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2011 Issue #3

Is the testing profession headed toward a brick wall? Are best practices keeping up with wireless computing, PDAs, cloud computing, autonomic (self-repairing) systems, and heightened security? Learn more and join the discussion below.

Articles in this issue:

Looking for Testers – or a Job? The Free ASTQB Career Center Can Help.
O New Testing Best Practices – Where Art Thou?
Maximize the Value of Your Certification
Volunteer News
News and Offers from ASTQB Accredited Course Providers
Certification Training/Exams Coming to an Area Near You


Looking for Testers – or a Job? The Free ASTQB Career Center Can Help.


Are you seeking ISTQB certified software testers for your company? Post your job openings and search resumes at no cost in the new ASTQB Career Center.

Looking for a job? If you have been certified through ASTQB, you may search job postings and post your own career and job history information, also at no charge. Learn more at the ASTQB Certified Tester Resource Area.


O New Testing Best Practices
– Where Art Thou?


By Jerry Everett, Ph.D., CTFL, ITIL

Is the testing profession headed toward a brick wall in our lifetime? Perhaps.

Is the brick wall avoidable? Probably, with some strategic planning.

What kind of strategic planning could avoid the brick wall? Continue reading.

A Testing Profession Brick Wall Looms Large
We testers have had a good long run with our best practices from years ago. It all started with Bill Hetzel’s ground breaking textbook in the mid-1980s that addressed mainframe testing, the only kind of business computing available at that time.[Ref 1] Our testing best practices folio expanded considerably in the mid 1990s to include testing client-server systems, personal computers, and the internet. I published a textbook in 2007 that consolidated what we testers know into a more coherent set of paradigms.[Ref 2] I presented no new testing best practices because I could not find any. So our current testing profession is running on a set of best practices at least 12 years old, many of which are more than 25 years old.

With the advent of the 21st century, a number of highly innovative computing paradigms have arisen including wireless computing, PDAs, cloud computing, autonomic (self-repairing) systems, and heightened security. I don’t know about anyone reading this article, but I have seen only one new testing best practice candidate revealed in the professional literature in the last 5 years. I do not read all the testing journals, but I do have access to a fair number of new testing articles and books through my role as publications reviewer for the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Over or through the Brick Wall?
There will come a time in the foreseeable future that many (not all) current testing best practices will no longer produce success when applied to the business dominant computing paradigms. Rather than wait for that occurrence to begin to formulate a strategy for finding new best practices for the new computing paradigms, I propose that the testing profession start those strategy conversations now with this article as the stimulus for those conversations.

I have given the issue some thought and suggest possible strategy components for your consideration, discussion, debate, and research.

  1. There may already be a number of new testing best practices in the public domain which simply have not been recognized for their contribution to the profession. A forum in which such practices could be identified would be an excellent start.
  2. There may already be a number of research efforts under way in universities that, with a little encouragement from professional organizations, could be completed and made ready for my suggestion #3.
  3. Where there are completed research efforts that are clearly good new best practice candidates, enlist both business IT teams and other university teams to give the research results a broader experience base using a standardized metrics to record that experience.
  4. When new testing best practice candidates either from business or academia show their value to testing professionals by experience metrics, then testing certification organizations need to clearly adopt the candidates as best practices and incorporate them into updated syllabi and exams.
  5. The certification organizations could provide a double benefit to the testing profession by accelerating the use of new best practices by worldwide holders in parallel with incorporating those new best practices in future certification. This practitioner acceleration could be achieved by circulating the new best practices among their existing certificate holders.

There may be better ways to achieve new testing best practice adoption. I invite additional and alternative strategy component suggestions.

One brick down
Rather than leave the topic as a theoretical exercise, I would like to give a practical example of how I would design a strategy. Case in point is the research article by Almeida, Sunyé, Le Traon, and Valduriez which I reviewed last year for the ACM.[Ref 3] I gave the article an excellent review and encouraged the authors to collaborate with others to collect more experience using their approach. They have begun to find additional software systems with which to “test” their approach. The American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB) suggested a short list of criteria that could be used to measure the effectiveness of their approach in these additional systems. I sincerely hope that the article authors publish their additional findings in an international testers’ forum, the first of hopefully many new best testing practices.

What is your suggested strategy?
Please submit your thoughts and suggestions noting the subject “New Testing Best Practices – Strategy” to the Software Quality Engineering (SQE) forum at sqeinfo@sqe.com or the ASTQB forum info@astqb.org. I’ll summarize the feedback in a subsequent article before the end of the year.


