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Skills are relevant knowledge and capabilities that allow a person or a team to carry out their critical tasks.


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Articles

Rex Black was asked recently be a client to write a brief article regarding why to become a Software Tester. The target audience was high school students. RBCS is committed to "spreading the word" about testing and we all  enjoy the opportunity to encourage future testers.

Talking to high school students about testing requires that we communicate on their level and in a way that might intrigue them. As any parent or educator knows, this is not always an easy task. Read on to see how Rex Black man gages just that.

I bet this week you used more software than you even know. Did you use a smart phone? Did you ride in a car? Did you play a video game? Did you send an e-mail on your tablet or PC? Did you fly on an airplane? Did you go SCUBA diving? Did you go from one floor to another in an elevator while at the mall? Every one of these activities involves using software. In fact, most of the software used in those activities are more complex and sophisticated than the software used in the Apollo moon mission, and often even more so than the software used by the Space Shuttle.

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An ISTQB certification is a nice thing to have. It decorates your office. It tells your co-workers that you have pursued education and have achieved a level of knowledge in testing. At the Advanced level, it shows that you have selected an area of specialization and have demonstrated your knowledge. At the Expert level, it provides evidence that you have set yourself apart from others-that you have acquired and demonstrated expertise in a particular area. But, are you really using your knowledge and expertise? Let’s look at how the benefits of the certification can be used in your regular job and your career.

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If you’re a professional tester, test manager, quality assurance staff member, or programmer responsible for testing your own code, you have already discovered that, far from being trivial and straightforward, testing is hard. There’s a lot to know. Unfortunately, most practitioners tend to carry out testing as if it were 1978, not 2008. Common practices lag best practices by around 30 years. ISTQB certification is about raising common practices to the level of best practices. 

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We asked some clients, associates, and colleagues what some of their top New Year’s resolutions were. While we can’t share them all, you won’t be surprised to find one of the top “to dos” for 2008 is to find practical ways to improve testing. So, if you’re like most testers, you are time constrained and need to make improvements quickly that show fast results. Here I present three practical ideas which you can put into action in just two weeks, which will make a noticeable difference to get your testing year started off right. 

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Being a Good Tester

By Rex Black

  • One development manager once called testers “depraved minds..usefully employed”
  • So, are we devils or angels?
  • Alternative viewpoints on testers
    • We find bugs and tactfully point them out.
    • We provide essential insight to manage quality risks
    • We advocate the customer’s experience of quality
    • Rex Black Consulting Services motto: “We help our clients make better software and hardware by breaking it for them.”
    • James Bach: “We light the way….The testing process focuses light where it’s needed to help developers and management know where they are, where they ought to go, and when they have arrived.”

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Agile Software Development

By Gerry Coleman, edited by Rex Black

As the demand for new technological products grows apace, many companies have adopted Agile methodologies for their software development activity.

The demands on a tester working on projects using Agile methodologies are different to those faced on a traditional software project. Testers on Agile projects, in addition to excellent testing skills, must be able to communicate effectively, interact and collaborate constantly with colleagues, liaise closely with business representatives and work as part of a whole-team responding to early and frequent customer feedback.

To work as part of an Agile software team, testers must first understand the principles and values underpinning the Agile development approach. This section looks at the essential components of Agile software development, explains the advantages of the whole-team approach used in Agile projects and demonstrates the benefits of receiving early and frequent customer feedback.

An excerpt from Agile Testing edited by Rex Black due to be published by BCS Learning & Development in Spring 2017 (subject to change). Section 1.1 by Gerry Coleman. All material is provisional and may be subject to change.

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Project Retrospective

By Rex Black

An excerpt from The Expert Test Manager: Guide to the ISTQB Expert Level Certification book by Rex Black, Jim Rommens and Leo Van Der Aalst due to be published by Rocky Nook. All material is provisional and may be subject to change
 
As a colleague told me once, a good motto for software teams is: "Make interesting new mistakes." His explanation was, since you are human, you'll make mistakes. But you should make interesting ones, ones you can learn from, and you should only make a mistake once.  How do you ensure that you make only interesting new mistakes? By learning from each mistake that you make. How to you learn from each mistake? In this short article, you'll read about a proven technique for learning from mistakes, retrospectives. Useful in both Agile and traditional lifecycles, this simple technique can make you and your colleagues a process improvement machine!
 

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Seven Steps to Reducing Software Security Risks

By Rex Black, President, RBCS, Inc.

If you are a software tester, programmer, or manager, you probably know that developing secure software is no longer simply desirable—it’s completely essential.  

Some might assume that most security problems arise from the operating system or networking layers, well below the application code they are working on.  However, figures for Web-based applications show that over three-quarters of security exploits arose from applications. 

