Doing a Google search on QA certification you will come up with over a million results with the first page having a fair amount of individual certification programs. To me I think that is a bit much. There are the big ones from the Quality Assurance Institute and International Software Testing Qualifications Board to smaller College certificates of private training facilities. Going through each one has the same general premise yet what is being asked for to get the certification seems to be consistent across.
Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it when someone takes the time and energy to learn the craft and prove they have the general knowledge of the discipline. What I have issues with is what I find most people do after the certification is achieved. From QA to PM I have seen people come into my career with different certifications yet do not follow the general premises that they learned while getting it. To me what I see is that they are willing to spend the hours to cram for the exam, pass it and collect the prize at the end thinking this is what will get them that sweet job they are looking for. Yet once they get it they do what they want and not help with any improvements for the organization.
Yes this view is a general and does not apply to all those that use what they learned in practice. In discussions with others, not only in the QA discipline, the general feel is that the “certification” is watered down. There is a term in the martial arts world called McDojo where belts are handed out almost at will as long as the person paid membership dues and testing fees. That is not to say all martial arts schools are like that, much like not all certifications are like that as well, it is the fact that there are easy paths to achieve somethings that shouldn’t be so simple.
I have interviewed over a 100 QA analysts, coordinators, and managers over the years and I do look to see if they have a certification, yet it is not a deciding factor on whether they will move forward in the process. I formulate my questions to see what type of understanding the individual has with QA and software development. I also look for the passion of what value QA has for an organization aside from executing testing. To me that is a big part of what I look for, second to experience.
To help I think the QA thought leaders within the discipline should look to post secondary establishments to enhance or start a potential diploma program. No different then electricians or construction, there is a specific skills that QA analysts need to know, understand and know how to apply it. Most of what is being done is “Learn as you go” , which is great yet there are gaps that can happen.
I think it is time to get more focus on help the discipline show the true value we can provide.