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How to apply for the ISTQB Foundation Level Exam

So, you want to know all about the ISTQB Foundation level exam right? Luckily for you, you've come to just the right place. This article may be all you need on how to apply for the ISTQB Foundation level exam.

The procedure isn't too difficult. You first get on to the ISTQB website, click on the enrolment tab and you'll be directed to the Login Screen. For 'New Registrations' you'll need to key in your permanent address, personal information, postal address and then finally agree to the conditions and terms provided to you.

You will then be given information containing your User name, Registration number and password. Afterward, you will be required to make a few payments which you will have to do through demand drafts or DDs as they are commonly known. Visit the ISTQB contact link to know where to send the course cost payments.

WHAT IS THE ISTQB CERTIFICATION EXAM?

The International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) is basically an internationally operated organisation that does software testing qualification certification.

It was established in 2002 in Edinburgh and is legally registered as a non profit organisation in Belgium. This standardized qualification is an ISTQB Certified Tester that software testers need to undergo in order to obtain certification by the ISTQB.

It is a syllabus based qualification which contains a hierarchy of guidelines and qualifications for the examination and accreditation.

This certification organisation for software testing qualification has managed to issue over five hundred thousand certifications. This Qualifications Board is made up of fifty seven member boards all across the globe and represents about eighty one countries to date.

The Foundation Level exam is designed on a theoretical nature basis and requires the exam taker, hopefully you, to have some knowledge on software development with a slight bias in the software testing field. The Advanced Level exams are much more practical and requires knowledge in specialized areas.

What is the CTFL Certification?

CTFL stands for Certified Tester Foundation Level and its certification training is essential for those of you with interests in the software testing and development industry. The ISTQB accredits this foundation level training which provides its trainees with software testing fundamentals that includes testing management, design techniques as well as testing principles and vocabulary.

This training is usually the first step for those of you that wish to pursue a career in software testing and is meant to measure your proficiency and understanding of software testing techniques, tools and vocabulary. This course is a globally accepted professional certification program that is largely examination based and not an easy one at that.

What is the Validity Period of the ISTQB Certification?

The foundation level certificate is valid for your whole life, so there is no worries about renewal, regardless of changes to the ISTQB foundation syllabus, once you have this certifcate.

Not to be confused with the partner program. The partner program of the ISTQB has a validity period of one year. People and organisations renewing their partnerships are awarded thirty percent Loyalty Discounts on their Partner fees. 

However, partnership levels can be upgraded by individuals or organisations upon request before their one year timeline expires. The only requirement being that you must ensure you're eligible for that upgraded level.

A partner can also terminate their partnership at any time during their validity period upon request. The procedure for this is to contact your Exam provider or Member Board where your program is managed and directly request for your partnership to be cancelled. Simple as that.

The Exam Provider or Member Board involved will then proceed to process your request, get the Partner Program Database and the ISTQB website updated and then finally they will advise the Partner Program Chair of the change and why it has happened. No fees are refunded as a result of the termination.

What Does A Software Tester Make Annually?

Software developers and testers basically work hand in hand and testers actually play a vital role.

They receive software builds at various levels of completion and then proceed to put these programs through numerous tests, clearly documenting software response along the way. Documenting is a key component of software testing because it helps software engineers and programmers discover any coding irregularities

Entry level testers with five years experience or less can expect to get paid about around fifty thousand dollars a year, which includes bonuses, overtime pay and tips. Software testers in the middle of their careers, meaning five to ten years experience, can expect an average pay of about sixty eight thousand dollars while those with ten to twenty years experience will be awarded an average salary of about seventy five thousand dollars

Conclusion

And there you have it. All you need to know about this internationally accredited training program and how to apply for the ISTQB Foundation level exam. You will find no better article than this on matters concerning this nature and we hope you thoroughly enjoyed that deep analysis on the topic given herein. We strive for excellence when it comes to information regarding such Certification Testing and the requirements that come along with it.

Not only does this certification provide you with a competitive advantage, it promises higher levels of reliability on the several applications being developed on a constant basis. Also, a consulting company that employs certified staff members can offer high levels of care to their customers which may in turn lead to increased revenue and will undoubtedly improve the organisations brand value. Please feel free to share with us any opinions, suggestions or comments you may have concerning this article. We are here for you.

How Many Years Experience Before Contracting?

The contracting sector is evolving at a tremendous rate as more people realize the benefits of versatile working. With the demand of a contingent workforce tremendously increasing, there has never been a better time to become a contractor. But the question on how much experience is needed to become a contractor is something that almost everyone has asked during their initial stages of contracting.

It is apparently considered that an experience of 3 years is suitable in order to become a contractor. Some people say any earlier is risky to become a contractor. But this much information is not enough. In this article, we will consider the most important questions related to contracting and will explain them in a detailed manner.

How to find contracts?

You must have a targeted approach in order to successfully get a contract. A killer’ contractor CV is probably the most integral step towards finding a good job. Make sure you CV has information relevant to the contract job being applied for. Make your CV short as well as focused and tailored. An estimated 80% contract jobs are given through agencies, so you must market yourself on the job board using specific agencies. Being noticed and standing out is very important if you want a good job.

Follow the contract job applications and chase clients. Experienced contractors believe that if you have landed an interview, you often end up getting the job. That is why during initial negotiations, you should focus on getting the interview and not bargain over rates. For clearing the interview, you should make sure you are prepared, proactive and understand the issue. Be confident, understand the job and try to close the deal. Having reassured the client at interview, follow up with the agency and there! You got a new contract!

Do I Require a limited company to contract?

Earlier, it used to take weeks to set up a payment mechanism but now it can be done in less than 24 hours by using company facilities and business accounts. The best payment structure depends on your IR35 status. A limited company might not be the best choice for you in case you are inside (caught) by IR35.

If you want to contract for a longer term, then a limiting company will provide you tax advantages and flexibility. On the other hand, you should use a PAYE umbrella company , if you plan to contract for a shorter time. A limited company provides maximum benefits if you have significant benefits that you need to claim. You should not be opting for these companies in case you do not incur and need to claim many contracting expenses.

Is it better to work as a permanent job first?

One among the main factors that makes permanent jobs better than contract jobs is the fact that they provide stability. It is apparently considered that an individual should have at least 3 years of experience before becoming a contractor.

But there is not hard and fast rule. I personally knew a guy who decided to become a contractor with just 4 months of experience. Permanent jobs come along with numerous benefits. Initially, gaining some experience in a permanent job can make you feel more confident and strengthen your move towards being a successful contractor.

Do I get paid with company dividends as a contractor?

If you are a limited company contractor, you are likely to decide how or when you pay yourself. If your contract work is not caught by the IR35, most of the limited company contractors obtain income in the form of dividends. Dividends are beneficial because they are not subject to National Insurance Contributions (NIC) which allows them to save money.