So, you know you need secure code, but how to get there? What are your security risks?  What security failures and bugs do you have?  What do these security risks, failures, and bugs mean?  How can you reduce security risk in a way that doesn’t create new problems?  How do you monitor my progress over time?  This article will outline seven steps that will allow you to answer these and other questions as you improve your software’s security.

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Webinars

Developing a Test Team

Recorded October 1, 2015

Leading a Test Team

Recorded March 26, 2015

In Praise of Specialization

Recorded August 27, 2014

Testers of 2015 and Beyond

Recorded March 13, 2014

Why Testing as a Career

Recorded November 5, 2013

Hiring Great Testers

Recorded November 10, 2010

Test Organization Options

Recorded July 1, 2010

RBCS Videos: Career Day

Recorded November 9, 2009

The ISTQB Advanced Syllabus

Recorded August 6, 2009

Ten Worst Things for Testing

Recorded June 9, 2009

Podcast Episodes

One Key Idea: Pairwise Testing Using ACTS 2/16/17


Length: 0h 38m 45s

If you’ve been testing for any length of time, you know that the number of possible test cases is enormous if you try to test all possible combinations of inputs, configuration values, types of data, and so forth. It’s like the mythical monster, the many-headed Hydra, which would sprout two or more new heads for each head that was cut off. Two simple approaches to dealing with combinatorial explosions such as this are equivalence partitioning and boundary value analysis, but those techniques don’t check for interactions between factors. A reasonable, manageable way to test combinations is called pairwise testing, but to do it you’ll need a tool.  In this inaugural One Key Idea session, Rex will demonstrate the use of a free tool, ACTS, built by the US NIST and available for download worldwide. We can’t promise to turn you into Hercules, but you will definitely walk away able to slay the combinatorial Hydra.

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Webinar: One Key Idea: Decision Tables 6/26/17


Length: 0h 19m 51s

In our inaugural One Key Idea session, we looked at how use pairwise testing to examine combinations of inputs, configuration values, types of data, and the like. This is a great technique when the interaction between these factors is unpredictable. However, in some cases, specific business rules govern these interactions. How can we model these business rules and use that model to develop a reasonable set of tests? Simple: decision tables. In this One Key Idea session, Rex will explain the basics of this fundamental technique.  In twenty minutes or less, you’ll learn how to create and use these straightforward, table-based representations of business logic in your daily work.

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For nearly ten years, RBCS has run a highly successful free webinar series.  In 2018, we’re adding the Two Points of View at Two series to our monthly webinar rotation. In each of these sessions, Rex Black will talk with another software luminary about topics of mutual interest, where the two have some different views, and then Rex opens the floor to questions. 

In this inaugural session, Rex is happy to welcome Maaret Pyhäjärvi .  Maaret’s bio describes her as feedback fairy with a day job at F-Secure, where they call her a Lead Quality Engineer. She identifies as empirical technologist, tester and programmer, catalyst for improvement, author and speaker, and community facilitator and conference organizer. You can catch her latest thoughts on her blog at http://visible-quality.blogspot.fi

In this session, Rex and Maaret will discuss tester-developer collaboration and the relationships between testers and developers.  How to approach developers for collaboration? How do testers-developers ratios affect relationships? What about people who move between tester and developer roles? Join Rex and Maaret to hear their thoughts and ask your questions.

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Hiring and managing distributed, international test teams

Phil Lew, President of XBOSoft, an international software testing firm, joins Rex Black to discuss the critical topics of hiring and managing teams of testers who work around the world.  How do distance, culture, and language create challenges, and how have Phil and Rex dealt with those challenges in the past?  You won’t want to miss Phil and Rex’s points of view on these important topics.

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One Key Idea: Understanding the ISTQB Career Path


Length: 0h 31m 57s

The ISTQB provides extensive support for the test professional’s career path. There are so many options, in fact, that some people get confused and have questions.  Well, in this One Key Idea session, Rex is here to make the career path clear and answer your questions.  In twenty minutes or less, you’ll understand how the ISTQB career path can support your progress throughout your professional testing life.

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Two Case Studies in Non-GUI Test Automation


Length: 0h 56m 31s

All too often, people believe that they have to run all their system tests through the GUI, and that includes automated tests.  However, it is possible to run automated system tests through a variety of interfaces, such as command lines, APIs, data layers, network services, and more. In this webinar, Rex will give two such examples of sophisticated automated system test platforms capable of quickly running thousands of tests with very low false positive rates, flaky test rates, and test maintenance rates. One tested a data layer interface, the other a network services interface.  Each used a flexible and maintainable keyword driven architecture.  Come ready to open your mind to new ways of automating system testing, and leave with ideas you can apply to automating your tests away from the GUI.

