Jul 2, 2021, Mobile, Web

Quality assurance certification for software testers

Beata Słupek QA Team Leader

Many jobs require certificates validating your competences. However, people have different motivations trying to document their knowledge and skills. For some, it’s a way of setting their professional goals, reaching specific career milestones or establishing areas of interests and specialization. Sometimes, certification is required in the process of recruitment for certain positions or it’s an indispensable condition to meet the formal workplace requirements, e.g. working with specific products or projects. Others treat it as a unification of the industry conceptual dictionary as well as a confirmation and systematization of acquired knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, it’s always a good idea to invest in self-development and expand your competences. It should be an immanent element of your professional career as a tester. 

What should you consider before choosing a certificate?

The most important thing is to think about several basic aspects before making a decision on which certificate to choose. Obviously, you have to take into account your own preferences and professional interests. You should also think about the most convenient form – some prefer an option of preparing by themselves. Others feel more satisfied taking part in training with a program and a leader who’ll help solve some potential doubts. 

While choosing the most suitable certification (or a certification with a training), it’s important to verify the renown and prestige of the body which is responsible for issuing the certification as well as the competencies of a trainer

ISTQB certification options for software testers

The most popular testing certification is, of course, the ISTQB having different levels of advancement and varied areas of specialization. Here are some short characteristics of certifications according to standardized software testers qualification created by the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB):

  • ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level – It’s one of the most popular certifications. Getting it confirms having a basic software testing knowledge including: unified conceptual dictionary used in everyday work, testing foundations, testing in the context of software lifecycle, static testing and test design techniques, tests management, as well as tools that support testing. During recruitment interviews for a tester position, candidates can often expect questions about their knowledge of the ISTQB FL syllabus to identify if they have a theoretical background.
  • ISTQB Certified Tester Advanced Level (every certification requires acquiring knowledge about the ISTQB FL) is divided into:
  • Test Manager – especially for people who work as test managers or plan on getting such a position. The scope of required knowledge from the syllabus includes the aspects of software testing from a managerial perspective.
  • Test Analyst – created for software testers whose responsibilities and interests oscillate around test analysis. 
  • Technical Test Analyst – for people who want to confirm their competences in a more technical test analysis. 
  • ISTQB Certified Tester Expert Level
  • Test Management – for people who manage a test team and the process of testing within the whole organization.
  • Improving the Testing Process – covering basic knowledge on enhancing the process of testing. 
  • Specialist certification from the ISTQB family including:
  • Performance testing – it’s focused on the topic of performance and performance testing of a developed software.
  • Model-Based Tester – it concerns testing based on a model (Model-based testing, MTB).
  • Usability Testing – it concerns verifying the usability of a software.
  • Security Tester – confirming competences from safety tests: approach, methodology, and tools. 
  • Test Automation Engineer – applies to verifying knowledge about advanced test automation which translates into reliable influence on design, development and maintenance of functional test automation solutions in a company/project.
  • Mobile Application Testing – aimed at people who want to develop their mobile applications testing knowledge.
  • ISTQB Agile Tester – aimed at people working in agile methodologies of software development, basic and advanced level.

It’s worth pointing out that ISTQB constantly develops and changes the range of certifications. That’s why it’s recommended to follow the society’s official website to be up-to-date.

Other forms of certification

Apart from ISTQB, testers have other options of verifying their professional competencies. Some of them are:

  • IREB Certified Requirements Engineer
  • IQBBA Certified Business Analyst Basic Level
  • IBUQ Basic Level
  • A4Q Certified Selenium Tester Foundation Level

Summing up

You should know that it’s only a small piece of what the IT industry offers in terms of confirming your qualifications with formal documentation. Depending on a chosen path – e.g. requirements analysis, cloud issues, project methodologies, test automation and design – you can always find an adequate training, class or certification applying to a strictly narrowed field, most coherent with your professional preferences.