Testing the Limits With Rex Black – Part I

We’re thrilled to have Rex Black as our latest guest for Testing the Limits. A widely-known figure in the testing world, Rex is one of the industry’s most accomplished authors, speakers and practitioners. In fact his latest book “Managing the Testing Process” has now sold over 25,000 copies worldwide. His 25 years of experience include stints as the president of organizations such as the ISTQB and ASTQB. Rex is currently the president of RBCS, Inc., a leader in software, hardware, and systems testing. To learn more, you should check out the RBCS blog, or follow them on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

In this interview, we discuss the last 25 years of software testing; the lack of evolution in test automation; Agile hype vs. agile reality; the benefits of tester certifications; the plight of today’s testing manager and more. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part II.

uTest: You’ve been in the software testing business for over 25 years now. Assuming the industry did not evolve exactly as you predicted, what has surprised you the most during that time?

RB: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk to you and your readers, Mike. I hope this interview is the beginning of a productive conversation between not just you and me, Mike, but also with the readers of your blog and mine.

To answer your questions, here are two bad surprises and three good surprises.

Biggest disappointments: First, slow progress in test automation. The widespread adoption of GUIs, while making life easier for users, lead test automation onto a path where progress slowed after 1990. Keyword-driven architectures and open-source tools like Selenium are starting to get us back on track, though. Second, the continued gap between best practices and common practices. This gap exists across software engineering, but especially in testing.

The gap between best practices and common practices is about 25 years, though we have some real improvements in this area, which leads us to the pleasant surprises: First, the adoption of best practices in dynamic new regions by dynamic and eager new test professionals.  In spite of a general problem with best practices adoption in our testing profession, it’s great to see emerging software testing powerhouses—China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and India, among many others—quickly and seriously adopting the best strategies and techniques of software testing. Second, the rejection of the mission of the tester as a “quality cop.” When I entered testing, it seemed the reigning view testing (by developer and tester alike) was that testers were there to “sign off,” to act as a conscience of the project, to “stop” bad releases, and, if necessary, to act as an enforcer. This adversarial role always struck me as a bad idea, and over the last ten years I’ve been really pleased to see how we are redefining ourselves and our mission as enablers and supporters of quality.

Finally, the success and longevity of my consulting business, RBCS. Most small businesses and boutique consultancies are gone within five years or so, and most that survive labor in obscurity to eke out a living. RBCS is 16 years old and still going strong. I have the on-going privilege of addressing my professional colleagues with books, articles, webinars, videos, and speeches, and many of these colleagues, in a widening international circle, pay me the compliment of reading, watching and listening. I’m pleased–and inspired.

uTest: In 100 words or less, what’s the difference between agile and Agile? In your view, is agile really the best way to improve the development process? Or is it just hype?

RB: Yes, there’s hype—and dogma.  Hucksters gull the gullible with tools and services promising instant agility.  People ignore Fred Brooks’ warning, buy (and sell) the silver bullets, and insist that process alone will fix everything. However, agile includes many proven best practices—continuous integration, automated unit testing, code coverage, and more—though many were proven best practices before people spelled agile with a capital “A”. A growing number of our clients transcend the hype, discard dogmatic and foolish ideas pushed by a few agilistchiks, and intelligently and successfully adapt agile best practices. As dogma and hype recede, process improvements remain.

uTest: We’ve heard from a number of testing gurus who are critical of tester certifications – you’re the past president of ISTQB and obviously an advocate. In your opinion, why does the certification debate always seem to get so heated? And what is the biggest misconception about these certifications?

RB: Let me start with a simple and reasonable request to all of the open-minded readers of your blog, Mike. Please read the ISTQB Foundation and Advanced syllabi, and then ask yourself whether the testing world would be a better place if everyone who earned a living as a tester knew the techniques, strategies, and concepts discussed in those documents. I think so, and clearly, a large number of companies and individuals agree with me, as the ISTQB has issued over 160,000 certifications in the last ten years.

