ISTQB Certification: Why do you need it and how to get there?
The International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) offers a range of certifications for software testers. The important thing to note is that the CTFL (Certified Tester Foundation Level) certification is the prerequisite that unlocks all other ISTQB certifications. Getting ISTQB certified can have several benefits, so let’s have a look at the situation.
Validation of knowledge: The ISTQB certification exams test a candidate's knowledge of the software testing process, including test design, test management, and test techniques. By passing the exam, the candidate demonstrates that they have a certain level of knowledge and understanding of software testing. It’s a good way to show that you know the terminology and possessed the required theoretical knowledge of software testing.
Career advancement: Many companies require or prefer candidates with ISTQB certification for software testing positions. The certification can help a candidate stand out in a competitive job market and may lead to opportunities for career advancement. A lot of time certifications will be among your defined career goals, as this is the kind of a goal that is easily measurable - you either pass or fail the certification exam when you take it, it’s not open to biases that come from personal interpretations.
Professional development: Preparing for and taking the ISTQB certification exams can help software testers improve their knowledge and skills. Additionally, the certification can provide motivation to stay current with the testing trends and methodologies. This part is especially important for testers working for larger enterprises, where testing is approached in a more formal manner.
International recognition: ISTQB certification is recognized internationally, meaning that it is accepted by companies and organizations around the world. Also, in highly regulated industries having an internationally recognized certification can give you an advantage over other candidates. This is especially true in Europe where ISTQB certification is often seen as a “nice to have” or literally requested on job descriptions. If you are a college graduate and are looking to move to another country, having certificates could help you to prove your professional competency when applying for work visas.
Cost: The cost of taking the ISTQB certification exams can be high, which might be an issue if you are a student or unemployed. What’s often true in practice, is that companies who require that you get certified will refund you the cost of paying for one or two exam attempts for you.
Time: Preparing for the exams and taking the exams can be time-consuming, and it may be difficult to find the time to study while working full-time. If you are not used to studying for detailed exams this could be a bit of a challenge. It’s important to be consistent when studying for exams of this kind, as there are a lot of details to memorize and it can’t be done overnight.
Certification does not guarantee a job or career advancement: Although the certification can help a candidate stand out in the job market, it does not guarantee that you will get a job. If you are applying for your first job, a certification can help you become more prominent compared to other applicants with no work experience.
May not reflect real-world experience: The ISTQB certification exams test a candidate's knowledge of software testing theory, rather than their practical experience. Some people may argue that the certification does not reflect the real-world experience of software testing. This is due to the fact that software testing is highly dependent on context and there are numerous ways to do one thing. Different companies will have different end results if they use the same approach to testing - what’s a best practice in one place, can be a complete failure in a different environment.
In summary, ISTQB certification can be beneficial for software testers looking to validate their knowledge, advance their careers, and stay current with the latest testing trends and methodologies. However, it can also be costly and time-consuming, and it doesn't guarantee a job or career advancement. Ultimately, the decision to become ISTQB certified should be based on the individual's career goals and personal circumstances. If your company is willing to train you and pay for your certification, or, if you realize that investing in the benefits you gain will outweigh the cost, then you should go ahead and do it!
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