CSTE Certification Guide

Due to the wonderful response we received for our CSQA certification series, we wanted to have a space on this site for the CSTE aspirants too. This is the first article in the series where we will see what this certification is, what does it entail, how to prepare, apply and all the other details.

What is CSTE?

CSTE stands for Certified Test Engineer. This is awarded by the QAI Global Institute. As we discussed in the CSQA article, this is for tester who want to prove their proficiency in the field of Quality Control principles and processes.

All the details about this certification like fee, scheduling, format, per-requisites etc. are available at the this page.

Why CSTE?

Software testing certification program helps you to:

  •  For evaluating your skills
  •  It shows that you are willing to improve in your career
  •  It helps companies to hire and promote professionals
  •  It helps to improve your QC principles and practices.

How does it work?

As with CSQA, there are 10 skill categories to CSTE too. You will be asked to take an examination that will consist of questions based on your CBOK (Common Book of Knowledge that will have detailed explanation of the topics in each skill category).

The following is a list. Every skill category is important is its own way. But I find that Skill categories- 1, 4 , 5 and 6 are most useful for practical application and most interesting too.

1) Skill Category 1 – Software Testing Principles and Concepts
Vocabulary
Why Do We Test Software?
Factors Affecting Software Testing
Life Cycle Testing
Test Matrices
Independent Testing
Tester’s Workbench
Levels of Testing
Testing Techniques

2. Skill Category 2 – Building the Test Environment
Management Support
Test Work Processes
Test Tools
Testers Competency

3. Skill Category 3 – Managing the Test Project
Test Administration
Test Supervision
Test Leadership
Managing Change

4. Skill Category 4 – Test Planning
Risk Concepts and Vocabulary
Risks Associated with Software Development
Risks Associated with Software Testing
Risk Analysis
Risk Management
Prerequisites to Test Planning
Create the Test Plan

5. Skill Category 5 – Executing the Test Plan
Test Case Design
Test Coverage
Performing Tests
Recording Test Results
Defect Management

6. Skill Category 6 – Test Reporting Process
Prerequisites to Test Reporting
Test Tools used to Build Test Reports
Test Tools used to Enhance Test Reporting
Reporting Test Results

7. Skill Category 7 – User Acceptance Testing
Acceptance Testing Concepts
Roles and Responsibilities
Acceptance Test Planning
Acceptance Test Execution

8. Skill Category 8 – Testing Software Developed by Contractors
Challenges in Testing Acquired Software
COTS Software Test Process
Contracted Software Test Process

9. Skill Category 9 – Testing Internal Control
Principles and Concepts of Internal Control
Internal Control Models
Testing Internal Controls
Testing Security Controls

10. Skill Category 10 – Testing New Technologies
Risks Associated with New Technology
Newer IT Technologies that Impact Software Testing
Testing the Effectiveness of Integrating New Technology


Steps to CSTE certification:

1 First you need to finalize the date to take the exam. It will require anywhere between 2 to 4 months for preparation.
2. Select the test center
3. Get the CBOK. (it’s a PDF file or CD of the CBOK after you register for the certification)
4. CBOK has all the information about the test, references, the detailed explanation of the skill categories mentioned above etc. Read it and understand thoroughly.
Note: The below is a list for those of you who would have an academic interest. All you will ever need for the examination itself is the CBOK.
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CSTE certification

5. Prepare well and appear for the examination. It has 2 sections- multiple choice and essay questions. The examination takes about approximately 2.5 hours and you will need a 70% score to pass in each section.

Tips to prepare for CSTE examination:

  1. Study CBOK thoroughly.
  2. Use your CBOK as your guide in your day to day activities.
  3. Have a plan. After a first customary glance through the syllabus you will be able to assess your strengths and topics that need more work.
  4. Alternate the topics that you know and the ones that you don’t. That way, you will not loose your morale during the preparation phase.
  5. If you can, print the CBOK and carry individual copies with you for quick reading throughout your day.
  6. Leave some time at the end to revise all the categories.
  7. Write bullet points of important things to remember during your preparation.
  8. I cannot emphasize this more. CBOK is your bible. Give yourself a thorough understanding of the material in the CBOK and there is just no reason why you will not be able to succeed
  9. If you have done it all and still are not confident about making it with a good score, there is an option to defer the examination. Remember, this is your last resort.

If you have read our CSQA article you will notice that the guidelines, examination format, time etc, are all the same for CSTE and CSQA. The difference really lies in the target of testers each one is aimed at- Thus, the different syllabus.

In my opinion, CSTE CBOK knowledge is not only for passing this examination. Even if you do not want to appear for the test, I will suggest that every tester should read this book. I agree it is huge. But, don’t be put off by its sheer volume. What it contains is very useful. It is like your jackpot when it comes to testing know-how.

Let me remind you all that, a certification is never a qualification for a job. No two certifications are the same. So, instead of debating about which is better than the other, try to see CSTE as one of the best ones there is out there. If you choose to try this, we hope this article will be of immense help to you.

The sample questions and related material is already on the site. The following are the links:

Good luck to you all and post your questions and comments.