ISEB currently promotes 4 testing certification levels - the Foundation, Intermediate, Practitioner Test Manager and Practitioner Test Analyst.
I find it too easy to believe that ISEB has money making intentions rather than the 'profession's best intentions to hand. Given that the names of the writers of the syllabus all supply training towards ISEB Certification. I find it too easy to perceive a conflict of interest.
I don't want to believe that 'It's all about the money' because the BCS has registered as a charitable organisation that states "Its objects are to promote the study and practice of computing and to advance knowledge of and education in IT for the benefit of the public." For the benefit of the public, not for its own monetary gain.
So I'm going to step back a little and say some good things:
- Syllabuses freely available on the web, this counts towards the public good. I won't critique the content here.
- The foundation syllabus has matured and represents a very basic, committee produced, introduction to 'software testing'.
- You have to chain through the exams
- The other syllabus do not match the maturity of the foundation and don't really add much to augment the foundation documentation.
A tester, a person who deals with risk on a daily basis.A cynic might think that the chaining related to making money or selling further training.
- Have Industry provide a syllabus which contains the things that 'it' wants the testers to know.
- Have ISEB ratify the syllabus and organise the creation and sitting of the exams, and the marking facilities.
- Remove the conflict of interest with the trainers.
- Do not let the trainers write the questions.
- Do not let the trainers define the syllabus.
- Do not let the trainers mark the exams.
- Do not let the trainers sit on the 'board'.
- Do not do anything that looks like a conflict of interest and makes this look like a money spinning exercise.
- Allow anyone who wants to, at any point in the chain take the exam. Have no dependency on a previous exam. Just charge them a fair price to cover the cost of sitting and marking the exam.
- Make trainer costs and pass rate/fail rates visible on the main web site to allow candidates to choose
- Make pass/fail rates for self study candidates visible on the main web site
- Provide a simple, visible, online mechanism for taking comments publicly on the syllabus and publishing a summary of disagreements. (this would help prevent duplicate comments coming in)
- Make any multiple choice test completely automated and as nominally priced as possible (try and make it free).
On making multiple choice exams nominally priced (or free). Any fee should cover the costs of writing questions, hosting the site and database, and all related admin. Think of it like a charitable act to the testing 'profession'. This would provide a public service to the testing community. I suspect that the foundation exam has probably paid for itself by now - if so make it completely free.
Trainers can still train.
It seems entirely possible to me that when you remove conflict of interest you may lose all the people required to run the programme. This may indicate a lack of business value and business demand for the certification.
So please ISEB, and everyone involved, just stop now, add no more certifications and remove all the constraints. It really does look like you keep feeding coal into the money train.
"Old Charlie stole the handle andIronically, this post will end up surrounded by Adsense adverts for ISEB certification training. Oh well, I only do this for the money anyway.
The train, it won't stop going --
No way to slow down. "
Locomotive Breath, Jethro Tull