What is ISTQB: a full explanation

09 May 2023

Maria J. Silva

ISTQB is a known name for those who work in the software testing industry. In this article, we answer common questions asked about this organization, telling you everything you ever wanted and need to know.

Source: ISTQB Official website

  1. What is ISTQB?
  2. How is ISTQB organized?
  3. What does ISTQB do?
  4. How many ISTQB certifications exist?
  5. Are ISTQB certifications worth it?
  6. Can I get involved in ISTQB?

1. What is ISTQB?

The International Software Testing Qualifications Board, known as ISTQB, is a not-for-profit organization based in Brussels, Belgium. It is a renowned institution, trusted to advance and establish international standards for software testing.

It was created in 1998 with the mission to support the testing community and promote software quality globally. To achieve their mission, their actions are divided into the Certified Tester Scheme (which includes the infamous CTFL) and engagement programs such as Partner Program for Companies, Academia, and Conference Network.

Today, ISTQB is the leading global certification scheme in the field of software testing, having administered over 1.2 million exams and issued more than 845k certifications in over 130 countries (as of April 2023).

2. How is ISTQB organized?

The ISTQB is a democratic association, ruled by a constitution, and divided into a general assembly and working groups.

The General Assembly (GA), where each member board is represented, is the decision-making body. The GA elects the Executive Committee and the chairs of the working groups.

ISTQB also created an ecosystem of member boards, exam providers, and training providers working together to deliver the ISTQB Certified Tester scheme.

Member Boards

Often the member boards can be confused with the ISTQB since they are closer to their regional communities; however, it is important to distinguish the two. ISTQB is the mother organization of multiple international member boards, and the one responsible for the creation of all products.

On the other hand, the Member Boards act in their local communities as direct contacts to professionals and organizations interested in the ISTQB scheme. Their duties are to translate syllabi into local languages, accredit training providers, and perform exams (directly or through exam providers). They serve as a bridge, connecting ISTQB with the local communities they represent, assuring international harmonization across the world, and mutual recognition of certificates.

Some examples of boards are SSTQB (for Spain), HASTQB (for Hispanic America), CTB (for the Caribbean region), and ITB (for India).

Accredited training providers

The Accredited Training providers can be companies or individuals that create course material in alignment with ISTQB syllabi and deliver training courses. You can find them through this link:

Exam Providers

Exam Providers are organizations licensed by a member board(s) to offer exams locally and internationally.

For example, Brightest, as a global certification provider, is licensed by different boards, depending on language and region. You can see which board did the accreditation by looking at the logos on your certificate.

An interesting fact is that a training provider can never offer exams, and an exam provider can never offer courses; however, they can establish partnerships to ease the process for the candidate. 

3. What does ISTQB do?

Certified Tester Scheme

The ISTQB is dedicated to developing and updating the Certified Tester Scheme to serve the testing community by:

  • Ensuring high quality of deliverables and maintaining the validity of certifications already obtained.
  • Continuously adapting to maintain relevance.
  • Providing focused in-depth learning with specialist certifications.
  • Committing to making resources such as syllabi, sample exams, and glossary openly available.
  • Providing an overall framework in which existing, as well as future modules, will fit in a coherent way.
  • Considering applicable international standards and aligning as appropriate.
  • Keeping the focus on software testing while adapting to changing quality characteristics and role responsibilities.

Engagement Programs

ISTQB promotes and engages in further interactions within the testing community by supporting conferences; listening to individuals, companies, and organizations to best serve the testing community.

Some initiatives include:

  • Partner Program
  • Academia
  • Conference Network

4. How many ISTQB certifications exist?

At the moment, there are 23 certifications.

Did you know that if you took your exam after 2017, you could verify if your certificate is valid through the SCR, Successful Candidate Register page on the ISTQB page? Next time you take an ISTQB exam, make sure you give permission to show on the list, so everyone can find you.

5. Are ISTQB certifications worth it?

Short answer: yes.

ISTQB is an established organization whose goal is to develop good practices of software testing globally. That said, holding an ISTQB certification or being part of its ecosystem shows the care that a professional or company has for quality software standards.

For individuals, being ISTQB certified means:

  • Getting an independent, internationally recognized validation of skills that employers trust.
  • Having proof of ability for current and future employment.
  • Progressing in the career through the advancement of testing skills.
  • Enhance professional credibility (certificate holders have authorized use of the applicable ISTQB “Certified Tester”).

For companies it means that they can:

  • Earn competitive advantage by giving clients greater confidence in your business (higher level of reliability of the applications being developed due to efficient and cost-effective testing practices).
  • Offer higher-level services to customers, increasing revenues and brand value if they are consulting companies with certified staff.
  • Improve collaboration and working practices through a common language and understanding of testing.
  • Access to the ISTQB Partner Program.

6. Can I get involved in ISTQB?

Yes, both companies and individuals have an opportunity to get involved with the ISTQB.

Companies

For companies, there are 3 initiatives in which they can get involved: Partner Program; Conference Network, and Accredited Training Provider.

  • Being part of the Partner Program: recognizes organizations with a commitment to software testing certifications. It comprises four levels of partnerships, which are determined through the number of certification points the organization has accumulated, through its employees.
  • Participating in the ISTQB Conference Network provides special benefits. Besides meeting the Conference Network criteria, they typically offer discounts to certificate holders and Partner Program members.
  • A company can become an Accredited Training Provider to create and deliver training courses that comply with the ISTQB syllabus content. The accreditation process is defined by ISTQB and performed by Member Boards.

Individuals

  • Nominate for ISTQB® Excellence: Help ISTQB to identify and recognize inspiring influencers within the software testing profession.
  • Contribute to the ISTQB®: To contribute to the development of ISTQB syllabi or processes, you need to be a member of an ISTQB Member Board. Or you can leave feedback and suggestions through this page: www.istqb.org/contact/.
  • Join the Academic Research Compendium: If you wish to share information, or you have a new idea that will initiate academic research, through an academic institution, please submit your paper and/or research to be added to the ISTQB Academic Research Compendium. Contact academia.research@istqb.org.

 

After this article, you are a specialist regarding ISTQB infrastructure. If you still have a question about this institution, check their official website. And if you are convinced to take an ISTQB certification, Brightest is here to support you. You can take your exam from anywhere in the world, at home or in a Test Center, or in groups for companies. Book your exam here.