Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Software Testing certifications Part II

Dr Cem Kaner posted a note to Software testing yahoo group on the topic “software testing certifications”. I thought, it would really make lots of sense and value to a discussion about software testing certifications to share those views here.

Dr Kaner quotes following in his note.
http://www.channelinsider.com/c/a/Careers/VARs-IT-Certs-More-About-Marketing-Less-About-Skills/

Continuing my thoughts on certifications, here is something that I would like to add … on the basis of Dr Kaner’s notes.

1. Certifications have value as “marketing” aid and most confuse them to be as means of getting knowledge or experience or learning.
2. IT organizations and service providers use their “certified staff” as “proof” of their well trained staff to their clients.
3. Certifications do have place in hiring. Whether you like it or not, organizations still use certifications as main filtering mechanisms in hiring just like a college engineering degree.
4. Certifications matter for those who are in the initial stages of their career especially those who are looking to get their foot in testing field. Most of the time, certifications get them a call to the interview.
5. Certifications can get you an interview call, might even get you a job but there after it is your skill and work that “keeps” you on job. Do not mistake certification for life time warranty for the job.
6. One very common argument in favor of certification is that “certification help in knowing the testing vocabulary” – This is true to some extent. But while going for certification with this objective, keep in mind that - there are no universally accepted authorities that define and mandate testing terminologies and terms and practices vary across the board.
7. Certification enthusiasts claim that certifications are means of learning and gaining knowledge in the subject. WRONG … there are better ways of studying and learning than going for certification
8. With the help of internet, thanks for Google and other search engines, today the information is everywhere, just look around you can learn lot and gain knowledge by effectively searching the web, reading blogs, writing blog and engaging in conversation with other in the community.

Now about let me talk about those certifications that hold value in today’s world

• CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional] To earn a CISSP, candidates must have five years of experience and endorsement from any professional certified by (ISC)2, the organization that awards CISSP certifications.
• CCNA (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert]) – this one especially my favorite as it requires the candidate to demonstrate the knowledge as part of the exam in a lab environment – e.g fixing a faulty router.

To summarize, certifications tend to be of value for some (hiring managers and new entrants) and there are some examples of good certifications that test the skill of the candidate. Do not confuse certifications to “learning” and “knowledge” – most of the current software testing certifications are to be used as “marketing” tools.

4 comments:

Aj said...

Srini,

Just as 'Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength', Testing skills are always an overmatch for certifications.

I have seen many of my friends taking up certifications just to add up to their resume.

Personally, I don't feel certifications enhance any tester's testing skills.

-Ajay

Anonymous said...

hi srini, for quite some time i am follower of ur blog. i need guidance from u. i am working as a tester for 8 months and i am alone nobody is there above me to guide me. i am working on a web based application. till now i have done till system testing( manual)and after that i am really blank. i want to disect the app . can u help me what i have to do now.And i want to automation also . Can u guide me how ?

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Dear Anonymous,

You can find some pointers for new comers in testing at following post of mine ...

http://shrinik.blogspot.com/2005/10/advice-for-budding-software-test.html

Sangeeta said...

Shrini,

You have correctly summarized the points.

Even I did some certification when I shifted from development to testing as I was not good at testing vocabulary. Also as I was a fresher in software testing I took other peoples opinion, did some google search and finally took ISTQB certification but I did not stop there. I treated this certification as my entry into the school and I do not wish to stop there. I need to graduate. The point is certification if taken can be used as a stepping stone only. It gives you just one view. Now its our responsibility to open our doors and windows for other views. If one decides to stay there his learning is bound to stop somewhere.


- Sangeeta