Getting a software testing job can be difficult. Software testers, especially at the beginning of their careers, highlight their knowledge and motivation in order to obtain their first role. Later, once they begin working in the QA field and gain some experience, passionate testers continue looking for ways to differentiate themselves and their skills. One of the most popular ways to achieve this is by getting a software testing certification.
Software testing certifications can provide a competitive edge in the job market for both new and experienced QA testers. However, it also has potential drawbacks that should be considered before taking on a certification exam. Let’s explore these certifications and help you determine whether taking a certification exam is right for you.
The Pros and Cons of Software Testing Certifications
Software testing certifications are professional credentials that are given to individuals who demonstrate extensive knowledge and proficiency in QA skills and processes. Depending on the course type and scope, participants acquire critical knowledge of software testing principles, tools, and techniques that allow them to pass an official exam and earn the certification. These certifications are offered by well-known organizations such as the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) and the International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile) and are widely recognized and respected within the QA community.
Benefits of Software Testing Certification QA certification can be beneficial for both junior and experienced software testers as there is a large variety of certifications available. Here are the main benefits for novice and experienced testers:
Structured path of learning: this allows new testers to establish fundamental knowledge in the software testing industry. Critical aspects of QA such as test planning, test execution, and defect management are covered, which ensures they are equipped with the right set of skills before applying for testing jobs.
Competitive advantage: when competing for a single position against a large number of candidates, it can be beneficial to have a differentiation point. Software testing certification could be a competitive advantage that will distinguish you from other candidates.
Added value: when submitting your resume, QA certification can help pass the initial resume screening, which is usually done by non-technical HR staff members. Later in the hiring process with QA managers, having a certification can give the interviewers the confidence that you have the required abilities to join their team.
QA specialization: there are various certifications that focus on methodologies and tools such as testing in an agile environment, security testing, automation testing, etc. Focusing on one particular area could help testers expand their knowledge and master specific software testing skills.
Open doors to new responsibilities and roles: getting certified in specific areas of QA opens doors for testers to advance within their current organization and accept greater responsibilities on their team.
Increase value for new opportunities: for those who are looking to explore new job opportunities or advance to a management position, the right certification can help add value in addition to your current level of experience.
Drawbacks of Software Testing Certification
After understanding the advantages of software testing certifications, it’s essential to acknowledge the drawbacks. Firstly, although it can be used as a springboard, it doesn’t guarantee that you will get hired as soon as you get certified. The certification focuses on important theoretical aspects of QA, but practical experience and on-the-job learning are also considered before hiring software testers.
Like any technology-related industry, QA is continuously changing with new technologies and testing tools fulfilling key roles in a tester’s life. Despite certifications being updated to meet these changes, testers can’t rely only on certifications alone in order to learn and gain knowledge.
Moreover, pursuing software testing certification requires an investment of time and money. In addition to the exam fee, which is typically a few hundred US dollars, there is also preparation time, study materials, and training courses. All of these factors should be seriously considered before beginning the certification process.
Evaluating the Worth of Software Testing Certifications
Just before you choose a certification, take into consideration several important factors. Decide what your career goals are in the software testing industry and what you want to achieve. Think about how the certification can contribute to your desired career path and the roles you want to fulfill.
Secondly, aim to align the certification with your current skill set and experience. As certification alone might not be enough to land your dream job, try to gain some practical experience in parallel. You can participate in crowdsourcing testing projects to gain some experience. Also, note that continuous learning is an important part of expanding your professional knowledge and staying ahead of the curve. Use multiple mediums such as software testing books and podcasts to deepen your knowledge.
Lastly, assess your budget and time constraints. Evaluate the financial investment required for the certification, including exam fees and training courses, as well as the time commitment needed for studying. By carefully evaluating these aspects, you can make an informed decision about whether pursuing a software testing certification will help advance your career.
Software testing certifications serve as professional credentials that validate an individual’s knowledge and expertise in the field of QA. These certifications provide a structured learning path for novice testers, giving them a competitive edge and enhancing their resume. For experienced testers, certifications enable specialization of specific QA areas, unlocking opportunities for growth and expanding their value in the job market.
However, it’s important to note that certifications don’t necessarily guarantee immediate employment, as practical experience remains critical. Pursuing certification demands an investment of both time and money. Therefore, evaluating career goals, aligning the certification with existing skills and experience, and considering budget and time constraints are essential steps in determining whether pursuing software testing certification is a worthwhile endeavor for your career advancement.