But there are certain things that you need to keep in mind. Dividends can only be paid from company benefits. Also, declaring dividends without sufficient profits is illegal. Corporation tax keeps more dividend information within each threshold. It is important to keep the S447 in mind. According to the tax law section 447, employment related securities tend to target employers using contrived schemes to avoid taxes by paying dividends, rather than paying salary.

Do I pay less tax while serving as a contractor?


There are numerous ways through which you can save money by having a  tax efficient setup. Unlike Umbrella Company, a limited company allows effective tax planning through a combination of salary and dividends. You can also claim your business-costs in terms of expenses in order to receive tax relief. In order to save tax, you need to understand IR35. If the contract is caught inside IR35, you can still effectively complete your contract. However, note that there will not be any entitlement as a contractors operating outside the IR35. Understanding how to structure your business is just as important as understanding how much to charge your clients.

It is advisable that you keep up with all government schemes as this might enable you to operate tax-efficiently. You might think that hiring an accountant is something that is not required and can be avoided. But an accountant actually helps in saving your money as well as time and stress. Furthermore, you should avoid any kind of penalties and you should take a share of the profit of your company and keep it as pension.

Pros and Cons of IT contracting

The upsides to being an IT contractor can be mesmerising, being your own boss is something most people sitting in a cubicle wish for everyday.

Being in charge of my own finances rather than remaining subject to a corporation’s view on their employees as production robots with fixed salaries gave me the independence and liberty to not be part of the never ending concrete jungle.

It can be frightening but moving away from the well known path into IT contracting once done, makes you question why you never did before.

IT contracting is not for everyone though and needs firm resolve and conviction to make it work. Like everything else, it comes with the good, the bad and the ugly. Here are 5 pros and cons of IT contracting to help you make your decision.

The Pros Of IT Contracting

pros and cons of IT contracting
  • Financial Benefits: A very compelling factor in regard to contracting is more money. A lot of contractors are paid more than double the amount a full time employee is paid for the same project.

    Your skills and the industry you are in will play a role in how good a pay you can ask for. The main reason why your pay increases is because you offer your employer flexibility and are taking on short term contracts. Most contractors are paid by the day and can ask for additional pay for extra hours put in.

  • All rounded experience building: Working for a range of different companies and range of different bosses can give you the ability to learn a little something from each one.

    You can develop the skills you already have and obtain new ones by the minute. Each manager will want work done differently and have a different approach to the job. This teaches you how to cater to different types of people. It allows you to advance your career by exposing yourself to multiple different types of processes.

  • Build Your Network: One of the main benefits associated with contracting is you get to build multiple relationships across several companies at the same time. If you can give excellent work to an employer, even on a short term basis, they will keep you in mind and also be a great review to add to your shelf of achievements.

    This helps you uncover a range of opportunities with other companies and clients and also maybe discover permanent positions you could apply for to gain additional job security.

The cons of IT contracting

  • Job security: Job security can be hard when it comes to contracting because of the short-term factor of all your contracts. You need to have found a new contract before the one you are on has ended. This can prove disheartening if you have to deal with a time period where you have no work. During this time period, you start to consider the negatives of the job and have to focus on moving forward rather than getting disheartened.

  • Business Expenses: When you work for a corporation or for someone else, they are paying for the office, the electricity and everything else. When you are IT contracting these expenses become yours to bear and you have to start being your own stingy boss.

  • Benefit Plans: One reason why a lot of employees stay employees is for the package deal you get when signing a contract.

    You do not want to give up your healthcare that comes with your salary. You would have to pay an additional amount for health insurance if you work separately.

    A lot of people I have met along the way have health insurance added to their spouse’s through their position in a company.

  • Pension: Normally an employer would pay if you are ill or give you a pension by deducting a certain amount from your salary regularly. As a contractor you need to take control of all these aspects yourself and put aside enough money for the years that will follow. This needs to be done on a regular basis with no excuses.


Personally, looking back, contracting has been the best decision I made, giving me all the perks a job could never offer and that I was looking for.

The downsides take time to deal with and understand, but once you do it is smooth sailing. Understanding health insurance and putting your money aside are important steps to the learning process.

Negotiating with potential managers is also a learning curve that needs to be tackled with. After you get yourself sorted and settled, the perks out weight the tons by quite a bit. 

I personally feel that becoming a successful contractor requires a lot of patience and credibility. It is true that permanent jobs are more secure and stable, but the job of a contractor makes you feel free, wanting to explore. These are some of the key points that I felt like sharing with my voracious readers. As an author, it is a 'must’ for me to deliver the best of knowledge so that my readers can extract maximum information from my articles.

As a reader, how was your experience reading this article? Did you find out boring or was it a 10/10 article? Feel free to share, both your thoughts and the article. Give us your feedback as it helps us to provide specific information and key points that can be of more value to you in future. Comment below about your experience, sharing your impression of this article. You can also share this article with others, so that more people can obtain the benefits of this article.

How Risky are IT Contract jobs?

When it comes to choosing between a permanent IT job and an IT contract, you always prefer permanent because you have job security and you do not have to go for job hunting after the contract expires. 

Though people fear that contractual job has certain disadvantages, they miss seeing that it gives you an advantage to work at your own time, flexibility to earn at your own comfort and pays you more than your permanent job.

Risks are present in a permanent job as well, you may get fired if you do not abide by the rules and regulations of the company, do not maintain proper discipline, confidentiality and break the rules. It's just that we have built a perception to see both the jobs at different angles. In this article I will make you aware of “How Risky Are IT Contract Jobs?” and some amazing statistics on how the world is shifting from permanent job to contractual job.

Should you give up your full-time job for a contract?

If your thoughts are dwelling between a full-time job and contact job, I would suggest going with the contact job if it gives you a better career opportunity and at least 50% salary hike than your full-time job. According to the study conducted by QUARTZ, 40% of America’s work population will be freelancers by 2020. Contact jobs are preferred more by job seekers as they get to work in their area of interest, it gives them a learning opportunity and there's room for professional growth. Gone are the days when people were under the impression that contract jobs pay less, and are offered at entry-level positions. Though it’s a risk, it’s worth if you are getting a good opportunity to build a professional relationship with your industry. On a bright side, if you perform well when on a contact you might get a full-time employment within the company.

What is the difference between a fixed term contract and a normal contract role?

A fixed term contract is valid for a specific period. The start and the end date of the contract are clearly specified and extendable if required and mutually agreed upon by both the parties. It is also very close to a permanent working contract but has a defined end date.

It is a great way to test the skills of an employee before hiring him/her a permanent position in the company. It also benefits the IT company as they get to showcase their employee skills by completing a short-term project in a given time period.

Normal contact does still have an end date, but you will not receive any employee benefits like paid leave, sick pay etc.  This is what a traditional contractor is typically known as.

