ISTQB Certification: Benefits and Features

    The success of an IT project largely depends on how well organized the testing and quality assurance system (Quality Assurance, QA) is at all stages of its life cycle.

    For a QA specialist, one of the most reliable ways to prove their professional qualities is the availability of an international ISTQB certificate. Today we’ll talk about what such certification gives to the employee, employer and business, as well as how we at SimbirSoft support the qualifications of QA engineers.

    What is ISTQB?

    ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board) is an international organization that certifies QA specialists. Today it is the most authoritative certification system.

    As of December 2018, ISTQB has conducted more than 875,000 exams and issued over 641,000 certificates recognized by IT companies in 126 countries. In different countries there are representative offices of this organization, for example, in Russia it is RSTQB.

    Despite the territorial “scatter”, the materials for preparation, the number of questions and the duration of the exam are the same for everyone. Moreover, certification is carried out only in person, in the presence of an examiner from the ISTQB representative office.

    ISTQB certificates have three levels :

    Why ISTQB certificate for a specialist

    A QA specialist who successfully passes the exam receives the following features and guarantees:

    1. Competitiveness in hiring , including in an international company. This is due to the fact that ISTQB certification is popular, it is trusted in many countries of the world. In addition, the non-commercial nature of ISTQB and the free provision of materials in preparation for exams guarantee the impartiality of certification.

      In some companies, the presence of an ISTQB certificate is an advantage for the applicant, as you can see by getting acquainted with vacancies on the well-known HeadHunter resource.
    2. Career growth and salary increase . When a specialist’s knowledge is confirmed by an international certificate, the management has more confidence in such an employee. He gets the opportunity to work on more complex projects that are well paid.
    3. Systematization of knowledge . Preparation for exams will "sort through" scattered theoretical and practical knowledge and fill in individual gaps. And in preparation for the exam at the expert level (Expert Level), more than half of the tasks are practical. Working on theory and practice helps to deepen professional skills and learn something new.
    4. Skill development and expertise . Certificates can only be obtained sequentially: from the basic level to the expert level. And at each stage, preparation for the exam will require new knowledge, so the specialist really puts a lot of effort. The expert certificate is confirmed by practical skills, for example, completed tasks or speeches at relevant conferences. It can also become incentives for development in their field.

    For the employer, the applicant has the ISTQB certificate ─ a kind of “quality mark” of knowledge of its owner. Large IT companies seek to recruit
    certified employees or organize exams on their own.

    The benefits of employee certification for an IT company and customer

    When choosing a contractor for an IT project, customers evaluate various parameters, including the terms and cost of work, the availability of relevant cases, etc. If QA specialists of an IT company are certified according to ISTQB standards, all other things being equal, this can become an additional competitive advantage of the company.

    ISTQB certificates are quoted worldwide, so an IT company that has certified employees can participate in international tenders.

    In addition to the obvious competitive advantages, there are other positive certification results:

    • All specialists who have passed the training and passed the exam have generally accepted terminology. The development team members speak the “same language”, there are no problems due to misunderstanding each other.
    • Evaluation of the results is impartial, as knowledge is checked by third-party independent experts, for whom Ivanov, Petrov, and Sidorov are equal.
    • Certification provides an opportunity to assess in which areas the employee understands best and what knowledge needs to be developed.

    How we at ISTQB pass SimbirSoft certification

    Some IT professionals regard ISTQB certification as an unnecessary formality or “accomplishment” that does not bring practical benefits. In forums dedicated to IT problems, one can often hear the opinion that a certificate does not help confirm the knowledge of its owner.

    However, we at SimbirSoft do not agree with this opinion. We have already examined how certification helps to deepen the knowledge of specialists and make cooperation within the team more effective. In our company, each quality assurance specialist is required to pass the ISTQB certification. At the time of preparation of the material, 64 employees received certificates: 50% of QA specialists and 36% ─ SDET.

    How do we organize your exam preparation?

    1. The ISTQB certificate exam deadlines are set individually for each employee. First of all, it depends on the experience of a specialist. On average, after six months or a year of work, the company passes an exam for a basic level certificate.
    2. We bring together groups of employees who independently prepare for the exam based on official ISTQB materials and unofficial training tests that are on the Internet.
    3. Each group has a tutor ─ curator from among experienced QA specialists. It helps to find answers to the most difficult questions. Participants in the groups tell the curator what questions they found difficult, after which they choose the time and meet on a brainstorming session to find a solution together with the curator.

    Self-preparation + assistance of the curator and colleagues ─ this is an approach that shows good results. Specialists simultaneously prepare for the exam, supplement their knowledge and systematize it. In addition to comprehensive training, we carry out intensives and mitaps to ensure quality. Before exams, we always check the degree of assimilation of materials and the willingness of employees to certification.

    Testing of knowledge is carried out offline, in the main office of our company in Ulyanovsk. On the appointed day, an examiner from RSTQB ─ the Russian representative office of ISTQB comes to us. He monitors compliance with the rules of certification. SimbirSoft takes care of certification fees.

    We have been cooperating with RSTQB for a long time as volunteers, translating and adapting materials for exam preparation, and participating in joint conferences and expert meetings. SimbirSoft expert Ekaterina has been a member of the RSTQB since 2015.

    RSTQB and SimbirSoft experts are preparing for a joint discussion club as part of the strike 2010 international IT conference.


    Summing up, we list the advantages that we see in the ISTQB certification:

    • Communication within the company and with customers takes place in one language. This is very important because it allows you to avoid errors due to misunderstanding. In turn, we are confident that all our employees equally understand the testing and quality assurance processes and equally interpret the results of work.
    • After our employee honestly (and it doesn’t happen in any other way), we pass the exam, we can be sure that his professional knowledge is structured, he is ready to work on projects of different levels of complexity.
    • Our certified specialists know exactly the industry standards and are guided by them in their work.
    • The high professional level of QA specialists helps us to comply with the established deadlines for project development.
    • We can ensure the quality of even the most complex IT products, because we are confident in the qualifications of our employees.

    For our part, we are building the process of preparing for the exam so as to help specialists not only get a diploma, but really enrich and systematize their knowledge and subsequently apply them in their work.

    Our experts who successfully passed the ISTQB exam

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