I’m not asking people to accept those documents as revealed truth, or to agree with everything we wrote, but rather to adopt the good ideas that are there. I’m also not saying that all certifications are necessarily good, as I made clear in my blog entry on choosing certifications.

As for the “heated” part, I haven’t been in a “heated” debate about the ISTQB certification for approaching ten years, though I enjoy reasonable, open-minded, and frank discussions with supporters and skeptics alike all the time. These conversations occur with mutual respect, as part of a fair debate, in a civilized and mature tone, with an equal amount of listening and talking and no yelling. Regarding those who engage in other sorts of discussions, well, you’ll have to ask them about their motivations for doing so, rather than addressing the facts, and you’ll have to excuse me for reserving my time for other, more productive endeavors and conversations. We can disagree without being disagreeable, and the disagreeable will have to disagree with someone other than me, at least if they want a dialog.

uTest: If you could change one thing about the tester training/certs process, what would it be?

RB: We’re constantly looking for ways to make our training—whether certification and non-certification, for testers or business analysts or managers or programmers—more accessible to people around the world. This is one reason why we have so many webinars, podcasts, videos, articles, templates, and other resources available for free download from our web site, from iTunes, and from YouTube.  Yes, we do have to make money, so we have our for-profit offerings like our exam prep guides, our e-learning courses, our on-site courses, and our live courses. Given our emphasis on making as much material accessible to as many people as possible, with so much of that material available on-line for free, I like to say that RBCS is a “not just for profit” company.

uTest: What’s the biggest difference between a good tester and a great tester?

RB: Mike, this is really a central question, and I’m glad you asked it. Obviously, skills, tools, environments, and so forth are tremendously important to testers. I don’t want the answer I’m about to give to detract from the importance of competent teams, well-equipped, well-lead, and given adequate time.

However, the most successful testing teams I know, around the world, have one thing in common: their core mission is to serve. In other words, they recognize that testing only has value when we deliver value, usually to a diverse set of stakeholders. Those stakeholders can include developers who value timely, accurate, objective bug reports. Those stakeholders can include product managers who want to balance schedule risk and quality risk. Those stakeholders can include customers who want good product at an affordable price. Successful testers, as part of successful test teams, identify their stakeholders, understand their stakeholders’ quality and testing objectives, and commit themselves to satisfying their stakeholders’ objectives.

uTest: If you could debate the topic of certs with one person on the main stage at the Testing Olympics (which we clearly just made up), who would make for the best discussion (Bach, Bolton, et al)?

RB: While such a debate might provide some drama, past attempts to have fact-based public discussions with some critics of ISTQB certification have produced much more heat than light. If I want drama, I’ll choose Tilda Swinton or Edward Norton in a nice cool movie theater; I’m afraid I’ll pass on the offer of drama on a hot stage with either of the alternatives you offered, Mike. Besides, the real debate happens in the free and open international marketplace of ideas, and the ISTQB certification is winning, 160,000 certifications and counting.

uTest: Has the life of the testing manager improved at all in the last ten years? Why or why not?

RB: Well, certainly everyone was happy when the big tech downturn ended, though the tech recovery that started in 2005 was pretty weak.  We just had a few years—and not exactly luxurious ones—before we got another big helping of pain in 2008, of which we have yet to clear our plates. So, I’d say the 2000s decade was not an easy one, fiscally, and test managers like all managers suffer when money is tight.

It’s been a mixed bag on other fronts. Technology has improved, but to some extent it has also made the systems under test more complex. Virtualization is a perfect example of a technology that both helps test managers by making test environments easier to set up and maintain, while also making production environments more complex and thus harder to test effectively.

At least in terms of people skills, the expanding avenues for training and certification of staff have been a net positive. Back in the 1990s, if you wanted to train a team of testers, you had two options: public courses or on-site courses. Given a good trainer and good materials, each option can provide good training to the attendees, but time away from work and the costs of training put training out of reach for some teams, at least when budgets were tight or projects were intense. One of the reasons we’re so bullish on e-learning, webinars, podcasts, and videos is that it provides the test manager with a way to stretch her training dollars and make training available even during intense periods of project work.

