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Resources for “Testing”

Articles

Suppose you went to a restaurant for dinner, sat down, and told the waiter, "Bring me dinner and a drink." You didn't provide any further details, though you had something specific in mind. What are the chances that you'll get the dinner and drink you expected? While no one would ever do this in a restaurant, it happens sometimes on projects that involve third parties.

If we have certain expectations and requirements for an engagement with a third party, those should be defined and clearly communicated between the parties. The best practice is to have that definition and communication before the project starts and to put the agreed-upon terms into the contract. If the third party is delivering software, then these requirements should include quality targets, including measurements of those targets. The measurements should be objective and not subject to distortions.

In addition to defining the requirements, the point at which those requirements must be met should be defined. This can be done by defining entry and exit criteria that establish quality gates for deliverables. Because these quality gates will control the start and end of project phases, they should be synchronized with the phases of the project and aligned with project schedule milestones. 

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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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Risk-based Mobile Testing

By Rex Black, President, RBCS, Inc.

Risk-based testing is a long-standing best practice, but can you apply it to mobile testing? Absolutely! In this short article, we’ll review what risk-based testing is, and then explain how it can be applied to testing mobile apps. Risk-based testing will help you focus on what to test, how much, and in what order on your mobile apps, which, given the timescales of mobile app testing, is more critical than ever before.
 
For any realistic-sized system, testing cannot reduce the risk of failure in production to zero, due to the impossibility of exhaustive testing. While testing does reduce the risk of failure in production, most approaches to testing reduce risk in a suboptimal and opaque fashion.

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This is an excerpt from my book, Expert Test Manager, written with James Rommens and Leo van der Aalst. I hope it helps you think more clearly about the test strategies you use.

A test policy contains the mission and objectives of testing along with metrics and goals associated with the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which we achieve those objectives. In short, the policy defines why we test. While it might also include some high-level description of the fundamental test process, in general the test policy does not talk about how we test.

The document that describes how we test is the test strategy. In the test strategy, the test group explains how the test policy will be implemented. This document should be a general description that spans multiple projects. While the test strategy can describe how testing is done for all projects, organizations might choose to have separate documents for various types of projects. For example, an organization might have a sequential lifecycle test strategy, an Agile test strategy, and a maintenance test strategy.

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[The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Mobile Testing: An ASTQB-BCS Foundation Guide, coming out in summer 2018.  This section talks about the important issue of mobile test environments.]

Earlier in this book, I gave the example of my client that gave iPhones to all the sales associates in their stores.  Because of that, they have a fairly homogeneous environment. This is true not only of the client-side, but also the connectivity in the stores (through the in-store Wi-Fi installed by them) and the back-end servers in the stores and in their data centers.

In terms of mobile testing, this homogeneity makes them the exception that proves the rule, as the saying goes.  They don’t have to deal with widespread and unpredictable environmental diversity.  What diversity they do have is due to deliberate decisions. For example, they have to depreciate the iPhones, so over time there came to be multiple generations of iPhones in stores.
 

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What’s New in the ISTQB CTFL 2018 Syllabus?

By Rex Black, interview with iSQI Agustina Gay

The following is a transcript of an interview with Rex Black. Rex is President of RBCS, a worldwide test consulting, training, and expert services company. He is also former President of ISTQB, and most recently served the ISTQB as Project Manager and Technical Editor for the ISTQB® Foundation 2018 syllabus release. The interview was conducted by Agustina Gay. She is a Key Account Manager at iSQI.
Agustina: Rex, thank you for being here. Would you please introduce yourself?
Rex: Yes, I am Rex Black. I am the president of a company called RBCS and we are a training, consulting, and expert services company based in Texas with clients around the world. I’ve been in software engineering since 1983 and RBCS has been around about almost 25 years, since 1994. I’m also the past president of the ISTQB, from 2005 to 2009, and most recently I was involved on the Foundation project. So I have many years involvement with the ISTQB program.
 

