Saturday, November 8, 2008

Software testing and Quality Assurance certifications

The software testers and quality assurance specialists can achieve now one (or more) of the testing/quality assurance certifications available. These Software testing certification are basically of 2 types: an exam type based (you'll need to pass an exam: e.g. ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board)) and an education based (you'll need to pass each course: e.g. IIST (International Institute for Software Testing)) )
Read below the list with the most popular testing certifications and see if you can find one suitable for you (the information displayed for each certification are the ones from their official sources):

- ISTQB Certified Tester, Foundation Level (CTFL) offered by the International Software Testing Qualification Board
CTFL is an exam-based certification, based on a Certified Tester - Foundation Level Syllabus (see http://www.istqb.org/downloads/syllabi/SyllabusFoundation.pdf).
Objectives for the CTFL:
The Foundation Level qualification is aimed at anyone involved in software testing. This includes people in roles such as testers, test analysts, test engineers, test consultants, test managers, user acceptance testers and software developers.
This Foundation Level qualification is also appropriate for anyone who wants a basic understanding of software testing, such as project managers, quality managers, software development managers, business analysts, IT directors and management consultants. Holders of the Foundation Certificate will be able to go on to a higher level software
testing qualification (more details on http://www.istqb.org)

- ISTQB Certified Tester, Advanced Level (CTAL) offered by the International Software Testing Qualification Board
CTAL is an exam-based certification, based on a Certified Tester - Advanced Level Syllabus (use http://www.istqb.org/downloads/syllabi/CTAL_Syllabus_V_2007.pdf).
Objectives for the CTAL :
The Advanced Level qualification is aimed at people who have achieved an advanced point in their careers in software testing.
This includes people in roles such as testers, test analysts, test engineers,
test consultants, test managers, user acceptance testers and software developers. This Advanced Level qualification is also appropriate for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of software testing, such as project managers, quality managers, software development managers, business analysts, IT directors and management consultants. To receive Advanced Level certification, candidates must hold the Foundation Certificate and satisfy the Exam Board which examines them t
hat they have sufficient practical experience to be considered Advanced Level qualified.
The courses ISTQB Advanced Level cover the following main areas:

- Advanced Level Test Manager ( the Advanced Level Test Management professionals should be able to:
define the overall testing goals and strategy for the systems being tested, plan, schedule and track the tasks, describe and organize the necessary activities, select, acquire and assign the adequate resources to the tasks, select, organize and lead testing teams, organize the communication between the members of the testing teams, and between the testing teams and all the other stakeholders, justify the decisions and provide adequate reporting information where applicable
- Advanced Level Test Analyst ( the Advanced Level Test Analysts should be able to: structure the tasks defined in the test strategy in terms of business domain requirements, analyze the system in sufficient detail to meet the user quality expectations,evaluate the system requirements to determine domain validity, prepare and execute the adequate activities, and report on their progress, provide the necessary evidence to support evaluations, implement the necessary tools and techniques to achieve the defined goals
- Advanced Level Technical Test Analyst ( the Advanced Level Technical Test Analysts should be able to: structure the tasks defined in the test strategy in terms of technical requirements, analyze the internal structure of the system in sufficient detail to meet the expected quality
level, evaluate the system in terms of technical quality attributes such as performance, security, etc, prepare and execute the adequate activities, and report on their progress, conduct technical testing activities, provide the necessary evidence to support evaluations, implement the necessary tools and techniques to achieve the defined goals (more details on http://www.istqb.org
)

- Certified Software Test Professional (CSTP) offered by the International Institute for Software Testing (IIST):
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. Objectives of CSTP Certification: help individuals develop their software testing skills through formal education, establish a common skill set for software testing professionals according to a well-defined Body of Knowledge, create a pool of qualified software testing professionals, prepare candidates for a wider range of software testing assignments, complement company in-house and on-the-job training programs, provide professional recognition and career enhancement. There are two requirements that must be satisfied before the CSTP certification can be granted. These are: Formal Education Requirement and Job Experience Requirement (more details on http://www.testinginstitute.com/cstp.php )


- CATe offered by the International Institute for Software Testing (more details on http://www.testinginstitute.com

- Certified Test Manager (CTM) offered by the International Institute for Software Testing (IIST):
CTM is based on the Test Management Body of Knowledge (TMBOK) developed by IIST through its Advisory Board.

