My goal for the next few weeks is to take the "99 Things" book and see if I can put my own personal spin on each of them, and make a personal workshop out of each of the suggestions.
Suggestion #35: Read the ISTQB syllabus from start to end - then use it as a map of the box you need to be thinking outside of! - Geekonomicon
Some people are sure they know where this is going to go. I'm hoping I'll surprise you ;).
Just like any question that's related to BBST may be taken with a grain of salt by some because I am directly involved in its focus, direction and delivery, so I should expect that some will take anything I have to say about ISTQB with a grain of salt as well. Isn't there a conflict of interest for me? If I'm negative, won't that be seen as "of course, he stands to benefit of BBST is seen as a better model?"
I'm going to do my best to avoid all that… not because I don't want to have the debate, but because I want to address what I feel is the bigger picture.
Workshop #35: Regardless of affiliation or ideology, aim for evidence-based proof of your skills.
The BBST course materials can be found here . If you have not downloaded or read the ISTQB syllabus, it's here. While I'm at it, take any testing course, book, video, or resource that you want to put to this test. Take my entire blog and everything I have ever suggested as a good or helpful idea. I'm willing to expose it to the same scrutiny.
Read through all of them.
Make sure you understand what they are saying. If you are not sure what they are saying, highlight sections and review with other resources. Compare what sources have to say. Note contradictions or differences in wording.
Do you agree with the elements as presented? If so, apply them. If not, refute with actual practice or data why you disagree with them. All principles are open to being tried and debated. There are no sacred cows.
Regardless of what you feel you know or understand of any of the areas and topics, ask yourself "can I apply this, and does applying this help solve a problem, or help me identify a genuine issue?"
As you try each area, see how long it takes, see the quality of information you collect, and see if the practice makes sense for what you are doing. If it does, use it. If there's a better approach, use that. If an approach doesn't make sense for what you are doing, don't use it.
Regardless of the value or lack of value of whatever approach, school, discipline, association, etc. at the end of the day only one thing matters, and that is demonstrable skills. No certificate of completion or claim of accomplishment matters if, at the end of the process, you are unable to demonstrate actual skills and proficiency in the area of testing you need to.
Let me put it this way… I care very little about what paper you hold at the end of the day. I care a great deal about the skills you can bring to testing problems and helping to find issues and represent customers and stakeholders. Strive to show genuine skill, and be willing and enthusiastic to show that skill. Every thing else is irrelevant.