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Rex Black about Selenium Tester Foundation

By SQ Magazine interview with Rex Black

Article from SQ Magazine, www.sq-mag.com
Automated testing continues to be a major transformational factor in software development and there is no doubt that there is an urgent, and rising, requirement for QA and test professionals with automation skills.  In particular, Selenium is globally rated as a top priority in the test automation field.
iSQI has introduced the Selenium Tester Foundation certificate into its portfolio in response to significant market demand for Selenium WebDriver skills. The certification is based on a highly practical hands-on training course that will give an immediate return on investment back in the workplace.
Rex Black, President of RBCS and past President of the ISTQB®, supported the development. The SQ mag asked him about the new course and the certification: 

1. Rex, a new star is born: the A4Q Selenium Tester Foundation. Tell us more!
The A4Q Selenium Tester Foundation is an entry-level training and certification program for people who want to learn and use the very popular test automation tool Selenium. The Selenium Tester Foundation syllabus addresses the key fundamental concepts of application GUI test automation using Selenium WebDriver, which in itself is a really valuable resource for the Selenium community. The three-day training course is exceptionally hands-on, which is critical for test automation, since you can really only learn how to do test automation by doing test automation. The exam for the certification allows people to demonstrate mastery of the concepts in the syllabus, thus providing a way for people to prove their mastery of the fundamentals of Selenium test automation. We think this new star is quite a nice star indeed!
 

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Webinars

Podcast Episodes

Let’s suppose you bought a car. Six days later, someone from the dealership let himself into your garage, removed the tires on the car, installed some “updated” tires that actually had holes in them, and then left. In the morning, your car was there in the garage, all sad and undriveable on its flat, flabby tires. That’s clearly unacceptable, in fact even criminal, but we allow the same thing to happen all the time with software. Why? In this webinar, Rex will catalog infamous automated software updates, released without sufficient testing to wreak havoc, or at least inconvenience. He’ll then give a detailed roadmap for reducing your chances of being part of the problem.

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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: Enterprise Challenges of Test Data 5/16/17


Length: 0h 53m 46s

If you are testing a simple mobile app, you may find it relatively easy to find representative test data. However, what if you are testing enterprise scale applications? In the enterprise data center, one hundred or more applications of various sizes, complexity, and criticality co-exist, operating on various data repositories, in some cases shared data repositories. In some cases, disparate data repositories hold related data, and the ability to test integration across applications that access these data sets is critical.  In this keynote speech, Rex Black will talk about the challenges facing his clients as they deal with these testing problems. You’ll go away with a better understanding of the nature of the challenges, as well as ideas on how to handle them, grounded in lessons Rex has learned in over 30 years of software engineering and testing.

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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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One Key Idea: ISTQB Agile Program


Length: 0h 22m 26s

Agile methods have become widespread over the last 20 years, but it’s taken a while for testing to catch up.  However, Agile testing best practices have emerged, and the ISTQB Agile Working Group has taken on the task of capturing those for you.  In this brief webinar, Rex Black, Chair of the ISTQB Agile Working Group, will explain where the program has been, where it is now, and how it is evolving to support Agile testers in their careers. In twenty minutes or less, you’ll learn how the ISTQB Agile syllabi can help you advance your career as an Agile tester.

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Stupid Metrics Tricks and How To Avoid Them


Length: 1h 1m 48s

If you have been in software engineering for a while—or in fact just in the working world in general for a while—you’ve probably seen someone do something stupid with metrics. Such mistakes raise a whole bunch of interesting questions. What are the most common metrics mistakes? Why are they mistakes? Why do people make these mistakes? Are you making these mistakes? Why use metrics at all, when there are so many mistakes? In this talk, Rex will give real-world examples of these mistakes, explain the management and economic theories behind metrics, and help you find ways to implement metrics that aren’t stupid.