Editor’s note: Continue to Part II of our interview with Rex Black.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing


  1. Rodrigo Luckenbach says

    I have started in the lower league with career mode. I didn’t sucess and,work for 1 season and walk away from my first team.I work in another team it just like first team. i don’t understand about the medthod of playing

  2. says

    Hi all–

    I have only a moment here to comment, so I need to be brief:

    o Shaun, you strike me as an open-minded fellow. Have you looked at the ISTQB Advanced level certifications? The Foundation is intended as an entry-level certification, devised to ensure some basic and common understanding of concepts, techniques, and terminology (as you put it, “simply understanding what testing is”), but the Advanced certifications are where the ability to analyze real-world situations and solve real-world problems becomes essential.

    o Lawrence, thanks for reading the rest of the interview. :-) Seriously, I agree with what you wrote about certification, if what you’re talking about when you say “inept [certified] testers” are “testers with only the ISTQB Foundation certification who took three-day ‘brain cram’ courses.”

    o Pradeep, the ISTQB does not place advertisements, so that ad you are talking about should not be attributed to the ISTQB and, even if it were attributable to the ISTQB, certainly should not be attributed to me, since I’m no longer on the Executive Board. It’s probably a training provider ad. What a training provider says when pumping their courses is not the ISTQB’s job to police: caveat emptor, if you know that bit of Latin.

    o Finally, Ben, since you are curious about what psychometrics are, what makes multiple choice exams valid measures of a set of learning objectives, etc., I suggest you check with Drake Kriterion, the psychometrics firm that consults with the ASTQB to help the ASTQB build statistically-valid exams. What you will learn if you investigate this matter, as it relates to the ISTQB exams, might surprise you.

    I’ll have to sign off for a while now.


  3. says

    I enjoyed the interview with Rex Black. He has been involved with the Testing Community for a number of years and have enjoyed some his work. Obviously I don’t agree with everything Mr. Black says, but I don’t agree with everything that anyone says.

    I find it so odd that people just jump on the certification issue. Mr. Black talked about so many other issues in this interview and yet people are just stuck on the certification question. In reality, is the issue of certification worthy of such debate or can we step back and look at the larger picture of software testing?

    Why can’t those that don’t agree with the certification simply not get them? Those that want to get a certification – go ahead and get one. As has been pointed out over and over a certification does not equate to skill level or even aptitude. If you hire a certified tester and they ‘can’t test their way out of a paper bag’, that is the fault of the hiring manager. I have worked with equal numbers of inept testers that have certifications and those who don’t. The opposite is also true in that I have worked with wonderful testers where some had certifications others did not.

    A little perspective is needed in what the certification represents. It represents that a person took a 3 day course, studied the syllabus, and was able to pass the associated test. That is pretty much it. If you equate that with being a skilled tester, than that is your fault.

    Of much more interest to me was what Mr. Black mentioned about automation. I have seen the same issues over the years. I have hope as well that we are seeing a change in the tide. Automation tools are finally starting to offer the capabilities that we need to create truly effective automated tests.

  4. says

    Mr. Black,
    Thank you for doing the interview with uTest, as well as responding to several of the comments from the other readers. I’ve found the discussion most interesting and informative.

    I definitely find some value in the certification process (although I have purposefully not sought certification myself), but I realize that certifications available today, from I/ASTQB, QAI, IIST, etc. really don’t indicate that the individual with the certification will be a good/great tester. What it does indicate to me is that the individual who has sought certification probably cares enough about the craft of testing to seek further knowledge and acceptance in the testing community by becoming “certified.”

    Over the last 12 years I have worked with and interviewed 100s, if not 1000s of testers at various levels for my clients. When I review a potential candidate’s resume I ALWAYS have a higher expectation from those who indicate having some sort of certification from a certifying test/QA organization. Unfortunately, my direct experience is that many of the individuals don’t live up to my expectation of a certified tester.

