In the fast-paced world of software development, where quality and efficiency are primary, having the right skills and qualifications is essential. One way to demonstrate your expertise and commitment to testing is to become ISTQB certified.

ISTQB – what is it ?

ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board) is the most popular software testing certification in the world with certifications for basic level testing, specialized testing (I discuss the different types below), advanced level testing, and expert level testing.

The ISTQB certification is an internationally recognized certification in software testing, conducted by its member boards online through a test provider. An exam provider is an organization that is licensed by a member board to offer exams locally and internationally, including ISTQB exam online. Candidates who pass the exam will be awarded the ISTQB Certified Tester certificate.

In a separate article you can read How to pass the ISTQB exam questions.

Why is ISTQB the best certification in testing?

  • It is an online/online certification in testing that anyone in IT or any other professional field can take.
  • The certification has 3 levels and the ISTQB Foundation Level certification does not require any work experience.
  • This software testing certification is the most recognized and fastest growing software testing certification in the world.
  • The ISTQB certification allows you to get a job in testing anywhere in the world, which is unlikely compared to other certifications that are recognized on a country-by-country basis.
  • The ISTQB certificate does not expire like the CSTP certificate, which is only valid for three years, after which IT tester must re-qualify to maintain their certificate.
  • Having an ISTQB certificate on your CV can give you a competitive edge over other candidates and increase your chances of landing job opportunities with reputable companies in the software testing industry.
  • The ISTQB certification program provides comprehensive training in a variety of testing techniques, tools and methodologies. It has the advantage of equipping you with a wide range of testing skills and helping you understand different types of testing such as functional, performance, security and usability testing.
  • ISTQB creates a common language among software testing professionals. The certification program standardizes the terminology and concepts used in software testing, facilitating effective communication and collaboration within test teams and across organizations. It ensures that everyone involved in testing projects understands each other, leading to smoother project execution and fewer misunderstandings.
  • The questions are multiple-choice, practical and intuitive in nature, making the exam easier than others.

ISTQB – levels of testing

ISTQB certification is divided into 3 levels:

  • ISTQB Foundation level certification
  • ISTQB Advanced level certification
  • ISTQB Expert level certification
ISTQB Certificate - Levels
ISTQB Certificate – Levels, Source:

As you can see from the diagram above, the QA industry is evolving, which means you have more opportunities for career progression. As new technologies emerge, they may require new, unique ways of testing them. That’s why it’s important to invest in your professional development.

Of course, deciding to get ISTQB certification doesn’t mean that your project is in bad state. Your current testing processes may be really good and efficient, but there is always room for improvement and the ISTQB study materials are a great resource for QA testers looking to develop their skills and improve their overall work processes. Studying for the ISTQB certificate will give you more experience and understanding needed for self-improvement.

When choosing which ISTQB certification you want to study, think about how relevant it is to your current project or how it will help you advance your career in quality assurance. One of the best things about ISTQB is that all the study materials for each module and level are available online.

So even if you’re not ready to take the exam yet, or simply want to do some research first to see what best suits your needs, you can download the materials and learn from them. When you’re ready, you can take the exam, become an ISTQB-certified QA engineer, test your skills and move forward in your career.

ISTQB – levels of certification

ISTQB – Core Foundation Level

The Foundation certification is the entry level certification that is designed for entry-level and experienced professionals who want to start moving up the ISTQB certification ladder. The goal of Foundation certification is to provide a broad understanding of basic best practices and key concepts in software testing and to provide a foundation for professional growth. The syllabus covers six main topics: fundamentals of testing, testing in the software lifecycle, static techniques such as revisions, behavioural (black-box) and structural (white-box) test design, test management and test tools. The certificate is valid for life.

ISTQB - Core Foundation Level

ISTQB Core Advanced Level

ISTQB Core Advanced Level is designed for people with advanced knowledge and experience in software testing. In order to take the Core Advanced Level exam, you should have a Core Foundation Level certificate. You must also satisfy the local exam board in your country of residence by demonstrating that you have practical experience in software testing before taking this exam. The Core Advanced level offers a choice of three different exam categories namely Test Manager, Test Analyst and Technical Test Analyst. If you obtain all three certificates, you will be awarded the “Full Advanced level” certificate. The Advanced level certificate is valid for life.

