AQA Classes and Certifications

AQA Classes and Certifications

I’ve searched all over the internet and have yet to come across a specific AQA certification program. So, the best you can do is cross-train. If you’re already a Developer, gaining knowledge of QA will be helpful and vise-versa.

Generally speaking I’m not big on certifications, nor should a hiring manager be. Realistically, real world experience is going to go over and above any certification. Equally, taking part in classes or user groups and generally showing interest in furthering their craft is going to be worth more then any certification. So in general, dont hire based on a piece of paper.

QA Background

If you’re a QA looking to transition to AQA, the most crucial skill you can learn is coding. There’s no one best way to learn how to code, everyone's a little different and it takes time for it to ‘click’ (and some people it never quite clicks with).

I’m a big proponent of learning concepts, not languages. Learning paradigms such as object orientation, functional programming, scripting, data structures... that will go far farther then picking up a ‘Java for Dummies’ book.

I highly recommend Objects First with Java, which teaches both Object Orientation and Java at the same time. Note that you can get one edition behind to save a bit of money. You can also pick up The Cucumber Book to learn a bit of AQA-specific programming.

Any programming certifications aren't going to get you very far - there are too many and they are too specific to a given field. That said, if you know you’re going to be focusing on a particular technology stack, like Microsoft for example, getting specific certifications may prove useful.

Developer Background

If you’re a developer looking to get into AQA (like me), I’d start with a few books on QA to familiarize yourself with what QA actually does. Explore It! helps you understand what good manual QA does and how they fit into the world of AQA.  Lessons Learned in Software Testing is a must-read for anyone in the QA field. Finally, The Cucumber Book can teach you a bit of AQA-specific programming.


The International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB)

Website. This certification has become fairly large in the last few years. It was one of the first QA certifications on the market. Disclaimer: I’ve never taken it. But it sounds absolutely terrible. User reviews are terrible. There’s no real class or study material, you literally just pay to take a test and if you pass you get a certification, so you don't really learn anything.

I love their header image is the most generic of all stock images.

Basically, ISTQB is a paywall. They are the equivalent of those annoying popups that tell you to disable your adblocker. They put out certifications and got managers to buy into them, so now you’ll see job postings with ISTQB listed as a requirement, so job seekers have to pay them to get a piece of paper to apply for a job.

I’m not saying it’s a bad certification to have, but know what it is: an expensive piece of paper that certifies you already know something that would have been abundantly clear in a good interview or resume.


Black Box Software Testing (BBST)

Website. BBST is administered by the Association for Software Testing, a branch of the Association for Computing Machinery. This is everything the ISTQB is not. They have multiple levels of classes, starting with Foundations. I took their Foundations course in 2017 and it was amazing - it was also a rigorous bootcamp. Clear your schedule and expect to spend a large amount of time dedicated to this class.

As someone with a developer background, I learned so much about the QA process, it was worth every penny and every second. I can vouch that anyone that passes this course is not only knowledgeable on QA processes, but is dedicated to learning the field. Highly recommended, I plan on taking higher levels myself in the future.



Website. The website is very unassuming, but the course itself is hosted by James Bach.

James Bach is the Fred Brooks of software testing. He is effectively the thought leader in QA. He does offer a course certification that I’ve heard very good things about, it’s apparently similar to the Scrum Master certification - a three day lecture series with a test at the end.


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