If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know that prior posts have touched on the current state of ISEB and ISTQB software testing certifications as well as the future direction of these certifications. But one thing we’ve not really addressed is the history of these certifications, and hence that is the focus for this week’s post.
Obviously the 2 main software testing certification paths are the ISEB and ISTQB. Although both are unique, they definitely have many similarities, so much so that these certification paths are likely to converge in the future.
The ISEB certification board was created some 40 years ago, however the ISEB Foundation certification was not crafted until 1998. The ISEB Intermediate followed shortly thereafter, and the ISEB Practitioner certifications were created in 2002. Since inception, ISEB has been the software testing certification standard in the UK. Today, there are nearly 300,000 software testers that have earned their ISEB Foundation certification and this number continues to grow.
The ISTQB certification was formed in 2002, and the first ISTQB Foundation (CTFL) syllabus was launched shortly thereafter. Soon thereafter, the ISTQB Foundation syllabus was adopted by the ISEB to replace the ISEB Foundation syllabus. This is why the ISEB Foundation and ISTQB Foundation / CTFL syllabi, exams, and certifications are identical. At the Foundation level, a passing mark on your exam provides dual accreditation in both.
Beyond the CTFL level, the next step in the ISTQB certification path is the ISTQB Advanced level. The Advanced-level syllabus was created in 2003 and the first Advanced level exams took place in 2004. The ISTQB Advanced level encompasses 3 distinct modules, each of which has its own exam. The 3 ISTQB Advanced-level modules are Test Manager, Test Analyst, and Technical Test Analyst.
Today, ISTQB certifications are growing at a faster rate than ISEB certifications, which is to be expected since there are more than twice as many ISEB certified testers as there are ISTQB certified testers. As of 2010, approximately 135,000 software testers across 50 countries have earned at least one ISTQB certification.
With the impending convergence of the 2 certification paths at some point in the future, the number of ISTQB certified testers is expected to grow at an increased rate going forward. That said, no matter what the future holds, ISEB certifications such as ISEB Foundation, ISEB Intermediate and ISEB Practitioner will always be recognised and valued, and will certainly go a long way toward enhancing your software testing career.