    During the interviews I utilize a “standard” set of questions and exercises relevant to the position I’m trying to fill. This “standard” starts by asking the candidate to define and explain common testing vocabulary, techniques, and concepts and eventually moves to a set of verbal exercises intended to identify if the candidate “thinks like a tester.” When answering the questions about vocabulary, techniques, and concepts I look for answers that indicate more than book knowledge of the subject and show they have really used the information and understand it in a practical manner. Typically, the certified candidates do well on this part of the interview. Where they falter is on the exercises. As I mentioned, these exercises give me an opportunity to see how the candidate thinks and whether or not he or she has a tester’s mindset without being concerned with whether the individual uses the correct terminology or not. Unfortunately, some, if not many, of the certified testers do poorly on the exercises. This leads me to believe, as has been mentioned in the other comments, that the use of simple, multiple choice questions/answers, while scalable, does a disservice to the people being certified because they have a false impression that they know how to test, when the truth is they know what testing is.

    This can be a subtle difference in terms, but potentially a huge difference in application. I think any certification process MUST include a level of practical implementation to be of greater value than simply understanding what testing is.

  5. says

    Thank you for your response, Mr. Black.

    Firstly that ‘someone’ you mention several times would be me. I don’t post anonymously. My name is at the top of my post, so if we’re going to have a dialogue, please do me the courtesy of using it.

    I said that I found it disingenuous that you equate the holding of an ISTQB certification with possessing such knowledge and the wherewithal to apply it. Actually I should have said ‘seem to’, as it is an inference rather than a direct statement and of course I have no way of knowing what you actually think. That was careless of me. I apologise.

    Here is why I stated what I did.
    You say ‘ask yourself whether the testing world would be a better place if everyone who earned a living as a tester knew the techniques, strategies, and concepts discussed in those documents. I think so, and clearly, a large number of companies and individuals agree with me, as the ISTQB has issued over 160,000 certifications in the last ten years’

    It seems to me that this statement intimates that holding of an ISTQB certification is equivalent with knowledge of the techniques, strategies and concepts in the syllabus.

    As for my comments, can you point me to specifically what you thought was disparaging? I was critical, but I think disparaging would be a bridge too far. I listed numbers to be specific about my own experience, not to suggest statistical relevance. The benefits I have heard about directly from testers who have taken certification do not amount to more than could be gained from spending time with a skilled software tester.

    The astqb link you posted lists benefits such as
    * increased confidence,
    * helps communication with other software testers
    * helps career development

    Well and good, Mr. Black, but I asked what *you* thought the benefit is (to the recipient specifically) of a certificate that almost anyone can achieve?

    The thing about attorneys, engineers, doctors, accountants – the certifications you describe are all very difficult to attain, require years of study and most involve regular examination of practical application of skills, or placement into an environment where those skills are observed, critiqued and honed. Against these, the ISTQB certification does not hold up well in my opinion.

    I believe you are genuinely trying to make the software testing industry a better place. I also believe you’re going about it backwards. Instead of putting together a certification that any numptie can pass, you would serve the industry better by helping busineses realise that excellent testing is difficult to do well and that not everyone is cut out to be a professional tester.

    If the ISTQB certification helped weed out the useless and the indolent who couldn’t test their way out of a paper bag, but do can memorise enough to pass a multiple choice test, then you would be doing the industry a service. As it stands, given that such types of people, as well as testers who are genuinely skilled are able to gain your certification, I think it is more likely that you are doing harm.

    You say ‘The ISTQB program uses psychometrically-designed, statistically-valid exams to measure whether candidates have mastered certain standards, terms, concepts, techniques, and strategies, as appropriate to their level of experience.’ It sounds impressive and yet I find it difficult to believe that an exam that does not critically examine practical skills can ascertain that examinees can actually apply what they have memorised. Can you point me to the psychometrics and statistics that were used?

