ISTQB certification for software testing professionals has become quite popular in India. It is spread over three levels: foundation, advanced and expert level. Till date, over 180,00 certifications have been issued in over 70 countries.Istqb body proclaims itself as the most renowned and respected body for certifying software testers. Few months back I appeared for the ISTQB foundation level exam for which- I had started preparing just a few days before the examination. I consulted a question bank consisting of over 500 questions and study material from some coaching institutes and cracked the foundation level exam. I wondered about the authencity of such certification which could be obtained by learning from some questions and some basic concepts.
An examination of such a stature which is conducted by the world’s most renowned body of software testing should have tougher benchmarks. What amazes me is the fact that many companies in India treat these as the gold standard of testing skills. Obviously, using ISTQB as the one and only criterion for judging the level of testing competence goes against those who are even more competent but do not possess a certification from ISTQB. Certainly, certifications as the sole criteria for judging the competence of professionals has limitations. The ISTQB should also raise the bar by revamping its examination structure to include issues that are relevant in the real world. In other words, the certification should test a candidate’s thinking, analytical abilities and innovativeness. Emphasis should be more on learning and creativity rather than just mugging up concepts and reproducing it in the examination. For all those aspirants planning to appear for ISTQB exams and those who couldn’t clear it, I have a quote from a renowned software tester –
“Certification exams do not measure the quality of a tester. Until they do, they merely facilitate discriminatory hiring practices.” – James Bach