2019/06/18 Should ISTQB exist?

A question that turns up often within the testing community, in some way, is how important are certifications in general, with ISTQB being the most referenced.

For those unaware, ISTQB are the International Software Testing Qualifications Board, who offer a range of certifications that testers can take, to show that they are a good tester.

They do this by providing a syllabus, and then after several days of teaching the syllabus, you are given an exam to pass. For the Foundation certification, you need 65% of your answers correct (26/40).

That pass rate terrifies me! If someone proclaimed they have an ISTQB Foundation, they may have gotten up to 35% of it wrong, and be wildly misinformed or misunderstand aspects of testing.

Additionally, what has lead to ISTQB deciding that they are the one and only authority on what makes someone a good tester? Somehow, they have persuaded many companies (including the one I work for!) that a tester has to be certified to look at hiring them, and if they don’t have it, should they be hired?

In advance of making this blog, I made several posts on Twitter, including a poll.

As you can see, I’m not alone in questioning if they should exist, with 63% (5/8) saying they shouldn’t.

One question I did ask on Twitter, was should ISTQB be split? If they offered training but no certification, would that be better? Granted, it doesn’t solve the issue that THEY decide what a tester should or shouldn’t know, and like any large organisation, can be bloated with bureaucracy, being slow to update their syllabus.

As part of the replies I got, I had a pair of blogs given where they share their thoughts on ISTQB and certifications in general.


Simon Priorhttps://priorsworld.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/testing-certifications-are-they-worth-the-paper-they-are-written-on/

I will say that I have the ISTQB Foundation, as I was required to do it with work, as part of my training. The problem for me is that I did it after being trained and working as a tester for a year, and by that point, doing the certification didn’t actually add much.

If people spend lots of money on being certified, would going to conferences to hear lots of ideas and speak with other testers do more for you?

If people can do the quiz online cheap, then does it have any value?

Should ISTQB exist?

No – People should search for their own ideas, learn from one another, and not be told what to know by an entity they can’t challenge.

Be a pirate, and search for your own knowledge!

3 thoughts on “2019/06/18 Should ISTQB exist?

  1. I don’t think we should obsess about ISTQB. There are many questionable ideas in testing such as automation or agile testing. If we want to change testing for the better, let’s spend more time with the more popular ideas which are equally questionable as the ISTQB.

    Liked by 1 person

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