I received was used (by some) recruiters as a checkbox for putting people forward for jobs regardless of years experience or indeed how good they were as a tester.
I started researching other schools of thought and came across Context-Driven testing and from that, I discovered the BBST courses.
The BBST courses felt a more natural fit for my views and philosophies on testing.
So, how did I go about talking my colleagues around from continuing down the ISTQB path? I left that to them. I took a metaphor approach.
“When I first started driving lessons my instructor was an ex-army sergeant who taught recruits how to drive various types of vehicles. The first thing he said to me was ‘First I’m going to teach you how to drive, then I’m going to teach you how to pass your test.’ I feel the ISTQB is about teaching you how to pass their test and BBST is about showing you how to test. So do you want to learn how to test or do you want to learn how to pass a test?.”

(Shivani) #95

Certifications gives you insight to some of techniques/methodology , which is positive aspect.
But, certification is not worth it if you don’t put the learnings into practice. Only theory and getting marks can never help to deliver quality product.

(Vlad Romanenko) #96

Probably I’m late, but that’s what I think:

I passed ISTQB Foundation and Advanced Test Analyst tests and do not regret about it.
The main advantages were that I systematised what I had known before, learnt some useful terms, and got a few sources which I can refer to when necessary.
Personally for me it was also great to read the materials in English (from language learning perspective).
Seems that preparation was more valuable then the test itself :slight_smile:
Sometimes I heard that certs might be expensive top pass, but I was lucky top pay only for Foundation (smth like ±150€, but I may be wrong ) and won a free Advanced test.
Afterwards I tried applying some of the learnt insights (not everything was successful, but implementation experience is still interesting).

(Jenna) #97

Speaking of certifications, I’m looking to see if anyone has any familiarity with the WAS certification for web accessibility? I’m interested in trying for it, but want to make sure it’s worth the investment.

(Rosie) #98

Probably worth starting a separate discussion for that (WAS certification).

(Olaf) #99

How did you win a free advanced test?

(Andreas) #100

I got my first job out of college a few months ago as a software tester. I must have been extremely lucky because although I studied computer science in school, I had never been exposed to software testing, and I made that pretty obvious during the interview. Since then I have bought several books, and done all sorts of research online. I have no certifications, but I am tempted to pitch the idea to my boss within a few months. Although I wouldn’t mind paying for the BBST courses myself, I really like the thought of having the ISTQB Foundation Level on my resume. I skimmed through some of the posts, and I get the impression that it’s just a piece of paper that might help you get a foot in the door if you’re looking for work. Other than that it seems to be rather worthless to the seasoned tester, but could prove slightly useful to younglings (like myself), if only to polish their tester-vocab.

Had my heart set on the ISTQB cert, and I am still trying to convince myself that it’ll benefit me, but I’m feeling less enthused now … if my company is willing to pay, then I suppose it could only do me good in the end.

(gordon) #101

For a new tester like yourself I would say it is worth doing the foundation course, especially if you can get your company to pay for it, just as long as you have the right expectations for what you will get out of it.

As you have picked up from the previous posts the main arguments against are that having the qualification doesn’t make you a good tester just by having it and there is far more to testing than what is covered in the course. For a person new to testing though it does give you some basic testing concepts that will help you along and introduces you to some testing terms and language, which might not be used everywhere but may help some places.

It also opens up the ability to take the more advanced ISTQB courses which seem to have a more positive reputation.

So don’t feel disheartened about wanting to do the course, if it helps you then it is the right thing to do, just as long you have the right expectations.

(Andreas) #102

That sounds great, and thank you for the reply Gordon! Do you, or anyone, know whether the foundation-level-specific training is worth investing in, or would it be sufficient to just study the ISTQB glossary and syllabus really hard?

I live in the US, and ASTQB links to vendors that offer training opportunities. That isn’t cheap though, but it does look like you can save money if you combine the training with a conference, so maybe that could be an option. Whether training is necessary is the real question though …

Although the training might actually be where the value exists, and not so much in the certification itself.