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In just a few years, mobile devices and the applications on them have upended the way people use computers. People spend more time than ever on their PCs, but people spend even more time on their mobile devices. Obviously, mobile devices and apps have important differences from their PC counterparts. It’s not just a smaller screen! However, does that mean that all proven best practices for testing and quality go out the window when dealing with mobile apps? In this webinar, Rex will explain what changes, and what doesn’t change, when you move into the mobile world.

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Shift Left and Friends


Length: 1h 0m 28s

Shift left. Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). Continuous deployment. DevOps. What is all this stuff and what does it mean for you as the tester? In this keynote, Rex Black will explain these concepts and their test implications.  He’ll then describe the emerging role of the SDET (Software Development Engineering in Test, also called SET) and what SDETs do.  Yes, being an SDET is about test automation, but it’s about a lot more than that, and Rex will give you some examples of things you can expect to do as an SDET in a shift left world over the coming decade.  Don’t worry. Life as a tester in the SDET reality is gonna be fun and exciting, and Rex will give you some ideas how.

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One Key Idea: Test Automation ROI


Length: 0h 18m 11s

Test automation is all the rage.  Spinning away in Agile lifecycles or playing key roles in DevOps pipelines, automation is supposed to be everywhere, right? However, such widespread automation is a big investment. If you want to obtain management approval for the kind of automation investments all the webinar and conference talking heads are saying you simply must do right now, you better be able to talk automation ROI. In this One Key Idea session, Rex will explain the measurable business benefits of test automation and how to calculate automation ROI.  In twenty minutes or less, you’ll learn how to bridge the gap between automation techno-speak and the managerial bottom-line focus.

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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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One Key Idea: Two Simple, Useful Defect Metrics


Length: 0h 30m 44s

Technical debt is bad.  It’s smart to carefully manage technical debt. Defects are a form of technical debt.  Do you know how to measure how well you are managing defect-related technical debt? In this One Key Idea session, Rex will demonstrate two simple defect metrics, easily extractable from any defect management tool, which can give you useful insights into what’s happening with defect-related technical debt.  In twenty minutes or less, you’ll learn what these metrics can tell you and how you can use them to manage your technical debt better.

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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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The Agile Testing Pyramid is a great metaphor, and it can be very useful when applied properly. However, it can also lead to some serious dysfunctions in organizations that misunderstand, misapply, or misinterpret it.  Are you using the Agile Testing Pyramid properly? Rex will help you answer that question, and help you resolve problems if they exist.  In twenty minutes or less, you’ll learn the rights and wrongs of the Agile Testing Pyramid.

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One Key Idea: The ISTQB Foundation 2018 Syllabus


Length: 0h 21m 58s

As a bonus to our June complimentary webinar, this month we shared with you an interview with Rex about the newly released ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level  2018 Syllabus. Listen to the session and you will learn why the changes were made, what was the process for making the changes and, finally, what are the changes!

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What should testing accomplish and how do we recognize success?  How should we approach testing? What specific activities need to be planned for each release, each project, each iteration?  What risks can affect testing, and how can we manage those risks?  How does lifecycle affect these documents? These are critical questions for testers and test managers, yet often they go unanswered or have answers that aren’t fully thought through.  In this webinar, based on years of experience helping testers and test teams optimize their testing processes, Rex will discuss test policies, strategies and plans.  Join this webinar, illustrated with examples throughout, to learn concepts and ideas that you can apply to your testing processes right away.

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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

Testing Metrics: Virtual Workshop

Some of our favorite engagements involve helping clients implement metrics programs for testing. Facts and measures are the foundation of true understanding, but misuse of metrics is the cause of much confusion. How can we use metrics to manage testing? What metrics can we use to measure the test process? What metrics can we use to measure our progress in testing a project? What do metrics tell us about the quality of the product? In this virtual workshop, Rex will share some things he’s learned about metrics that you can put to work right away. You’ll work on some practical exercises to develop metrics for your testing, and have a chance to discuss those with Rex and with other attendees.

