"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The ISTQB scam and why you should sign Keith Klain's petition

If you know what I am talking about - go here right away and sign the petition. If you do not, read this:

If you are my blog reader, you would know why ISTQB is a shame, a scam and faking its agenda. Despite the awesome challenge put up, its promoters are not revealing publicly how the profit is used (considering they claim it is not for profit) 

When Keith Klain, Michael Bolton and others on twitter challenged Rex Black to reveal the details - there was a response quoting NDA and other stuff which keeps them in hiding. I strongly believe this is not helping the testing community. It is actually damaging. 

Let me detail how ISTQB is a shame, scam and faking its agenda. 

Scam part

The certification by itself is pretty cheap - giving it a nice disguise that they make less money. However, there are these training for the cheap certification that is really expensive. I have a pre final year college graduate who wanted to try her luck, try ISTQB, cleared it and does not have a clue on how to test email me and ask what can she do about testing?

The ISTQB charges a fee to these training institutes for allowing them to use their name. Some of its promoters have their own companies that do ISTQB training. So, ISTQB as an organization was built to show they are not for profit but those who say it is not for profit - use their own company names to make the profit out of ISTQB. 

Shame part 

All parts are shame, I am wondering where to start. The biggest according to me is - it has some smart people working for them and they are wasting their time by blinding them from information that ISTQB has not really advanced how people test over time. Sometimes, money blinds and other times fame.

About 7 years ago, I was trying to apply to Accenture, online. I filled in a bunch of details and then before uploading my profile after selecting software testing category, I found that it asked me to select the certification I have. I could not even apply to their company because I did not have a certification.

The bigger shame is - when I talked about this - the ISTQB fellas said, "We don't ask them to do it but it is not our business to get them to change it". Wow! This is awesome. So, if someone is screwing up the world with your already screwed up certification, you don't say anything about it. So, you don't really care for testers skills. How can this not be a non profit?

Faking the agenda part

Time and again, the world has understood a 40 question cannot determine knowledge or skills yet they have not changed how they test testers. The reason is simple, the bad is easily scale-able. The good is not. It at least requires a lot of skilled effort. 

Also, the marketing and advertising they put up in magazines, conferences and other places (I haven't checked any bill boards) is misleading. It ranges from ROI on this certification to how better testers can be after this. 

I have been employed in services companies that have asked me to take ISTQB and my appraisal would depend on that. So, people are forced to take it up. Most of my colleagues took it up for their appraisals and that is how they drive it. Are we creating passion? Are we creating a better community?

There is no advancement. Companies test the way they have been doing for a long time. Most companies that have adopted ISTQB are the ones breeding testing that has not changed. 

 If this is enough: go to the petition right now and show your courage to stand up against the scam! If you are not courageous, you will someday be inspired by the context driven community.

Thankfully, Keith asks questions whose answers reveal evidence of what I have said above from my experience!

Sign the petition Sign the petition Sign the petition Sign the petition Sign the petition Sign the petition Sign the petition


Anonymous said...

More questions:
01. Can someone from ISTQB deconstruct the question paper and explain what "COMPETENCE" each correct answer to a question indicates and how is the objective verification of the competencies done?
02. Can someone explain how when someone gets 26 right from the 40 questions is CERTIFIED when he gets 14 wrong in the "FOUNDATION"?

03. What is the meaning of "increasing qualified testers?" What does QUALIFICATION indicate?
04. What have they done to promote testing as a profession? What has the community of "CERTIFIED PROFESSIONALS" accomplished? How are they being engaged?
05. Fathom this!
The Foundation Level qualification is aimed at professionals who need to demonstrate practical knowledge of the fundamental concepts of software testing. This includes people in roles such as test designers, test analysts, test engineers, test consultants, test managers, user acceptance testers and IT Professionals.

The Foundation Level qualification is also appropriate for anyone who needs a basic understanding of software testing, such as project managers, quality managers, software development managers, business analysts, IT directors and management consultants.

- Anyone and everyone. Same for Test Manager, Consultants, a fresher etc and if all of them pass what does that mean? Please relate to the claims made.

06. http://www.istqb.org/certification-path-root/why-istqb-certification/benefits.html
- Gain independently assessed knowledge and skills.??? How?
- increased earning potential? How?

07. Why is number of years of experience necessary to gain Advanced or Expert level certification? Are you saying someone less than 2 years cannot become an expert?

