Is software testing certifications necessary?
These two arguments I hear often:
1) In order to get a job in Denmark within testing. Employers (read: HR) needs to see your certificates otherwise they can be very difficult to convince that you could be their new tester. Not all but most of them.
2) Employers (read: sales and marketing) needs your certification in order to be in compliance with public and sometimes private tenders of projects and services. Otherwise the confidence in your employers skills as a supplier will be questioned and you could loose the race for that big software development contract.
How do you get your certificates in testing?
Taking testing certifications at your own expense is rarely seen in Denmark. It is expensive and can be time consuming (if you have family, job, etc.) so it is in reality not your first option.
So the normal way is to get the certification when you have a job. A testing job. And your employer will then have to support your ambitious dreams about getting a testing certification. This is not always easy.
Many employers will be hesitant about signing you up for a course with an exam due to: costs, time spend on non- billable activities, important tasks or projects etc. [insert further excuses here].
Also the risk of losing money on educating you for your testing job if you later take a new job at another employer.
What happens often is that the employer tries to arrange a “special” tailored in-house course at your company where also the number of days have been reduced to approx. 50 % of the original course. Still with the same curriculum, of course.
Or even worse; the employer will pay for the exam and studying material and then you must use your own time to get ready for the exam.
Now you take the exam and barely pass (who needs those extra points, right?) and on top of that you fell utterly exhausted due to a short period of time with a lot of information to process.
And you get your certificate – hooray!
… then 14 days later you have forgotten most of the things you have studied up to the exam. But that doesn’t matter now you got the certificate!
… and then 90 days after you hardly remember taking the exam or the things you studied presuming you do not use everything you have learned all the time.
Your certificate is like a driver license – you have learned some rules, techniques and guidelines and passed the theory – after that you really need to learn what it is all about in the real world.
Your certificates do not make you an excellent tester – however practice, experience and learning from others on real testing tasks will help you much better than any education you can ever take.
Do you really need a certificate? – well no, in my opinion. I have meet many talented testers without any certifications. But if you want a job in Denmark today within software testing then you do need it. It will make everything easier in your job hunt.
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”
– Hamlet (1.4), Marcellus to Horatio