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Training

ISTQB Foundation Level Extension Agile Tester

This course provides testers and test managers with an understanding of the fundamentals of testing on agile projects. This hands-on course covers the major agile testing techniques via a virtual classroom and assigned exercises. This course was accredited by the ASTQB July 2014. The course follows the ISTQB Foundation Level Extension Agile Tester Syllabus 2014.

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ISTQB Foundation Level Training

This course provides testers, developers, test engineers, test analysts, SDETs/SETs, DevQAers, DevTesters, and test managers with the essential ideas, processes, tools, and skills they need to apply fundamental testing best practices. This hands-on course covers the major test techniques with lecture and exercises. This course follows the ISTQB Foundation Level Syllabus 2018.

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ISTQB Advanced Test Manager Training

This course provides test managers with advanced skills in test estimation, test planning, test monitoring, and test control. Attendees will learn how to define the overall testing goals and strategy for the systems being tested. They will gain hands-on experience in planning, scheduling, and tracking these tasks. Accredited by ASTQB December 2012.

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ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst Training

This course provides test engineers with advanced skills in test analysis, design, and execution. This hands-on course provides test engineers with the ability to define and carry out the tasks required to put the test strategy into action. Accredited by ASTQB December 2012.

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ISTQB Advanced Technical Test Analyst Training

The third of the ISTQB Advanced level courses to be created RBCS, Inc., this hands-on course provides technical test analysts with the ability to define and carry out the tasks required to fulfill the test strategy in terms of technical requirements. Accredited by ASTQB January 2013.

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Managing the Testing Process

This course will give attendees the tools they need to succeed as test managers from ways to measure and manage the skills testers need, to hiring, motivating and educating testers. The course also covers all the essential tools, techniques and critical processes that will help you manage and develop high-quality test systems that improve over time.

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ASTQB Foundation Business Analyst

This course is based off both the IIBA®(International Institute of Business Analysts) and IREB (International Requirements Engineering Board) bodies of knowledge. This course is an excellent preparation course for the IIBA®, IREB and the IQBBA (International Qualification Board for Business Analysis) certifications. In three days we will teach you to be effective in your tasks, how to work within the development methodology that has been implemented, and how to save your team time and money. 

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ISTQB Virtual Foundation Level Extension Agile Tester

This course provides testers and test managers with an understanding of the fundamentals of testing on agile projects. This hands-on course covers the major agile testing techniques via a virtual classroom and assigned exercises. This course was accredited by the ASTQB July 2014. The course follows the ISTQB Foundation Level Extension Agile Tester Syllabus 2014.

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ISTQB Virtual Test Engineering Foundation Level Boot Camp

Need to prepare for the ISTQB Foundation exam quickly, but don't have time or money for a live course? This Boot Camp combines a two day virtual classroom immersion in the Foundation syllabus with two weeks of our world-recognized, self-paced, ASTQB-accredited e-learning. In order to support our Green Initiative, this course is completely electronic unless the consumer opts to purchase hard copies. This boot camp follows the ISTQB Foundation Level Syllabus 2018.

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ISTQB Virtual Advanced Test Manager Boot Camp

Need to prepare for the ISTQB Advanced Level Test Manager exam quickly, but don't have time or money for a live course? This Boot Camp combines a two day virtual classroom immersion in the Advanced syllabus with two weeks of our world-recognized, self-paced, ASTQB-accredited e-learning. The course includes option to purchase your choice of hard copy or e-book (ePub format or Amazon Kindle format) versions of the supplemental textbook, "Advanced Software Testing-Vol.2: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Test Manager". 

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ISTQB Virtual Advanced Test Analyst Boot Camp

Need to prepare for the ISTQB Advanced Level Test Analyst exam quickly, but don't have time or money for a live course? This Boot Camp combines a two day virtual classroom immersion in the Advanced syllabus with two weeks of our world-recognized, self-paced, ASTQB-accredited e-learning. 

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ISTQB Certified Tester Advanced Level E-learning – FULL

Achieve the ultimate ISTQB Advanced Level Certification, the ISTQB Advanced Level Certified Tester – Full. After successful completion of the Advanced Level Test Analyst, the Advanced Level Test Manager and the Advanced Level Technical Test Analyst exam, individuals receive the ISTQB Advanced Level Certified Tester – Full certification. An Advanced Level exam voucher for each Advanced Level exam is included (3 vouchers). All 3 courses are accredited with the ASTQB for ISTQB Advanced Level Syllabi 2012.

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ISTQB Certified Tester Advanced Test Analyst E-Learning

This course provides test engineers with advanced skills in test analysis, design, and execution. This hands-on course provides test engineers with the ability to define and carry out the tasks required to put the test strategy into action. Course module included for compatibility with the 2012 Syllabus.

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ISTQB Certified Tester Advanced Test Manager E-Learning

This course provides test managers with advanced skills in test estimation, test planning, test monitoring, and test control. Accredited by ASTQB January 2014. 

