Should you get your testers certified?

Testers certifications has been a thing of debate. There are some points to be considered to settle this:

  • Why you need this?
  • Will this prove to be a paradigm shift for your organization?
  • Are the testers in your team ready for this? 
  • Is it going to be a costly affair and is it really worth investing time and money?

Are these the concerns eating out your mind? Then read on as we analyze the need by answering a few simple questions…

Why you want certification?

Do you want this just because your peer organizations are doing the same?

If so, then you probably need to rethink. For instance, is the person who fixes your car at your favorite garage a certified automobile engineer? He may or may not be… what makes a difference is how efficiently he finds the problem and solves it for you even if he is not qualified / certified. However, if he is not able to detect the problem then certainly you would prefer an engineer.

Does the above example apply to testers in your company? Think about it and try to answer.

What are you testing in your organization?

Don’t get surprised, it does matter… and I guess this is a straightforward question.

If you say that you are testing a system that manages critical processes and can cost you and your company a fortune if anything goes wrong in production then your testers must have the cutting edge knowledge; but again it is to be decided whether the certification can really help them in acquiring the required knowledge and the level of expertise.   

How efficient are the uncertified testers?

Yes, probably you know this better, what results are you getting from your testers even if they are not certified?

How many years of experience on an average a tester has in the field of testing, moreover even without certification are they proving themselves to be better than their peers in your organization or other organizations.

You would notice that more the experience a person acquires in the field of testing lesser are the requirements for any kind of certification.

What do stakeholders expect?

Hmmm… here comes the real road block. Sometimes stakeholders or a future client require you to engage only certified testers for their projects, then of course you are left with the option to either look for certified testers, or get your home team certified, or drop the project (if certification is not a viable solution for you).  

Are testers open for a learning curve?

If from the answers you have been giving till now you are pretty convinced that you should in-fact get your testers certified then also it is important to know whether they are ready or not.

Some may find it unnecessary (simply the chauvinism), some may find it difficult for reasons like too much of existing work load, their openness to adapt to new systems or any other reason, anyways if you are not convinced with their reasoning then you may in that case like to show them the way out.

Even though the testers in your team agree to get certified, it has to be made sure that they are not doing this just to protect their jobs without understanding the value it may add to the work they do and to their career. Depending on your HR agreements you may also have option of training existing but experienced team v/s hiring new certified testers.

Are there good trainers available?

It matters a lot as with any other professional course. A good trainer here should not only emphasize on what the books are saying but also actively contribute in delivering more practical knowledge to the trainees.

Are there good learners in your tester’s team?

There is no point in investing in resources for a team member who lacks learning abilities 🙁 , and you would also agree that in today’s scenario there is also no point in keeping the person hired who is reluctant towards learning.

Advantages of Certification

Better testing practices

Up to and extent YES, thats why you opt certification, testers in your team are now supposed to be equipped with the knowledge that can benefit your organization.

Authenticity

It also authenticates that you now have the persons that have knowledge of testing ( at least theoretical 🙂 ).

Increased goodwill

This is more subjective advantage

Better business opportunities

The clients and VCs out there who are looking to do business with (or only with) companies who follow certain standards start recognizing you and may give you a weight over your competition.

Possible Disadvantages

Attrition

You train them and they bid you goodbye , well this more or less depends on your employment agreement and relations with staff.

Over-budget

Hmmm… this applies more to smaller and medium sized organizations, you may have to dig your pockets deeper especially if you opt to go for some of the popular certifications.

 

This brings me to the end of the discussion, I hope I have been able to list up the factors that really matter when you have to take a decision whether to get your testers certified or not. If there are a few of them that are new to you or you think they apply more in your case, then please do let me know.

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