Certified Agile Tester Course Background
Agile has become increasingly popular over a number of years and is now recognised as a mainstream discipline that has become the model of choice for many business critical projects. Market research, widespread acceptance of agile and its reliance on integrated teams has driven the need for professional certification, hence the birth of the ‘Certified Agile Tester (CAT)’ scheme from the International Software Quality Institute (iSQI www.isqi.org), the professional certification body.
The research and need for discipline and teamwork was considered during the long and careful process of developing a certification syllabus that is agile and not static.
The Aims of this training course
The aim of CAT is to enable those with testing experience to become effective members of an agile project. The scheme provides worldwide consistency of learning and is based on a single set of material and group of exams, so someone taking CAT in the UK will benefit from the same learning and experience as someone from another country. More information about CAT can be found at www.agile-tester.org.
Agile team members can shy away from standardized training and exams as they can be seen to be opposing the agile philosophy. However, agile projects are no free agents; they need structure and discipline, as well as a common language and methods to be successful. CAT has been built to develop the skills, consensus and method of daily working that help bring about project success.
Who supports it?
The following blue-chip companies are public supporters of the CAT scheme:
- Barclays, Dorma, Hewlett Packard, IBM, IVV, Logic Studio,
- Microfocus, Microsoft, Mobile.de, Nokia, NTS, Océ, OTTO,
- SAP, Siemens, Sogeti, Swift, T-systems MMS, XING & Zurich
Along with leading lights of the agile and testing world, including Erik van Veenendaal, Krishna Rajan and others, these companies have been actively involved in reviewing the learning objectives and syllabus. Many of them have attended pilot courses to validate that the learning objectives the content of the scheme, its delivery and exam meet market need and fulfil their objectives.
The CAT Foundation level course prepares delegates for the three part examination that must all be passed to gain the qualification set and examined by iSQI. The course introduces testers to the practices they will need to understand and use to be effective team members and testers on an agile project.
Designed as a very interactive course, delegates have the opportunity to discuss and share their experiences with others and to extend their knowledge of testing in agile projects. Practical exercises based on a complete agile life cycle are used to help delegates to put learning and their knowledge into practice throughout the course. Delegate’s soft skills are assessed throughout the course based on their contributions to the classroom discussions and practical exercises. The information provided by classroom discussion and homework will prepare delegates for the written exam on Day 5. The skills developed in the practical exercises will prepare delegates for the practical assessment on Day 5.
The course consists of four days in the classroom, where the split is around 50% theory/classroom discussion and 50% practical workshops and team exercises that take delegates through the activities of a typical agile project. The exam takes place on Day 5.
Syllabus – Key points & Course Structure
At the end of the course, successful delegates will be able to:
- Understand the principles behind the Agile approach to software development
- Differentiate between the testing role in Agile projects compared with the role of testers in non-agile projects
- Contribute positively as an Agile team member focused on testing
- Appreciate the challenges and difficulties associated with the non-testing activities performed in an Agile team
- Demonstrate a range of soft skills required by effective Agile team members
- Understand: To give delegates an understanding of the testing role within an Agile project
- Provide: To provide delegates with information about Agile projects and how they differ from traditional projects
- Enable: To enable delegates to effectively apply practical skills associated with the testing role on an Agile project
- Certify: To enable people to sit the exam and gain accreditation as a ‘Certified Agile Tester’
The exam contains three separate sections:
- Soft Skills Assessment: This take place on a daily basis and is managed by the tutor based upon a delegates participation and contribution to the practical exercises contained in the course
- Practical Assessment: This is a two hour exam in which delegates must demonstrate they have learned and can apply the Agile skills taught in the course
- Written Exam: This is a 2.5 hour essay based exam where delegates must construct their own answers and solutions to three set scenarios
Delegates must achieve the minimum in each part to the exam to pass and be awarded ‘CAT’ status by iSQI
Who Should Attend?
There are no mandatory pre-requisites for CAT, but we do recommend you have some experience of testing as the course assumes some knowledge and will not teach basic testing knowledge, such as fundamentals of testing, test case specification or testing terminology. Ideal candidates are:
- Testing practitioners moving into Agile projects to perform testing activities
- Individuals already performing testing activities in an Agile project who wish to increase their effectiveness
- Individuals who are interested in the testing activities with Agile, such as Managers, SCRUM Masters and Developers.
Those attending the course will be familiar with and have practical experience of the following:
- Basic testing terminology and the activities associated with the fundamental test process
- The differences between functional and non-functional testing, including the concepts of Performance and Usability
- Practical application of the following test design techniques: EP, BVA, State Transition Testing, Decision Table Testing and Exploratory Testing
Course deliverables & Notes
- Each delegate will receive a full set of hard copy course materials for future reference.
- Delegates will be expected to do between half an hour and 1 hour’s homework per night.