Education-Based Software Test Certifications
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Testing software systems to verify they perform reliably and as expected is a very critical quality control activity. Unfortunately, this critical activity is being performed on almost every software project in a very ad hoc, informal manner by developers, testers, and users. Informal surveys conducted by the International Institute for Software Testing indicate that less than 1% of test professionals attending these seminars have used formal test design techniques to design their tests. Formal academic programs seldom provide even rudimentary coverage of software testing, let alone teaching it as a discipline.
Testing activities in many software projects are rarely planned and test teams are unable to perform adequate testing. Software testers have been given very little training and guidance on how to perform effective testing.
Testing is a Disciplined Control Process
The complexity of software systems and the demand of customers and users are increasing every day. With the current state of practice and lack of educated test teams, test professionals often are unable to perform adequate testing of software systems that control different aspects of our lives. It has become evident that testing must be treated as a disciplined and controlled process. Test professionals must learn precise techniques and methods by which they can deliver software with a much higher degree of confidence. Testing must become a recognized profession and discipline that must be learned. Individuals who are charged with the responsibility of testing computer systems must receive formal education and must be recognized by their peers in the software industry. Bodies of knowledge must be carefully defined to cover areas that must be mastered by test professionals.
Education is the Only Way to Establish Testing as a Profession and Discipline
One of the most effective ways to establish a profession is establishing formal educational programs that cover all areas of study that can serve the profession. An essential first step to developing educational programs is to develop Bodies of Knowledge (BOK) that must be mastered by everyone who wishes to belong to the profession. Educating testers on curriculum that is based on a well-established BOK is the only way to establish testing as a discipline and to change the perception that testing is an ad hoc activity that requires minimal training.
To fill this gap, the International Institute of Software Testing (IIST) has taken the lead since 1999 and has become the only provider of education-based certifications. IISTís Advisory Board, a group of industry experts and practitioners, provides direction to the effort of developing education-based certifications. The IIST Advisory Board strongly believes that the value of any certification program lies in its ability to meet individualsí diverse needs and interests for both breadth and depth of content, enabling them to improve the way they perform their job more effectively on a day-to-day basis.
To achieve this goal of education-based certifications, IIST now offers six education-based certifications. Each certification is based on a well-defined Body of Knowledge (BOK) approved by IISTís Advisory Board. To achieve these certifications, a candidate must attend a number of instructor-lead courses and pass an test for each course. Tests in Education-Based Certifications are not multiple choice or true/false type of tests. The Advisory Board agreed that such a model is vastly superior to certifications that are based on passing an exam and do not require a rigorous course of study.
Developing your Testing and QA Career Through Education-Based Certifications
The chart below depicts what the International Institute for Software Testing recommends as possible career path for individuals involved in software testing and quality management. Other paths are also possible based on individualís specific professional development goals.