ISTQB Certificate: To Deliver or Not to Deliver?

In 2002, representatives of Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK were puzzled by the development of the testing sector and created a non-profit organisation ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board).

At the same time, a program was brought out that allows you to get an international certificate. Since then, this feature has excited the minds of ambitious testers around the world. There are several levels of certificates – from basic to advanced and they are recognised by more than 126 countries around the world.

Several of the team from the Godel QM division have become ISTQB certified specialists. We spoke about the benefits of certification for professionals and companies, how to prepare for the exam and what to expect from the process.

What was the main motivation for obtaining the ISTQB certification?

QA Engineer, Nastassia Liakh (Foundation Level): Certification is a confirmation of qualifications for a customer or employer. Certified QA specialists are highly valued in the labour market. Over time, the desire to get ISTQB has become a matter of principle where a set goal must be achieved. Preparation for certification helps to structure existing knowledge, as well as learn something new at the level of international standards.

Senior QA Engineer, Dziyana Valenta (Foundation, Advanced (Test Manager), Advanced (Test Automation Engineer): The motivation for the first (Foundation) certificate was the desire to have a generally recognised document that says that you have knowledge in testing. Three-month education courses seemed too general and would confirm a narrower area for the exam on the certificate level.

I was prompted by the desire to expand my knowledge to find out where to look for the information. When studying the material in preparation, you may not memorise everything thoroughly, but you will remember that there are such things – you can re-read and google in that direction.

Consequently, the map of the world is expanding. It became interesting to learn the theory from the point of view of people with colossal experience who developed the ISTQB exam and books on preparing for it, to compare new knowledge with my intuitive understanding, which had developed over 4.5 years of work on projects. This is how I received the third ISTQB certificate.

Senior QA Engineer, Aliaksei Kanaplitski (Foundation, Advanced): For me, the ISTQB certificate is a quantitative measurement of theoretical and practical skills, a document confirming the possession of certain skills, which, if necessary, can be provided to a third party.

Did you have enough time for the exam? Which helped more – experience or preparation for certification in teaching materials / courses?

QA Engineer, Mikhail Kaushovik (Foundation): There was enough time for the exam. I will say for sure that I had little experience, without additional preparation it would hardly have been possible to pass.

Nastassia: It seemed to me that there is enough time only if you know exactly the answers to the questions. Otherwise, it may not be enough to think. Experience helped to pass the exam more, but of course, the various nuances highlighted in the Syllabus played an important role.

Dziyana: There was enough time, but I didn’t complete the exam beforehand. I tried to remember my questions so that later I could understand where I was wrong. Experience and preparation helped. There is a lot of new information, so it is difficult to pass the exam without experience. At the same time, it is hardly enough. There are questions with “tricks” and you need to get used to the style of their writing, paying attention to the little things.

Aliaksei: There is enough time, but end-to-end.

Do you remember examples of the trickiest questions, especially interesting or difficult? What should you pay attention to?

Nastassia: There were several questions. It was difficult in cases where it seemed that several answers were suitable, but there was only one to choose.

Dziyana: It is worth paying attention to test questions – you can find as many of them as you like on the internet.

What advantages does the certificate give you?

Nastassia: It gives confidence in our abilities and preparing for the exam really helped me to find work.

Dziyana: A certificate is needed: why waste time inventing a bicycle? Take a foundation created by people with 25 years of experience, customise it and use it. You speak the same language with colleagues who have undergone a similar education or passed a certificate, even though they may be far overseas. An international certificate gives the same understanding of things.

Are there any plans to get an advanced certificate?

Nastassia: Yes, of course! I have already started to prepare for the Agile Tester FL exam, but as I said, it’s difficult for me to do it on my own, so for now everything has come to naught.

Dziyana: I already have an advanced certificate. Do I plan to get another one? I think so! I came across a book on preparation called “Technical Test Analyst”, where techniques with examples are so coolly described that I wanted to read it. Well, if you do, why not spend two more days honing the nuances of the questions and not passing the exam!