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2009 Issue #2

If you think it's difficult to explain the importance of testing to top management, imagine trying to do so to an 18-year-old. In this issue of ISTQB Certification News, we hear from a Professor of Information Systems at California Polytechnic State University.

Articles in this issue:

Teaching the Next Generation of Testers
Testing and Certification Articles of Interest
Sample Foundation Level Question Sets Now Available on the ASTQB Site
Tell the World About Your Achievement
In a Challenging Economy, Set Yourself Apart
Certification Training/Exams Coming to an Area Near You


Teaching the Next
Generation of Testers


Editor's Note: Patricia McQuaid, Ph.D., CTFL, CISA is a Professor of Information Systems at California Polytechnic State University. As part of her volunteer activities, she is also President and Co-Founder of the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB).

We posed several questions to McQuaid, of which a few are included below. The full set of questions and answers may be found here.

What led you to your career in testing?

I did not start out in my career to be a tester. I started out with a degree in business and a minor in computers. I worked in both the banking and manufacturing industries in what is now called Information Systems Auditing, earning my Certified Information Systems Auditing (CISA) certification. Along the way, I earned an M.B.A. I wanted to learn more technical aspects of the field, so I switched from business to computer science and earned a Masters degree and Ph.D. in Computer Science - Engineering. I have taught both business and computer sciences classes at universities in the United States. I applied my doctoral research to the field of software quality, and later became interested in software testing, a part of software quality.

What is your greatest challenge in testing?

I am a Professor. My two main challenges in testing are getting university students to understand the importance of testing, and getting top management to understand the same. While students intuitively understand that programs and systems need to be tested, more formal training is needed through university study. I am working on that problem, by incorporating software testing into our curriculum.

Regarding the management issue, part of the problem is that testers speak to management using technology terminology, when they need to be speaking business terminology. We need to talk to management in a language that makes sense to them, such as how what we do will increase their return on investment (ROI); not just reporting the number and severity of defects, but how this knowledge will affect the organization's profit and loss figures.

Why do you volunteer your time to grow and develop ISTQB Certification?

I am the co-founder of the ASTQB, founded back in 2004. I learned about the ISTQB certification scheme while I was a speaker at a software quality conference in Europe. What convinced me to move forward and start the American Board was while talking to Dorothy Graham, a testing manager who works on large international projects. She has had teams of several hundred testers. She stated that she would not hire anyone if they did not have at least the Foundation Level certification. Imagine how difficult it would be to manage a team where the team members come from many different European countries, different backgrounds, different colleges, different skill sets, and different terminology. By having team members possessing the Foundation Level certification, she could be assured that everyone was on the same wave length, and knew the terms and concepts they needed to employ. This made perfect sense to me.

Why did you choose the ISTQB Certification rather than other types of testing certifications?

First, the ISTQB scheme is truly international in nature, with nearly fifty countries now (and growing) that recognize the value of ISTQB certifications. All the countries involved recognize the certification from the other countries. So, obtaining the certification in America, will allow it to be recognized in all of the countries which recognize the ISTQB certification.

Second, formal training is not needed - you can self study by downloading our Syllabus (what I call the Body of Knowledge) and the Glossary. If you choose training, you are not locked into a specific company/organization, where you need to take all the training from them, and then receive their own certification. Here, you can self study using the Syllabus and Glossary, or study from the books written for this purpose, or take more formal training from approved vendors.


Testing and Certification
Articles of Interest

There are thousands of new testing and certification-related articles each month, but if you're like most people, you don't have time to read them. Here are a few recent articles that you might find of interest related to both ISTQB's global software tester certification and certification in general.


Is This All You Need to Know About Testing?

Bertrand Meyer published an article in the IEEE Computer Magazine titled "Seven Principles of Software Testing." The article struck Gerald Everett as boldly proclaiming, "this is all you need to know about testing". This led to an interesting point/counterpoint.

Visit article here.

What Certs Are You Getting?

Keith Ward of About.com wants to know what you're doing toward getting certified. Let him know about your ISTQB certification efforts, and that with more than 110,000 certified software testers worldwide, ISTQB software tester certification is the most widely recognized and fastest-growing software tester certification in the world.

Visit article here.

I'm Certified ... Now What?

Lynn Lawton offers advice on making the most of your certification, from sharing the news to requesting a raise to helping others.

Certification a Must in Today's Economy

Jo Stewart-Rattray continues the above article by asserting that there is a growing appreciation for certifications and states "It gives prospective employers or clients an understanding of your areas of expertise and a view of your professionalism and ethical nature. In some sectors, credentialed individuals are paid higher salaries than those who are not."


