What did I gain after taking a certification exam?

A month ago, I attempted and cleared my ISTQB CTFL certification, and that too in my first attempt. Happy me :)

For my readers who are new to ISTQB CTFL, it is also commonly called ISTQB Foundation level certification which is recognized globally in the field of software testing. It provides a base knowledge of software testing approaches and principles which are standardized around the globe.

You might wonder what is the big deal in that? People undergo several certifications and get skilled in multiple domains and excel in their careers. Believe me, it was not just a certification for me. It was not just about clearing the exam and having an ISTQB tag in my profile. It was much more than that.

When I dwell upon my past few years, I can say that I am not learning enough to my potential. My growth curve has been at a standstill. Somehow due to personal responsibilities or procrastination, I always find excuses for not doing something. And gradually I just got lost. My self-confidence has come down. I was in self-doubt can I study and remember things. Do I still have the potential to study, remember and clear an exam? I had no answers. In the past, I thought of attempting the exam multiple times but was scared about failure. When my colleagues attempted the exam, I remember telling them this is just not for me. I can never pass this exam. I tend to forget my daily necessities, how do I remember exam content.

In my testing career, I worked on multiple features, applications, and several devices. But, somewhere in my mind I always had a few questions.

Am I testing it correctly?

Am I using the right approaches/strategy/techniques for testing?

Are the test processes I am using correct?

What can I do to improve testing and processes?

As a leader, am I showing the right path to my team?

Am I using the right testing tools?

and many more…..

I was also sure that preparation for the ISTQB CTFL examination will clear all my above doubts and it is a standard package where I can get my answers.

And finally, after 7 years in the testing field, I gained the courage and mental strength to attempt a certification exam. I thought this is just an opportunity to prove myself and regain my lost confidence. Of course, my lead and mentor play an important role here to boost my confidence.

I took the exam seriously, learned it thoroughly, understood the concepts, and related each learning to my work. The ISTQB foundation level exam syllabus and the textbook comprise the fundamentals of testing. But I achieved much more than that in the learning process. In addition to learning standard approaches and strategies for testing, I gained the self-confidence I lacked, the self-belief that I was longing for a long time, and most importantly the habit of reading consistently.

“Better late than never”. It is fine even after 7 years, I have attempted a foundation-level exam. In the process, I did not lose anything but gained so many things. When I went to appear for the exam, I also made myself clear that even if I fail today, it is still a success for me. Not to lose hope, I have already learned so much. I will reattempt even if I fail today. Do your best but at the same time prepare for the worst.

Now I am ISTQB CTFL certified. It is not that I have become a good tester or a lead because I am certified. The fact is I have become a better version of myself.

So, my readers, if you want to do something for a long time, like learn something new or want to take a new course or anything which challenges you. Just come out of your comfort zone and go for it. We have nothing to lose. Even if we fail, we will gain lot many things on the way.

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