← Back to QA Wiki

Definition of ISTQB

The International Software Testing Qualifications Board, a non-profit that certifies software testers.
Thank you!
Was this helpful?

Questions about ISTQB?

Basics and Importance

  • What does ISTQB stand for?

    ISTQB stands for the International Software Testing Qualifications Board. It is a globally recognized organization that offers standardized courses and certifications in the field of software testing. Established in 2002, ISTQB has designed various certification paths for professionals at different levels of their career. The certifications provided by ISTQB serve as a benchmark for testing professionals and are recognized by employers worldwide, ensuring a standardized understanding of testing practices and methodologies.

  • Why is ISTQB certification important for a software tester?

    ISTQB certification is important for a software tester because it validates their testing knowledge and expertise on an international level. It demonstrates a commitment to the field and a willingness to invest in professional development. This certification is recognized by employers worldwide, which can make certified individuals more attractive in the job market.

    Holding an ISTQB certification can also enhance communication among team members by providing a common vocabulary and understanding of testing principles. It ensures that testers are up-to-date with the latest best practices and methodologies, which is crucial in the ever-evolving field of software testing.

    For test automation engineers, specifically, ISTQB certification can provide a strong foundation in testing concepts that complement their technical skills. It can help in designing more effective test automation strategies and in understanding the context in which automated tests are developed and executed.

    Moreover, ISTQB certification encourages a methodical and systematic approach to testing, which is essential for identifying defects and ensuring software quality. It also supports career progression, offering a clear path for professional growth through its different levels and specializations.

    In summary, ISTQB certification is a benchmark of excellence and a tool for professional advancement for software testers, including those specializing in test automation.

  • What are the different levels of ISTQB certification?

    ISTQB certification is structured into three main levels: Foundation, Advanced, and Expert. Each level is designed to certify a different level of expertise and experience in software testing.

    • Foundation Level: This is the entry-level certification that covers the basics of software testing. It is intended for professionals who want to start a career in testing or those who need a basic understanding of software testing.

    • Advanced Level: After the Foundation level, the Advanced level offers more in-depth knowledge and skills. It is divided into three modules: Test Manager, Test Analyst, and Technical Test Analyst. Testers can choose one or more of these modules based on their career focus.

    • Expert Level: This is the highest level of certification and is aimed at individuals who have reached an advanced point in their careers and want to specialize further. Expert level modules cover specific topics like Test Management, Improving the Testing Process, and Test Automation Engineering.

    Additionally, ISTQB offers Agile Tester certification for testers working in agile environments and Specialist certifications that focus on specific areas like Usability Testing, Performance Testing, and Security Testing.

    Each level requires passing an exam, and for the Advanced and Expert levels, there are prerequisites such as having a certain amount of experience and holding the Foundation certificate. The ISTQB also offers Product Owner and Automotive Software Tester certifications for more specialized roles.

  • How does ISTQB certification enhance the career of a software tester?

    ISTQB certification can significantly enhance a software tester's career by validating their testing knowledge and skills. It serves as a globally recognized credential that can open doors to new job opportunities or promotions within a current role. By achieving ISTQB certification, testers demonstrate a commitment to the profession and a willingness to invest in their personal development, which can be attractive to employers.

    Certified testers often have access to a larger professional network, including exclusive groups and forums where they can share knowledge and learn from peers. This networking can lead to collaboration opportunities and insights into industry best practices.

    Holding an ISTQB certification can also lead to higher earning potential. Many organizations value the standardized knowledge base that ISTQB provides and may offer higher salaries to certified professionals. Additionally, certified testers may find it easier to navigate international job markets, as the certification is recognized in many countries.

    In terms of day-to-day work, certified testers can apply the structured testing methodologies learned through ISTQB to improve test efficiency and effectiveness. This can lead to better test coverage and a more streamlined testing process, ultimately contributing to the delivery of higher-quality software products.

    Overall, ISTQB certification can be a key differentiator for software testers looking to advance their careers and make a significant impact in the field of test automation.

ISTQB Syllabus and Exam

  • What is the syllabus for the ISTQB Foundation level exam?