    My problem with multiple choice exams isn’t necessarily that they’re multiple choice. It is that the examinee does not have the option of arguing, clarifying, making a valid counterpoint or otherwise challenging a question. There is no interaction between examiner and examinee around the test content or context.

    As for scale, again – if the idea is to have certification truly represent excellence in software testing, then such a certification should come at the end of a process where the student has proven they are worthy of it – not at the beginning. If that means it is expensive and does not scale well, then I would take that over a system that hands over a certificate to someone with good memorisation skills.

    Maybe certification will play a part in the future of software testing. I don’t know. What I do believe is that certification in its current form is nowhere near what it needs to be in order for it to be an asset to the industry.

    Santhosh, I have to agree with Pradeep. Throwing stones is not cool. If we can’t craft an argument with substance and civility, then we are no better than the cowards that post snark from the safety of anonymity. You’re capable of so much more than that.

  6. says

    @ Santhosh

    You have made enough of money now by spoiling the community. Do not try to do anything good, you stopping your certification itself will do good for the community.

    How do you know that Santhosh? Have you read through the ISTQB stuff to say that? or you are picking up what others are saying and relaying it?

    While I speak things against ISTQB, I have read through that stuff, so know about it and hence speaking. I don’t think you have done that.

    Don’t become a parrot !

  7. says

    By going through some of the sample question papers of ISTQB what I can do is LOL.

    To those who have certified, do not repent as nothing can be done [ You won't get your money back ].

    For those who are not yet certified, *Thumbs up*.

    To ISTQB, get your certification to become good or get out from spoiling candidates.

    To those who are just talking for ISTQB, take a break and think about it. Are you arguing on the topic or a person or you are certified that’s why you can’t digest it and you are arguing for certification.

    Stop multiple choice questions and do something better. Or else change the name to “Luck Certification” LOL.

    @Rex Black,
    You have made enough of money now by spoiling the community. Do not try to do anything good, you stopping your certification itself will do good for the community.

  8. says

    However, let there be no doubt on one point: I have a copy of my birth certificate in my briefcase (I carry it for international travel purposes). I can assure the one rather upset commenter that I am not an alien. I was born in Los Angeles, California, on July 16, 1964. As his comment posed a dichotomy, I’m not sure where that leaves him. Perhaps his e-mail came from backstage where they are filming the sequel to “District 9 ?

    In Earth, we have names and call other humans by names. You could call me “Pradeep Soundararajan” instead of “the one rather upset commentor”.

    Welcome to Earth, Rex. Pardon me for the delay.

    I see you appreciate humor so am bouncing this:

    The birth certificate you claim to be carrying for international travel purpose, is it a Foundation Level Birth Certificate or an Advanced Level Birth Certificate?

    As for some of the other comments, I was not surprised to be proven right in my “more heat than light” remark

    Its more “heat” that generated more “light” which in turn brightened the whole world. That was invented by an American, Thomas Alva Edison.

    Also, for your reference: http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4563966_light-bulb-work.html

    Trivia : Co-incidentally, Thomas Alva Edison filed a patent on July 16 for high crushing rolls in his ore milling process. http://edison.rutgers.edu/brfchron.htm

    That’s considered to be his biggest failure of all the 1000+ successful inventions. He lost all money he made on his ore mining.

    Please also allow me to ask this to you:

    In Test 2008 conference, I heard from your own mouth that you are against the idea of schools of testing as they seem to be disintegrating testers rather than uniting them. Months later, I see an ISTQB ad, “1,10,000 testers certified. Are you on the right side?”

    If I am in the wrong side, why should I pay a penalty fees ( ISTQB certification exam fees + training fees ) to come to the “right” side?

    If ISTQB cared for the betterment of the craft, shouldn’t they welcome all testers on the wrong side to the right side for free?

    The “right” side meaning, “ISTQB school”?