Objectives of CTM Certification:
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. Specifically, CTM aims at achieving the following objectives: help individuals develop their test management skills through formal education, establish a common skill set for software test managers and test leads based on a well-defined Test Management Body of Knowledge (TMBOK), create a pool of qualified software test managers Prepare test professionals, especially those who achieved the Certified Test Professional (CSTP) designation for management and lead positions in software testing projects, provide professional recognition and career enhancement for those who manage test projects.

There are two requirements that must be satisfied before the CTM certification can be granted. These are: Formal Education Requirement and Job Experience Requirement (more details on http://www.testinginstitute.com/ctm.php)

- Certified Software Tester (CSTE) offered by the Quality Assurance Institute (QAI):
Objectives of CSTE Certification:
The Certified Software Tester (CSTE) certification is intended to establish standards for initial qualification and provide direction for the testing function through an aggressive educational program. Acquiring the designation of Certified Software Tester (CSTE) indicates a professional level of competence in the principles and practices of quality control in the IT profession. CSTEs become members of a recognized professional group and receive recognition of their competence by business and professional associates, potentially more rapid career advancement, and greater acceptance in the role as advisor to management.

To qualify for candidacy, each applicant must meet one of four prerequisites: a 4 year degree from an accredited college-level institution and 2 years experience in the information services field, a 3 year degree from an accredited college-level institution and 3 years experience in the information services field, a 2 year degree from an accredited college-level institution and 4 years experience in the information services field, six years experience in the information services field AND Are working, or have worked at any time within the prior 18 months, in the field within covered by the certification designation (more details on http://www.softwarecertifications.org/qai_cste.htm )

- ISEB offered by the Information Systems Examinations Board (see more on http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=conWebDoc.2064 )
The following are the ISEB certification for software testing:
- Foundation Certificate in Software Testing
This certificate provides a good overview of the basics of software testing (more details on
http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=nav.6942).
- Intermediate Certificate in Software Testing
This certificate is the next level of competency in software testing after foundation level. A pass in this certificate provides evidence that the candidate has proven analytical ability, having gained knowledge and practical skills in the key topics required for practicing software testing. (more details on
http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=nav.001010002003021).
Practitioner Certificate in Test Management
This certificate is a high level qualification which examines knowledge and skills required for the management of Software Testing. It is the next level of competency in software testing after the ISEB intermediate level. A pass in this certificate provides evidence that the candidate has gained a high level of competency in topics specific to the management of software testing, having proven ability to analyse, synthesise and evaluate. (more details on http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=nav.001010002003022)
Practitioner Certificate in Test Analysis
This certificate is a high level qualification which examines knowledge and skills required for the technical analysis of Software Testing. It is the next level of competency in software testing after the ISEB intermediate level. A pass in this certificate provides evidence that the candidate has gained a high level of competency in topics specific to the analysis of software testing, having proven ability to analysis, synthesis and evaluate.(
more details on http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=nav.001010002003023)

- CBTS offered by the Brazilian Certification of Software Testing (ALATS) (more details on http://www.alats.org.br)

A similar list is described below for the Quality assurance certifications:


- CSQE offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ)
Objectives of CSQE Certification: The Certified Software Quality Engineer understands software quality development and implementation, software inspection, testing, verification and validation; and implements software development and maintenance processes and methods (more details on http://www.asq.org/certification/software-quality-engineer/index.html).

- CQIA offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ)
Objectives of CQIA Certification: The Certified Quality Improvement Associate has a basic knowledge of quality tools and their uses and is involved in quality improvement projects, but doesn't necessarily come from a traditional quality area (more details on http://www.asq.org/certification/quality-improvement-associate/index.html)

- CSQA offered by the Quality Assurance Institute (QAI) (more details on http://www.softwarecertifications.org)

Even if
some of these certifications may be a bonus when trying to get a job in the software testing/ quality assurance area, they can't measure an individual's productivity, their skill, or practical knowledge, and cannot guarantee their competence, or professionalism as a tester.

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