3. What are the disadvantages of contract employment?

  • The major disadvantage of a contract employment is job security. Since you are aware that it’s a contract job, a voice at the back of your head constantly pokes you that you will have to leave this job after a certain period. It may decrease your morale.
  • Every company has a different confidential policy and you really have to catch up fast to keep a track of all. A simple error may lead to termination of your contract.
  • Time management becomes a problem when you are handling different projects, you may lose track and suddenly feel whatever you are doing is a waste of your time and energy.
  • The hourly payment option gets compromised as you get paid only for the number of hours you have worked. If you are idle for few hours, you do not get paid and your valuable time is wasted.
  • You have a lot of pressure to prove yourself to the company by constantly producing good results, with a fear that any wrong move and you are out of the company for good.

Do contract jobs offer benefits?

The permanent employee benefits include fixed salary, health insurance, disability insurance and life insurance, retirement plan, vacation and sick day leave policy. You will not be able to enjoy these benefits if you are on a contract. You will have to purchase your own policy (which can be costly) and you will not get paid if you go on a leave. You will not get worker’s compensation benefits if you need one. Though some of the companies have changed their policy and they give insurance benefits to the contractual employees as well. It’s better to clear everything with your employer before you sign the contract.

Can you quit a contract job?

A contract is bound by legal terms and conditions and if you quit in the middle before the contract expires there can be certain consequences. If the contract clearly states that you will be charged a certain amount if you terminate the contract, you will have to pay the amount to the employer. Some employers have conditions that they have every right to blacklist you from the field you are working in if you leave early. Others will not give you the bonus which you were supposed to get at the end of the contract. In another case, the employer simply has a condition that you will have to serve a one month notice before you leave the company. The terms and conditions vary from company to company, so it is advised that you thoroughly read your contract before opting to quit.

Conclusion

There has always been a confusion in the mind of an employee whether to go for a permanent job or a contractual job. There is no correct answer as it all depends on what kind of package and job you are being offered and whether it is something you are interested to build your career in.

If you are happy with your permanent job, stick to it, but if you are not, contractual jobs have a lot of opportunities for you, learn how to master face to face and telephone interviews for software contract testers and take the plunge. Always remember risk is in both the jobs. It depends how much you are willing to take. It was my responsibility to make you aware of what you can expect from an IT contract job and the risks it has. Now it’s up to you, what you decide. I am sure the cloud of confusion is now cleared.

I would really love to know your thoughts, life experiences or any question you have about the contract job in the comment below.

Do your bit. Share the article and help your friends who might have the same confusion as you.

Happy Job Hunting!

IT Contract vs Permanent Tester Employment

Just like me, most IT employees are fed up with shifting work hours, work related stress, regular meetings with clients and are looking for alternatives. After working as an IT tester in a reputable IT firm for more than 6 years, I was fed up with my lifestyle and wanted some freedom.

I resigned from my job and decided to become a an IT Contractor and now, I am enjoying my life to the fullest. In extreme cases, I work on contract basis and personally, I didn’t experience any difference in IT contract vs. permanent tester employment. Also, the pay will be higher in case of contract employment but you need to adjust with slightly awkward shift timings. According to several surveys, companies also prefer contract employees and the percentage of contract employees in the US workforce is constantly on rise.

Why Contract IT testers?

Employers need to pay IT employees even if they are on bench without actually taking up any work. Whereas in case of contract IT testers, they will come to office whenever there is work and get paid on completion of the work. Employer and worker relationship will be very minimal in case of contract based employment and this in itself has several advantages.

IT companies are moving towards cost cutting methods and are doing away with employees who are not meeting their standards. In fact, most IT companies are retaining the core team only and sending pink slips to all other employees. They are thinking of completing the jobs with contract employers and that’s the reason why the demand for contract based IT workers is on constant rise where are permanent employees are going to offices in fear.

Contract vs. Permanent IT Testers: Who Are More Qualified?

In general, permanent employees enjoy some sort of job security and because of this, some employees won’t take their jobs seriously and I am sad to admit that some of my colleagues also belong to this category.

On the other hand, contract IT testers are cognizant of the fact they need to be well qualified to impress their employers and get a chance to work. That’s the reason why contract employees are more focused, job-oriented and try different certifications to prove their credentials.

Are You Thinking Of Moving From Permanent To Contract-based Job?

If you are fed up with regularly going to office just like me, you might want to consider moving from permanent to contract employee. However, those who see permanent jobs as an option of regular income source and don’t have confidence in their skills shouldn’t even think of quitting their permanent job. Even after the recent recession, the IT sector is growing at a constant pace and if you are skilled and qualified, and can learn how to ace a telephone interview, you don’t need to worry about securing a contract job.

You may find it difficult for the first few months but once you get used to it, your lifestyle will change beyond your thinkable limits. You will start enjoying your life and you can spend more time with your family and friends. All your stress related disorders will automatically disappear when you move from permanent to contract employment.

Who Can Handle Work Pressure Better?

Contract-based IT testers will surely have experience with different kinds of software tools and their exposure will be high compared to permanent employees. I, myself learnt several new testing tools after quitting my permanent job and my overall skillset improved a lot. IT companies work on tight deadlines and it is very important to complete the assigned task within the stipulated time.

Obviously, permanent IT testers are not used to working on tight deadlines as most of the things will be pre-planned and all they have to do is work accordingly. If the employer forces them to work on tight deadlines, they will be under immense pressure and there will be more chances of committing mistakes. So, contract employees score more marks here as well.

Earnings – Who Scores Better?

In case of permanent employees, employers are constrained by several factors like health insurance, maximum work hours limit, extra pay, leaves, etc. However, as for the contract-based employees, most of these worries can be eliminated and the employer need to supervise only on the task assigned to the contract-based IT testers. Obviously, contract based workers cost a bit more than permanent employees but they are 100% worth giving a try, considering the services offered by them.

Per day income of contract based IT testers will be much higher compared to permanent employees. Also, in some cases, they don’t need to regularly go to the office and will enjoy more holidays per year compared to employers who are permanently stuck in offices in the name of job security.

In Need Of CTFL Certified IT Testers?

Certified Tester-Foundation Level (CTFL) is a certification given to qualified testers and if an employer wants a CTFL certified IT tester, he needs to pay heavy salaries on monthly basis. Certified IT testers are easy to find and as the competition among the contract based IT testers is very high, they offer competitive services at lower prices. As contract IT employees are generally hired based on the work load, they know their job perfectly well. Their focus will always be on that job. On the other hand, permanent employees need to manage a lot of tasks in the office and their focus will be low on the job even though they are certified and qualified.

Most of the above-mentioned points are my personal opinions and you can agree or disagree with me. However, generally, the one thing that differs in contract vs. permanent IT tester employees is the job security. But even on this one I was not in total agreement as permanent jobs are also not absolutely permanent and the employer can easily give you the axe if the IT tester performance is below par.

