ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (2018) “Where to Start?”

After an absence from the job market while I took some time out to be a “professional house husband” , Windows Phone and Silverlight/WPF/Windows App developer (Oh, I know, but I actually did OK for quite a while!) I have recently decided to rejoin the ranks of the more traditionally employed and do my very best to become gainfully employed as either a developer of quite possibly …. a system tester! How so you ask? Well, I consider it a good fit with my existing career and have always had an interest in this aspect of my own work as a developer.

And so – how to start?
Well. having chatted to a number of professional testers of my acquaintance the Foundation testing course (ISTQB) looked to be the most sensible option. The hope is that the combination of this and my existing development experience will be enough for me to get a foot in the door.

And so this blog post will go some way to documenting my current endeavors in studying for this exam which I booked some time ago for September this year (the date of which is fast approaching as I write this!)

While I have looked at a number of different resources the following are those that I have found most helpful to date:

  • The complete CTFL Syllabus (2018) A little obvious, I know but perhaps less obvious was taking the opportunity to get the document professionally printed into booklet form – this made it easier to read and more portable – cost was around £10
  • NB Don’t forget -the ISTQB Glossary Document
  • http://tryqa.com (as a useful “One Stop Shop” web site for ISTQB examinations)
  • This course on Udemy (although free – it is very good!)

NB All the ISTQB Documentation can be downloaded from here

In all I had to budget around £200 for this course (the principal amount being for the test itself)

Having watched both my daughters studying hard for their “O” and “A” levels proved to be a bit of a masterclass for me. Back in the day I have to admit that what I was taught at school was all I thought there was to know when it came to studying for my own exams. Having heard both my daughters berating various teachers for “skipping core parts of the syllabus” I came to realise that maybe there is a better way to study …

One of the first things I did was to attempt to get a “mile high” view of what I was trying to learn. The following is my attempt at a “kitchen table” mind map of the whole process and is based on the syllabus document above as well as similar documents that I found online:

 hand-drawn-mind-map
Rookie Error: I inadvertently used the 2007 rather than the 2018 Syllabus – Doh!!

As I came across each new learning opportunity I tried to refer it back to this diagram in an attempt to give it some context within the overall scheme of things – I think this was a useful exercise and I found that sometimes when carrying out practice tests I would refer back to a mental image of this map in my head (sadly I don’t have a photographic memory so this approach, although useful, was also at times a little flawed!)

ISTQB 2018 vs Earlier Syllabus

A recurring issue when using the web as an aid to the learning process is ensuring that the discussions on any particular web page relate to the 2018 syllabus and not to the earlier syllabus. While there is much in common there are also many differences in the terminology and methodology used which can be confusing if not identified at an early stage in the learning process!

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