I have passed the foundation level exam, and to be honest, I'm pretty sure that anyone could pass that exam with a couple of days of studying. My question is are these certificates really of value to my career and should I put any effort into acquiring the more advanced levels?
"Value to career" is a tough thing to call.
I don't have a certification, and as far as I know, I've never hired anyone with a certification. That could be due to my location, or just a coincidence, or could be a point demonstrating their lack of value.
I do know that I've never considered ISTQB/ISEB Certification of any value while reviewing candidates' resumes or during interviews.
To answer the question in the title of your post: No. Testing Certificates do not prove that someone can test. They only prove that the individual can pass the certification exam.
I am aware of the current "certification is evil" line going through the software testing community. I have to say that, I don't agree with this line.
As user246 mentioned, people do occasionally attain this certification to be more marketable. People also often sometimes take this certification early in their careers in the hopes of learning more. Certainly not going to hold it against them.
To your question, Certification does not prove that someone knows how to test. They can show that you have learned a set of "common" terms and ideas. They may even teach someone some of the basics of testing, however, really good testing can only be learned through experience, practice, and personal retrospectives as to what they actually learned while they were testing.
If you want to put the time and money into them, I certainly wouldn't begrudge you for having them if I happened to be interviewing you, I've often contemplated the same thing myself. There are managers, however, who feel that certification is a requirement. In this case, if you are in a very competitive market, it could very well help give you a one-up over another candidate.
No, absolutely. The problem with ISTQB Syllabus is that it does not really reflect modern approaches and methodologies (especially in agile environments). I attended ISTQB training recently myself and I must say that at least half of it was useless (problems that were mentioned do not exist in an agile team to which I belong).
Although it does not say much about you as a tester it may be a value to your career. Depends on where you live (or where you will be seeking jobs in the future). In my area, the certificate is always mentioned as 'nice-to-have' in all job adverts.
From what I've heard the advanced-level exams are much more difficult and if I were you I would take at least one of them.
Now, I said the certificate is good for a career even if it doesn't give you much knowledge. So you may wonder - is there any training/certification that comes with some useful knowledge? Association For Software Testing provides online training. They are not (yet?) recognized by employers, but I heard they can change the way you look at testing. I am not sure if it's true or not (although people who told me about AST were definitely trustworthy), but I am going to take the training in September. Then I will share my thoughts here. ;)
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught - Oscar Wilde
If the effort you make to acquire certifications in the field of software testing in it's current form would encourage you to read more relevant stuff related to testing and you firmly believe that is going to help you think critically about the craft; I would say go for it. Inversely you can spend the same effort in becoming good at what you do by interacting and participating in different forums/activities related to testing outside your work. It largely depends on the person. if he needs to have a motivation (in someone's case it can be a certificate) to evolve as a professional, there is no harm in doing what you think is right.
Having said that I still feel that the certification programs currently available hardly inspire you to enhance your cognitive and creative skills and probably also in providing any solid practical lessons on how to evolve as a professional tester. You could invest your time, effort and money in better things such as books on programming, testing, development, psychology, critical thinking, systems thinking, etc. and read them instead.
Your long term career would be a sum of what you have learned and helped others learn by doing some inspiring work on the field rather than how many medals you have managed to put on the wall. For a specific job, there is a possibility that you manage with short-cuts, but if we speak of a career then it's much more than mere certificates and citations.
Does it mean you can test? As has already been stated above several times, certainly not.
Does it help? I can't really think of any situations where it would be a negative (at the worst, a non-factor maybe), so it certainly can't affect your employability - which, let's face it, is a rather important part of the "software testing career" experience.
On a personal note, I gained the ISTQB Foundation cert back in 2009, and it was one of the reasons my resume wasn't thrown in the bin (and for me giving an interview etc). So I can't categorically state that it helps in that regard, but on the other hand, I was thrown into an environment where I lost my bearings for the first few months and didn't apply a lot of the knowledge I'd acquired (both through previous job experience and the cert), so in that way, it didn't prove that I could test at all.
Luckily they were patient with me...
Well... No, in my opinion the ISTQB Foundation level certification does not guarantee that you can test. Learning the specifics of the job requires practice, depth of knowledge, experience, etc. ISTQB preparation teaches you basic terminology. Processes and even testing techniques are not covered well... Anyway, think about it that way: "ISTQB does not guarantee that you cannot test". :))
I have also have been on the foundation course and feel that it presented no gain in my career. The course however would have been of great help when I had first started my career as a software tester. It highlights some of the basic techniques that can be applied and tries to put the concepts behind testing into perspective.
I am sure that "anyone" could pass this test and as it is only a 3 day course then I would not expect it to be too difficult. If you are looking to see what the next level's in the course teach then I am sure that they have books available that will inform you of what the course contains.
No, but it normally proves, you that you will understand what the ISTQB test manager and the other ISTQB tester mean. Many project managers think that testing is that obvious that one need no education for it, it is certainly wrong.
A big value is - one would not disturb good testing process by implementing his not-understanding about testing and qa.