I won’t say I am super-skilled but I consider myself as reasonably good and I am earning a lot more than all my friends who are stuck in permanent jobs. I shared my views so that you can also get inspired to do what your heart desires. If you enjoyed reading this article, please share this with all your friends who are struck in offices but still want freedom and peace in life. Don’t forget to share your opinions in the comment section below.

What is in the ISEB Testing Foundation Syllabus?

Today I am sharing a video I did on the ISEB Testing Foundation Syllabus, and to make it even easier to digest, I have a transcription of the video below. If you are looking for more specific questions, such as how much does the ISTQB foundation exam cost or how many questions are in the ISTQB foundation exam, then we have them covered throughout this site. Anyway, back to the video:

Transcription for: What is in the ISEB Testing Foundation Syllabus video

Hey, welcome back guys, this is Wayne Vassell here, again for Talented Tester, and today I'm going to be tackling one of the questions that have been asked a few times and is, "What exactly is in the ISEB Testing Foundation Syllabus?" For those of you that watch in ISEB ISTQB very much use interchangeably, ISTQB is really the standard that we're following now, but this is the specific questing that has been asked.

Overview of the Syllabus

The syllabus can be found online. Typically, there is five major headings for the syllabus, which are broken down into many different subsections.

01. Fundamentals of Testing

The first section we've got is the fundamentals of testing, and that is effectively why is testing necessary, which is broken down to software systems, context, causes of defects, for example what are the root causes of defects, how the defects happen, a real understanding of defects.

The role of testing in software development, and that's maintenance and operations. Testing and quality, understanding exactly what quality is and understanding how much testing is enough.

Obviously if you studied and prepared for these for this exam, you'll know what some of these headings mean and then you should have an idea of how you're actually going to prepare for the exam.

Other areas as well, what is testing, the seven testing principles, fundamental test process, and that is test planing and control, test analysis and design, implementation and execution, evaluating the exit criteria.

Basically with the exit criteria is understand how do you know when to actually exit from testing. Test closure activities, such as test closure reports et cetera. The phycology of testing and finally code ethics. That is the main bulk of the first top level coverage of fundamentals of testing.

02. Testing Throughout the Software Life Cycle

The next section is testing throughout the software life cycle, and that encompasses software development models.

For example the V model, iterative incremental development models, testing with a life cycle model. This doesn't really cover such things as agile. Agile is pretty much a new extension, which is almost treated as a separate certification, so that's not covered here. It also goes into test levels, that's component testing, integration testing, system testing and acceptance testing.

Different test types, testing of functions, a functional testing, testing of nonfunctional software, also knows as nonfunctional testing. Structural testing, testing related to changes, for example retesting and regression testing. Other things that covered in this or the last one to be covered in this is maintenance testing.

Hopefully there should a few key things that stick out for you. In my mind the one that's sticks out most is regression testing and retesting. Obviously that's a pretty critical part of testing and regression is pretty much something that you're gonna need throughout your whole testing career and is something good to master.

03. Static Techniques

The next headline topic is static techniques, and this includes the overall static techniques and the test process, the review process, activities of formal review, roles and responsibilities, types of reviews, success factors for reviews and then finally, static analysis by tools.

04. Test Design Techniques

The next major heading that we've got is test design techniques, and this basically covers the test development process, categories of test design techniques, specification based or black box techniques, and that's including stuff like equivalence partitioning, boundary value analysis, also known as BV, decision table testing, state transition testing and used case testing.

The next subsection within this area is a structured base or white box techniques, and that's statement testing coverage, decision testing and coverage and other structured based techniques. Experienced based techniques and choosing test techniques.

05. Test Management

And then the final major area is test management, and this includes test organization, test organization independence, task of test leader. The test studies are mainly to do with being a test lead, so a lot of these to do with actually managing a project or leading a project. The next subsection is to do with test planing and estimation. That's planing, planing the activities, the entry criteria, defining the exit criteria, which was touched on early on in one of the other sections. Test estimation, knowing ... Or not necessarily know, but estimating how long you plan for each test phase, test strategy and test approach, understanding how to layout the strategy, and this would also include the test strategy document. Other subsections are test progress, monitoring and control, which encompasses test reporting, test control. The next subheading, configuration management and then we have also risk in testing, that's project risk and product risks. The final subsection within this area is incident management.

06. Tool Support for Testing

And sorry, the final one, final subheading area is tool support for testing. These are different types of test tools. It goes into the meaning of purposes of the tool, test tool classification, tool support for management, tool support for static testing, tool support for test specification, tool support test execution and [log in 00:06:32], like defect management tools. Tool support for performance and monitoring, like performance testing and tool support for specific testing needs. It then goes into effective use of tools, the potential benefits and risks, and then it talks about special considerations for some of the tools and then it introducing tools for organization.

Final Words

These are the key areas that are covered within the syllabus. Obviously within each of these headline topics are very much detailed low level sub areas, which I've basically covered at a high level during this video. The key thing really is making sure that you've prepared for each of these sections, so that when you have your multiple choice questions you're prepared to ace the exam, hopefully on your first attempt.

Now, one of the key ways to make sure that you're fully prepared for the exam and make sure that you have the best chance of success is getting a free exam questions and sample test papers that you can use to help you to succeed.

I've got for you at my website TalentedTester.com/Sample is a way for you can download an absolutely free exam and question sample that you can actually use to help you prepare for your exam to give you the best possible choice at chance of succeeding. Thank you very much for watching this video today and I look forward to you in the next video. Thank you very much.

             


How Much Does the ISTQB Foundation Exam Cost?

If you’re interested in a career in software testing, the bottom line is you’re going to need an ISTQB Foundation level-certificate. Whether you test software all day or you’re just getting into the field, the exam is something that will aid you on your journey.

There’s plenty of free resources that can help you prepare and revise your body of knowledge to make sure you’re fully prepared. You can even access sample questions and answers to give yourself a head start.

The cost of the exam can vary but in the UK it costs around £145, and in the US around $250. This is something though you’ll only need to do once if you put the work in now! 

How Long Is The ISTQB Foundation Exam?

The exam usually takes 60 minutes to compete, and has a number of multiple choice questions, so don’t worry it won’t take up too much of your day. The research you do to prepare is up to you, but we recommend you take all the time you can to learn up on the questions you might be asked.

The more time you put in now the easier it will be in the future!
If the exam is not in your first language, you’ll be given an extra fifteen minutes to complete the tasks to make sure you fully understand what’s being asked.

You can learn all about the timing and process of the exam here.
But to give you a brief outline of what to expect, the exams include 40 questions-all multiple choice, which are scored at one point per answer.

The questions are devised to help you with your software testing future, but we recommend getting in as much revision as you can to have the best chance at success!

What Is The ISTQB Foundation Pass Rate?

The pass mark starts at 65%. Given that the questions are all scored on a one point system, which means you’ll need 25+ points to pass the test.

