Need Suggestion - ISTQB certification

Hi Folks,

I have worked as a QA engineer for last 10+ years. My current role is as a Senior Software QA Engineer. I was looking at ISQTB certifications, but unsure which one to do. I have never done ISTQB certification. My questions are:

  1. Should I do Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) v4.0 [NEW!] OR Certified Tester Advanced Level Test Manager (CTAL-TM)? My reasoning for the advanced level is that I have many years of experience in QA.

  2. I feel I should do Certified Tester Advanced Level Test Manager (CTAL-TM). But I see that there is min requirement to finish the foundation level first. Is that true?

  3. Should I take formal training and appear on the exam to get the certification, OR should I learn from the online material and take the exam? That way, I am not paying for the training and still getting the certificate after the exam.

  4. Is it worth spending so much money on these certifications? Does this certification help in landing a job or at work?

Please share your experiences, and I appreciate any advice on this.

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Unless something changed, I know that the Foundation level is a pre-requisite for all the other ISTQB certifications. I got the foundations level because my current company at the time was paying for it and it was one of the requirements for anyone in the QA career path.

One of the reasons why I bailed out of there was because they expected all the testers to decide which ISTQB certificate they wanted to take next since it was an outsourcing company working for enterprises that were doing more traditional kinds of testing. I don’t think you should spend money on training, the official syllabus, some mock exams, and books should suffice.

Since you got a lot of experience I’m not sure if certifications will bring you any benefit. Recently I’ve been reading their syllabus for the Test Manager certification and I noticed I know most of that stuff already, and another thing I don’t like about ISTQB is that they paint this unrealistic and opinionated picture of testing.

This is especially bad for newbies since they might get the wrong idea by believing that ISTQB philosophy is the only right way, but in reality testing is so much dependent on unique contexts so no two companies have completely identical and uniform processes and approaches to how they test.

If it will make you more hireable in your job market, then go for it, but in my opinion real-world experience trumps all certifications any time of the day.

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Hi and welcome back <3

My question here is, WHY do you want an ISTQB certification as a 10+ years experienced QA engineer?

Imho, no. Especially ISTQB. Don’t get me wrong, there is some good stuff in there but it never maps to reality, ISTQB is the “paradise-paradox”

It doesn’t take a piece of paper to pass an interview, actually it makes it harder! Because when I see somebody with a lot of ISTQB certifications… ow I know I’m going to have some fun :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve read all the syllabuses/courses from ISTQB myself but never went for the certification, there was no need. So whenever somebody is a huge certification fan, I tend to challenge them on what they actually know. So I’ll ask some hard ISTQB questions and almost nobody can answer them.
Because what most people do is just learn/study, get the certification and done.

I rather have somebody on my team with the actual knowledge or experience then having certifications and know nothing about them.

So “is it worth spending so much money” – in my eyes, No. You can spend that money elsewhere and get a nicer course on something that you will need. + you can still just download the syllabus from ISTQB and learn everything.

As long as you can explain it, it’s fine. Especially with 10+ years of experience.


If you do still go for the option to get certified. It’s up to you to decide if you want training or not. The syllabus is available for free and personally I learn more and faster by myself then in a training-room. Some people learn more in classrooms … so that’s up to you :slight_smile:

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I did ISTQB mainly because of getting more salary hikes, and getting calls for interviews from abroad like Singapore/EU Schengen countries/UK as I am planning to migrate with a relocation package. Without those certifications, I was not getting any interview calls. The scenario varies from country to country, I don’t know where you are residing its up to you whether you want to do the certification or not.

For ISTQB, CTFL is a basic pre-requisite, you need to do that to be able to do other certifications. For the certification you don’t need to attend training, their materials are available online, you can just self-study and sit for exams online.

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Thank you, folks. Your suggestions are really helpful. I am glad I asked before taking the training. I have some time so I decided to do sample tests and appear for the exam.

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I’ve 4 years of testing experience and I’m now a QA lead. I entered the field after graduating from a bootcamp. I work for a big multinational organization. My colleague was recommending that I take ISTQB for few years now, but I got distracted by a lot of online negative advise that downplayed the certification that it is not important, similar to some comments above. However, few months ago I finally admitted that I need to develop the theoretical framework of my testing experience and I jumped into ISTQB foundation. I can’t speak enough to how much I enjoyed it and learned from it. So I highly recommend it. It boosted my confidence as well.

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I’d start by asking what’s the return on the investment if I do take any certification.

I got the foundational level a few years ago, but I did it primarily as at the current company it was part of the QA career path and one of the requirements for a promotion - plus the company refunded the cost of the certification to me after passing.

In outsourcing companies, where testing is done in a more traditional way knowing the ISTQB lingo can be helpful, but you can just read the syllabus for that (for free) without paying for the exam voucher.

More traditional enterprises might look favorably at people with this certification, while startups and smaller companies generally won’t care if you have it or not. I noticed some jobs (mostly in Europe) list having an ISTQB certification as a nice to have.

Personally, I found the ISTQB materials a bit too dry and opinionated, since you already have working experience and likely have your own opinions, there is no harm in reading it, but for more junior testers it can be harmful as it can give them an unrealistic image of software testing.

The exam is tricky and it takes time to prepare for, I felt like I was back in school while studying for it.

At the end of the day, analyze your unique situation and decide if it’s worth the time and money it will cost you, or not.

EDIT: I just noticed that I already replied here in the past :man_facepalming: