Certified Agile Tester Course

Hello everyone, I’m being sent on the Certified Agile Tester course in September and wondered if anyone had experience of this one? I’ve read the itinerary and looked at some test questions and am struggling to see what value I will get out of this.

To offer some background, I’ve been working in Agile environments on and off since 2009 as a tester and seen/experienced lots of ways of applying Agile. I’m a senior tester who mentors others, helps run our community of practice and internal workshops. I’ve even stood in as part time Scrum Master on occasion.

While I don’t want to be negative about the course or spark a general debate about certificates versus no certificates I genuinely would appreciate any insights you could share as I’m struggling to see what I’m going to take away.

Thanks, Ady

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Hi Adrian!

Well, for a lot of people that aren’t as lucky as you to have worked on Agile environments getting to know/learn about Agile can get a little tricky. You can search around the web about Agile and read about x and y topic but didn’t know to look into z ( h, i, j, k ) which if you were in an Agile team those topics might seem obvious but if not, then you haven’t heard of them and often when searching about Agile, and not knowing specific topics to look into you might run into different articles which explain the same basic beginner agile principles. Also there is the problem where you might bump into a different article or webinar that teaches things slightly different and that could get confusing.

So I guess for me CAT really helped to clear things up. I suppose it is this unified source of verified information that you can “trust”. It’s a very complete bank of information I believe. A lot of terminology and definitions. Specially useful for people who have been working for a while with the same type of non Agile or little-bit-Agile teams that want to know what real agile is about and plus stuff beyond the typical “working in cycles” and “daily meetings” deal. Although if you come in with 0 knowledge in Agile the amount of information you receive can get a little overwhelming.

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Started it today. Enjoying it so far. Don’t know if you’ve read the book, but the tutor has made things so much easier to understand. I feel I’d be kind of taking away some of the useful impact of the course if I told you how though, as failure seems to be used as an effective learning tool (Why do we fall Master Bruce?).

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I don’t have experience with any of the ISTQB courses (assuming that is the one you’re referring to), but what I have heard is that when you take the exam, you need to answer the questions based on what you have learned from studying the syllabus and such, rather than your own real-world experience. I currently work in an agile setting, and I know the elitists would frown upon our way of doing it, but it is working for us (although there is always room for improvement), and in the end that is what matters. That being said, and like Margot mentioned, everyone is doing it a little differently, so what matters is that you get familiar with how ISTQB believes it should be done.

People definitely seem to have an opinion on certifications, and I definitely agree that they, in and of themselves, don’t make you a better tester, but studying might, or at least it will give you a little perspective. Anyway, awesome that your company wants to help you out! That’s always encouraging!

Also, it is September now; did you take the course yet? If so, how did it go?

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Course done and results not in. Was an interesting experience and had its good and bad parts. I’m looking to draft an article for MoT to share my experience and thoughts about who might get the most from this course and who might not.
Certainly glad I wasn’t paying the bill! When I’m done if it doesn’t get accepted I’ll put it on my blog and share a link here.

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I agree with this, courses usually provide broad but shallow knowledge so you can get familiar with what is there to learn and terminology, but it is up to you to further study things that you need. By being broad with topics, they do not necessarily provide enough information to make you a good tester, but they’re nice foundation for learning.

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My guess is going to be that the course may be useful for testers about to transition into an Agile team for the first time. You don’t need to answer, I’ll await your blog post/article.

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Well, had the exams yesterday. My train was cancelled, so I had to go to another station. Arrived at the exam room just as the invigilator was telling the attendees to turn the paper over… Not the ideal start, but fingers crossed.

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Results just in and I passed. After the train cancellation debacle, and the added stress that went with that (and also the fact I’d planned to get there nice and early to do some late revision, but that went out of the window), I was convinced that I hadn’t.

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Congratulations @chris_dabnor I managed to pass too!

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Congratulations. How did you find the course? I’m going to push for other members of my team to do it in pairs. One of the additional bonuses is that it’ll help them to bond a bit, as QAs here don’t work with QAs - we’re spread amongst the squads.

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Quite frustrating in places to be honest. The mornings were a really good overview of Agile, Scrum style, or a refresher in my case. But the afternoon exercises were a bit too far removed from reality for me. As part of my article I feel this would be useful for those with little or no experience working as an ‘agile tester’ but for someone very experienced I felt like I needed to learn how to pass than learn.

I appreciate my experience will not be everyone’s.

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I can understand your experiance that the course is not for practical use, more for the wording and of course to pass the test.
I have made two istqb courses and I had the feeling twice.

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Hey @adystokes congrats on passing CAT. I did that course a couple of years back which for me not having experienced any true agile methodology was an education but I agree (2 years forward) it is not real life.
Bonus for me was getting a solid foundation on what the ideal could possibly be and honestly the recruiters love this stuff :frowning:
Did I believe after this course I was truly an ‘Agile Tester’ - Not at all but I was definitely at the start of the pathway.

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Just bumping the thread to see if anyone else had thoughts and/or the original posters had any follow-up thoughts, i.e. did they find the CAT certification useful on the job?

I ask as I’m creating a proposal for my company on some tester/agile/combo certification, the choice is mine, the budget … erm … probably will stretch to cover ‘sensible’ costs.

My background is as a manual tester with test automation experience who has been in IT for 10+ years in a range of company sizes each of which had different development lifecycles. Whilst I have exposure to agile, it has always been as the company has interpreted agile (and no two companies have really been the same), not from the purist/education perspective. Therefore I’d be keen to do a course to understand best practice as mandated by ISTQB or whatever body.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts…

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I found it useful and enjoyable. The method of trying to make us fail in order to make us think was frustrating at first, but when you realised why, it was good. There were certainly things that I have taken away from the course to use in the real world, but some that I have just put away.

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Hello @gerardmccann I was told at the end of last month that the article will be scheduled for publication soon but I haven’t a specific date as yet. So hopefully not long now and when you’ve read it I’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

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Perfect, thanks for the information @chris_dabnor.

Thanks also @adystokes, look forward to reading the article.

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UPDATE: my employer has kindly purchased books for me and will pay for me to undertake the ISTQB Agile Tester exam :slight_smile:. I got the following books:



Before reading any of the textbooks I attempted a practice test from that book and got 70%, which is a positive start. I have subsequently read a bunch of the chapters from each book and will undertake another practice test soon. Feel I am definitely learning some best practices and beginning to challenge myself and my company to consider how to ‘move testing left’ as that is, IMHO, one of the most important points I have read about so far. I knew about this from having read about it and having done a little of it in previous companies, but now I can back up my opinions with evidence from the books.

Am aiming to complete the exam before the winter 2019. Will post updates on MOT with my thoughts as I progress.

Anyoen else got any further thoughts, I’d be glad to hear them…

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

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I only read the bottom book before the course. With that, and having completed the training, I felt I was adequately equipped for the exams. Some of this may have been down to the quality of training and/or the way we work here though, so I wouldn’t want to put you off reading the other books…

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