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The Future of ISEB and ISTQB Software Testing Certifications

As you may have heard, the BCS just announced that it has agreed to work more closely with the UKTB, and the UKTB will become the primary supplier for the BCS Foundation and Advanced level certifications in accordance with global ISTQB criteria.  Because the BCS handles ISEB certifications whereas UKTB is focused on ISTQB certifications, the agreement essentially means that ISEB certifications will ultimately be merged into the ISTQB certification path. 

The agreement states that the consolidation will be completed by March 2011, and at that time both ISEB Practitioner certifications will be phased out.  ISTQB will become the unified global software testing certification standard, and an ISTQB Expert certification will be created for those wishing to move beyond the 3 modules of the ISTQB Advanced certification. 

This alignment makes sense, as it will simplify the process by providing a unified testing vocabulary, as well as reducing the confusion associated with having multiple certification paths to choose from.

Impact of the Agreement

If you are considering becoming certified but have not yet started the process, this announcement means that you should dive right into the ISTQB certification path and earn your CTFL / ISTQB Foundation certificate.  Similarly, if you have already started down the ISTQB certification path, this merger should not have any impact.  However, if you are currently pursuing your ISEB certifications, your future direction may be impacted by this announcement. 

If you have already earned your ISEB Foundation certificate, the next step would be to earn your ISEB Intermediate certification.  This is because once the certifications are aligned, the ISEB Intermediate accreditation will serve as a bridge between the 2 certification paths. 

Thus, once you earn your ISEB Intermediate certification, you will have the option to earn one or both ISEB Practitioner certifications, or move to the ISTQB certification path and pursue one or more of the 3 ISTQB Advanced level modules.  The only thing to note here is that if your next step is to take one or both of the ISEB Practitioner exams, you must do it before this level is phased out in March 2011. 

The good news is that ISEB certifications will continue to remain valid and recognised even after the alignment is consummated.  That said, it is apparent that ISTQB will become the long-term global certification standard, beginning sometime in 2011.  Therefore, going forward any new certification candidates should focus on the ISTQB certification path, which encompasses the CTFL / ISTQB Foundation, ISTQB Advanced (3 modules), and ISTQB Expert certifications.

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