That’s more than half the questions so be prepared and give yourself the best possible chance.  The statistics for passing have risen every year so far, you can check out the results here.

As of 2014, almost 75% of people would took the foundation level exam managed to pass on their first try, so the odds are stacked in your favour.

That statistic isn’t just for one country either, that’s the global average! So the majority of people who do take the test, pass, which might help put your mind at ease.

Your chances of success are greatly increased if you read an a study book or get hold of some ISTQB sample papers.

Can You Do The ISTQB Foundation As An Online Exam?

The short answer is, yes you can. You can find an exam provider by using this link. But if you own a business, and you want your employees to benefit from taking the exam in larger numbers, you can use the option of having an in house, or in office, test.

The ITSBQ exam can be done locally as well as online, which offers you the choice that can work best around your lifestyle.  The member’s board work internationally as well as locally so if you would prefer to sit the exam in a more traditional setting, there are options available to suit everyone.

Can I Download The ISTQB certificate Once I Pass?

Again, the short answer is yes. This makes life all the easier knowing you can print the certificate from home.

Your local ISTBQ member’s board or exam provider will provide you with an email with your certificate attached once you have successfully passed the foundation level.

There are a further two levels of ITSBQ certificates that you can obtain: Advanced level and Expert level, and these can be emailed to you in the same way.

You can also have your certificate posted if you prefer a copy to be directly sent rather than emailed or don’t have easy access to printing facilities.

Once you’ve got the certificate to hand, you’re ready to show it to potential employers, which can offer you a competitive edge against those who have yet to take and pass the exam.

What Countries Can Take The ISTQB Foundation-Exam?

Global exam providers make it easy to obtain an ISTBQ exam in a variety in countries.

Countries that are covered by both the members board and Global exam providers include:

  • United States of America​
  • Countries in South America​
  • United Kingdom​
  • Gautama​
  • Honduras​
  • Ireland​
  • Mexico​
  • Nicaragua​
  • Morocco​
  • Europe​
  • Iceland​
  • Tunisia​
  • Russia​
  • Turkey​
  • Madagascar​
  • Egypt​
  • Ethiopia​
  • South Africa​
  • Jordan​
  • Australia​
  • Kenya​
  • Israel​
  • New Zealand​
  • China​
  • Iran​
  • India​
  • Thailand​
  • South Korea​
  • Japan​
  • Philippines​
  • Malaysia​
  • Vietnam​
  • Taiwan.


Countries that are covered solely by Global exams providers include:

  • Greenland
  • The majority of Africa
  • Parts of Asia.

You can check out the map of each country here.

Why Should You Even Bother To Get an ISTQB Foundation Certificate? 

Remember, many employers now like to see their employees with at least a foundation level certificate in the ITSQB exam, so it’s worth getting your hands on one! The effort you put in now will pay off later, giving you better knowledge of the field and potentially opening up new job opportunities for you in the future.

As the certificate is recognised on a global scale, your employability rating goes up automatically after passing the exam. The certificate can provide you with a strong competitive advantage for the company you work for, or one you aim to work for at a later date. By gaining the qualification, you are more or less promising a higher level of reliability to your employer than a candidate who has not passed the exam.

It has been noted that consulting companies whose team members are all certified with ISTQB offer high levels of service to customers and clients which in turn increases revenue and the value of the brand itself. Not only this, ITSQB has now created a partner programme, which benefits companies who have a larger number of certified testers working in their facility.

Whether you are a business owner, or a worker in the field, there is a long list of benefits that comes with gaining your qualification, and it’s only a small cost for something that could make a huge improvement to your career, and potentially your lifestyle!

What did you think to the article? Was it helpful? Let us know and feel free to share it with any other tech savvy people you may know. Help to spread the word!

How many questions are in the ISTQB foundation exam?

I remember when I was back at uni, my most pressured and unproductive sessions were the last minute, unprepared all nighters. In my opinion, being prepared is the best way.

To cut a long story short, you want to know how many questions are in the ISTQB Foundation exam? The Foundation level exam consists of 40 multiple choice questions which carry one point each.

After completing the exam successfully, you will be issued with an ISTQB Foundation Level Certificate which has a worldwide recognition. The major aim of the exam is to verify the your competence and understanding of the detail in the ISTQB foundation syllabus.

To some people, finding out how many questions are in the ISTQB foundation exam has been a serious challenge.

How long does the Exam Take?

The ISTQB Certified Tester examination has a typical duration of 60 minutes (or 75 for candidates not taking the exam in their local or native language). As stated earlier, the Foundation level exam consists of 40 multiple choice questions which carry one point each.

What is the minimum Passing Score Required?

The pass mark is set at 65% (scoring 26 or more points). As an option, candidates who are not conversant with the syllabus can take a 3-day course to enable become abreast with the Foundation's examination procedures and methods.

Where Can I Find ISTQB Foundation Level Study Material?

A good number of candidates who book the exam my never end up actually taking the exam, due to the lack of preparation. This could be down to not knowing where to find good study material. Most of them spend their time on the internet searching for the best materials to prepare them for the exam.

To be successful in any exam, getting the correct study materials is very important. The internet is inundated with mediocre study material and past questions which promise heaven on earth and at the end of the day are nothing but empty promises with no substance. Getting hold of some reliable study material is key. One of the reasons we done a review on the best ISTQB foundation Test Analyst books.

What Kind of Study Material Can I Get?

The study materials come in three categories as discussed below:

Where Can I Find the ISTQB Foundation Exam Dates?

The dates for ISTQB Foundation Level exams are set by the exam providers. These exam providers are a group of bodies who have been licensed by the Member Boards to administer the exam both locally and internationally at their own convenience. Getting the exact date for the ISTQB Foundation exam depends on your location as the dates differ from region to region. It is therefore advisable that you get acquainted with the local ISTQB exam provider in your location to know the exact date for the examination.


Who are the ISTQB Exam Providers?

Here is an example of some of the exam providers are listed below in no particular order:

How much time do you need to prepare for the ISTQB foundation exam?

In preparing for the exam, you will need as much time as you can be able to afford. I don’t think your success in the exam depends on the amount of time you studied but how well you were able to study.

You will need all the time you can get to prepare for the exam. A lot of people believe one month is enough to prepare for the exam. This may be true for some people, maybe even many people, but I think it all boils down to your personality and schedule.

If you can commit to it and study the syllabus in one week, it’s all good. Just make sure you are prepared for the examination. 

What are the benefits of the ISTQB?

The ISTQB foundation certification comes with a number of benefits for you. Here are a few of the top of my head:

  • Authorized to use the “Certified Tester” logo, which displays the level of your certification.
  • International recognition of your competencies and skills
  • Career path support up to the expert level.
  • Prepared for difficult Test Analyst apprenticeship interview questions,

Can I Take the Exam Directly or Do I need to take classes to learn ISTQB fundamentals?

