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Why every tester should have an IREB certificate

  • 09/02/2012
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

Our world is changing all the time. When I had my first job interview as a tester I just had to answer three questions with ‘yes’ to get the job (I see in your CV you did a course on testing, it that so? And you want to be a tester on our project? Are you serious about this?). By now we don’t get away with a three day testing course. We need to have at least one certificate on testing, we need to have knowledge of software development, we need to have good personal skills and preferably we need to have knowledge of the business processes of the organization where we work. And still clients are asking for more and more knowledge and skills. When we work in agile teams we need to have collaboration skills. As test managers we need to have managerial skills. As test consultants we need to have persuasiveness and political skills. So we need to work on our soft skills. But what about our hard skills? As Erik van Veenendaal stated in Testing Experience 04/11 we need to specialize (e.g. security testing, performance testing, chain testing) to broaden. But how can we broaden? In which direction should we broaden?

In my personal opinion we should broaden our knowledge and work field in the direction of requirements engineering. For a couple of years now I have the vision that requirements engineering and testing can be combined in one person, since a year or two different testers showed in practice combining requirements engineering and testing is very well possible and has a lot of benefits. In practice we have shown that combining requirements engineering and testing lowers the need for communication and coordination, saves time and money and makes sure testers are involved early in the project. And it can very well be a possible future for testing. This way the testing phase is death (Gojko Adzic, Eurostar 2011) and we don’t have to call ourselves testers anymore (James Whittaker, Eurostar 2011).

But what has IREB got to do with this? Well, it’s the biggest and best known requirements engineering certificate. Having your IREB certificate is surely a precondition for making the step from tester to requirements & testing engineer. And even when you don’t become a requirements & testing engineer you learn a lot about ICT-project by doing an IREB foundation course. Another vision I have is that we talk and learn too much about testing. By now we know enough about testing techniques, test strategies, test approaches, test methods et cetera. I think we should not deepen our test knowledge but we should broaden our knowledge.

Some last words on the criticism concerning certification. Of course, ten years experience is worth more than a foundation certificate. And of course, just having your foundation certificate doesn’t make you a good requirements engineer. But having a certificate surely shows that you have the basic knowledge and people who don’t are not interested in the subject won’t invest the time and money in the certification. So it proves at least something.

I hope not every tutorial and every presentation on Eurostar 2012 is about testing.

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