  9. says

    I am happy to see that the interview has indeed started some dialog, though it’s surprising to me that the only thing that I said which stirred significant controversy seems to be a string of six decimal digits (i.e., 160,000). I’ll respond to a few points, and keep it brief, because the holidays are here (at least in the US) and I’m sure everyone’s more interested in family than in software testing:

    o In one remark, someone mentioned having talked to “3 testers who were certified,” and then drew some rather disparaging conclusions about the certification process from those conversations. Three testers constitutes two (2) thousandths of one percent of the total number of certfications issued, so I can’t imagine that’s a statistically valid sample. National Boards such as the ASTQB have conducted marketing surveys to determine what benefits the stakeholders in the program (which are not only the certificate holders) have received, and those benefits are positive. I’d encourage people to check out http://www.astqb.org for more information.

    o Judy, in her comments, mentioned that she does not see ISTQB as the “be all end all of certification.” I totally agree, and will go one step further. I don’t believe that ISTQB certification at any level, Foundation, Advanced, or even Expert, is enough by itself. (It’s interesting that one person attributed such an opinion to me, though I’d be surprised if that person could point to a reference where I say that, because I never have to my knowledge.) I haven’t heard anyone else officially involved with the ISTQB make such a claim either. The ISTQB program uses psychometrically-designed, statistically-valid exams to measure whether candidates have mastered certain standards, terms, concepts, techniques, and strategies, as appropriate to their level of experience. Here’s one way I like to think about it: In my professional and personal life, I have had to hire attorneys, doctors, accountants, and other certified and/or licensed professionals. I certainly do not assume, based merely on their certification or license, that they are competent to do the work; however, even if it were possible, I would not hire someone without such a certification or license. It’s one–and only one–on a checklist of qualifications I look at. I’d encourage companies and hiring managers to do the same with ISTQB certification.

    o As for the question about multiple choice exams, the issues here are scalability, price, and validity. Let me deal with each issue in turn. First, an exam that required in-person examination of individuals (as suggested by one reader) would be very difficult to scale up to hundreds of thousands of people. You’d have problems with creating a cadre of qualified examiners who would have to travel the world doing the exams. That leads to the second issue, which is price. You’d have to charge a high price for such exams, relative to a multiple choice exam. Remember, in the ISTQB program, there is *no* requirement for training to take the exam, which means that you can’t expect a trainer to be available to examine people in this fashion (even if you wanted to create such an obvious conflict of interest by allowing the trainer to determine whether a person had passed). Now, these two barriers are scoffed at by some competing certifications, but I would suggest that those competitors are not credible sources given their obvious commercial interests. Finally, validity. If it were not possible to create a valid multiple choice test to cover the topics and learning objectives in the bodies of knowledge, then I’d say you’d have to accept the cost and scale problems. However, the ISTQB has consulted with professional exam creators (psychometricians) who have assured us that multiple choice exams are perfectly valid. (Before critics jump on this point, I’d encourage them to spend some time learning what psychometrics and exam validity mean, because I’ve seen a lot of extremely ill-informed comments about this rigorous topic.) Since the multiple choice exams are valid, there is no reason to incur the scale and cost problems that some other kinds of exams might create.

    As for some of the other comments, I was not surprised to be proven right in my “more heat than light” remark. As I said in my interview, I’m happy to disagree but not with the disagreeable. I’d like to thank people who challenged my ideas in their comments rather than engaging in ad hominem attacks. However, let there be no doubt on one point: I have a copy of my birth certificate in my briefcase (I carry it for international travel purposes). I can assure the one rather upset commenter that I am not an alien. I was born in Los Angeles, California, on July 16, 1964. As his comment posed a dichotomy, I’m not sure where that leaves him. Perhaps his e-mail came from backstage where they are filming the sequel to “District 9 ? :-)


  10. says

    Mr. Black, allow me to take you up on your offer of beginning a productive conversation. You say that the testing world would be a better place if every tester knew the techniques and strategies in your advanced syllabus. That may be so. What I find disingenuous on your part, sir is that you equate the holding of an ISTQB certification with possessing such knowledge and the wherewithal to apply it, when you know as well as I that these two things are not the same at all.

