Monday, March 28, 2011

Certification, Smertification...Look What I Got

It's been a few weeks since I completed the Black Box Software Testing Foundations course and submitted my final exam... I finally feel that I caught my breath after such an intense learning experience. I have never read, reviewed, deciphered through and written so much information in 4-week time period in my life! The course material is amazing with lots of useful information and exercises included.

I worked very hard during the course, probably harder than a native English-speaking student. There were days when I felt drained, brain-dead and frustrated. I contemplated quitting a couple of times as I was fatigued. I was learning so much, however, which kept me motivated.

I think this course is a must for any testing professional who feels passionate about our craft. It does help to have some experience under your belt. Otherwise it could be hard to comprehend and hard for a student to relate to real life situations based on the reading material and lectures. My major obstacle was understanding Code Coverage, what it measures or highlights, and associated risks and benefits of using Code Coverage. I had heard the term used before and knew that programmers at work employed it to measure the amount of code that some test has executed. But that was about the extent of my knowledge.

I was not happy with my Code Coverage final exam answer. I provided self-critique of the answer but it was not much better. I read other students' answers and got even more confused. I used my 'life line' on Skype and asked James Bach for help. His explanation and examples finally stuck to my brain. James is an amazing teacher. I have turned to him for help on numerous occasions and he never turned me down. I have no idea how he manages his busy schedule so effectively. He is very approachable and will always make time to help. I am very lucky to have him as my mentor. Before I took this course I asked what it would take to pass it. He told that if I approach it the same way I approached a flowchart puzzle he once gave me, I should pass. I was concerned that in case I do not pass the course he would think less of me. I have not had a chance to tell him that I DID pass it!

The evening I received an email from Doug Hoffman I screamed like a crazy woman. I thought I would jump out of my body I was so thrilled. I know that I keep repeating myself in this post but this course was the hardest of all courses I have taken. It is a real accomplishment. I am now ready to take the next one - Bug Advocacy. We shall see how that goes.

I still hope to attend CAST 2011 in August 8-10 (Lynnwood, Washington) as I want to live as 'an excellent tester'! ;-)


  1. Great!!!Congratulations. It is always a great feeling when you accomplish something like this.
    -Dhanasekar S

  2. is this offered elsewhere? I'm from the Philippines

  3. Congratulations, Elena!

    Ray Oei

  4. Rabby, this course is offered online. It is free for AST members.

  5. Congratulations on learning so much from the class!

  6. Pete/Ray,
    It's been fun taking this class with you both. Hope to see you at CAST2011! ;-)

  7. Hey Elena, it was great to read this. I actually wrote a blog post about the same class and it's interesting to see we make a couple of similar points :)
    Here's my post:

    Congratulations and hope to see in the Bug Advocacy class!


  8. Ru, thank you for sharing your blog. While reading it I 'relived' the memories of the course. I still cannot believe how much I learned in such a short time period and it only cost me my annual AST membership.

    I take off my hat to the volunteer BBST instructors for their superb work and dedication in helping others learn. This experience helped me realize that we have strong leaders and a lot of support in the CDT testing community. I thought it was great that I was able to address my questions directly to Doug Hoffman and Cem Kaner. I was blown away by Doug's helpful critique and feedback!

    I agree that not being a native speaker presents a substantial challenge in grasping the material effectively and expressing your thoughts in writing more eloquently. I spent on average 20 hours ‘ploughing’ through the course material -- rereading, rewriting and reediting. Not being able to comprehend what I was reading frustrated me the most. But I have learned so much -- including about myself - strengths, weakness and that fact that getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things will certainly help me grow personally and professionally. I am taking the BA course in May. Hope to see you there.

  9. Congratulations on surviving the course and coming out victorious! I look forward to catching up with you soon!

    -Peter Shih