ISTQB too much? – and now… the answers!

This summer I was looking for a job and I, of course, met the ISTQB mnemonic a lot on my interviews. I said I’m not certified, because my former company didn’t offer it and I wouldn’t spend my own money (no one asked me though if I ever did anything else testing related outside of work) on it. Because other testers made me realize that the ISTQB knowledge is not actually being applied to testing and it’s only scary trying to find a job without it as long as you don’t know any better.

But I didn’t have a comeback on two arguments:

– ISTQB knowledge gives the co-workers a common vocabulary.
– test cases makes it easier for new colleagues to know what should be done.

People who are saying these must have never watched themselves carefully. There is no common vocabulary. The illusion might be there. I have worked with the very same people that told me these things and they themselves told the story on how it failed: Once upon a time a testing team which was responsible for a layer of testing (system) had a greatly different and broader understanding of “smoke test” than the someone who wrote down that the integration team can only start the work after the system team finished their smoke test. So this someone went complaining of course, what’s taking so long, then the integration team called a meeting, then…, braaah, kill me now.

With the help of my friend in testing (@zzmolnar) I can tell you now that you should form a local common vocabulary within your company or project, teach your workmates to ask questions and not wait for a world-wide organization to give you that. How many of you only passed the ISTQB exam so that you can just have the certificate? What terms do you remember? What do you mean by them now? Does the term “black-box testing” means the same to you, your lead and someone sitting in Brazil, working with a completely different domain? Meh…

Test cases! Go back and read your own test cases from 6 months before. Seriously, do it. (khm.. are they up-to-date?) I know you said that you wrote them in a manner that “anyone from the street should be able to execute this test by following my steps“. But that just never happens. Even yourself will have difficulties with it. But even more importantly: remember the last time you went to a new place in the city and was led by someone? And what happened to you when you went again and tried to the find the place by yourself? Remember? Most of us gets lost. Mindless execution and repetition does not generate understanding. I’m sure someone famous said this.

I found several testing jobs with 3 years of experience as a tester, with sociology studies, with no ISTQB certification. I’m a freer man than before the summer and it wasn’t always like this:

Read more: (Hungarian!)

A nice memory of my first contact with ISTQB: