The Expert Level extends the knowledge and experience obtained at the Advanced Level by providing in-depth, practically-oriented certifications in a range of different testing subjects. With Expert Level ISTQB® offers career paths for testers with clearly defined business outcomes.
The Expert Level currently has two modules
Further modules will be added in the future.
Each Expert Level module has clear business outcomes. These provide information to businesses concerning the expectations of an expert in a particular subject. The business outcomes map to the individual Learning Objectives in a particular module.
Criteria are set to ensure good and consistent quality of the Expert Level.
To obtain Expert Level certification, candidates must have:
Note that the experience criteria may also be attained after taking the exam. It is recommended, however, that the candidate has gained this practical experience before taking the exam. If a non-public exam is to be taken, completion of Expert Level course is mandatory.
An expert is a person with the special skills and knowledge representing mastery of a particular testing subject. Being a testing expert means possessing and displaying special skills and knowledge derived from training and experience and being able to apply that knowledge in real-life situations.
A testing expert is one that combines a broad understanding of testing in general with an in-depth understanding in a special test area. An in-depth understanding means sufficient knowledge of testing theory and practice to be able to influence the direction that an organization and/or project takes when creating, implementing and executing testing activities related to the special area.
The Expert Level has a multi-module structure. To ensure a consistent development of skills and expertise, subjects are generally derived from the ISTQB® Advanced Level syllabi, but are not limited to this. The required Advanced Level certification for a particular Expert Level module are explicitly stated so that clear career paths can be identified.
An Expert Level course typically covers at least five days of class training.
The syllabus starts with an introduction to the fundamental issues concerning improvement to the testing process. Basic questions like "why improve testing?" and "what can be improved?" are considered and the different ways that stakeholder can view quality are described.
There are a number of different approaches which can be applied to improve the test process; overviews of these approaches are provided.
Model-based improvement is considered in depth by first examining fundamental aspects of using models and then describing and comparing a number of well known test improvement models of various types.
Analytical approaches for improving the testing process, such as causal analysis, are covered in as much details as the model-based approaches. Metrics play a significant role in analytical approaches so a number of these are covered, together with an approach for using metrics effectively e.g., the GQM-approach.
An expert in this field will be expected to select the right approach for a given situation. The factors to consider are covered and the relative benefits of each approach are compared.
The task of improving test process is itself a process which can be described in several steps including the setting of scope and objectives for improvement, assessing the current situation, analyzing results, performing solution analysis, suggesting improvements and priorities, creating an improvement plan, implementing the plan and gaining knowledge from each improvement cycle. The syllabus details each of these steps according to a standard process definition.
Different organization forms for implementing improvements to the testing process are covered, including the impact of offshoring on those organizations. The typical roles to be found in these organizations are described and the wide range of different skills required for effectively performing those roles are detailed.
Management of change is essential in rolling out improvements to the test process into projects and organizations. In particular, the human factos in the change management process are covered in the syllabus. A wide range of different skills is covered including those needed for effective interviewing and for performing analysis.
The syllabus concludes with a detailed consideration of critical success factors.
The expert test process improver is able to perform each of the following tasks:
The syllabus starts by considering the purpose of testing or the test mission, and the relation between the test policy, the test strategy and the test objectives. Test prioritization and various effort allocation techniques, including risk-based are considered in depth. The expert test manager is considered to be able to utilize and adapt all available methods to define and meet testing objectives. Furthermore, an expert test manager is expected to be able to design a specific method or approach to meet those objectives and to gain and maintain early management commitment.
Managing the test team and managing testing throughout the organization are addressed extensively and special attention is given to the various project management tasks that would apply at the expert test management level. The test manager's role in performing risk management (risk assessment workshops and risk mitigation management), reviews, assessments, quality gate evaluation, quality assurance and audits are covered in detail. How to report test results and how to interpret results by evaluation of exit criteria is elaborated upon. The metrics are described which are presented in a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) dashboard and play a crucial role in the management of the test process.
The expert test manager is expected to select or create, evaluate and improve the most appropriate approach for a given situation, which implies that several right approaches can occur simultaneously, of which no individual approach stands out significantly. It is up to the expert test manager to find a suitable approach or combination of approaches which fit the organization in order to meet or exceed the given objectives.
Different ways to organize testing as well as different types of projects for test management, including vendor management, are covered. Typical test management topics such as incident management, test project evaluation and tools for reporting and test management are addressed in depth.
The syllabus concludes with an overview of special test management considerations for different domains and project factors.
The expert test manager is able to perform each of the following tasks:
A certification scheme at Expert Level must meet the expectations and perceptions of its stakeholders and has to be seen to be truly "expert". A score above 65% is required to pass.
An expert must not only be able to show knowledge, but also in depth practical skills; as a consequence an exam only using multiple choice questions is not preferred. The exam therefore consists of two parts:
For more details on exam structure please refer to the ISTQB® Expert Level Exam Structure and Rules document
An Expert Level certificate is valid for 5 years
The Certification Extension Program is published by ISTQB®
For the training we aim several objectives, namely:
Several learning objectives are identified in each syllabus which may be achieved in the workplace. Training Providers agree these exercises with participants before they are performed and must ensure that they have been completed satisfactorily. This concept allows training courses to be split into separate parts with workplace exercises in between and enables maximum practical benefit from the training.
An Expert Level certificate is valid for 5 years