Every ISTQB Certified Tester Should Be Upset About This…

Filed in News, Software Testing by on 6 April, 2017

ISTQB Scam ?I almost couldn’t believe it when I first read that there are testers who think that ISTQB certification is a scam. I thought it had to be some kind of practical joke. I just didn’t want to believe that there was somebody was willing to take the time and effort to create an online petition imploring the ISTQB board of directors to answer some questions regarding the reliability and validity of the ISTQB Foundation exams. The questions seem to indicate that the blogger has doubts about the quality of the exam.

I guess maybe I’m just a little naïve. Maybe I’m not quite jaded or cynical enough about software testing certification. Maybe I want to believe that all certification is good and that no one would ever write negative things about ISTQB, but that they would rather provide constructive criticism. Well, maybe I am the excessively optimistic person who thinks that all is well in the industry.

But come on, even if people spend a lot of time dabbling in criticism of the darker side of this industry, this whole idea of ISTQB being a scam must still upset them. It definitely upsets me. I can’t be the only one that believes all is well with ISTQB, right? I hope I’m not the only one, otherwise I’m going to start losing my faith in the testing community.

In case you’re not familiar with why I am upset, let me explain…

I have nearly the full gamut of ISTQB test certifications – Foundation, Test Analyst, Technical Test Analyst and Test Management. There are currently 9 testers in South Africa that have the full CTAL Advanced Level certifications, and I am one of them. A lot of money, a lot of study time and a lot of late nights has been invested in getting these certifications. Now I am led to believe that it was all a scam to make money. This leaves me highly frustrated and at a loss for words.

The next natural thing thing to do was to do some research. Like any other research into controversial issues I came across some different viewpoints.

  • ISTQB certification is a scam. See here.
  • ISTQB certification has some value. Examples are here and here.
  • ISTQB is sometimes of value. See this article.

Now where does this leave me? And what about my fellow testers in the rest of South Africa? Take a look at these figures for certified testers in my country:

Some of these South African Testers paid for the course themselves and for others their employers paid the fees.

Problem is, we can’t ignore the allegations of ISTQB being a scam. We shouldn’t ignore it. We shouldn’t let future candidates pay large amounts of cash for a certification that we think is a scam. And that’s why I am taking a stand on it.

I started my journey in Software Testing via the developer route. A client of the company I worked for in the past needed a tester and I was volunteered for it. I enjoyed it very much and I discovered that I was actually quite good at it, without any formal training. So I pursued it as a full-time career. My next company required that I get certification in Software Testing. I became the pathfinder for ISTQB in that company. I was one of the first candidates in the company to pass the examination. Then I mentored and trained other candidates to write and pass the examination.

Now the question becomes an issue of whether ISTQB has been beneficial to me. The answer is a resounding YES. I have benefited from it. It has structured my thoughts, it has caused me to start thinking deeply about testing, it has benefited me in my career and it has caused to to research further into issues in the industry.

Now what if I had had no ISTQB training? I would probably still have been an effective tester, but I may have taken a bit longer to reach the position where I currently am. I am a 50 plus male, and I have decided not to go the management route. Management is not for me. Instead I have gone the craftsman route. This is where I become a specialist in the area of software testing, I attend conferences, I have presented at meetups, I write blog articles, I hope to present at conferences and perhaps one day I will write a book.

I subscribe to a few job alerts, and I often see job postings where ISTQB is a requirement or strongly recommended for the post. So there are some companies in South Africa who have a high regard for it.

I’ve have taken a stand on ISTQB certification. What about you? Where do you stand?

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