Looking For My First Software Testing Job

I've never had an official "software testing" job, although I've had things similar to them - enough to have about two years worth of professional software testing experience on proprietary web-based systems.

I've only recently started to take any kind of certification or formal training regarding Software Testing, and I'm glad I'm taking what I am. It's helping me split out my knowledge into modules of sorts, and has helped me understand the timing and priority of the various types of work I've engaged in when it came to software testing.

For example, I had done Regression, Negative and Postive testing in the past but didn't have those labels and definitions to go along with them and didn't have any idea of particular strategies to employ when I DID create tests that fell under their categorizations.

Now I have more information in terms of not only definitions and concepts that are shared with other tester types, but I also have new strategies to use. When? In order to deal with the question-building strategies that go along with fleshing out business rules from within vague system requirements, I figure.

I'm going to take the first test in the CSTP certification at iist.org very soon, has anyone else taken it?

As someone who is experienced but doesn't have the cert to state it yet, what advice could you offer me for finding a good software testing position that is appropriately challenging for someone who is above the "test execution" level but below the "test planning" one? (I guess that leaves Test Design, since I'm not a programmer?)

Thanks for your input in advance :)

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Comment by Dave Whalen on August 24, 2010 at 18:31
I view certification like a driver's license. The law requires me to have one to drive. But what does having a driver's license have to do with my ability to drive or driving skills? Absolutely nothing! The license just validates that I know the basic rules and common terminology like which side of the road to drive on. The driving test proves I have the MINIMUM skills to drive. I doesn't mean I'm a good driver. Certification only shows that you know the terminology and concepts supported by the certification authority - nothing more. Am I certified - no, but I'm thinking about it. The problem is that there are so many certification programs out there that it is difficult to know which one to pick. Research the certification providers and programs and pick the one that best suits your need. Personally I like the ISTQB certification - but that's just me. Avoid the ones that require you to take THEIR courses to be certified. The best thing you can do is read, read, read! Oh and watch for my personal certification program called "Dave's License to Break $#%&"
Comment by Vikas Jain on August 21, 2010 at 15:52
How about learning Perl Scripting..Please advise
Comment by Canadian Jill on July 19, 2010 at 18:20
Awesome feedback, Leslie, thank you very much!

It's been a while since I've been on the hunt for a job and I am working to re-align my thought processes a bit, while also not losing momentum in other personal business areas that require different focus of thought.

I'm going to do some thinking about talking about my understanding of the software, so I can put the emphasis back on the certification bit just as a "here's what I'm doing to fill in the holes in my tech knowledge and concept vocabulary" focus that I wish it to be.

In other words, certification to me is mainly a way to put defined borders on some of my knowledge and to fill in bits of information that I didn't know. Personal skills development if you will.

Thanks again for your input, I have some thinking to do before I post again, hoping for more frank input after that as well!
Comment by Leslie Crandall on July 19, 2010 at 15:53
Okay, I fully expect to get blasted by the community for this, but I'm going to say it. Certifications only take you SO far. Certifications prove you have some level of book knowledge of the role, but it doesn't prove you understand the role or can fit into an organization.

I'm going to point you to Uncle Bob Martin's thoughts on certification. Keep in mind, he was speaking about certifications from the programmer's perspective, but even though I've completed software testing certification through ASTQB, I tend to agree with him to an extent:


Companies do not hire "test planners" or "test designers." They hire candidates who understand the industry, understand the company's needs and can develop appropriate tests accordingly.

In the 'Agile' world, traditional testing jobs are disappearing, and testers are more valuable if they have some understanding of and experience with software development.

Certifications are good from a personal development perspective, but as far as seeking employment, you would be more attractive to hiring managers by learning SQL, a scripting language, and becoming familiar with at least one other language such as Java or .Net.
Comment by Tony Bruce on July 19, 2010 at 13:27
You sure do like to mention certification.


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