Sample Foundation Level Question Sets Now Available on the ASTQB Site


ASTQB is pleased to offer two sets of sample questions for study purposes. While neither set is a "true" exam, built perfectly to ISTQB guidelines, each will give the potential examinee an opportunity to test syllabus and glossary knowledge. Each set contains 40 questions, so it can be used as well as a time test for the real 60-minute 40-question exam.

Sample Foundation Level Question Set # 1:

Sample Foundation Level Question Set # 2:


Tell the World About Your Achievement


When you achieve ISTQB Certification, you establish your credentials in software testing. Tell the world, and help them understand the value and significance of your ISTQB CTFL or CTAL designation. Add a link to the ASTQB website, http://www.astqb.org, from your personal website, company websites, blog, Facebook page, MySpace page, LinkedIn information, and email signature. The more information you share about your certification, the more valuable it will become.


In a Challenging Economy, Set Yourself Apart with Advanced Level Certification


If your industry is feeling the pinch of a tough economic environment, this may be the perfect time to set yourself apart as an ISTQB Certified Tester, Advanced Level (CTAL). Designed for those with 5 years of experience, or 3 years of experience with a relevant 4-year degree, ISTQB CTAL helps you to demonstrate your ability to understand and tailor concepts for specific applications.

ISTQB CTAL certification also helps you to choose a career track with three options: Technical Test Analyst, Test Analyst, and Test Manager. Learn more about CTAL at http://www.astqb.org/why-istqb/road-map.php, and download the Advanced Level syllabus at http://www.astqb.org/educational-resources/syllabi.php.


Certification Training/Exams Coming to an Area Near You


If you would like to receive notification when ISTQB Certification training and exams are in your area, simply enter your request at: http://www.astqb.org/general/newsletter.php

Below is a list of scheduled public ISTQB certification exams. Details are available at the ASQTB website at http://www.astqb.org or by contacting the ASTQB office at info@astqb.org.

September 16, 2009 (Wednesday)
Arlington, VA

September 17, 2009 (Thursday)
Minneapolis, MN

September 17, 2009 (Thursday)
Boston, MA

September 17, 2009 (Thursday)
Salt Lake City, UT

September 19, 2009 (Saturday)
Milwaukee, WI

September 24, 2009 (Thursday)
Philadelphia, PA

September 24, 2009 (Thursday)
Atlanta, GA

September 24, 2009 (Thursday)
Baltimore, MD

September 25, 2009 (Friday)
Bethesda, MD

September 30, 2009 (Wednesday)
Bethesda, MD

October 1, 2009 (Thursday)
Indianapolis, IN

October 6, 2009 (Tuesday)
Anaheim, CA

October 8, 2009 (Thursday)
Colorado Springs, CO

October 8, 2009 (Thursday)
Pikesville, MD

October 9, 2009 (Friday)
Falls Church, VA

October 15, 2009 (Thursday)
Rochester, NY

October 15, 2009 (Thursday)
Raleigh, NC

October 15, 2009 (Thursday)
Kansas City, MO

October 21, 2009 (Wednesday)
San Francisco, CA

October 22, 2009 (Thursday)
Austin, TX

October 22, 2009 (Thursday)
Pittsburgh, PA

October 23, 2009 (Friday)
San Jose, CA

October 29, 2009 (Thursday)
Omaha, NE

October 29, 2009 (Thursday)
Cincinnati, OH

October 30, 2009 (Friday)
Atlanta, GA

November 5, 2009 (Thursday)
Denver, CO

November 5, 2009 (Thursday)
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

November 5, 2009 (Thursday)
Madison, WI

November 5, 2009 (Thursday)
Bethesda, MD

November 6, 2009 (Friday)
Bethesda, MD

November 6, 2009 (Friday)
Dallas, TX

November 13, 2009 (Friday)
McLean, VA

November 18, 2009 (Wednesday)
Tampa, FL

November 19, 2009 (Thursday)
Sunnyvale, CA

December 3, 2009 (Thursday)
Phoenix, AZ

December 4, 2009 (Friday)
Atlanta, GA



What Would You Like to Learn About?
As always, we welcome your feedback and criticism. Let us know what we can do to help make you and your company better at software testing at info@astqb.org.

About ISTQB Certification News
ISTQB Certification News is a free software testing newsletter from ASTQB providing news, analysis, and interviews for the software tester community. Feel free to forward to colleagues or ask them to subscribe at: <http://www.astqb.org/general/newsletter.php>

Non-profit, non-commercial publications and Web sites may reprint or link to articles if full credit is given. Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies.

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