Whether you’re an experienced IT professional or just out of college and looking for a job, adding a quality assurance certification to your resume increases your odds of finding gainful employment. Even if you’re already employed in the software field, QA certification can help advance your career further than holding a bachelor’s degree alone. Software development is increasingly complex, and development firms need qualified professionals to not only build applications, but test them as well. Hiring well-trained QA testers is just as important to a company’s bottom line as delivering high quality products to their customers. A degree in computer science or software engineering plus a QA certification rounds out a desirable skill set for development firms. Colleges and universities often include QA certification as part of larger degree programs.
An example of a common, entry-level certification is the Certified Software Tester (CSTE). Upon completing this certification you should understand quality assurance, namely the primary objectives, essential activities, and the verification and validation aspects of testing procedures. There are other skills fundamental to quality assurance testing which will be taught, such as explaining why software has defects, and defining common software errors. Understanding automation and the appropriate time to employ automated solutions are also part of the curriculum. The CSTE is typically a launching point for QA careers after obtaining a B.A. in one of the technical fields.
The next level is typically Certified Software Test Analyst (CSTA). Earning this certification obviously builds on the skills earned in the CSTE program. The main thrust of the CSTA program is to expand basic understanding of quality assurance. In the preparatory course, students will learn a variety of software quality engineering approaches. Using Gantt charts, and Work Breakdown Structures, testing strategies, usability testing, and testing logic are discussed at length.
How will either of these certifications, help boost a career? CSTE is helpful in finding entry level employment in the software industry. CSTE-certified job seekers will be able to display basic proficiency in quality assurance tasks and techniques. These positions are for new graduates and those recently exploring opportunities in IT. After upgrading to the CSTA, holders of that certification are more likely to qualify for management positions within software companies. Displaying high level proficiency in their understanding of QA procedures will position them to lead a team toward the overall goal of delivering high quality user-friendly products to consumers worldwide. Either certification helps move a career forward and makes holders’ skills more attractive to potential employers. With job security as paramount as it is, IT professionals will benefit from additional skills – especially skills in high demand like software development quality assurance.