A certification is not a marker of excellence.
I can say this categorically from the viewpoint of someone hiring testers.
It’s a viewpoint often ignored, dismissed and unheard by those extolling the virtues of the certification as an effective tool for hiring.
I’ve interviewed 100s of testers and I’ve yet to see any direct link between excellent candidates and their possession of a testing certification. Period.
To print your own certifications of awesomeness – visit Certification Magic.
Don’t rely on them for your recruitment as they won’t provide you with candidates who have the consistent level of experience, knowledge or aptitude that many people promoting this angle of certifications would have you believe.
If recruiting excellent testers was as simple as pre-filtering candidates based on them possessing a certification, then every software company in the world would have awesome test teams – but this simply isn’t the case.
You cannot presume someone with a certification is a talented tester.
You also cannot presume someone with no certification is a rubbish tester.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you a certification, lying, misinformed or easily mislead in to spouting a message they have not thought critically about.
This doesn’t mean that certifications are bad. They could have their place. In fact I’ve heard some very compelling reasons recently for using the certification schemes. They seem to solve some people’s problems.
But they create problems in recruiting.
Certifications have created lazy recruiters (hiring managers, HR and recruitment agencies) by providing a seemingly easy way to filter applicants. This in turn has given lazy candidates a simple route to getting through the filters.
Candidate no longer need to excel at anything, nor up-skill (other than sitting more certifications) or learn how to sell themselves effectively (Testing Club link to a thread discussing selling yourself) in order to get an interview, and presumably, also land a job.
Overall it’s creating a vacuum of fairly average people all playing certification inflation to keep up with everyone else.
I believe that certifications are not improving our craft in the way many believe they could, or should, and they are negatively affecting the recruitment of testers.
A certification is a business transaction. Lets not pretend it’s anything more. You pay for a course, you get a certificate (and a short amount of coaching/training/lecturing/reading etc).
Certifications are not education and they are no substitute for on-the-job learning, but they may be a useful source of learning and a useful introduction to testing for some.
A certification tells you nothing about the candidate themselves. It tells you nothing about their soft skills, aptitude, motivations, self learning ethos or work ethic. This is important because being a good tester is more about the person than it is about the skills. Most skills can be taught and learned – aptitude, thought patterns and work ethic are much harder to change.
Recruitment is not supposed to be easy. It is hard work finding good testers. Your job as a hiring manager is to find good people. This means your job is going to be hard. Embrace the challenge.
Instead of relying on certifications why not try other innovative ways of getting the right people? It’s not as tricky or expensive as it may first seem. (I’ll be sharing many of these ways over the coming months).
But of course if all you want is another bum on a seat then certifications may be your more efficient way of recruiting.
If however, you want a test team that can help your business adapt to the changes and evolutions it will inevitably go through then you will have to drop your reliance on certifications as a way of recruiting testers; certifications are making both you and the majority of candidates in the testing industry lazy.