I have never even mentioned these certifications to any prospective candidate, nor have I been ever asked. These certifications have been able to thrive so much, maybe because of lack of formal education for the field of Quality Assurance.
I believe these come handy when you are applying for a QA/tester job in non-technological industry where the hiring managers do not have substantial technological skills or experience and the certificates can help them filter the candidates.
These certificates, maybe prove that someone knows the basics of testing - fundamentals and definitions, which might be beneficial at the start of the career. It might help getting a job initially, but is not a quality metrics for the ability to test.
Again, ROI is a totally different argument.
Having ISTQB certifcation doesn't make you an experienced person. It just add's weightage to your resume when you are switching to another company. In few cases it helps a person who is planning to shift altogether to a new country for ex: If you are working in india and looking for a job in USA or any European countries it helps you in finding a job.
No, a testing certificate doesn't prove you can test. Having said that, I have sat (and passed) the ISEB Foundation and Intermediate levels and the ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst.
For each of those I read a bunch of books and articles, then paid to sit the exam. It was definitely worth reading the books - I learned some useful things. I think it was just about worth sitting the exams (about £120 each), it's possible that it will give me an edge at some point when applying for a job.
Why are the people with loads of experience and knowledge afraid of the certification exams? I started to doubt if these people just get along with their connections and some politicking? Just like certification, even your academic credentials can't reflect your abilities. Most Indians know of one Harvard graduate who cannot spell "Harvard" correctly. But then studying at Harvard doesn't make all those who studied there to be fools.
When these kind of people are at the helm of the affairs, problems start. Because when they can't put in effort to pass, they have a prejudice against those who pass the exam.
If they really believe in all that bs they dish out, they should be developing their own software instead of using the crappy software from Microsoft and oracle.
Do ISTQB/ISEB Testing Certificates prove that someone can test?
Not really. It is all theory and definitions of terminologies. Frankly in my career and experience I haven't seen one size fits all theory. Demand and quality criteria of each piece of software differs and only thing that really helps is hands on experience and ability to think and question. Certifications don't teach that. So the certifications can't prove that someone can test. You can only judge by comparing one's experience and with your needs and see if they will be a good fit to hire on your team for testing software. Why I say this is because every where you go the they have their own terminologies and processes which means the terminologies and processes defined as standards become obselete in that case and you have to adjust and many a times improvise over it.
Are certificates really of value to my career?
That really depends. If you are working for companies that are certification oriented, then yes, it does add value. Many companies prefer to hire people with certifications. There may be several reasons for this. Some that I know of are,
- They filter resumes when hiring depending on certain keywords so that they don't have to go through a long list of them.
- They really believe in having a certification means you can test.
- They hire people with certificates to show-off to their client and for marketing purposes.
In such situations as mentioned above having a certification can be an added value to get a job.
To get the job done and to keep it the only thing that helps is your ability to perform, think, question, communicate and advocate-bugs. Doesn't matter if you pass all the certification exams out there and have hundreds of certification logos on your CV if you cant test you're getting nowhere near to growth in your career.
No. IMHO Any certificate in hand does not prove anything in itself. I think in any certification(in fact in any education) the value you receive is directly equal to the effort you put into it.
So you may receive high value out of it, provided you put that much effort in understanding and applying the deeper concepts, fundamentals of the Software testing which of course you can get it without any certification as well if you really learn and practice those skills.
I have an ISQTB Foundation cert that a previous employer paid for , i think it has differentiated me in arbitrary situations. I wouldn't have paid for it myself. It was a half hour multiple choice question test that is pretty hard to fail. I learnt some formal terms that help when explaining things to others.
There are loads of sample tests for ISQTB online that you can do for free , the test material hasn't changed much so you can have the soft benefits without paying for the cert.
Doing sample tests before an interview is a reasonable way of validating your knowledge and that validation translates into confidence in the interview.
Demonstrating confidence and knowledge will get you the job, if you have it you don't need an ISQTB , if you don't ISQTB can help but its not a substitute.
I haven't looked at the advanced or manager level ISQTB certs , they may be more in depth and useful , they are certainly expensive.
For my experience is having certifications means not you know how to test. I have interviewed several candidates with many ISTQB certifications but when we asked simple questions they can't answer. However that not say that you do not need to do certifications.
Actually testing is an art and everyone can't be a good tester. Sometimes it comes with experience. Also, you are passionate about learning, explore things, Analytical skills, technical skills all will matter. However for interviews or even organization level when we want to show the level of quality engineers these certifications are important. Let say if a client comes and asks how many qualified quality engineers you have for this, ISTQB is one of the criteria we are using. Therefore in order to go up the ladder, all will matter.
In my region, the short answer is YES.
I find this issue similar to having a driving license.
There are many teenager who knows how to drive car but with out driving license. Another example: there are some adults whose driving license has been taken back as a punishment. Both groups knows how to drive a car but with out a license someone (Police Officer) do not know if they can drive or not and they will get punished if they drive a car.
Similar to above example ISTQB certificate shows that you have at least basic knowledge of software testing and someone (Human Resources) easily could understand this. With out certificate Human Resources less likely to call you for a appointment.
This might be different if you are in another part of the world.