Testing in agile projects is very different from testing in similar projects that use other approaches. As a result, test professionals’ involvement in an agile project is very challenging, according to Magdy Hanna, founder of the International Institute for Software Testing (IIST).

The problem, he explained, is that developers can’t become agile without knowing the essentials of software testing.

“In the agile framework, the role of the tester is really hidden in the development team,” said Hanna. “People misunderstand the role of testing in agile and start minimizing it when in reality a software tester has much more to do than in a non-agile project, but they have a lot of challenges because the requirements in agile are not clear.”

The IIST, an organization dedicated to advancing the software testing and quality assurance profession through education, certification, publication, consulting and conferences, recently released the Agile Testing Body of Knowledge and the Agile Testing Certification. The Agile Testing Body of Knowledge consists of six areas that developers need to know in order to become agile-certified, according to the IIST.

The first three areas (agile development methodologies, agile requirement exploration and requirement management, and agile test design and test execution) are required to become agile-certified at a practitioner level. The other three (agile test management, agile test automation and collaboration, and team dynamics tools and techniques) are required to become agile-certified at a master level.

“Ask any tester in an agile project, they will tell you they are frustrated because the agile framework did not emphasize the role of a tester,” Hanna said. “By this certification and body of knowledge, we are trying to tell the software community that testing is an essential role in agile projects.”

Each agile level requires three days of training in three courses covering each area in the Agile Testing Body of Knowledge. After each course, there is a written exam. Before a person can even begin taking courses for the agile certificate, they must first become certified at a Software Test Professional Associate level (CSTP-A). Similar to the agile certification, the CSTP-A requires three days of training that covers areas in the Test Professional Body of Knowledge.

“In many agile projects, we really compromise the software engineering discipline,” Hanna said. “We get people who only know how to do agile, and because agile is more of a flexible approach, people tend to completely forget that there are very critical principles a software engineer must follow. We wanted to avoid this problem in testing, so to become agile certified, they have to at least take the first level of the normal certification.”

Other education-based certificates the IIST offers are Software Test Professional at an associate, practitioner and master level; Test Manager; Software Quality Manager; and Software Test Automation Specialist.

All certificates issued by IIST expire in three years in order to ensure test and quality assurance professionals are updating their skills. All knowledgebases, certifications and courses are available online.