Thursday, February 25, 2010

Certifications : Good or Bad

So, there has been a lot of confusion over this. I would restrict my opinion on the software testing certifications.
Here are my five+five cents on the topic:

Certifications are Good:
1. Certifications are good if you are looking for entry into an organization that values them so much so that these organizations even mention the certification requirement in the job profile. A good testing team of its worth would NEVER mention that in the job profile. (if they have a say...)

2. Certifications are good if while preparing for them, you reach out to the good information sources, read and understand them rather than the only prescribed study material.

3. Certifications are good if you are from the certification board (because this will fetch you a lot of moolah)

4. Certifications are good if you are like me. You treat certification date as a deadline and try to gain as much knowledge in the subject as possible before that date. Helps... (yeah yeah... I know internal motivation)
Does it sound a little related to agile philosophy?

5. Certifications are good if you are an interviewer and the guy with certification is at the other end of the table. Ask some basic practical testing scenario question and if the so-called testing expert does not have a clue about it even though he just gave you a perfect definition of it, you know what you have to do with that candidate. Thanks certification for helping screen candidates.

Certifications are BAD: 
1.Certifications are bad if they force you to just mug up some definitions and do not have practical life questions. 

2.Certifications are bad if you think you will learn testing (or worse, will become an expert) by passing the certification.

3. Certifications are bad because many employers are asking for that and some person who is good at testing does not get that job because he did not have enough money to pay for the certification fees. :(

4. Certifications are bad because they make you feel great for a while, and then later when you get to know the reality, it's hard!!!

5. Certifications are bad because you can get around them. How big can the examiner's question database be???
We all know how many theoretical questions can you make???

:o) :o) :o)


  1. I think on a more deeper level, we ourselves can certify how good we are...we just need to know how to sell ourselves appropriately for career i see a certification in self-marketing can do the trick!!! I might start one some day...

  2. @The Devil's Advocate,

    Wow! that's another witty remark of yours :o)
    We are waiting for more of you. And I will certify your writings (if at all that matters :o) )

  3. Certifications are good for the company... if it is into services... At least, it helps with quantitative analysis of their testing capability... But, a true software tester never trusts certifications :) ..... - Fake Software Tester!!!

  4. @fakesoftwaretester

    Quantitative analysis with using wrong metrics is NO ANALYSIS.

    I actually pity these service companies, most of the times they do this because their clients want it. The clients need to learn this first.

  5. I doubt if client really want certified testers.These service companies project them self showing they have so many certified people to compete with other companies.

  6. Good one for a start!

    Like DS mentioned above, nothing is rosy about these certifications. It's not even about Product or Service companies. It's about grabbing attention. It's like saying 'Hey look, I have an award winning guy on my team. We deliver great stuff'.

    Years ago, one of my previous company hired an automation guy - one man army who would lead an automation team across the entire CRM division. He had filed 6 patents on his own, an expert in automation, not to mention his down to earth attitude. He was expected to perform overnight. He did. He quit in the next few months.

    Why put boundaries on people's learning?

    Parimala Shankaraiah

  7. @DS and PS,
    Thanks for your opinion.

    Actually the more I think about it, it seems like a bigger debate.

    I started questioning the exam system... The Education system that I have undergone through...
    These thoughts led me to go through My guru James Bach's website.

    But then I feel @Why put boundaries on people's learning?

    Putting boundaries on learning may not be right but guiding to the right path certainly is. We need to have right mentors...

    Let there be light...

  8. Santosh,

    I would like to recommend one open certification which I felt is really worth it. It's called BBST. Each AST BBST course includes video lectures, quizzes, homework of various kinds, and a final exam. All of the homework, and the exam, are peer-reviewed. Every participant in the course reviews work submitted by other participants and provides feedback and suggests grades.

    But I am sure BBST in no way could ever be close to CSTE or the ISTQB in terms of popularity for obvious reasons.


  9. Read my guru Mr. James Bach's elaborate view on testing certifications.

    Please find them here