08. Why is training required for someone who wants to assess at Expert Level? Are they not experts? And this exam was supposed to assess the EXPERTISE? Or are you creating experts?

List can go on ... every sentence on the website can be questioned? If only someone listens!

Fervent Testers said...

Excellent. This was very much needed. What is more sad is people who force others to take this certification and also hiring guys....who filter out profiles by this keyword named ISTQB....themselves DON'T KNOW.....what they are looking for and what that really means. My friend was asked to (rather forced to)take ISTQB.....she said she would rather go for BBST if certification was all that important....and guess what....the question from her 'Test lead' was.......'What is BBST? Do they accept that in India?'

That sums it all. What I mean to say is.....along with ISQTB....testers who don't think critically about certifications they take are equally responsible. Secondly....these 'Training Institutes'......who scare naive freshers to take the certification if they want to get hired. This whole chain and lobby needs to be broken. and efforts need to be taken from 'we testers'.... I feel....one more question should be added in tester's list and that is "Why should I go for this certification?"

- Lalit Bhamare

Devika said...

Agree and hence signed the petition.So very true but equally sad that its so hard to change the thought process by just signing this petition. I am having testing experience but its mandatory to have ISEB/BCC/ISTQB certifications to apply to any of the testing jobs in Europe.My Resume is being rejected just because I don't have those buzz words in my resume. But do I have a choice other than not doing the certification to get a decent job? Bitter truth

tarun k said...

This is one more reason why I hate Indian IT Service industry -

"I have been employed in services companies that have asked me to take ISTQB and my appraisal would depend on that. So, people are forced to take it up. Most of my colleagues took it up for their appraisals and that is how they drive it. Are we creating passion? Are we creating a better community?"

Sanjay said...

I agree with you statements, but ISTQB and any other certificates will help the companies to short list the resumes.And, no company just hire the people just by seeing the certificate. ISTQB is just an added advantage.

For example: in an interview if there are 2 people who did equally well in interview and the company has to select only one and assume that one guys is having a testing certificate, the company will give preference to the certificate guy only.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


So, let's take your argument further : If both have ISTQB certificate then what is the differentiating factor they look for?

They look for those who is skilled, smart and can solve their problems? Well, why do you need a certificate in first place?

Also, I am an employer. I don't look for certificates (for that matter even the BE BSc stuff) and we have hired some college drop outs too who are fantastic testers than what the certificates could produce.

Arun Gupta said...

This is the most biased post i have ever read. Words are full of frustration and helplessness. I don't know why do you think there's a need to publish this kind of post. This certification is just like any other examination you face during your education. Now you must be saying that there is no need to conduct examination in the high schools either.
Take an example of a guy who scores 90% in a computer exam in his school and doesn't even know how to format his computer and on the other hand a guy scores 40% and knows how to hack.
Geniuses are everywhere and that's true we cannot measure the knowledge using a certificate but still it goes this way.
Why there are IITs in India which conduct their own entrance examination? What would you prove by clearing an examination based on mathematics and physics when you have to study computer science?

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Arun Gupta,

Here is some help for you on bias - bias does not mean wrong. There are positive biases and negative biases. The one I have is positive because I am caring for the community. You don't seem to care for it.

Unknown said...

I never believed in testing certifications. And definitely ISTQB is a joke, All you need to clear that is a dump of questions available over the internet or worse not even that. And the outcome, I have seen many ISTQB certified and so called "testers" are pathetic testers.

Anonymous said...

I cannot help but just agree with Arun Gupta's post. Each to their own and this post is just your opinion. Just because you think some ABC certification is not worth it does not mean everyone should iggy it. Well, you take your effort to bring it (petition or whatever it takes). There sure will be a group of people nodding for everything you say but at the same time, know this - your post is not gonna bring ISTQB down. Them charging cheap exam fee does not mean the certificate is of poor quality or it is a scam. It is just how you and your community views it.

If you do not want to do ISTQB then just do not take up the exam. But, STOP promoting wrong views about it.

I wish people like you were never given a chance to speak or access to internet to the say the least. So, you can keep all your sadist and sorry comments to your own group of tiny little community.

FINALLY, if you care for the whole testing community as you say, bring out the +ves that are there in the current trend instead of telling around who is bad who is scam and who is faking. It is simply none of your business and you are no one to judge that.

Peace and may GOD give you some knowledge.