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ISTQB Virtual Expert Test Management Operational Test Manager Boot Camp

The Expert Test Management Operational Test Manager 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 the International Software Testing Qualifications Board Expert Level Syllabus Test Management, is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification in a short timeframe with time and money constraints. 

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ISTQB Virtual Advanced Security Tester Boot Camp

The Advanced Security Tester Boot Camp course, 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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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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ISTQB Virtual Advanced Security Tester Training

This hands-on course provides test engineers with the ability to define and carry out the tasks required to put the strategy into action and is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification. In preparation for the exam, participants will key concepts related to security threats, risks, policies and procedures, and how to address those through testing processes integrated into the software lifecycle. 

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ISTQB Expert Test Management Strategic Test Manager Training

The Expert Test Management Strategic Test Manager course, 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 the International Software Testing Qualifications Board Expert Level Syllabus Test Management, is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification. 

This hands-on course provides test engineers with the ability to define and carry out the tasks required to put the strategy into action and is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification. In preparation for the exam, participants will learn the subject matter behind the test standard and deepen their understanding by working through case studies and exercises. In group exercises, typical review situations are played out and analyzed.

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ISTQB Advanced Security Tester Training

The Advanced Security Tester course, 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 the International Software Testing Qualifications Board Advanced Syllabus, provides test engineers with advanced skills in security test analysis, design, and execution through direct instruction and group exercises. 

This hands-on course provides test engineers with the ability to define and carry out the tasks required to put the strategy into action and is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification. In preparation for the exam, participants will key concepts related to security threats, risks, policies and procedures, and how to address those through testing processes integrated into the software lifecycle.

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ISTQB Advanced Test Automation Engineer Training

The Advanced Test Automation Engineer course provides TAEs (test automation engineers) with advanced skills in defining, initiating, developing, maintaining, and extending test automation solutions. The course was co-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 Jamie Mitchell, who brings over 38 years of testing experience, both hardware and software.  Jamie is a pioneer in the test automation field, having been creating automated testing since 1991. Both Rex and Jamie are co-authors of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board Advanced Syllabus.

This hands-on course provides automated test engineers with the ability to define and carry out the tasks required to put the strategy into action and is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification. In preparation for the exam, participants will learn key concepts related to test automation, factors, tool evaluation and selection, architecture, risks, metrics and procedures, and how to address those through testing processes integrated into the software lifecycle.

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ISTQB Advanced Test Automation Engineer Training - Private

The Advanced Test Automation Engineer course provides TAEs (test automation engineers) with advanced skills in defining, initiating, developing, maintaining, and extending test automation solutions. The course was co-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 Jamie Mitchell, who brings over 38 years of testing experience, both hardware and software.  Jamie is a pioneer in the test automation field, having been creating automated testing since 1991. Both Rex and Jamie are co-authors of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board Advanced Syllabus.

This hands-on course provides automated test engineers with the ability to define and carry out the tasks required to put the strategy into action and is ideal for testers and test teams preparing for certification. In preparation for the exam, participants will learn key concepts related to test automation, factors, tool evaluation and selection, architecture, risks, metrics and procedures, and how to address those through testing processes integrated into the software lifecycle.

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CMG GTB ASTQB Foundation Level Performance Tester

The CMG GTB ASTQB Foundation Level Performance Tester hands-on course provides anyone involved in software testing a chance to broaden their knowledge of performance testing.  If someone has a desire to start a specialist career in performance testing, this course will help them understand the fundamentals and theories behind performance testing, and to prepare for the certification exam. The course was co-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 Jamie Mitchell, who brings over 38 years of testing experience, both hardware and software.  Jamie is a pioneer in the test automation field, having been creating automated testing since 1991. Both Rex and Jamie are co-authors of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board Advanced Syllabus.

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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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