    The ISTQB Foundation Level syllabus covers six main areas:

    1. Fundamentals of Testing: This includes the basics of testing such as definitions, principles, and process. It also covers the psychology of testing and why testing is necessary.

    2. Testing Throughout the Software Development Lifecycle: This section addresses the different software development models, test levels, test types, and the role of testing in maintenance.

    3. Static Testing: Static testing techniques such as reviews and the analysis of software work products are covered here.

    4. Test Design Techniques: This part focuses on identifying test conditions and designing test cases using various techniques like equivalence partitioning, boundary value analysis, decision table testing, and state transition testing.

    5. Test Management: This area includes test organization, test planning and estimation, test progress monitoring and control, configuration management, risk and defect management, and test closure activities.

    6. Tool Support for Testing: It discusses types of test tools, effective use of tools, and the potential benefits and risks associated with tool support in testing.

    Each section is detailed with specific learning objectives and cognitive levels of K1 to K4 (Remember, Understand, Apply, and Analyze). The syllabus is designed to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the basic principles of software testing, including practical applications and tool usage.

  • What is the format of the ISTQB exam?

    The ISTQB exam format varies depending on the certification level. For the Foundation Level exam:

    • Multiple-choice: Each question has one correct answer out of four options.
    • Number of Questions: 40.
    • Duration: 60 minutes (or 75 minutes for candidates taking the exam in a language that is not their mother tongue).
    • Passing Score: 65% (26 out of 40).

    For the Advanced Level exams, the format is similar but includes more scenario-based questions:

    • Multiple-choice: Questions may have one or more correct answers.
    • Number of Questions: Varies by module (e.g., Test Manager, Test Analyst).
    • Duration: 180 minutes for each module.
    • Passing Score: 65%.

    The Expert Level exams are more elaborate and may include essay-type questions in addition to multiple-choice.

    • Combination of multiple-choice and essay-type questions.
    • Duration and number of questions vary by the specific Expert Level module.

    For all levels, the exams are closed book, meaning no materials are allowed to be referenced during the exam. The format is designed to assess a candidate's knowledge and understanding of the syllabus content.

    The ISTQB also offers an Agile Tester Extension exam for those with a Foundation Level certificate:

    • Multiple-choice.
    • Number of Questions: 40.
    • Duration: 60 minutes (or 75 minutes for non-native speakers).
    • Passing Score: 65% (26 out of 40).

    Exams are typically administered online or at testing centers, and some regions offer paper-based exams.

  • How many questions are there in the ISTQB Foundation level exam?

    The ISTQB Foundation level exam consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. Each question is worth one point, and candidates must score at least 65% (26 out of 40) to pass the exam. The duration of the exam is 60 minutes, or 75 minutes for candidates taking the exam in a language that is not their native language.

  • What is the passing score for the ISTQB exam?

    The passing score for the ISTQB Foundation Level exam is 65%. This means candidates must correctly answer at least 26 out of 40 questions to pass the exam. For the ISTQB Advanced Level exams, the passing score is also set at 65%, but the number of questions and the exam duration vary depending on the specific Advanced Level module being taken. It's important to note that these passing scores are consistent across the various national boards administering the ISTQB exams.

    To prepare effectively, candidates should focus on the key topics outlined in the syllabus and practice with sample exams. Since the audience is experienced test automation engineers, it's recommended to leverage practical experience and relate it to the theoretical concepts of the ISTQB syllabus to increase the chances of passing the exam.

ISTQB Advanced Level

  • What are the prerequisites for the ISTQB Advanced level exam?

    To sit for the ISTQB Advanced Level exam, candidates must first hold the ISTQB Foundation Level certificate. Additionally, it is recommended (but not mandatory) that candidates have at least 18 months of practical experience in a professional testing role.

    The ISTQB also suggests that candidates familiarize themselves with the content of the Advanced Level syllabus and may benefit from attending accredited training courses, although this is not a prerequisite.

    Before registering for the exam, ensure that you meet the following prerequisites:

    • ISTQB Foundation Level Certification: You must provide proof of certification.
    • Practical Experience: While not enforced, 18 months of experience is advised.
    • Understanding of Advanced Level Syllabus: Self-study or training is recommended to grasp the complex concepts covered at this level.

    Remember to check with your local ISTQB board or examination provider for any additional requirements or variations, as these can differ by region.