The choice is totally yours. You can take a class to learn the ISTQB fundamentals if you have the time but you are not obligated by the board to do so. You can also take the exams directly as long as you are well prepared and study for it.

The aim of making the syllabus publicly available is for you to be ready for the exam when the date arrives. A lot of people prefer to practice on their own but there are also some classes which you can enrol in if you find it hard to concentrate.

The class can last between a few days, but really depends on the organizers and your time schedule.

Conclusion

Taking the ISTQB exam is very simple if you are prepared for it. During the examination, all you need to do is to relax and choose the right answer as many times as possible. Remember the exam lasts for just 60 or 75 minutes as the case may be.

Try to learn some time management skills while preparing for the exam so that it can come in handy when sitting in the exam hall. In your preparation, seek help as often as you can and be committed to your cause. You can lay hands on some past questions and answers to assist you in your preparation. You can also consult with professionals to tap from their pool of knowledge before writing for the exam.


Thanks for reading, your success is my concern. I hope this article was useful to you. Please drop your questions and comments in the comment box and share this article with family and friends.

Best ISTQB Foundation Test Analyst Study Book

Back in 2006 I studied for the ISTQB Foundation Level testing certificate. Fortunately the company I was working for at that time paid for my course, which included some instructor led training. This training included ISTQB mock exam questions that helped me prepare.

Back then it would of been good to read a few books to help me prepare. There are now quite a few good books available on this topic, which I will review for you today. 

Quick Comparison of ISTQB Study Books


Nowadays, we live in a world where everyone has a tight schedule and we have forgotten to dedicate some time for personal growth, whether you are a working professional or seeking a testing apprenticeship. Just like a healthy balanced diet and exercise are important to our bodies, reading and acquiring knowledge is crucial to our profession.

Therefore, find some time and improve your skills; it will take you to the next level. Don't say you don't have time. Everyone has 24 hours; the difference is how we manage it.

What is the ISTQB Foundation Certification?

ISTQB stands for the International Software Testing Qualification Board.  It is an international software testing organisation with local exam providers.

Each local testing examiner is licensed to issue exams both locally and internationally. A candidate who passes the exam receives an ISTQB certified tester certificate.

ISTQB is found in seventy nations but the names of each Member Board changes from one country to another. For instance, the member board in the United States is known as the American Software Testing Qualification Board (ASTQB) while in India it is Indian Testing Board (ITB). Nevertheless, the exam syllabus, pattern, questions among other details are the same.


Why I Chose ISTQB Certification over other Software Testing Certifications?

Here are some benefits of the ISTQB testing certification:

  • It is an online certification and can be done by anyone
  • It is widely accepted and one of the world's fast-growing software test certifications
  • It improves one's creativity in tackling daily tasks to enhance your testing process
  • You become more marketable; this is because you can demonstrate good mastery of practices and concept in software testing. This sets you apart from others hence increasing the opportunities for better employment or even promotion
  • This certification does not expire like CSTP certification which is valid for only 3 years.
  • It is available online; this means one does not have to take a QA course or attend another software testing training so that they can get the certification. You can also take the exam when in college or in between jobs
  • The exam is easy to follow, intuitive and practical. The questions are in multiple choices
  • There is no experience or requirement needed to sit for the Foundation Level exam

How is the ISTQB Structured?

ISTQB is classified into three levels, as follows:

  1. Foundation level certification
  2. Advance level certification
  3. Expert certification

Note: our interest here is foundation level certification

What Is the Foundation level certification?

It is an entry-level certification and it is designed for individuals who wish to move up the ladder of software testing certification. The main goal of this certification is to ensure you understand key software testing concepts and practices.

Its syllabus covers 6 major topics namely: static techniques such as reviews, black box and white box, test management and testing tools, testing fundamentals, software testing lifecycle.

How to enrol for ISTQB Foundation Certification exam

This is how to enrol for the ISTQB Foundation Certification exam. You will agree with me it is an intuitive, simple and short procedure:

  • Visit ISTQB official website and click the 'Enrolment'' tab
  • Choose Foundation exam level
  • This will lead you to the Login page. You can either sign in or sign up. If you are registering for the first time, click the "New Registration" link. You will be required to provide basic information such as your name, postal address, and permanent address
  • After you are done with registration, you will receive an email with details about your username, password, and registration number
  • Then pay using demand drafts (DD). To know where to send the DD hit the ''Contact Us'' link. Also, make sure you keep a photocopy of the DD for future reference
  • Then you will be given information about the examination dates after one week.

How to Prepare for ISTQB Foundation Certification exam: Tips

  1. The first thing is get the latest syllabus on the ISTQB website and read it. Make sure you take the information written in this material as it is. Most of us have experience in software testing and have learnt where specific terminologies are used
  2. Attempt mock exams from sample papers. Do as many tests as possible and be keen on frequently used definitions and terms
    Also, try to see the number of correct answers you have given in the mock tests. You have to get at least 26 questions correct out of 40 question in order to pass the exam.
  3. Prepare in groups: Below is a video on ISTQB exam preparation.
    The purpose of the video is to help viewers understand what it takes to pass an ISTQB Foundation exam. It has 6 sections; there are questions at the end each section. These questions are similar to those found in an actual exam.

    The Certified software tester tells about his experience. According to him, the ISTQB certification has helped him move up the ladder in his career. It also gives both you and your employee confidence.
    There are no minimum requirements to become a tester. As long as you are open-minded and have good communication skills, and the ability to read and write well you are good to go. 


My Best ISTQB Foundation Test Analyst Book Choices:

01.Foundation of Software Testing ISTQB Certification


Foundation of Software Testing ISTQB Certification is a good guide to software testing and qualification. This is because covers the fundamental principles as well as syllabus in depth. It also comes with many learning aids.

Pros 

  • It is very easy to read and it supports ISTQB Foundation Syllabus 2011 which is the backbone of CTFL,
  • This book is completely updated (now in the 3rd edition) and includes all the 2011 syllabus changes like the learning objectives
  • The book is well structured; divided into 7 seven chapters. The first 6 chapters cover a chapter each and have sample exam questions. The seventh chapter, on the other hand, offers general advice on how to go about the exam and comes with a 40-question mock paper (just like the real exam)
  • This text is also an important reference book for anyone studying general software testing
  • Comes with other pedagogical features such as a new and updated glossary, several worked examples, pointers and references that are crucial for further reading
    Cons
  • The only problem I have with this book is the definition of terms. For instance, the term functionality testing is defined as the testing process that determines software functionality. I remember back in the day in Grade 2 being taught you cannot define a term with the same word.

2.An ISTQB-BCS certified Foundation Guide, Third Edition


The Software Testing: An ISTQB-BCS Certified Tester Foundation guide is another ISTQB foundation test analyst study book with basic steps of software testing. It also explains how to do tests effectively. This is because offers an overview of several dynamic and static techniques.

