A Word on Certification

If you, or your company, paid for an ISTQB Certification, you got robbed. And here’s why.

I am vehemently opposed to industry-wide testing standards and certification schemes. And I am of the opinion that if you, or your company, paid for an ISTQB Certification, you got robbed. And here’s why.

ISTQB teaches you what it calls the industry standard of terminology. But you’ll find that as soon as you get into a company, or even when you move from one project team to another within the same company, the playing field is a little different. To me, as long as all the folks involved with a project have common ground, and a mutual understanding of the terms and requirements in use, that’s absolutely fine.

I know it’s the done thing to put ‘ISTQB Certified’ on a CV, or to add it as a requirement in a Job Specification when recruiting. I know some companies even filter CVs based on whether or not the ISTQB keyword is present in a CV. So hey, maybe put ‘I am not ISTQB Certified, and I’m happy to explain why.’ on your CV to get around the hiring company’s automatic filter and get into their ‘Accept’ pile.

I couldn’t possibly advocate just putting the qualification on your CV whether you have it or not – but it’s probably worth me telling you that, as a hiring manager, I have never once checked whether or not a candidate actually IS certified when they’ve said they are. During the recruitment process, I focus on a number of things, but whether or not the prescribed ISTQB terminology is being used is not one of them.

Frankly, I don’t care if you communicate by the standards set out in ISTQB, CSTE, ISCB, Pig Latin, Semaphore or Khoisan – As long as you can get the abstracts and concepts I’m looking for across to me, that’s perfectly okay. You certainly don’t need a piece of paper telling me that you know how to refer to things in a certain way.