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Software Testing: Education and Certification

Posted by Mike on December 30th, 2005

I did some research today to summarize some options for software testing Education and Certification. To begin with, here is James Bach’s thought on certification called Against Certification. I concur with his analysis, but I also realize the practical realities of the corporate world. Certification can help you there. And, if you do it right, you can get some good education by getting a certification.

Education
Formal training is available from several different vendors. I recommend the following approach.

Reading Books
Testing Computer Software by Cem Kamer

Lessons Learned in Software Testing by Cem Kaner, James Bach, and Bret Pettichord.

Online Course
Black Box Software Testing – This is the course that I will be taking my QA & Testing Team through during the first half of 2006. It is free and available from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Classroom Training
Any of the training referenced in the Certification section below.

Introduction to Testing for Business Analysts – I have taken a course from ESI on Requirements Gathering and found that their courses give you good foundational knowledge on the subject. I expect that their testing course would do the same.

In this course, you’ll learn the necessary skills to construct effective test strategies and test plans to verify and validate requirements—enabling you to deliver the quality your business demands. You will also be able to communicate the rationale for and value of planning and conducting the various necessary reviews and inspections. You’ll gain an understanding of black box and glass box (white box) testing from a business analyst’s perspective—and you’ll know how to communicate with those who perform the systems analyst function.

Software Testing for Better Project Management – There is some overlap between this course and Introduction to Testing for Business Analysts, but the main objective of the course is different.

In this course, you will discover why and how to integrate testing throughout the software development process in order to uncover bugs, ensure performance, enhance quality and lower costs. Using a set of integrated classroom exercises beginning with requirements validation and ending with implementation, this course demonstrates how management of testing activities relates to the life cycle of projects involving software development of projects.

Certification
There are two main organizations that offer certification programs in the software testing arena. Those are: ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board) and IIST (International Institute for Software Testing). At this time, I do not have a specific recommendation as to which certification program is best.

ISTQB
There are two levels of certification from ISTQB: Foundation Level and Advanced Level.

Software Quality Engineering is a company that offers testing certification courses. Software Testing Certification is their Certified Tester – Foundation Level Training course. The certification exam can be taken after this three-day course.

To qualify to sit for an Advanced Level exam, you must:

  • Have five years of verifiable full-time work experience in software or systems testing, development, quality assurance, engineering or a related field; and
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution in computer science or a related field may be substituted for up to two years of work experience; and
  • Hold an ISTQB Certified Tester – Foundation Level certificate.

IIST
Two different certifications are offered by IIST. Certification training is offered by IIST.

Certified Software Test Professional (CSTP)

  • CSTP is an education-based certification, based on a Body of Knowledge that covers areas essential for every test professional to effectively perform their job in testing projects.
  • Two requirements must be satisfied before the CSTP certification can be granted. These are: Formal Education Requirement (10 days and written exams) and Job Experience Requirement (one year). More information is available on their website.

Certified Test Manager (CTM)

  • The CTM Certification was developed to fill the gap in the management skills required by test managers and test leads to effectively manage the test process, the test project and the test organization.
  • Two requirements must be satisfied before the CTM certification can be granted. These are: Formal Education Requirement (10 days and written exams) and Job Experience Requirement (3 years testing and 1 year lead/management). More information is available on their website.

One Response to “Software Testing: Education and Certification”

  1. Scott Sehlhorst Says:

    Great summation Mike!

    For folks who want to avoid certification, one suggestion would be to read what’s been published on the web – there is a ton of great stuff. We’ve linked to some of it from a post on our blog, and added some of our own thoughts too. We have a series of posts starting with an introduction, and other posts as well – including more basic discussions/introductions. If you find it to be worthwhile – you might want to add an “independant study” catagory to your post.

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