How Software Testing Certifications Can Boost Your Career
As software testing continues to move from manual exploration to more automated processes, testers need to think about how to adapt their skills. This could mean researching certifications or learning more about the languages used by developers.
Find out why software testing certification can help QA 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 details specific to each type.
How Software Tester Certifications Can Help You
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 a higher salary and opportunities for advancement that other professionals might not have.
“Adding a certification is a recommended next step for a QA engineer, as it offers greater opportunities, potentially better pay, and invaluable knowledge that can improve your professional performance,” said Sander Tamm, Founder and CEO of the E-Student online learning platform.
Employers like to see testers with the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) 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 quality assurance positions at all levels,” Tamm said.
Apart from the basic level of ISTQB certification, there are opportunities for more advanced and specific certifications, such as for Agile and basic test infrastructures. Tamm recommends that newcomers to software testing consider the Certified Software Test Engineer (CSTE) program. The CSTE certification demonstrates competence in the basics of quality control and shows potential employers that you know what you are doing.
Once a tester has obtained the basic test certification, they should learn the basics popular programming languages like Java and Go.
Language and infrastructure specific certifications
While software testers generally don’t need to be proficient in a programming language for their job, that doesn’t mean it 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 these languages, typically run with the build / package managers of those languages, and used as quality gates during CI / CD pipelines.
Testers should see Oracle as the first step to rock-solid Java certification. Since there is no official Go certification, testers may wish to review vertical-specific certifications.
Another option is to explore non-functional requirements, such as security. For example, the GSSP-JAVA [GIAC Secure Software Programmer-Java] 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 AWS or GCP certifications 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 by potential (or current) employers.
For example, French consulting firm 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 in testing.
“While external certifications give us an idea of a candidate’s competence, we know that if they can delve a little more precisely into the areas in which we need them to master, then we can more accurately assess their abilities. Rajesh said. Natarajan, director of digital assurance and quality engineering at Sogeti.
Expand your toolbox
With all that has been said about certifications, Natarajan has found that demonstrating competence in learning new tools can sometimes be as valuable as knowing a specific set of tools. As the tool landscape changes rapidly, Natarajan noticed that the work of testers does not revolve around a specific tool. What matters most is that testers demonstrate their ability to adapt to a newer technology or platform and to be good at applying that knowledge to the tool landscape.
“We strongly believe that if someone has expertise in a language or tool, that candidate can adapt to any other language or tool,” Natarajan said. Testers should be able to present a learning model as they progress in their careers.
If testers have the relevant experience and knowledge with a specific set of tools, they should be able to use best practices and relevant experience with comparable tools to overcome obstacles.