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2012 Issue #1

Does your company do agile development and testing? Learn how the ISTQB certification program covers agile testing as well as other development and testing approaches.

Articles in this issue:

How ISTQB Certification Supports Agile Testing
Congratulations to YOU
Show the World You are Certified
Get a Testing Result Your CEO Will Love
Need a Job? Need a Tester?
ASTQB Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer News
News and Offers from ASTQB Accredited Course Providers
Look for ASTQB at Upcoming Shows!
Certification Training/Exams Coming to an Area Near You


How ISTQB Certification Supports Agile Testing


By Randall W. Rice, CTAL

A frequent question I get about ISTQB certification is “We do agile development and testing. Does the ISTQB certification program cover this type of testing?”

My answer is “Yes, and it also covers other development and test approaches as well.”

The ISTQB Foundation and Advanced certifications are what I consider to be “life cycle neutral” in that they assume no particular method of software development and testing. The advantage of this approach is that different teams from all across the organization can benefit from core testing knowledge independent from a particular project approach.

One of the chapters in the ISTQB Foundation syllabus is “Testing Throughout the Software Life Cycle.” This is a significant concept for software testers because we know that testing must be performed throughout the project to be effective. Otherwise we are back in the days of back-end or big-bang testing where most of the testing occurs just before release.

In this chapter on the life cycle impact of testing, both waterfall and iterative life cycles are discussed. Even in the waterfall life cycle, there are many opportunities for verification throughout the project. Certainly, iterative development has a major impact on how testing is performed and when it is performed. These are addressed in the syllabus. Potential exam questions could deal with which types of test approaches are suitable in agile projects. Likewise, questions could involve aligning test approaches with traditional structured development.

The specific test design techniques, such as boundary-value, decision tables, and so forth, can apply to any software development and test approach. The key is to know when to use a particular technique to get the best value from it. This is a major learning objective at the foundation level.

In the Test Management chapter, there is a section on “Risk and Testing.” Those testers who have been involved in agile projects know that risk-based testing is a common and effective way to focus testing. At the Foundation level, the basics of project and product risks are covered. At the Advanced level, the risk topic is explored in even more detail.

The topic of independence in testing is also addressed in both foundation and advanced syllabi. In agile projects, testers are located close to developers, which facilitates rapid feedback. In traditional projects, testers may be organized in a separate team. There are pros and cons to independent testing, which fuel a debate that has been going on for over 20 years. The ISTQB syllabus covers the considerations that can drive the decision as to which level of independence is appropriate for a situation.
From the career standpoint, I believe testers are well served by understanding a variety of project life cycle approaches and how testing fits into those approaches. I don’t call myself a “traditional tester” or an “agile tester” because I work with many different clients in a wide variety of environments. One never knows when their company may adopt a new methodology. While specialties can be a good thing for testers, it’s also a good idea to be adaptable to test software in many types of projects.

The bottom line is that regardless of the project approach you use most, you can apply the concepts in the ISTQB certifications to your project context.

About the Author: Randall Rice is principal trainer and consultant at Rice Consulting Services, Inc. Randy holds the full CTAL certification and is on the board of directors of the American Software Testing Qualifications Board.


Congratulations to YOU: ISTQB Passes 200,000 Mark


Congratulations to all of our ISTQB certified software testers! ISTQB has proudly announced that it has issued more than 200,000 software testing certifications. From March 2009 to December 2011, the number of certifications doubled, making ISTQB the most widely adopted and fastest growing software testing certification scheme in the world.

"This is an amazing result," says ISTQB President Yaron Tsubery, "and demonstrates the value people see in the testing profession and the dedication of its practitioners. With technology playing an ever-increasing role in our lives, it is critical that software intensive products and services are thoroughly tested by skilled professionals."

"I think the scheme has been so successful because we freely offer our syllabi and glossary to the public, which helps to standardize professional terminology. We also offer certifications at a range of levels, from foundation through advanced to expert, allowing testing professionals to be supported right through their careers and keeping them up-to-date with the world’s best practices," says ISTQB Vice President Chris Carter.

"The international nature of the scheme is another strength," says ISTQB Marketing Working Group Chair Gualtiero Bazzana. "All over the world, people have access to the same syllabi, translated into local languages, which they can learn through self-study or by attending courses delivered by accredited training providers. At the end they sit exams which are externally administered and independently validate their knowledge, and the structure and rules of those exams are consistent throughout the world."

In many ways, the ISTQB certifications have been accepted as the de facto standard in software testing certification. In addition to certification, ISTQB also supports innovative research into software testing, runs educational events and conferences, recognizes outstanding contributions to the profession, maintains a code of ethics, and shares knowledge.

"At the heart of it is our passion for assisting organizations and professionals to deliver high quality software, and the belief that effective software testing can help make this possible," says Bazzana.

"I would like to thank everybody who has made this achievement possible," says Tsubery, "including ISTQB volunteers, national boards, training providers, exam providers, and the organizations and individuals who have invested in the ISTQB Certified Tester scheme. This year marks our 10th anniversary, and we are planning a range of activities to celebrate this and say ‘thanks.’"


Show the World You are Certified


You know you are ISTQB certified, but do your co-workers and boss? Let them know with ISTQB Certified Tester mugs, shirts, and more from the ASTQB Store.

Your coffee will be twice as good with the sweet taste of everyone seeing your testing excellence!


Get a Testing Result Your CEO Will Love: An Even Better ROI


The ASTQB Volume Purchase Program (VPP) allows you to build efficiency across your company while earning up to 25% off the cost of an ISTQB certification exam. Learn more by visiting the ASTQB Volume Purchase Program area or contact a VPP-eligible ASTQB Accredited Training Provider today.


