Certification – I don’t think its for me. My goals they are a changin’

So, at the beginning of my journey I wanted to achieve 2 primary goals :

  1. ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst Certification
  2. SCJP Certification
Whilst I’ve been progressing & learning, I’ve come to realise something – I don’t think certification is for me (I’m definitely not saying certification is bad/evil/money-making)

This shouldn’t have come as a shock to me as I’ve never been academic & have always preferred to just do it. 

I think my reasoning behind it was I have seen a very good friend of mine achieve so much academically after deciding university wasn’t for him – He is now a Chartered Surveyor with a degree & a Masters under his belt. This was one of my primary motivations for achieving certification.

What I didn’t take into consideration is our industries are wildly different & that I believe certification is more important in his world than in mine.

I also think that the goals of being certified were in themselves blocking my development. I would always be trying to put aside an ‘hour or so’ in order to get properly stuck into something. This ‘hour or so’ never magically appeared, so I ended up browsing the web, or some other form of procrastination. 
Now, I largely browse my ever growing Twitter favourites (I delete them after I have read the post/link) when I have a few minutes & when I do get extra time, that’s when I get stuck in. I no longer feel that the time I need to achieve the certification is slipping away & I can focus (free from guilt) on my family.

This obviously is a change in direction & goals, but I am glad I have been open to other suggestions & that I can adapt my path accordingly.

I am now using the certifications mentioned above to provide context for my learning. There has been a real mental shift from training to learning. Previously I was learning, but it was shoe-horned into the concept of training – It didn’t fit for me.

I definitely feel I can still add value to my testing & the project I’m working on without certification. I believe that my experience, and my online portfolio will provide potential employers all the information they need as to whether I am suitable candidate or not.

As for getting through the Recruitment Agencies CV buzzword scan – There should be enough information on the CV to get me noticed, & if the agent is worth their salt, they can scour my online portfolio for more information. 

So – new goals then.

  1. Continue studying & reinforcing my understanding of software test design / techniques – e.g. EP, BVA & Exploratory.
  2. Expand into different areas of testing – e.g. test automation & security testing
  3. Continue responding to peoples blog posts & responses as well as asking & answering questions on sites such as Software Testing Club & SQA Stack Exchange
  4. Get that Liverpool Meetup arranged!
  5. Start looking at other fields, the information & knowledge from which will add value to my testing – e.g. social sciences.
  6. Actually learn about learning & Epistemology – thanks to Rob Lambert & James Bach for ideas to widening my learning.
  7. Explore freelancing opportunities with SMEs in order to widen my experience of different customers/clients/teams 
  1. Continue working through Head First Java (HFJ) to gain insight into Java language
  2. Start committing code from worked examples in HFJ into GitHub (link to my GitHub account on CV etc as evidence of my abilities) – going to blog about this when I get time.
  3. Continue pairing with Programmers (on my project) to deliver automated checks related to stories
  4. Gain a greater understanding of automated testing in general at all levels – e.g unit, integration & GUI
  5. Learn a new language each year (The Pragmatic Programmer) – I’m looking at Java, JavaScript, Ruby, Lisp/Clojure!
  6. Sell my SCJP Java 6 Study Guide (any takers?!)
At the moment, there is no deadline / target date for these goals as they are all ongoing. Obviously, clients will change, & with that will come new challenges & new goals.

Here we go then – Until next time.