International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) certification is a globally recognised qualification for software testers. It is designed to provide a common basis for testing professionals to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

Initially, you must start with ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL). All other ISTQB certifications require the ISTQB CTFL as a prerequisite. Hence, you cannot take any other ISTQB certification exams until you have earned the ISTQB CTFL qualification.

So, just how valuable is ISTQB certification in the real world? This question falls under the category where the answer is mostly "It depends". It does depend on what industry you are looking to pursue your career in. I have never been refused a job interview because I lack the certification. In Nepal, software testing certifications are often ignored or are not as hyped as the networking certifications like Cisco and Red Hat.


Why should you consider ISTQB in the first place? Let's look into why an SQA engineer should consider getting ISTQB certifications.

To Present Yourself as a Proficient SQA Engineer

Different research has proved that ISTQB-certified personnel can be up to 99% efficient in any kind of defect removal in the projects they are involved in. Hence, it increases the chance of reducing software defects, bugs and coding errors, which makes an individual a trusted and highly performing QA for the employer.

To Contribute towards ROI

You can contribute towards a better return of interest (ROI) due to the high rate of software defects and bug prevention beforehand. Since the later a bug is discovered, the more it costs to get fixed.

To be Widely Recognised

ISTQB certificate is globally accepted in 100+ countries and is the number one global certification program for software testers. This qualification helps build better communication and increases efficiency within and across the teams and the communities.

To Simply have a Certification

Having something is better than having nothing. Hence, ISTQB helps boost your career in the software quality assurance field.

Impact in the Real World

In some cases, ISTQB certification can be a useful qualification demonstrating knowledge and expertise in software testing. It can be especially helpful for people new to the field and looking to establish their credentials.

Employers may view ISTQB certification as a sign that an individual has a strong foundation in the fundamental concepts of software testing. As a result, they may be more likely to consider the certified individual for job opportunities.

It can also be a way for individuals to stay current on the latest best practices and trends in the software quality assurance field. However, it is important to note that ISTQB certification is not a substitute for practical experience. In many cases, employers will emphasise an individual's hands-on experience in software testing rather than the certification.

Experience often teaches more than any certification obtained from giving an exam. However, the ISTQB certificate helps you to stand out from others in the very early phase of the testing career. The value of ISTQB certification varies depending on the specific job market and industry in which an individual is seeking employment. In some industries, ISTQB certification may be considered more important than others.

Please note that ISTQB certification does not guarantee employment or career advancement. While it may be a useful qualification, other factors such as your skills, experience, ability to work well in a team, and overall fit with an organisation's culture will also determine your success in the field. However, newly gained knowledge is never a waste.

An SQA Manager's Opinion

One time, I briefly discussed ISTQB certification with my previous workplace's SQA manager. He made it clear that, for him, someone with an ISTQB certification is not superior compared to any other applicants without the certification when hiring. He thinks that people who mention this certification at the top of their resumes are typically not that excellent, which is fairly true. If you have experience, listing it out would work great in your favour. If not, prioritising the certificate will not give your professional identity a good look.

One of my senior SQAs strongly looks into the candidate's experience over ISTQB certification. On finding someone with the certification, his first question during the interview was, "Besides your experience, how did ISTQB help you grow throughout your career?" That is probably a question I have heard without a proper rational answer.

Yet, one of my seniors from the USA always asks me to focus on certification. He constantly tells me to "Get a certification and apply for H-2B". So, it is different depending on the country, region, industry and requirements.

ISTQB Alternatives

Other professional qualifications and certifications are available for software testers in addition to ISTQB certification. Some examples include the Certified Software Tester (CSTE) certification offered by the Quality Assurance Institute (QAI), the Certified Software Test Engineer (CSTE) certification offered by the International Association of Software Testing (IASQ), and the Certified Software Test Professional (CSTP) certification offered by the International Institute for Software Testing (IIST).

Like the ISTQB certification, these other professional certifications can be useful for individuals to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in software testing and may be viewed favourably by employers. Although, it is always important to carefully research and compare the options available to determine the best fit for an individual's goals and needs.


ISTQB certification can be a valuable qualification for individuals looking to enter or advance in the software testing field. Again, it is not a guarantee of employment and other factors, such as practical experience and technical skills, will also be important in determining an individual's success in the field. The value of ISTQB certification will depend on the specific context in which it is used and the goals of the individual seeking certification.

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