Testing the testers
By Linda Lemieux – QA & Testing Consultant
Linda Lemieux is a quality-testing consultant, and has worked in the testing industry for over 30 years, with clients such as IBM, Telemedia and VMC. Lemieux currently consults with BMM Testlabs on QA, planning and project management. BMM Testlabs recently qualified as an ISTQB platinum partner in its Canada entity; qualified as the first ISTQB gold partner in Australia/New Zealand; and qualified as a Gold ISTQB partner in North America
ISTQB is the world’s most successful scheme for certifying software testers. As of March 2015, ISTQB had issued nearly 400,000 certifications in over 100 countries worldwide, with a growth rate of more than 13,000 certifications per quarter. With a mission to “continually improve and advance the software testing profession by: defining and maintaining a body of knowledge which allows testers to be certified based on best practices; connecting the international software testing community; and encouraging research” ISTQB positions itself as the industry authority in certifying software testers.
So why is this so important, and what does it mean to the global gaming industry, and specifically to the testing and compliance industry?
Today’s testing market demands quality, consistency and velocity and this requires test engineers to be fully trained and competent. ISTQB’s independent, non-profit status, coupled with their global recognition, code of ethics, and high quality syllabi make them a perfect partner for an independent test lab servicing regulated gaming markets.
ISTQB’s certification path takes a tester from Foundation level, through Agile, Advanced and Expert levels – with education, training and testing at every step along the way. It’s easy to realize the benefits of being able to train and qualify staff at the various ISTQB levels and see the benefits that brings to a test lab, as well as the industry at large. ISTQB’s independent testing ensures two main benefits: Importantly clients and regulators are assured that testers meet and exceed world class standards, as recognized by an outside and independent body; additionally ISTQB’s methods ensure a level of competence amongst testing engineers and highlight a path for improvement.
Ongoing education is a big draw in creating a positive company culture, and mapping staff development is of particular importance in most forward looking gaming organizations. Test labs hire technology and engineering graduates, often providing many years of training and management development. ISTQB can be the next formal internal education step for these engineers, who can be offered career advancement via technical or management streams, allowing them to realize the importance of designing their own career path. ISTQB enables test engineers at all levels to understand the different career options they have available to them, giving access to ongoing education and career progression.
SELA International, in Canada is just one organization that is partnering with test labs to provide training to test engineers across the world. SELA is the first Canadian ISTQB Accredited Training Provider offering public, online and onsite courses. Small classes led by expert professionals, in hand with a test labs’ in-house curriculum, can combine to create effective and engaging tester training.
Training is a powerful tool in supporting and investing in the development of test engineers, particularly via ISTQB training and certifications. Education and certification can lead to increased engagement at a company and in the work an engineer carries out. Testers understand why they are doing certain tasks and how each task fits into the overall testing and certification plan. In QA Test Engineers are encouraged to devise new testing techniques which can help to catch defects and improve overall quality.
In the highly regulated gaming testing industry, where quality and reliability of results are key, it makes sense to provide added assurance for regulators and manufacturers who are required to use testing, pre-compliance and QA services. ISTQB accreditation ensures that test engineers are following independent and proven standards.
With a commitment to training, certification and improvement, ISTQB accreditation is without a doubt an important next step for the testing industry. The benefits to the test lab – and the gaming industry at large – are clear: Independently recognized, world-class, qualified testers result in improved quality of testing, increased product-time-to-market, decreased revocations, and of course, more quality playing time for the patrons and game players.