Pros 

  • It is the first official ISTQB-BSC certified tester foundation level textbook that comes with guidance notes, self-assessment exercises and sample exam questions
  • The 3rd edition has exercise and examples that reflect the latest technology and applications like open source software, mobile devices application building, and component-based as well as agile development
  • It is ideal for individuals with little software testing knowledge and testing
  • Its authors (Angelina Samaroo and Geoff Thompson) are BSC exam setters and markets who are very knowledgeable about ISTQB syllabus. The editor, Brain Hambling also has a 30-year software development experience where he has been a developer, project manager, and quality manager
  • All chapters are well written and have a test at the end that checks whether you have understood what you have been reading
  • Its final mock (which is found at the end of the book) is useful because it helps you know whether you are ready for the real exam or not.

Cons 

  • One thing that caught me by surprise is the fact that the book has not included learning objectives in all exam questions in the book as per the real exam. I understand there are learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter but it does not include the real learning objective number. This makes verifying whether all the objectives are covered difficult.

03. Software Testing Foundation, 4th Edition by Andreas Spiller, Hans Schaefer and Tilo Linz

Approximately 300,000 people have done the ISTQB certification examinations. Thanks to contributions of experienced authors like Andreas Spiller, Hans Schaefer, and Tilo Linz with the Software Testing Foundation book

Andreas Spiller is a computer science professor at Hochschule University where he teaches programming, software engineering, and quality assurance. Tito Linz is the founder and chairman of imbus AG, a big player in the software quality assurance industry. While Hans Schaefer is a consultant who has been teaching and consulting software testing techniques since 1984.

This revised edition covers the entry-level and important software testing techniques. It covers topics like fundamentals of testing, test tools, test management, static and dynamic testing techniques, and testing and software lifecycle. 

Pros

  • This book is designed for independent study and is easy to read
  • In the latest and revised edition, technical terms have been stated as per the updated 2015 ISTQB glossary

Cons 

  • Does not have sample test questions
  • Although it has exercises, they don't have corresponding answers

4.Agile Testing Foundations Guide: An ISTQB 

The Agile Testing Foundations: An ISTQB Foundation Level Agile Tester guide is specifically for the Agile extended certification. It is a simple software development approach that is quickly gaining popularity in the information technology industry. It has many benefits such as offering a wider flexibility scope and enhancing the overall product quality. Back to the ISTQB Foundation level syllabus, this book covers Agile basic principles, techniques, and tools crucial in software testing. 

Rex Black, the editor has more than 30 years of software and system engineering experience. He is the former president of ASTQB and ISTQB and a co-author of numerous ISTQB syllabi. 

Pros

  • Ideal for software testers with interest in Agile testing or those taking the ISTQB Foundation level Agile tester examination
  • The concepts in the syllabus are well explained and have good related samples

Cons 

  • Expensive

ISTQB Foundation Exam Sample Question Papers Book by Katie Graner 

The ISTQB Foundation Exam Sample Question Papers by Katie Graner is another important study tool, it has very many challenging questions.

Pros

  • This book comes with tips on how to solve questions based on boundary value and equivalence partitioning analysis. This means by the time you are done completing the sample questions you will be confident enough to take the real exam
  • It has 5 sample question papers with over 200 questions that highlight the exam's difficult parts
  • Highlights easy tips to pass the exam
  • There are regular question updates
  • The book also has additional questions in all chapters as required by the ISTQB syllabus

Cons 

  • I was really disappointed by the fact that there no explanations for answers given in this book. For instance, in question 36 of the sample question paper 1: Which of the following gives the order in which tests should be done? A) Test B) test design specification C) test procedure specification D) test case specification. I choose "A'' but the answer is "C''. I was certain the test procedure specification is the order of actions for performing a test. This is just one of the many questions where the answer given is questionable and does not have an explanation. 

Conclusion 

I have researched many books on software testing and for an entry-level person, I found some too hard to read and with a lot of jargon. This was not until a good friend of mine recommended Foundation of Software Testing. This book covers all software testing areas without using hard language that would make reading hard.

Foundation of Software Testing is a very important book in both software testing and qualification. Currently, in the third edition, the book is completely updated and it includes the latest changes in the ISTQB Foundation syllabus. It also adopts a hand-on and practical approach and covers all important topics that you should know as a software and system tester. 

Its authors are developers of the syllabus. They are also renowned and experienced international authors, teachers, authorities and exam setters and markets in software testing field.

All the best in your exams! 

5 Software Test Analyst Apprenticeship Interview Questions

I remember my grandad explaining how he worked from an apprenticeship up to a working professional in his trade. In his day that was the norm. Nowadays these apprenticeships are quite rare.

Therefore, if you are lucky enough to be considered for an apprentiship role, you need to absolutly nail the interview!

The best way to do that, is to be 100% prepared, so to help you get prepared I have created an article to help you identify the 5 common questions asked in these interviews. This will be beyond generic questions like what is route cause analysis? and what is software quality? These are real word questions that can help you.

01. Why Are You Looking To Be A Test Analyst?

This is a fairly general and basic question that most apprenticeship interviews will begin with. Mainly because interviewers prefer, contrary to what we may believe, to make sure you are comfortable and this is a safe question to ask.

But more importantly, they ask this question to determine your level of interest in the job because as a test analyst your biggest asset is your ability to think critically and have a sharp eye for detail . And neither of these traits will reflect from your work if you don’t enjoy the work you do.

Now that we’ve established why you may come across this question, it is now time to contemplate over how you’ll answer it. You need to be honest. Your answer must show your love and enthusiasm for software testing. I would suggest you narrate an anecdote that pushed you towards this field. And as long as your answer reiterates that becoming a testing analyst was your true calling, you’re good!

02. What Is Your Experience With The Company’s Projects?

This is effectively a question that is judging how badly you want to work with this certain company as well as your expertise in their area of operations. Since, companies prefer hiring people who they’re a first priority for, it’s integral for your research on the company and its projects to be very thorough.  This will make you come across as an asset rather than a potential candidate.

Also, your work experiences will come in handy because they will elevate your value by showing that not only are you interested in pursuing data analysis in the future but you also enjoy it. This sort of consistency in a candidate works as a positive signal to the company. Thus, make sure you have a spreadsheet with data about the projects you’ve worked on. This leaves a great impression on the interviewer as you come across as an organised and methodical worker.

03. Can You Discuss Your Previous Experience Working With Others?

This is your window to prove that you can work well in a team. It is a quality truly valued by companies and it would be in your advantage to relate a situation where you participated maturely within a group, any leadership position you took or how you collectively as a group tackled a certain problem.

Make sure you’re not making yourself sound dominating towards the rest of the group. Instead, show how you’re a team player. You can also talk about how much fun you had in your experience, what you learnt from your fellow team members and how you grew from working with them. Finally, express your hope and excitement at the prospect of getting a similar opportunity in the future.


