Chapter 5. Building Software Tester Competency

Effective software testing will not occur unless the testers are confident. They must be confident in both testing basics and the use of their organization’s testing process and tools. It is as important to build the competency of the individual testers as it is to build test processes and acquire test tools.

Many colleges and universities that offer curriculums in computer science do not include courses on software testing. In many IT organizations, it is assumed that if you can build software, you can test it. This concept is changing, albeit slowly.

The emphasis in this chapter will be on building the competency of the software tester. The chapter will use the Common Body of Knowledge (CBOK) for the Certified Software Tester (CSTE) designation offered by Software Certifications ( and administered by the Quality Assurance Institute (

What Is a Common Body of Knowledge?

Many professions have the following characteristics in common:

  • A common body of knowledge

  • A code of ethics

  • An examination to demonstrate competency

  • Continuing professional education

Normally, senior members of the profession establish the board to oversee certification. This board comprises individuals well respected within their profession, who then define the CBOK, administer the certification examination, develop the code of ethics, and oversee the profession’s continuing education policies and the conduct of the certified professionals. ...

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