Certifications don't give competency
There are a lot of people arguing for and against certifications for testing. Personally, I donít like certifications as I donít believe they tell me anything about a testerís ability to do the job. Here is an example of where certifications can give a tester a false sense of security.
My customer has sent all of the User Acceptance Team onto the ISEB foundation course and they have all taken the exam. Some have passed with no problem and some have failed, a couple more than once.
I was doing some fairly basic testing with one of the UAT testers the other day. We were testing out a change to some data rules whereby the data was shown to the user, or not, dependent on dates and class of data. I drove the system for a while and then he did. When he was testing, I noticed that he was using dates that were way earlier or later than the boundary at which the rule kicked in. I asked him why he had chosen those dates and he said that he was using Equivalence Partitioning such that any date would do. OK (ish) except that the rule was very boundary dependent and the better test would be to chose dates on, just before and just after the boundary. He also was testing every class of the data. Again, I asked why and he said he needed to check every one. Here was a good case of where equivalence partitioning made sense as the groups of classes behaved the same way. I had some difficulty in persuading him that different values would be a more effective way of testing the changes as he had convinced himself in his own mind that what he was doing was right Ė after all, he had been on the course and had been trained in how to use these techniques, had passed the exam and therefore he knew what he was doing.
So, although the tester had understood the concepts of Boundary Value Analysis and Equivalence Partitioning he did not understand the applicability in a real world situation.
It confirmed, in my mind, that the value of doing the training and taking the certification was low.
This is the problem with a knowledge-based exam/certification, it has no bearing on the competency of the person who has taken the exam. Competency can be trained, but not by the use of certification training.