  1. The Complete Guide to Software Testing, Hetzel, Wiley & Sons, 1984, ISBN 0-471-56567-9.
  2. Software Testing: Testing Across the Entire Software Development Lifecycle, Everett and McLeod, Wiley-Interscience Series, 2007, ISBN 978-0-471-79371-7.
  3. “Testing Peer-to-Peer Systems” by Almeida, Sunyé, Le Traon, Valduriez, Empirical Software Engineering 15(4): 346-379, December 2010.

Author’s Bio
Jerry has a Doctorate in Computer Sciences, has been a business computing professional for 45+ years, has been a software tester for 20+ years, and has recently retired as an IBM expert tester. He is currently an ASTQB Director. He has written a testing textbook, delivered testing conference presentations worldwide, and written testing articles for professional publications including the IEEE Software Magazine. He is an active ACM publications reviewer.


Maximize the Value of Your Certification


The more others learn about your certification, the more valuable it will become. So when you achieve ISTQB Certification, help others understand its importance by adding a link to the ASTQB website from your Twitter posts, Google+ page, personal website, company websites, blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn information, and email signature. You've worked hard to achieve your certification – let everyone knows what it means to be ISTQB Certified!


Volunteer News


Editor's Note: ISTQB Certification is trusted because it is led by volunteers. Each issue, we try to give you a feel for the expert software testers who are volunteering their time for ASTQB, the U.S. country board for ISTQB. Thank you to all of our volunteers that help make ISTQB Certification the most popular software tester certification in the world!

Patricia McQuaid, PhD, CTFL, President, ASTQB, will be providing the keynote speech, "Software Disasters - Understanding the Past, to Improve the Future," at the Fifth World Congress on Software Quality (5WCSQ) in Shanghai, China, that takes place October 31-November 4, 2011.

Randy Rice, CSTE, CSQA, CTAL, ASTQB Treasurer, has just written and posted a white paper on the Value of ISTQB Certification and Training. This can be downloaded for free here. Randy's newest book, Testing Dirty Systems, presents a process for testing large, complex and undocumented systems. It is also now published and available on Amazon.com. Randy will also be presenting at the STAR West Conference, Anaheim, California, October 3rd on the topic "Tutorial: Free and Cheap Test Tools," and October 4th on "Becoming an Influential Test Team Leader."

Andrew Pollner, a member of the ASTQB Board of Directors, will be speaking at the VerifyATI Testing & Test Automation Conference, Arlington, Virginia, September 28th on these two topics: "Testing in the Cloud: Is it Right For You?" and "Automated Testing in an Agile Environment." He will also be speaking at the Better Software Conference East, Orlando, Florida, November 9th on "Testing in the Cloud: Is it Right For You?"

Rex Black, CTAL, ISTQB Representative and a member of the Board of Directors, will be giving the opening keynote speech at the STP Conference, Dallas, October 25th.

Taz Daughtrey, a member of the ASTQB Board of Directors, is now serving as Senior Software Quality Scientist with Quanterion Solutions, Inc., which manages two Defense Department-funded Centers of Excellence: the Data and Analysis Center for Software and the Reliability Information Analysis Center. He is providing technical leadership in software reliability and quality by developing training, publications, and other outreach. He will continue with these duties in addition to his teaching software engineering and other undergraduate and graduate courses at James Madison University. Taz will be presenting a webinar, "Securing Systems through Software Reliability Engineering," August 25th, along with a similar talk at the D.C. SPIN (Software Process Improvement Network) meeting on November 2nd.

Jamie Mitchell, CTAL, a member of the ASTQB Technical Advisory Group, will be presenting at the STAR West Conference, Anaheim, California, October 5th, on "Structural Testing: When Quality Matters."

We would also like to recognize a new addition to our Technical Advisory Group, Michael Prisby of UPS.

About Michael Prisby, CTFL
Michael has fifteen years of experience in managing, implementing, and performing all aspects Quality Assurance Testing and Software Test Automation. He has a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Systems, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems.  He has extensive experience in Quality Assurance Project Management, Total Quality Management (TQM), Testing Processes and Methodologies, Test Automation creation and implementation, Quality and Test Metrics, Defect Management (process, tracking, and metrics), Software Development Methodologies (SDM), Software Development Life Cycles (SDLC), and Software Application/Customer Support.  He has been working at UPS for the past 10 years and has held multiple Testing related positions, from Senior Quality Analyst to Quality Assurance Manager.  In his current role, Portfolio Testing Practice Project Leader, he owns ultimate responsibility for testing within his Portfolio (approximately 128 QA resources).  He provides the strategy, guidance, and leadership to implement and manage the testing practice in accordance to the optimal testing model based on his in-depth analysis.

