The discipline of software testing in the vastness of our world continues to develop more and more. This statement may seem controversial to you. But I see more and more people who want to approach software testing in a more structured, conscious, “scientific” manner. These people are interested not only in the question of “how” but also the “why” and “what for” questions.
People ask me and each other a question: what should a tester read? How to improve your knowledge to the level of your experience? My answer is to read as much as possible. But, as with any activity, rationality doesn’t hurt. Can you read a little less and get more value? My answer is that it can be done with ISTQB certification. Preparing for the exam will give you a good overview of the knowledge a tester might need. Having passed the exam, you will receive documentary evidence of knowledge.
Let’s take a look at how ISTQB certification can be useful for you as a software tester.
You will increase your chances of getting a better job or promotion. If it is still forgivable for Junior to have only a small number of simple practical skills, then from more experienced testers waiting more and more. It is no longer just necessary to know “how”, but also to know what alternatives there may be and which ones are more preferable in which situations, and why.
You will improve your position in the labor market. I do not have reliable statistics, there are so many testers in the world now. But the number of certified professionals is growing and if you suddenly want to change jobs, it is better to be among them than among the non-certified. In Western Europe, USA and Canada this certificate is in great demand. Having it, you will immediately get an advantage, even at the stage of initial weeding out of the resume.
And in general, you will become more in demand. There are people who got their positions some time ago and now they can afford to lag behind life, using their knowledge base of three years ago. Can we afford this? Everyone decides for himself but it’s better to update and expand your knowledge and skills. And certification is one of the good ways to do it.
You will expand your knowledge. Having work experience in one or two companies, it is impossible to see your specialty in the whole its breadth. If you are not reading, your horizons are limited to a very small part of reality. Broader knowledge will help you be better off making decisions and arguing for them in front of bosses and colleagues.
You will be more creative! Creative in solving your daily tasks, in improving your testing processes. There are people like Scott Berkun, a creativity coach and Jurgen Apello, the author of the bestselling book Management 3.0. Both, in one form or another, teach us that under certain conditions, the brain combines what he already knows, and produces new conclusions, new knowledge. How it happens: you heard something on the radio, read something, encountered a situation, talked to some person. The brain remembered all this as a set of facts. After that, some small regular event is enough – and an insight comes or an idea comes, the brain has combined, put together what it already knew. But for this you need to have something to put in there :)Certification provides new knowledge, fills in the gaps and organizes what you already know. It increases the quantity and quality of what from what our brain will make ideas.
How to Prepare for ISTQB Certification?
Everyone has their own way. I will give recommendations based on my own experience and communication with those who have passed or are preparing for the exam.
Accept the information given to you in the materials as it is. Most of you already have practical experience in testing and you’ve already gotten used to some terminology that is used where you work. But! Do not assume that the information in the book is not correct just because you have a different experience. Information in the materials is often presented in a generalized style. Just be able to understand it and compare it with your reality. Do this if you feel like rejecting what is written as wrong! This is a very good exercise – this is what every great specialist does, he combines his experience with theory and gains an understanding of how to act in a specific situation.
Do your best to understand all the terms correctly! Many exam questions are based on knowledge of terms. This is the basis without which it is very unlikely to pass the exam.
Start as early as possible! The volume is rather big and in a week it may not fit into the head.
Prefer short, frequent training sessions over long, rare ones. It is good practice to read 10-20 pages every day.
Make notes in the text of materials. Create your condensed version and read it over and over! Read mindfully, not diagonally. Remember examples from your actual practice that relate to what you are reading. If you cannot understand what you wrote the day before yesterday, then look into the book, correct it and read it once more!
Solve problems! Being able to answer questions and solve problems is not the same as knowing theory. And the exam consists of questions and tasks. No matter how many times you read a book or a synopsis, you will not know what you really have to face on the exam. And you won’t get self-confidence. The number of problems in the public domain is limited, and on the exam you are 99% likely to come across something different from what you trained. This is not scary – even deciding what is available to you, you will get a skill that, together with your knowledge of theory, will provide a high result.
Get ready in groups! You will be able to consult with those who prepare more thoroughly. Or, conversely, act as a leader and pull others up, at the same time organizing your own thoughts. Because, as you know, when you teach someone else, you learn yourself. So find yourself someone who is also preparing for the exam. Let it be even 1-2 people but meet regularly. Share your interpretation of what you read, discuss the material in the context of your practical experience. In a group, it is easier to achieve goals for two more motivational reasons. First, it’s more fun! You will study more willingly 🙂 Second, you commit yourself publicly! And refusing from such a commitment is much more difficult and painful than from a promise given to himself.
To summarize, there are enough reasons to get an ISTQB certificate. If you read the literature on testing, then the knowledge gained in preparation for certification, will be a good addition to your current examination. If you are not reading, then this is a very good material to start.