  • What is the syllabus for the ISTQB Advanced level exam?

    The ISTQB Advanced Level exam syllabus is divided into three core modules, each focusing on a different aspect of software testing:

    1. Test Manager: This module covers strategic test management topics, including risk-based testing, test planning, estimation, and control. It also delves into managing resources, test progress monitoring, and continuous improvement in the test process.

    2. Test Analyst: This module emphasizes the design of tests, including the selection of appropriate techniques for business domain testing. It covers test documentation, test design techniques, and quality characteristics for business domain testing.

    3. Technical Test Analyst: Focused on more technical aspects, this module includes topics like structure-based testing, static and dynamic analysis, non-functional testing, and the tools used for automation and quality control.

    Each module has its own exam, consisting of scenario-based, multiple-choice questions. The exams test your knowledge and application of the syllabus content. To prepare, you should study the following areas within each module:

    • Test Manager: Test management, reviews, defect management, improving the test process, test tools and automation, and people skills - team composition.

    • Test Analyst: Test techniques, test documentation, test quality attributes, and defect-based techniques.

    • Technical Test Analyst: Structure-based testing, technical testing techniques, quality characteristics for technical testing, and reviews.

    For detailed content, refer to the official ISTQB Advanced Level syllabus documents, which outline the learning objectives and cognitive levels for each topic.

  • How is the Advanced level different from the Foundation level in ISTQB?

    The ISTQB Advanced Level certification is a step above the Foundation Level, targeting professionals who have already mastered the basics. It delves deeper into test automation concepts, focusing on practical application and strategy.

    Advanced Level certification requires a broader understanding of testing theories and practices, as well as management skills. It is designed for those in roles such as test analysts, test engineers, test consultants, test managers, and user acceptance testers who are looking to solidify their expertise in software testing.

    The key differences include:

    • Depth of Knowledge: Advanced Level goes into greater detail on topics like test management, analysis, and design.
    • Practical Application: It emphasizes applying knowledge to real-life scenarios, including defining test goals and strategies.
    • Specialization: Candidates can choose from three modules—Test Manager, Test Analyst, and Technical Test Analyst—to align with their career focus.
    • Leadership Skills: It covers aspects of leading test teams, managing resources, and evaluating tools for test automation.
    • Analytical Skills: There's a stronger emphasis on analyzing the domain, system under test, and test processes.

    To sit for the Advanced Level exam, candidates must have the Foundation Level certificate and typically need 18 months of practical experience. The exam itself is more rigorous, with scenario-based questions that test the candidate's ability to apply concepts in complex situations.

  • What are the specializations in the ISTQB Advanced level?

    The ISTQB Advanced Level certification is divided into three core specializations:

    • Test Manager: This module focuses on strategic planning, managing resources, and leading test teams. It covers risk management, test improvement processes, and test tool selection.

    • Test Analyst: This specialization emphasizes the design and execution of detailed tests. It includes test techniques, test documentation, and analysis of the test basis (such as requirements, risk analysis, and test design).

    • Technical Test Analyst: This area is tailored for testers involved in non-functional testing and white-box testing. It covers topics like performance testing, security testing, test tools, and automation.

    Each specialization has its own syllabus and exam, allowing testers to focus on areas that align with their career goals and job roles. Advanced Level certification requires a deeper understanding of testing practices and principles, as well as the ability to apply them in complex scenarios.

ISTQB in Practice

  • How does ISTQB certification help in practical software testing scenarios?

    ISTQB certification provides a structured understanding of testing methodologies that can be directly applied in practical scenarios. For experienced test automation engineers, it offers a common language and best practices that enhance team communication and collaboration. Certified individuals can better design and execute tests due to their knowledge of test development processes and testing techniques.

    In practical situations, the certification helps in:

    • Identifying and analyzing risks, leading to the creation of more focused and effective test cases.
    • Utilizing standardized documentation for test cases and reports, which improves maintainability and knowledge transfer.
    • Implementing test management strategies that optimize the allocation of resources and prioritization of test activities.
    • Applying test design techniques such as boundary value analysis and equivalence partitioning to create robust automated tests.
    • Recognizing the importance of test independence and how to achieve it, which can lead to more objective test results.

