Recently, there's been a bit of a commotion, kerfuffle, a minor hullaballoo - Well, when I say recently, it's been going on a little while - ebb and flow, coming and going, just like a pleasant memory, bad smell, nightmare, whatever - take your pick!
I started this post over a year ago - but after a post from James Bach, here, I was prompted to finish this post. So, here's my take.
Yes, that was my feeling towards certification before I encountered the ISTQB.... I'd heard of it, even been asked about it in interviews - I didn't have it and saw no reason for one. It hadn't affected my employability (as far as I know.)
It was about 2 years ago when my shop embarked on a programme of certification - I don't know the reasoning behind it - it was policy and I had more important things to think about. So folk started getting booked on an ISTQB foundation level course with an exam at the end.
The syllabus seemed interesting at first glance - another take on items and approaches I'd already worked with - I'm always open to new avenues of learning. Maybe a standardized terminology so that all could understand terms - whether new tester or old in the tooth. That's gotta be good, right? That was a hope/wish for me after a skim of the syllabus.
The actual course was interesting enough - but it was clear that it was geared to passing a multiple choice exam.
There were aspects of the course that didn't quite sit right for me - definitions and terminology - I'd been a tester for a good while at this point and now I was being told to unthink some ideas - even though I could argue the case for using my definition - that wasn't the point.
The point was to pass a multiple choice exam - then you could think how you wanted.
Hmm, ok, paradise lost! Is the idea of standard terminology is just boiling down to an exam?
The idea of standard terminology maybe wasn't such a utopia - with a relatively easy exam these terms as well as the certificate would just be bandied around - just another keyword/buzzword to put on a CV.
To me that doesn't do a tester any good to only use standard terminology. If they think that testing is about using the right terminology instead of thinking what they're talking about - and even expressing it in alternate ways - then they're missing the point. That's sad!
The tester has to be able to use the local terminology and definitions if needed.
I've worked against a certain amount of "test management"-speak in the past. I think it's great that testers can get up and articulate their ideas to both their peers and managers. For this I think a certain amount of terminology can get in the way. And that's a shame!
When I talk to non-testers (managers) I go to some lengths to emphasize the difference between testing and good testing - and for me good testing starts with yourself - expressing your ideas and making yourself heard and understood - sometimes putting ideas in simple language. And that's important!
Yes, that was my feeling after the coure.
There's still a fair bit of ambivalence for me. I haven't benefitted from the certification.
I used to think the course could be a useful intro for a new tester. Now, I think there are better ways - routes for self-learning, self-practice and mentoring. These are much more effective - and ultimately gratifying.
I don't want to reside in a swell of buzzwords - I think it's time to talk about what you value as a tester.
Got any good or bad experiences of certification?