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ISTQB Test Engineering Foundation Level E-Learning

New and improved with more information than ever before but more affordable!  In order to support our Green Initiative, this course is completely electronic unless the consumer opts to purchase hard copies. Re-accredited by ASTQB June 2010. This course follows the ISTQB Foundation Level Syllabus 2011. 

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ISTQB Test Engineering Foundation Level E-learning in Chinese

ISTQB测试工程师初级培训电子课程 Free voucher for electronic exam with purchase! New and improved with more information than ever before but more affordable! In order to support our Green Initiative, this course is completely electronic unless the consumer opts to purchase hard copies. 买即送电子考试代金券!更新、更好、内容更多,价格更实惠!支持绿色环保倡议,本课程全部内容为电子版,除非消费者自选纸质教材。 Accredited by CSTQB. 已获CSTQB认可。 

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Managing the Testing Process E-Learning

This course will give attendees the tools they need to succeed as test managers from ways to measure and manage the skills testers need, to hiring, motivating and educating testers. The course also covers all the essential tools, techniques and critical processes that will help you manage and develop high-quality test systems that improve over time.

View details →

ASTQB Foundation Business Analyst E-learning

This course is based on both the IIBA® (International Institute of Business Analysts) and IREB (International Requirements Engineering Board) bodies of knowledge and is an excellent preparation course for the IIBA®, IREB, and the IQBBA (International Qualification Board for Business Analysis) certification exams. It will teach you to be effective in your tasks, how to work within the development methodology that has been implemented, and how to save your team time and money. In order to support our Green Initiative, this course is completely electronic unless the consumer opts to purchase hard copies.

View details →

ISTQB Virtual Advanced Technical Test Analyst Training

The third of the ISTQB Advanced level courses to be created RBCS, Inc., this hands-on course provides technical test analysts with the ability to define and carry out the tasks required to fulfill the test strategy in terms of technical requirements. Accredited by ASTQB January 2013.

View details →

ISTQB Virtual Test Engineering Foundation Level Training

This course provides testers, developers, test engineers, test analysts, SDETs/SETs, DevQAers, DevTesters, and test managers with the essential ideas, processes, tools, and skills they need to apply fundamental testing best practices. This hands-on course covers the major test techniques with lecture and exercises. This course follows the  ISTQB Foundation Level Syllabus 2018.

View details →

ISTQB Virtual Advanced Test Automation Engineer Boot Camp

The Advanced Test Automation Engineer Boot Camp, created by Rex Black, past President of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB), past President of the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB) and co-author of a number of International Software Testing Qualifications Board syllabi, is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification in a short timeframe with time and money constraints.

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Virtual Foundation Business Analyst Boot Camp

The Foundation Business Analyst Boot Camp, created by Rex Black, past President of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB), past President of the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB) and co-author of a number of International Software Testing Qualifications Board syllabi, is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification in a short timeframe with time and money constraints.

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ASTQB Virtual Foundation Business Analyst Training

This course explores not just why the requirements matter, but how to gather the right requirements, document them effectively and ensure that they are properly implemented. It explores the roles of the requirements engineer and business analyst both in ferreting out the requirements and interacting with the project team to ensure the customer gets the product they want and need. In this course you will learn effective techniques to select the right people from whom you will elicit the requirements. You will learn to document and track these requirements so nothing gets missed. You will learn which team members you must interact with at which stage in the project, and you will learn to track the requirements to completion. Rather than looking at the requirements gathering as the first step in the lifecycle, we look at the requirements throughout the lifecycle as a driving force to implementing the best product possible.

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Selenium Tester Foundation Training

The Selenium Foundation is a practical training course aimed at test professionals who desire a basic understanding of Selenium WebDriver for creating web application tests.  Participants will learn about factors to consider when deciding to automate testing as well as specific techniques for navigation, interacting with GUI elements, logging, reporting, and more.  Upon the successful completion of the course, a participant will be able to create and run Selenium WebDriver tests without supervision.

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Selenium Tester Foundation Training - Private

The Selenium Foundation is a practical training course aimed at test professionals who desire a basic understanding of Selenium WebDriver for creating web application tests.  Participants will learn about factors to consider when deciding to automate testing as well as specific techniques for navigation, interacting with GUI elements, logging, reporting, and more.  Upon the successful completion of the course, a participant will be able to create and run Selenium WebDriver tests without supervision.

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Virtual Selenium Tester Foundation Training

The Selenium Foundation is a practical training course aimed at test professionals who desire a basic understanding of Selenium WebDriver for creating web application tests.  Participants will learn about factors to consider when deciding to automate testing as well as specific techniques for navigation, interacting with GUI elements, logging, reporting, and more.  Upon the successful completion of the course, a participant will be able to create and run Selenium WebDriver tests without supervision.

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