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2012 Issue #4

What is the most frequently asked question in an ISTQB Foundation Level class? One instructor weighs in with his perspective below.

Also below: Advanced Level sample questions and answers are now available.

Articles in this issue:


“Ask the Instructor” FAQ

ISTQB Certification: Giving You Opportunities

Advanced Level Sample Questions Now Available

The Perfect Holiday Gift for a Fellow Tester (or Yourself!)

Save on Exam Costs

News and Offers from ASTQB Accredited Course Providers

Streamlined ASTQB Website Unveiled


“Ask the Instructor” FAQ

By Ed Weller

The most frequently asked question I hear in the classes I teach for people taking the Foundation Level exam is "Where are the development managers and developers?"

Does anyone wonder why this is asked? The introductions at the beginning of the class rarely identify anyone from development; most attendees are from system or acceptance test.

"Principle 3 - Early Testing" in the syllabus says "testing activities shall be started as early as possible in the software or system development life cycle". There is a consistent thread in the syllabus that talks about cooperative planning between testing and development and the necessity for test planning and defect identification and removal through the full life cycle. We also discuss unit test activities in both functional and structural testing activities. A good part of section 4 in the syllabus deals with concepts used primarily by developers. It is also clear that how well unit test is performed will significantly impact the system test cost and schedule, as the following example demonstrates.

In the early 90s the company I worked for conducted training for our software testers and developers and all the managers. Why did we do this, and how did it come about? When we identified the need to train our software testers, we engaged a training provider who said they would like to do a two-day assessment of the organization to identify the type of training we needed. We agreed, and the result of the assessment was that both technical and management training was needed. My boss agreed with this assessment, and had the provider conduct a management training class for ALL of her managers, as well as test training for testers AND developers.

The single most important change resulting from the training was an emphasis on Unit Test. We developed test objectives from the requirements, assigned testers to the development teams, and measured the results. The bottom line was nearly an 80% defect detection rate in unit test compared to norms of 30-40% (and a low we had measured of 20%). We noted a 4:1 reduction in defects going into system test.

So to turn this question around: If you are a system tester, does a 4 to 1 reduction in defects entering system test make a difference?

Now it is my turn to ask a question: How many of you know the true cost of test? All too often I hear that companies are trying to reduce test cost by squeezing 5 to 10% out of the test budget, but totally ignore the single largest cost of test - developer rework. The analysis, fix, retest, and regression test cost when there are a large number of defects found in system test can far overshadow the tester cost. I have seen companies spend 50-65% of their budget on defect repair in test and post ship maintenance. There is no excuse for so much spending. Significant reductions in the number of defects before testing can be accomplished through pairing (in agile environments) or formal inspections. Coupling this with sound unit test practices, it is possible to remove over 90% of defects prior to entering integration test.

As both inspections and unit test are development activities, it is clear that development managers and their bosses must understand these activities save large amounts of effort (in development). When I do happen to have development managers in a class, they comment that these are the first things they want to address when getting back to their desk.

Bottom line: Encourage your development managers to take the time to learn what they need to do as testing is a part of their job too.

Ed Weller has has over 35 years of experience in hardware, test, software, systems, and software process engineering. His primary focus for the last 15 years has been with software process and metrics. He is the founder of Integrated Productivity Solutions, LLC, a a Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Partner whose mission is to help develop continuous improvement capabilities that increase productivity within organizations.


ISTQB Certification: Giving You Opportunities

We constantly monitor the state of software testing in the U.S. and globally. With the tremendous growth in ISTQB Certification, it is becoming a de-facto standard in many areas of software testing:

On any given day, each of the major U.S. job sites contain dozens of posting that include references to “ISTQB,” “ASTQB,” and “CTAL.” It's not unusual to see job postings include the statement “ISTQB/ASTQB Certification is preferred.”

It's also becoming more common to see Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in both the U.S. government and private sector that require vendors provide ISTQB certified testers and test managers.

Of course, given that there are now more than 250,000 ISTQB certified testers in the world, this shouldn't be surprising. If you are already ISTQB certified, you've made a smart choice: 98% of test managers in our survey believe that ISTQB software testing certification helps in career development. Let your company know that if it wants to be competitive in 2013 and beyond, ISTQB software testing certification is a must-have.


Advanced Level Sample Questions Now Available

For some time, ISTQB has offered a sample CTFL exam for study purposes. The questions, built to ISTQB guidelines, give the potential examinee an opportunity to test their syllabus and glossary knowledge.

Now ISTQB has also made available Advanced Level sample questions and answers for the Test Analyst, Test Manager, and Technical Test Analyst exams. Find them at the ASTQB website.


The Perfect Holiday Gift for a Fellow Tester (or Yourself!)

Looking for a holiday gift for yourself or another ISTQB certified tester? It's easy – just stop by the ASTQB store. If you would like notice of special discounts, be sure to “like” us on Facebook.


Save on Exam Costs

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 contacting a VPP-eligible ASTQB Accredited Training Provider today.


News and Offers from ASTQB Accredited Course Providers

SQE Training: You can give yourself the gift of certification AND an Amazon gift card. Register and complete payment for a Public or eLearning Software Tester Certification—Foundation Level course between now and December 31, 2012 and receive an Amazon gift card. New public Software Tester Certification course registrants will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and eLearning Software Tester Certification course registrants will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

Rice Consulting Services: Rice Consulting Services is offering a special bonus on Foundation Level e-learning team pricing. Enroll five or more people in pre-recorded e-learning CTFL training and get one extra registration free, including exams and textbooks. Use code "ISTQB7" at when purchasing the 5-person enrollment. News: HP and their training partner ProTech selected Rice Consulting to train people for software testing careers based on the ISTQB Foundation Level program. Learn more.

RBCS: Register for any RBCS ISTQB Certified Tester course scheduled for 2013, Foundation Level or Advanced Level, and receive a 15% discount on tuition! Visit our Certified Course Registration department, choose your course, and enter the code JOLLY12 into the promotion code field in your cart. Your discount will be reflected on your final receipt. Offer expires January 15, 2013.

ASPE: ASPE is a training firm committed to providing you with the best skills, tools, and techniques to successfully transform complex business challenges into strategic systems capabilities. We provide real-world, unbiased, pragmatic training and consulting on all aspects of the software development life cycle. Our real-world training model will give you hands-on experience and provide you with real skills, techniques and tools that will maximize your efficiency back at the office. Register for any one of ASPE’s training courses with code ASTQB20 and receive 20% off. ASPE – real-world, real skills, real training.

ALP International (ALPI): Exclusive offer to ASTQB Newsletter readers: Sign-up for ALPI’s Certification Training class, January 23-25, 2013, and receive a 13% discount on your registration! (Course fee includes the ISTQB exam, a $250 value.) Use Promo Code* TESTCERT13 when registering. NEW courses for 2013: ISTQB Advanced Level Certification training and HP and Microsoft Test Tools training. Contact our Training & Education team at or 301-654-9200 ext. 403. *Promotion Expires January 13, 2013.


Streamlined ASTQB Website Unveiled

The ASTQB website has grown over the years to accommodate all of the exciting advances in ISTQB Certification. To make it easier for non-certified testers and supervisors to navigate, we have now reorganized and streamlined the information. Thanks to everyone that provided helpful feedback during the redesign!




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