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ISTQB Certification Levels

ISTQB certification is a globally recognized software testing qualification which covers a range of levels from foundation to expert.

ISTQB Certification Overview

ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualification Board) is a non-profit organisation, founded in 2002 and legally registered in Belgium. They defined a set of professional standards for software testing which soon became widely recognised and accepted around the globe. ISTQB introduced a scheme called “ISTQB Certified Tester” which is regarded as the most competent certification for software testers worldwide. ISTQB collaborate with their local boards in different countries to provide certifications to software testers from the respective countries.

ISTQB certification levels

ISTQB set up different qualifying exams based on the glossary and syllabi they put forward. Testers will be certified on the basis of these qualifying exams. Entry criteria is set for each of these exams so only suitably equipped persons will be accepted to take them.

ISTQB Levels – Core, Agile and Specialist

ISTQB offers certifications for software testers over three different groups. They are Core, Agile and Specialist. Each group has different levels of certifications such as Foundation, Advanced and Expert and each level is based on the experience and expert level of the qualifying candidate.

ISTQB levels

ISTQB Certification Levels

ISTQB Core Foundation Level

This level of exam demands testers have a strong base knowledge of the fundamentals of software testing. This certification is the stepping stone for any aspiring ISTQB candidate, so if you plan to become certified in different ISTQB levels, this will be the first certificate you should hold prior to attaining certifications in other categories. The certificate has life long validity.

More About ISTQB Foundation Exam

ISTQB Core Advanced Level

ISTQB Core Advanced Level is aimed at people with advanced knowledge and experience in software testing. To take the Core Advanced level exam, you should hold Core Foundation level certification. You also need to satisfy the local exam board in your country of residence by proving you have practical experience in software testing before attending this exam. Core Advanced level offers a choice of three different categories of exams, namely, Test Manager, Test Analyst and Technical Test Analyst. If you obtain all three certifications, you will be awarded a ‘Full Advanced level’ certificate. The Advanced level certificate has lifelong validity.

Test Manager certification
This certification is one of the Core Advanced level certifications and is aimed at test professionals who look to improve their knowledge on testing process and test management.

Test Analyst
This Core Advanced level certification is aimed at testers who are skilled at advanced testing techniques.

Technical Test Analyst
This the third and last Core Advanced level certification which certifies highly experienced testers with an understanding of core technical testing concepts, such as structure based testing (APIs testing for example) and other analytical testing techniques.

ISTQB Core Expert Level

Core Expert level certification is offered to testers who have acquired advanced skills for in-depth analysis and practical oriented experience in advanced concepts in testing. Expert level offers two certifications – Test Management and Improving the Test process. For achieving expert level certification, the candidate should hold both a Core Foundation level certification and respective Core Advanced level certification, prior to attending the expert level exam. This certificate has a validity of 5 years.

Test Management certification
This certification provides extensive knowledge on different Test management concepts such as Strategic test management, Operational test management.

Improving the Test process
This certification extends the knowledge of Test managers by providing in-depth knowledge on how to assess and improve the current test process and how to implement it.

ISTQB Agile Foundation Level

ISTQB Agile Foundation level certification offers Foundation level knowledge on basic agile methodologies and practices. Anyone with Core Foundation level certification can take this certification exam.

ISTQB Agile Advanced Level

There are some further exams under development for Advanced level testers. They are Organizational Agile and Technical Agile.

Organizational Agile certification
This certification is currently unavailable but will hopefully be released soon. The certification will be mainly aimed at agile professionals who look to improve the agile software practices implemented within their organization.

Technical Agile certification
This certification is also under development and will be aimed at technical agile practitioners who are experts in software programming and look to improve their expertise in extreme agile programming and continuous delivery practices.

ISTQB Specialist Foundation Level

ISTQB also offers certain certifications for testers who specialise in particular areas, such as model based testing, usability testing etc. Currently, the Model based tester certification is the only one that is active. Certifications for the Usability tester, Automotive tester, Gambling Industry tester, Mobile application tester and Performance tester are also under development. Entry criteria for these exams requires the candidate to hold an ISTQB Core Foundation level certification, as is the case with the rest of the certifications.

Model based tester
This certification is aimed at test professionals who specialise in model based testing. Model based testing is a creative test approach to make testing analysis and design far more efficient.

Usability tester
This certification is still in beta testing and will hopefully soon go live. The certification is aimed at testers who specialise in usability testing.

Automotive tester
This certification, which is still under development, is aimed at highly specialised testers who work in the automotive industry.

Gambling Industry tester
This certification which is still under development is aimed at testers who are specialised in testing games and other gambling software.

Mobile Application tester
This certification is also under development and is aimed at mobile application testers on different platforms such as iOS, Android etc.

Performance tester
This is another certification that’s been added to the roadmap but is still in development. This one is aimed at testers who specialise in performance testing.

ISTQB Specialist Advanced Level

ISTQB currently offers two advanced level certifications for specialised testers. They are: Security tester and Test Automation Engineer. To attend advanced level exams, a Core Foundation level certification is necessary as well as relevant experience in the field.

Security tester
This certification is aimed at people who have advanced in their software testing career and wish to improve their knowledge on security testing. To achieve this certification, you should have the Core Foundation level certification and not less than three years of relevant practical experience.

Test Automation Engineer
This certification is aimed at the test professional who want to enhance their career as test automation engineers. As with the security tester certification, the Core Foundation level certification should have been attained before attempting the test automation engineer certification exam.

Author

Jithin Nair

Jithin is a experienced lead quality assurance engineer with experience in full life cycle testing.​

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