Thursday, 15 March 2012

Software Testing Certificates - Do you really need them?

Some information from "the" Michael Bolton:

The limitations of testing certifications, courses, and standards based on "naming" instead of "knowing":

If you are thinking of the ISTQB/ISEB Foundation course, consider this: Black Box Software Testing course -

Certification does not prove you can test; it just proves you are capable of learning sufficiently to pass an exam.  Any employee might be told to go on a course to learn some stuff but the key to gaining information is applying it.  You need to know that testing is something you do and you need to experience it to really understand it.  Anyone can pass an exam but not everyone can do testing well.  You don't need a certificate to be a tester and certification wont make you into a good tester either.  What you need to understand is that testers, or checkers, continuously have to learn in order to be effective as a tester.  You need to understand what techniques are available and select the ones that are useful to you in the environment you are testing in.

Certification will show to employers that you have some knowledge in testing, that could be useful to them, that shows you have taken some interest in testing at some point in your life.  It is a stepping stone into testing.  But there are other ways to cross a stream!  Try hand gliding across a stream - a lot more fun and you can see a bigger picture from above.


  1. In my current opinion this isn't quite true although it really depends on what certification you're writing about "capable of learning sufficiently to pass an exam".

    In some cases you just have to sufficiently remember the material to pass the exam.

    You might do so without actually learning anything.

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  3. Remembering stuff to pass an exam without learning anything is the point.

    The most valuable thing is showing you can actually test in a real life situation. The ISEB/ISTQB Foundation Certificate does not prove to me that a person is capable of testing.

    Some companies seem to insist that new recruits have this sort of certification. I'm not sure these sort of companies really understand the value of these ISEB Foundation Certificates.

    Also I got something wrong. Certification is the process of certifying someone is worthy of a certificate. I should have said that "obtaining a certificate" instead of certification in my initial post.