Why Michael Joined the ASTQB Technical Advisory Group
"Software testing has been going through significant changes over the past decade," said Michael.  "The dependency of companies upon armies of manual testers to deploy software products is a thing of the past.  With the explosion of the different test tools for the various types of testing (manual, automation, stress, performance, etc.), today's testers not only need the skills of old (analytical, writing, communication, etc.) but they require additional skills and knowledge (software development, architecture, hardware, and environment) to be successful.  I am truly pleased to be a part of the ASTQB Technical Advisory Group as we help shape the software testers of the future."


News and Offers from ASTQB Accredited Course Providers


ALP International (ALPI): Refer a friend to our September 19-21 public training course & exam and YOU get an iPod Touch! Book our onsite training & exam for your company by August 31, 2011 and YOU get an iPad! To register or for more details contact Katelynn at 301-654-9200 x403. http://www.alpi.com/

ProtoTest:  We will pay for your ASTQB Exam! For course dates and details go to  www.prototest.com/training. Mention this ad when you register. Offer ends October 21, 2011.

RBCS: The book Advanced Software Testing - Vol. 3: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Technical Test Analyst has just been released! This book is written by Rex Black and Jamie Mitchell for the technical test analyst who wants to achieve advanced skills in test analysis, design, and execution. With a hands-on, exercise-rich approach, this book teaches you how to define and carry out the tasks required to put a test strategy into action. Visit the RBCS Store to purchase your copy today.  Enter code AST2011 at check out to receive a 15% discount.  Offer expires September 30, 2011.

SQE: Save During SQE Training’s Summer of Certification. Attend our Software Tester Certification—Foundation Level course and earn the world's leading certification in software testing through either eLearning or traditional classroom instruction. Additionally, SQE Training offers Advanced Test Manager and Advanced Test Analyst education tracks.  Register for any Foundation Level Software Tester Certification course (Public or eLearning) or for the full week of Advanced Level courses by August 31, 2011 and save $211 with code 11AST.




If you are going to STARWEST, stop by the ASTQB booth and say "Hi"! You may also use the ASTQB discount code of ATWV for up to $400 off the cost for the Super Early Bird Special.


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.

August 25, 2011
Hilton Garden Inn - San Jose/Milpitas
30 Ranch Dr.
Milpitas, CA

August 25, 2011
Hilton Boston Logan Airport
One Hotel Dr.
Boston, MA

September 15, 2011
Doubletree Suites Hilton Downtown
1101 LaSalle Ave.
Minneapolis, MN

September 15, 2011
Hilton Garden Inn - Irvine East
27082 Towne Centre Dr.
Foothill Ranch, CA

September 21, 2011
Crowne Plaza Washing National Airport
1480 Crystal Dr.
Arlington, VA

September 22, 2011
Courtyard Atlanta Glenridge/Perimeter Center
5601 Peachtree-Dunwoody Rd.
Atlanta, GA

September 29, 2011
Hilton St. Louis Downtown
400 Olive St.
St. Louis, MO

September 29, 2011
Courtyard by Marriott Pittsburgh Shadyside
5308 Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh PA

October 14, 2011
Disneyland Hotel
1150 Magic Way
Anaheim, CA

October 6, 2011
New Jersey/New York

October 13, 2011
Hilton Garden Inn Austin
11617 Research Blvd.
Austin, TX

October 13, 2011
Doubletree Chicago ARlington Heights
75 W. Algonquin Rd.
Arlington Heights, IL

October 19, 2011
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway Hotel
1500 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA

October 20, 2011
Raleigh, NC

October 20, 2011
Courtyard Philadelphia Valley/King of Prussia
1100 Drummers Lane
Wayne, PA

October 27, 2011
Cincinnati, OH

November 3, 2011
Bethesda, MD

November 8, 2011
Rosen Centre Hotel
9840 International Dr.
Orlando, FL

November 16, 2011
Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore
2225 N. Lois Ave.
Tampa, FL

December 1, 2011
Phoenix, AZ



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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