  • ISTQB Test Manager

The ISTQB® Advanced Level Test Manager (CTAL-TM) certification provides the knowledge and competencies to take responsibility for managing all testing activities within the software development lifecycle. It covers everything from how to design an appropriate testing approach for a project based on an organizational testing strategy to how to create a testing team or testing competencies to complete the necessary testing.

  • ISTQB Test Analyst

The ISTQB® Advanced Level Test Analyst (CTAL-TA) certification provides the skills needed to perform structured and thorough software testing throughout the software development lifecycle. It discusses in detail the role and responsibilities of the test analyst in each step of the standard testing process and expands on important testing techniques.

  • ISTQB Technical Test Analyst

This third and final Core Advanced level certification certifies highly experienced testers who understand basic technical testing concepts such as structure-based testing (e.g. API testing), dynamic analysis, non-functional testing and other analytical testing techniques. ISTQB® Technical Test Analyst (CTAL-TTA) provides a thorough introduction to the technical testing skills that are a base in many organizations today.

ISTQB Core Expert Level

Core Expert level certification is offered to testers who have acquired advanced skills for in-depth analysis and hands-on experience in advanced concepts in testing. The Expert level offers two certifications – Test Management and Improving The Test Process. In order to obtain the Expert Level Certificate, the candidate should hold the Core Foundation Level Certificate and the relevant Core Advanced Level Certificate before signing for the Expert Level Examination. This certificate is valid for 5 years.

  • Test Management

The ISTQB Expert Level Test Management (CTEL-TM) – Managing Testing, Testers and Stakeholders certification consists of 3 parts: ‘Strategic Test Management’, ‘Operational Test Management’ and ‘Managing the Test Team’. Please note that there are separate certification exams for each part and all three parts must be passed to obtain full CTEL-TM certification. The Expert level certificate is valid for 7 years.

  • Improving The Test Process

This certification expands the knowledge of test managers by providing an in-depth understanding of how to assess and improve the current testing process and how to implement it. The ISTQB® Expert Level Improving the Test Process (CTEL-ITP) certification consists of 2 parts: ‘Assessing the Test Process’ and ‘Implementing Test Process Improvement’. Separate certification exams are available for each section, and both sections must be passed to obtain full CTEL-ITP certification. The Expert level certificate is valid for 7 years.

ISTQB Agile Foundation Level

The ISTQB® Foundation Level Agile Tester (CTFL-AT) certification provides the key testing skills needed to successfully engage in an agile project. CTFL-AT covers agile testing in accordance with the principles of agile software development as outlined in the Agile Development Manifesto. A tester on an agile project will work differently than a tester working on a traditional project. Testers need to understand the values and principles of agile projects and that testers are an integral part of the whole team approach, along with developers and sales representatives.

ISTQB Agile Advanced Level

Additional exams are being prepared for Advanced level testers. It is Certified Tester Agile Test Leadership at Scale certificationn and Agile Technical Tester certification.

  • Certified Tester Agile Test Leadership at Scale

The ISTQB® Agile Test Leadership at Scale (CT-ATLaS) certification focuses on how to organize and improve quality and testing across multiple teams in an agile organization. It also covers how to approach quality and testing at a strategic level to achieve greater business agility in the organisation. CT-ATLaS addresses how to expand testing and quality assurance efforts by promoting a quality mindset and culture throughout the organization. This involves moving from the traditional test management approach typically used in sequential development models to a quality support approach based on Lean and Agile principles and values. It also covers how to adopt common Lean and Agile techniques and processes for analyzing and solving problems, and how to use them to improve testing and quality in the organization.

  • Agile Technical Tester

The ISTQB® Advanced Level Agile Technical Tester (CTAL-ATT) certification provides a thorough introduction to the technical testing skills that are essential in organizations using an agile approach to development. These skills include testing and agile techniques, test automation approaches, and continuous deployment and delivery.

ISTQB Specialist Foundation Level

ISTQB also offers certain certifications for testers who specialize in specific areas, such as model-based testing, usability testing, etc. The entry criteria for these exams require the candidate to hold an ISTQB Core Foundation level certificate, as with the other certificates.

  • Acceptance Testing

The ISTQB® Acceptance Testing (CT-AcT) certification focuses on the concepts, methods, and procedures for collaboration between product owners/business analysts and testers in acceptance testing. It includes user acceptance testing (UAT), contract and regulatory acceptance testing, as well as alpha and beta testing.