    Moreover, ISTQB's emphasis on continuous learning encourages professionals to stay updated with the latest testing tools and trends, directly benefiting the practical aspects of test automation. The certification's focus on ethical considerations also ensures that testing is conducted responsibly and with integrity. Overall, ISTQB certification equips test automation engineers with a toolkit of principles and practices that can be adapted to various testing scenarios, leading to improved test coverage, efficiency, and ultimately, software quality.

  • What are some real-world examples where ISTQB principles are applied?

    ISTQB principles are widely applied in various real-world software testing scenarios. For example, a test automation engineer at a tech company might use ISTQB's principle of testing early and often by integrating automated unit tests into a continuous integration (CI) pipeline. This ensures that new code is tested as soon as it's committed, catching defects early in the development cycle.

    Another application is the principle of defect clustering. Engineers might analyze past test data to identify modules that historically had higher defect rates. They would then prioritize automated tests for these high-risk areas in the current project, optimizing testing efforts and resources.

    ISTQB's emphasis on pervasive test independence can be seen when organizations employ separate QA teams to write automated tests, ensuring that the tests are unbiased and thorough. This separation of duties helps in identifying issues that the development team might overlook.

    The principle of using the right testing techniques is applied when test automation engineers choose the appropriate type of testing for the task at hand. For instance, they might use data-driven testing for scenarios that require validation against multiple sets of inputs, or behavior-driven development (BDD) frameworks for enhancing communication and collaboration between technical and non-technical stakeholders.

    Lastly, ISTQB's principle of continuous learning is reflected in the way automation engineers stay updated with the latest testing tools and practices, often through ISTQB's own advanced certifications and specialized training materials. This ensures that the testing strategies employed are current and effective.

  • How does ISTQB certification help in improving the quality of software testing?

    ISTQB certification provides a standardized understanding of testing methodologies, which can lead to improved test design, execution, and management. Certified testers are equipped with a common language and best practices, reducing miscommunication within teams. This certification emphasizes the importance of structured testing processes and documentation, which can enhance the repeatability and traceability of tests.

    With ISTQB's focus on risk-based testing, certified professionals can prioritize tests based on potential impact, optimizing testing efforts for better coverage with limited resources. The certification also encourages a holistic approach to testing, considering both functional and non-functional aspects, thus contributing to a more thorough quality assessment.

    Moreover, ISTQB's guidelines on test automation strategies and tools can help in selecting the right automation approach, leading to more reliable and maintainable test suites. Certified testers are more likely to implement efficient and effective test automation frameworks, which are crucial for continuous integration and delivery pipelines.

    In summary, ISTQB certification fosters a quality-oriented mindset and provides a toolkit of best practices that can be directly applied to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of software testing, ultimately contributing to the delivery of higher-quality software products.

  • How does ISTQB certification contribute to the overall software development process?

    ISTQB certification contributes to the overall software development process by ensuring that testers have a standardized understanding of key concepts and practices in software testing. Certified professionals bring a consistent approach to the testing activities, which can lead to more efficient and effective identification of defects. This uniformity helps in better communication among team members and with other stakeholders, as everyone speaks the same testing "language."

    With a foundation in best practices and a common knowledge base provided by ISTQB, testers can design and implement test cases and automation frameworks that are more robust and maintainable. This contributes to the reliability and scalability of test automation efforts, which are critical for continuous integration and delivery pipelines in modern development environments.

    Moreover, ISTQB-certified testers are equipped to contribute to the test planning and strategy development processes, ensuring that testing is aligned with business risks and objectives. This strategic alignment helps in prioritizing testing efforts where they are most needed, thus optimizing resources and time.

    In summary, ISTQB certification supports the development process by:

    • Promoting a standardized testing methodology.
    • Enhancing communication and collaboration.
    • Improving the design and execution of test automation.
    • Aligning testing with business goals and risk management.
    • Optimizing testing resources and efficiency.
AboutQuestionsDiscord ForumBrowser ExtensionTagsQA Jobs

Rayrun is a community for QA engineers. I am constantly looking for new ways to add value to people learning Playwright and other browser automation frameworks. If you have feedback, email luc@ray.run.