    I would like to know what you think the value is (to the certificate holder) of a certificate that pretty much anyone can achieve after a three day course and a multiple choice exam that involves no practical examination of testing. This is not rhetorical, Mr. Black. I’d really like to know.

    My own experiences with testing certification has not been encouraging. In my travels, I have worked with 3 testers who were certified and two who were interested in becoming certified. When I pointed the two cert-interested testers at AST’s BBST course, their response was that it ‘took too much time and effort’.

    I make a point of asking people who are certified what they feel they got from their certification. I am yet to receive a response that varies widely from ‘some basic terminology and a couple of techniques I didn’t know’. When I ask if there is anything they could not get from a conversation with another skilled tester, the answer has invariably been ‘no’. So again, I wonder, what is the value of this certification, really?

    Mr. Black, do you not think that there are questions that have been posed of the ISTQB that are worthy of an answer, no matter what their source? You are free to answer such questions in pretty much any forum you like and yet to the best of my knowledge, these answers do not exist (I would be happy to be proven wrong).

    Why does ISTQB not include practical examination as part of its certification method?

    Why are the exams multiple-choice, rather than a forum where an examinee is required to demonstrate testing skill?

    This PDF also contains a number of well-crafted arguments that I invite you to read and respond to. They appear to me to be free of the heat and drama that you describe.

    The only certificates I hold are for a martial art that I have been practicing for many years. I will attempt another grade level for this next year. I have spent five years preparing for this and to pass I will need to demonstrate my abilities against people of similar or higher skill whilst being judged by a panel of people who are recognized as having experience far beyond my own. The pass rate is not high and I would not be surprised if I had to attempt this examination a number of times before attaining it. To me, that is a certification worth holding. What say you, sir?

  11. says

    ahh pruning took place
    ok heres the snips that i was refering

    agree “Successful testers, as part of successful test teams, identify their stakeholders, understand their stakeholders’ quality and testing objectives, and commit themselves to satisfying their stakeholders’ objectives.”

    disagree :-

    ISTQB has issued over 160,000 certifications in the last ten years.

  12. says

    I kinda agree and disagree with certain points !


    Agree -> testers frig the system to satisfy stakeholders. at the end of the day its number crunching and results metrics.


    Whew !! What is this “scripting kiddies” certification ?? Nobody can test a product and make it defect free. There is no known vectors to do that. WEb app’s are not the onlt app’s out there. Estionia vs Russia was a good e.g. Can u test da infra of a country and get it certified as defect free ??

  13. Judy says

    Being ISTQB certified I am a little biased but I will say this. Lack of standards defined by certifications hurts the practice of software testing. Any person out there with a mouth and a GoDaddy website can offer themselves up as experts. And we as professional practicioners have to separate ourselves out on a daily basis while fixing the mistakes made by these people and trying to repair the damage this does to the industry as a whole.
    I don’t believe that ISTQB is or should be the be all end all of certification. But I do think that we need consulting firm independent certification solutions that reflect what we have learned about what works and what doesn’t. And to the extent that ISTQB does that I think it does us all a good turn which should be applauded….

  14. Martin says

    An interesting collection of well thought out and reasonable comments – is completely lacking from those comments preceeding mine.

    Personally, I found the discussion to be quite interesting, devoid of rhetoric, and civil.

    Unlike a number of other people speaking publicly on testing today, Rex managed to get from the start to the end without ONCE casting a negative comment about someone else’s view of testing. Quite refreshing to see someone that can speak on their own topic without needing to score points at other’s expense.

  15. says

    I agree with what Rex Black says, “Besides, the real debate happens in the free and open international marketplace of ideas, and the ISTQB certification is winning, 160,000 certifications and counting.”

    Even we are saying the same thing Rex. We are just being a little more specific and detailed when we say, “ISTQB is winning – testers are losing out”. We care for testers and you care for ISTQB. Hey, at least one of us are aliens.


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