An Inside Look into the Testing Market

As of June 2015, ISTQB has issued more than 400,000 certificates in over 110 countries worldwide, with a growth rate of about 50,000 certifications per year. As the world’s most successful scheme for certifying software testers, the ISTQB has conducted a survey that looks at software testing practices worldwide. The information is useful for all professionals involved in the testing market, as well as providing valuable data as the ISTQB continues to evolve its syllabi to reflect changing test practices and market demands.

 “With its reach to more than 89 countries and about 3,200 respondents, ISTQB Worldwide Software Testing Practices Report lays the foundation for an open discussion about the most important topics in the software testing community.” ISTQB Marketing Working Group

A few significant findings from the report include:

  1. Budgets assigned to testing are large and keep on growing.

Respondents indicated that typical budgets allocated to software testing range between 11% and 40% with 60% of respondents expecting an increase for next year. The average expected growth rate is around 14%.

  1. Agile based Software Development Lifecycles (SDLCs) are being adopted ahead of traditional ones.

Agile practices are continuing to increase in popularity, which emphasizes the need to have appropriate testing processes and techniques, as well as certification.

  1. Segregation of duties has become a standard practice from an organizational point of view.

In-house test teams are being assigned the responsibility of software testing in almost 80% of cases, where in most cases (84%) the test team does not report to Development, further confirming the adoption of “segregation of duties.”

  1. Training and certification of competencies are key factors in improving test skills.

The approaches organizations have taken to improve the competency level of their test teams are encouraging their employees to obtain relevant certifications (51%), providing formal training (46%), and on-the-job training (72%).

  1. Test tools are widely adopted.

Testing tools have become commonplace, in particular for defect tracking, test execution, test automation, test management, performance testing, and test design.

  1. Test automation is a hot topic.

72% of respondents indicated adoption of test automation with 40% of these respondents suggesting that the percentage of automated test cases in use is well beyond 20%. In addition, test automation consulting is the most sought after service from external providers. As such, test automation is the area with the highest improvement potential.

  1. Performance, usability and security tests are gaining traction.

The top three non-functional testing activities that test teams normally perform are performance (63%), usability (56%) and security testing (39%). In the ISTQB product portfolio evolution road-map these areas are among the highest priorities.

  1. Several improvement opportunities are recognized.

With test automation as the hot topic, ISTQB is completing additional certification modules dedicated to test automation for both traditional SDLC and for the Agile context. In addition, the survey indicated there are still significant improvement opportunities in test process, communication, and test techniques, that have been cornerstones of ISTQB syllabi since the certification scheme began.

All information is from the ISTQB Worldwide Software Testing Report 2015-2016. Read the full report here.


About the CSTB: The CSTB (Canadian Software Testing Board) is the Canadian national branch of the ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board). As such, it advocates education and examination as a practical means to excel in the software testing field. The CSTB is one of many national boards participating in the ISTQB. Please visit