As software testing continues to shift from manual exploration to more automated processes, testers need to think about how to adapt their skills. This can mean pursuing certifications or learning more about the languages developers use.
Find out why software testing certification can help quality assurance professionals advance their careers. Certifications can tell recruiters and managers that a given tester can navigate an ever-changing IT landscape.
Here we provide an overview of the types of certification testers should pursue and the specific details of each type.
How Software Tester Certifications Can Help
When a tester has a certification, it signals to recruiters and potential employers that you know your business and have the demonstrable knowledge to back it up. In turn, this can lead to higher pay and opportunities for advancement that other professionals might not have.
“Adding a certification is a recommended next step for a QA engineer because it offers greater opportunities, potentially better pay, and invaluable knowledge that can improve your job performance,” said Sander Tamm, Founder and CEO. of the E-Student online learning platform.
Employers like to see testers with the ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board) certification, which has international acceptance and industry recognition. “It’s a ‘foot-in-the-door’ type certification that instantly makes you eligible for the majority of QA positions at all levels,” Tamm said.
Outside of the basic level of ISTQB certification, there are opportunities for more advanced and specific certifications, such as Agile and Basic Testing Framework. Tamm recommends newcomers to software testing consider the Certified Software Test Engineer (CSTE) program. CSTE certification demonstrates competence in the basics of quality control and shows potential employers that you know what you’re doing.
Once a tester has achieved the basic testing certification, they should learn the basics about popular programming languages like Java and Go.
Language and infrastructure specific certifications
Although software testers generally don’t need to know a programming language for their job, that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. Testing continues to evolve into the languages in which developers write code. In the Java and Go ecosystems, for example, tests are written in those languages, typically run with those languages’ build/package handlers, and used as quality gates during CI/CD pipelines.
Testers should consider Oracle as the first step to ironclad Java certification. Because there is no official Go certification, testers may want to look into vertical-specific certifications.
Another option is to explore non-functional requirements, such as security. For example, the GSSP-JAVA [GIAC Secure Software Programmer-Java] The certification is the one that stands out in the Java ecosystem.
Or, if testers decide they want to be certified in the infrastructure stack, they can look to certifications from AWS or GCP to demonstrate their capabilities under the umbrella of a particular cloud provider.
Apart from the aforementioned certifications, testers should also explore any certifications offered by third parties in their target industry or any potential (or current) employer.
For example, French consultancy Capgemini created its own internal code-related certifications that were designed by its architects and center of excellence team. These certifications have helped the company qualify potential automation experts, software development engineers, and data engineers for testing.
“While external certifications give us an idea of a candidate’s skills, we know that if they can dig a little deeper into the areas in which we need them to be competent, then we are able to assess specifically his abilities,” Rajesh said. Natarajan, Director of Digital Assurance and Quality Engineering at Sogeti.
Expand your toolbox
With all the talk about certifications, Natarajan has found that demonstrating proficiency in learning new tools can sometimes be as valuable as knowing a specific set of tools. While the tool landscape is rapidly changing, Natarajan has noticed that testers’ work doesn’t revolve around a specific tool. What matters most is that testers demonstrate their ability to adapt to a new technology or platform and excel at applying that knowledge to the tools landscape.
“We strongly believe that if someone has expertise in one language or tool, that candidate can adapt to any other language or tool,” Natarajan said. Testers should be able to show a learning pattern as they progress in their career.
If testers have the relevant experience and knowledge with a specific toolset, they should be able to use best practices and relevant experience with comparable tools to overcome obstacles.