Need a Job? Need a Tester?
Start Here.


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.


ASTQB Volunteer Opportunities


The ASTQB is actively seeking people to help with the technical advisory group (TAG). The primary duties of the TAG are:

  • Contribute to the creation of certification exams
  • Review course materials for accreditation
  • Participate in ISTQB working groups as assigned

At this time, we are particularly interested in people who hold the Advanced certification (TM, TA and/or TTA) as we need help with creating the new Advanced certification exams.

Here are some details that may help you determine if you are interested.

  • You should expect to spend about 5 – 10 hours a month working on TAG assignments, depending on which area you are working in (exam creation, course accreditation or ISTQB working group).
  • Generally people are assigned to a specific area (e.g., create exam questions for the Advanced TA exam) based on their interest and expertise.
  • We have a training class for exam question writing. It will make you reconsider all the tests you’ve taken in your life (including that one for your driver’s license!). We have found that writing good questions takes a considerable amount of thought and editing. That’s why we need question writers as well as question reviewers.
  • ISTQB working groups cover such things as exam guidelines, syllabus creation, glossary creation/updates, etc. We like to ensure ASTQB involvement in the working groups and we encourage TAG members to also be involved as needed.
  • There may be some travel, depending on your area of involvement. For example, we have periodic exam creation meetings where a part of the TAG will get together and spend two days creating and editing questions. The ISTQB working groups meet at various locations around the world. Travel expenses are reimbursed.

Interested? If so, please forward your resume to headquarters@astqb.org


Volunteer News


ASTQB Board Member Taz Daughtrey presented "Proposed Certification of Security Testers" to the DHS/DOD/NIST — sponsored Software Assurance Working Group sessions at MITRE in McLean, Virginia in December — see this. He described the current international infrastructure of tester certifications and provided an overview of the draft expert-level security tester requirements. This outreach was one part of the coordination with the many professional, commercial, and government efforts that are addressing information and system security issues.

As a follow-up, Taz was invited to serve on the program committee for the NIST workshop on Metrics and Standards for Software Testing, to be held in June 2012. Learn more here. Thanks for your work, Taz!

ASTQB technical advisory group (TAG) member Paul Jorgensen, CTFL received the the "Distinguished Contribution to a Discipline Award" from Grand Valley State University. Congratulations, Paul!


News and Offers from ASTQB Accredited Course Providers


ALP International (ALPI): Sign up 3, the 4th comes free! June 11-13 public certification training course & exam in Bethesda, MD! Book our onsite certification training & exam for your company by May 31, 2012 and SAVE 20%! To register or for more details contact Tiana Barnes at 301-654-9200 x403. http://www.alpi.com

RBCS: RBCS is pleased to announce the availability of software testing and QA E-books in the RBCS store. Titles will be added regularly in the coming months so visit the E-book department in our store and, after adding your E-book to your cart, enter the code ETEST15 in the promo code field to receive a 15% discount on your E-book. Offer expires June 1, 2012.

Rice Consulting Services: We are excited to offer a multi-attendee discount for our Salt Lake City Foundation Level course, May 22 - 24, 2012. If your company sends 3 or more people, you can get a 50% discount on the third registration. This also includes the exam cost, which is included in the normal registration. There is also a GSA discount for this course. You can register here and use code SLC50 at checkout.

SQE: Can’t attend one of our public courses? SQE Training is pleased to offer the Software Tester Certification-Foundation Level course in our convenient and cost effective eLearning format. Study to become a certified software tester at your own pace, from your desktop. Plus, take the free demo between now and March 31, 2012, and receive a valuable discount code, plus be automatically entered to win one of 3 eLearning courses to be given away.


Look for ASTQB at Upcoming Shows!


ASTQB is a Gold Sponsor at STPCon 2012. Look for our information at the show, and stop by to see Randall W. Rice, CTAL, present the ASTQB talk on the topic of "Trends and Facts About Test Certification" on Wednesday March 28, 3:45 - 4:15 p.m. Listen now to our podcast in which Rex Black, CTAL discusses the latest benchmarks of both ISTQB and ASTQB certifications, and how ISTQB certification is keeping up with the advancement of testing.

If you will be at Better Software East or West, stop by the ASTQB booth – we would love to see you! If you haven't yet registered, use code ATEV for Better Software East or code ATBW for Better Software West for up to $600 of savings.


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 here.

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

March 22, 2012
Atlanta, GA

March 22, 2012
Indianapolis, IN

March 28, 2012
San Diego, CA
Doubletree Downtown

April 17, 2012
Orlando, FL
Rosen Centre Resort

April 25-27, 2012
Huntsville, AL

April 26, 2012
Dallas, TX

April 26, 2012
Phoenix, AZ

April 26, 2012
Raleigh, NC
Courtyard Maleigh Midtown

May 2, 2012
Boston, MA
Hilton Financial District

May 10, 2012
Detroit, MI

May 10, 2012
Los Angeles area

May 17, 2012
Sacramento, CA
Courtyard Marriott Sacramento Midtown

May 22-24, 2012
Salt Lake City, UT

June 6, 2012
Chicago, IL
Doubletree Chicago Arlington Heights

June 12, 2012
Las Vegas NV,
Cesar's Palace

June 21, 2012
Tampa, FL

July 16-20, 2012
Newark, NJ




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.

Copyright 2012 American Software Testing Qualifications Board, Inc. (ASTQB) 12000 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., Suite 110 Tampa, FL 33618 USA Phone 813.319.0890 Fax 813.968.3597 info@astqb.org www.astqb.org

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