  • AI Testing – Artificial Intelligence Testing

The ISTQB® AI Testing (CT-AI) certification extends knowledge of artificial intelligence and/or deep (machine) learning, particularly AI-based systems testing and the use of AI in testing.

  • Automotive Software Tester – Automotive Tester

The ISTQB® Certified Tester Automotive Software Tester (CT-AuT) certification focuses on the specific requirements for “End to End Systems Testing” in the automotive environment based on established standards (Automotive SPICE®, ISO 26262, AUTOSAR®, etc.). It also includes testing in virtual environments (including XiL) and static and dynamic testing techniques specific to the automotive industry.

  • Gambling Industry Tester – Gambling Industry Tester

The ISTQB® Gambling Industry Tester (CT-GT) certification covers key concepts in the gambling industry, the gambling industry ecosystem, and the different types of tests that are common to the gambling industry. It includes aspects such as gambling industry compliance testing, entertainment factor or player perspective testing, mathematical testing, audio testing, multiplayer testing and interoperability testing.

Game testing – Game Tester

The ISTQB® Game Testing certification focuses on the understanding and skills needed to conduct and manage testing at all levels in game projects. It covers the basic concepts of video and game testing, as well as how to identify risks and goals for game software. It covers conceptual design, implementation and execution of game software testing, approaches to game testing (game mechanics testing, sound testing, graphics and localization testing) and game testing tool recognition.

  • Mobile Application Testing – Mobile Application Tester

The ISTQB® Mobile Application Testing (CT-MAT) certification provides an overview of the methods, techniques and tools that a tester can use to test mobile applications. It includes the required activities, tasks, methods and methodologies for mobile projects.

  • Model Based Tester – Model Based Testing

The ISTQB® Model-Based Testing (CT-MBT) certification focuses on an advanced approach to model-based testing. It extends and supports classic test design techniques such as equivalence partitioning, boundary value analysis, decision table testing, state transition testing, and use case testing. This is an innovative approach to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the testing process.

  • Performance Testing

The ISTQB® Performance Testing (CT-PT) certification provides knowledge of the main aspects of performance testing, including technical, method-based and organisational aspects. Specifically, it covers performance testing and includes areas such as basic concepts, measurements, activities, tasks and tools.

  • Security Tester – Security Testing

The ISTQB® Security Tester (CT-SEC) certification focuses on planning, executing and evaluating security tests from multiple perspectives including risk, requirements, vulnerability and human factors. It also includes safety testing tools and standards. To obtain this certificate, you need a Core Foundation level certificate and a minimum of three years of relevant practical experience.

  • Test Automation Engineer – Test Automation Engineer

The ISTQB® Test Automation Engineer (CT-TAE) certification focuses on the design, development and maintenance of test automation solutions. It also covers the concepts, methods, tools, and processes for automating dynamic functional tests and the relationship of these tests to test management, configuration management, defect management, software development processes and quality assurance. The methods described are generally applicable to different software life cycle approaches, types of software systems and types of tests.

  • Usability Testing

ISTQB® Certified Usability Tester (CT-UT) focuses on usability testing methods and approaches. It includes setup procedures in terms of usability, user experience and accessibility, as well as relevant standards and risks.

ISTQB sylabus materials

You can find the ISTQB materials for the exams and tests for free download on this page – ISTQB download page. You can also visit the ISTQB official site.

ISTQB exam

Here you will find the exam rules for the ISTQB and on this link you will find all available dates, including online dates.

ISTQB course

If you would like to take a course that will prepare you for the exam, there are many paid and free resources. You can also attend training for the ISTQB exam. See below for some of the options:


We know from our own experience that the benefits of ISTQB certification include industry recognition, enhanced career opportunities, comprehensive knowledge and standardized processes. In addition, it promotes global networking, continuous learning and quality thinking. Getting certified will not only improve your job prospects, but also give you confidence and job satisfaction.

If you are interested in obtaining an ISTQB certificate, you can obtain it free of charge as part of our employee benefits. Find out more in the article ISTQB as a benefit. If you speak German and are an IT tester, take a look at our latest job offers.

About the author

Michaela Kojnoková

Agile Test Engineer

Po štúdiu informatiky na ŽU a TUKE som sa najviac ponorila do oblasti automatizácie testovania. Okrem toho sa venujem tvorbe webov, databázam, dátovej analytike, umelej inteligencii a strojovému učeniu. Mám rada cestovanie, šport a najviac si užívam čas strávený v prírode s mojimi blízkymi. LinkedIn

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