If you are familiar with software testing you might have heard about the “standard” certifications and training courses a tester can, and should, get today. There is the ISEB side of things, mainly in the UK, and there’s the ISTQB, the International Software Testing Qualifications Board, in Germany and mostly the rest of Europe.
As a software tester, nowadays you usually get the ISTQB Foundation Level certification at some point in your career (earlier better than later), or the ISEB equivalent. Later on, you might go for the advanced levels. That’s what I’m currently pursuing, getting the Test Manager certification.
You have the choice of going to a five-day training course, provided by a professional trainer, and taking the exam afterwards. Or you can book an online course which lets you decide when to learn, though you still have to spend the minimum number of hours on it and take the exam offline as with the traditional course.
I went for the latter. It’s cheaper, and it lets you choose your own pace. Oh boy, what have I got myself into. The content is dry as it is, but this course makes it unbearable. It runs as a slide show in a pretty nice looking Flash-based interface. Unfortunately, the well-established German training provider chose not to hire a professional speaker. Slides, packed with text, and the speaker reads it all to you with almost no variations. Monotonous babbling sends your mind on a long trip to the supermarket and then into space as slide after slide, you drift deeper into the rabbit hole of desparation. You want to listen, you want to learn this, but it’s simply impossible.
The speaker has a dialect, too, which has made me mimic him whenever one of those words comes up. His English (which thankfully is rarely needed, as the course is in German) is quite, hm, questionable as well. The very few exercises are useless as you have no way of checking if what you come up with is even remotely correct. But then again, they are worded very vaguely to begin with. There are logical errors in the practice questions, and there is only one set for each chapter – going through them again a second time does not teach you anything as you already know all the right answers. And then, there are tons of typos – in a training course about quality management.
I wonder if I will pass the exam, well, or if I will remember anything at all when I sit there in front of my multiple choices. However, if I ever have trouble sleeping, I know what to switch on to make me pass out quickly. I’m sure there are better courses out there, if you can recommend any, let me know!