04. Can You Talk About Your Typical Testing Approach

To tackle this sort of question, you must have a strong grip on your basic testing knowledge. It would help to know the various kinds of testing approaches available and how each approach differs from in the other and thus, makes one suitable over the other in different situations.

You must also be aware of the importance of each kind of testing methodology. Moreover, you should be able to pick the one you’re most comfortable using, as well as why you prefer it over the others. It would strengthen your case if you can provide relevant examples or work experience to prove your familiarity with the subject at hand.

Along with this, knowing about the domain and memorizing various data analysis terminologies along with their functions can come in very handy because there will definitely be a question testing your knowledge.

05. Can You Make Up A Fictional Scenario Where You Are Experiencing A Major Problem In Your Work And Devise A Solution To This Problem?

Generally, interviews end with the interviewer presenting a scenario which you will be asked to figure out. You need to understand that as long as your concepts of testing knowledge are clear, you’re in a relatively safe zone. The test here isn’t about your knowledge but about how fast you can think on your feet. So stay calm because if you panic, you’ll cause yourself more harm than good. Therefore, pause for a few minutes and take your time to think.

Don’t rush into it because the answer is never too simple. After you’ve formulated what you have to say, say it with confidence because your outward demeanor speaks volumes about your character especially in stressful situations.

Worse scenario: you’re completely stumped and have no idea. In such situations, it’s essential to remember to not give up without trying. Usually when they see you trying, they tend to help you reach the conclusion. So, don’t lose hope and keep pushing.

FINAL ADVICE

In the end, you need to remember to stride in with confidence, trust your instincts, get enough sleep before your interview and keep your CV handy.

These were my five most important interview questions that you can come across at your data analyst apprenticeship interview. Not only will they help you ace the interview with your knowledge about the subject matter but will allow the interviewers a glance into your personality.

For most interviewers, it is the character of an employee that holds most value. Hence, go through this article for when you prep for that interview- which shouldn’t scare you so much anymore. And let me know if these questions helped you in any way. If you liked this article then don’t forget to like, comment and share! Good Luck!

What is root cause analysis?

Every day people are faced with problems that need immediate resolution for operations to go on. Also, a lot of times people end up dealing with the matter lightly, only for the issue to resurface. However, to entirely solve a problem, its root cause must be established, and from then on the right steps can be taken to avoid the matter resurfacing.

Root cause analysis (RCA) is the process followed until the chief reason for a problem is determined and eventually solved, helping you to improve quality. Once the source is found and eliminated, you no longer have to worry about the problems you faced reemerging. 

For example, you might own a laptop, and you are used to it working fine. All of a sudden, the machine may start responding slowly to commands. Upon rebooting it, the first few minutes it might seem to have regained its efficiency, but soon begins lagging again. At this point there might be several problems causing your laptop to malfunction;

  • Some applications might be malfunctioning.
  • You might be having trouble with a hardware component. 
  • Your machine might have caught a virus. 
  • Your drivers might be outdated
  • Your antivirus the program might be outdated

At this moment, all the above are known as causal factors, since you are not yet sure where the exact problem lies. 

Root Cause Analysis Process

RCA can be subdivided into several meticulous steps that lead one to find the exact underlying of the problem. 

Step 1: Identify all the problem’s causal factors

The initial step in root cause analysis is determining all the issues that may have led to the change in performance. With the earlier mentioned laptop, the reason for the slump in performance might be an internal system problem, like a corrupt operating system.

Similarly, you might have accidentally knocked it and distorted the hard disk, causing it to malfunction. At this point, list all the possible factors that might cause the problem until you have exhausted all of them. The more causal factors you have, the more likely you are to get to the root cause.

According to Towards Data Science, it is never wise to assume that the problem might have only happened when you noticed it. Chances are the root cause may have happened days or even weeks before, and you need to trace the chain of events leading to the problem you are facing. 

Step 2: Sort out the factors according to the probability of causing the problem

You now have a list of all the factors that could lead to your misfortune. Since you know that not all of them have the likelihood of causing the trouble you face, rank them in order from the one with the highest possibility to the one with the lowest. Good judgment is needed to narrow down the list efficiently.

With the example of the laptop, lagging can be caused by several factors. A virus in the system, or even an outdated driver software. A virus attacking the computer is a viable reason as viruses insert themselves in the middle of the operating system and start altering system files. You could rule out the possibility of a hardware component causing the issue since you could have already discovered it.

In this stage, you also need to troubleshoot your most potent causal factors until you find the one that solves the problem. For instance, you might try to update all the devices drivers. If the lagging persists, then you know your problem doesn’t lie in the drivers. You can also uninstall some of the programs you recently installed and see if the problem goes away or perseveres.

Step 3: Identify where the causal factors originate

With your list of a possible factors, ranked from highest to lowest capabilities, the next step of action is determining the root cause. To help you do this, you need to determine what factors can lead to the causal factors. You might have accessed an insecure website while browsing, or you may have even installed a new program on your device before your lagging problem commenced.

You also need to determine other effects the problem might be causing besides just making your laptop lag. The diminished performance might mean you do not finish reports or assignments on time and eventually might land in trouble at school or work. Such additional problems are known as correlated results.

Also, the program you last installed might have caused the lagging because it was affected by a virus. The program, in this case, is called a contributing factor.

You can further break down the program problem into smaller bits to better investigate and understand the problem. Maybe it’s not compatible with your laptop. You might also have downloaded it from an untrusted site, and further installed it without scanning for viruses. Work backward, asking yourself a series of “Why” questions until you arrive at the root cause of the problem. 

Step 4: Address The Root Cause

You have worked your way back on the possible causes of the matter and have concluded that your computer’s lagging is as a result of a virus in the system. This might be true because viruses have the tendency to hide and only affect some programs. An outdated antivirus program will be the root cause of the problem in this case. An up-to-date software can search deep in the system and remove already manifested harmful programs, let alone blocking them from entering the system. 

Step 5: Preventing the problem with resurfacing.

Now that you have updated your antivirus program and the problem has been eradicated, it is up to you to ensure the problem does not surface again. You will only achieve that provided your virus definitions are always updated. If you are forgetful, you can set the program to give you reminders every once in a while. 

Conclusion

Root Cause Analysis will always solve the problem from the root itself. In addition to that, it does so in a fast and cost-effective manner. Through this method, you can also find that you create solutions to problems that haven’t even manifested yet, as well as uncover other relationships between problems and their symptoms. Eventually, it also helps you to establish long-lasting solutions to any problem.

Sources:

http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/root-cause-analysis/overview/overview.html

https://www.techopedia.com/definition/30361/root-cause-analysis-rca

https://towardsdatascience.com/4-steps-to-conducting-a-proper-root-cause-analysis-8d11dcce9e47

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_80.htm

https://www.thehealthcompass.org/how-to-guides/how-conduct-root-cause-analysis

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