15 Software Testing Books: ISTQB Certifications

Software Testing Books
ISTQB

15 Software Testing Books: ISTQB Certifications

Today, you can choose from a wide variety of software testing books available to read. Some books are practical, and others are more theoretical or both. If you’re wondering which books can help you prepare for the ISTQB exams, you’ve come to the right place. A Software Tester selects 15 software testing books that could be useful for various ISTQB certification exams.

How to select a proper book for the ISTQB exam?

Before selecting which book to study for an ISTQB exam, it is essential to check several factors, such as:

  • Is the book compliant with the ISTQB standards and covering topics according to the syllabus document? Authors commonly state on the book cover or description whether the book complies with the ISTQB syllabus.
  • When and which major updates appear on the certification syllabus? Each ISTQB certification has a separate syllabus document, free to download from the istqb.org website. The syllabus document can have significant changes during its lifetime. You can find those changes at the beginning of the document in the table under the revision history.
  • Is the book fully compliant after the latest ISTQB syllabus changes? It is advisable to compare the book’s publication date and certification syllabus update date. Some syllabus updates are minor, and there is no need for a new book edition. However, some syllabus updates are enormous and require adding new topics to the new book edition. That’s why it is essential to double-check the compatibility.
  • Are the author (s) industry experts in software testing? Usually, authors describe their experiences in the book, and you can read about them without even buying a book. Many books and guides claim they could help with ISTQB exams, but be careful and verify credentials.

Foundation-level books

Preparing for the ISTQB CTFL exam can be confusing, with many books available. It may be challenging to choose which book to read. A software tester is suggesting three books to pay attention to:

  • Morgan, P., Samaroo, A., Williams, P., and Thompson, G. (2019). Software Testing Foundation: An ISTQB-BCS Certified Tester Foundation guide – 4th edition. BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (Publisher)
  • Van Veenendaal, E., Black, R., and Graham, D. (2019) Foundations of Software Testing: ISTQB Certification. Cengage Learning EMEA (Publisher)
  • Thompson, G., Morgan, P., Samaroo, A., Kurowski, J., Williams, P., and Salmon, M., Edited by Weymouth, P. (2024) Software Testing: An ISTQB-BCS Certified Tester Foundation Level guide (CTFL v4.0) – Fifth edition. BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (Publisher)

For example, let’s take two popular testing books:

  • Software Testing Foundation: An ISTQB-BCS Certified Tester Foundation guide – 4th edition
  • Foundations of Software Testing: ISTQB Certification

In the first book’s title, you can see that it is the 4th edition. The publication date is July 26, 2019. The second book does not mention any edition in the title. Still, in the description, you could find information that it is also the fourth edition. The publication date is July 19, 2019. These books cover the basics of software testing for testers in a practical and hands-on way. The content is very similar, but the examples are different. The authors of both books are experts in the software testing industry.

Further, both books follow the 2018 ISTQB foundation syllabus and are perfect for preparing for the CTFL v3.1 exam. However, such books do not comply with the latest 2023 ISTQB CTFL v4.0 syllabus. It means that people preparing with those books for the CTFL v4.0 exam will miss important information on Agile, DevOps, CI/CD, etc. Another post explains the key differences between the CTFL v3.1 (2018) and CTFL v4.0 (2023) syllabi.

The good news is that BCS (British Computer Society) plans to release a fifth edition on February 14, 2024, which will comply with CTFL v4.0. The book title is Software Testing: An ISTQB-BCS Certified Tester Foundation Level Guide (CTFL v4.0) – Fifth edition. It is available to order from the BCS bookshop. So, suppose you are preparing for an exam according to CTFL v4.0, and it is not enough to prepare just from the syllabus document. In that case, you can wait for an updated book or take an accredited course for CTFL v4.0.

Agile book

Among the several books on Agile Testing, there’s one that is perfect for ISTQB Agile tester exam preparation:

  • Black, R., Walsh, M., Coleman, G., Cornanguer, B., Forgacs, I., Kakkonen, K., and Sabak, J. (2017) Agile Testing Foundations: An ISTQB Foundation Level Agile Tester guide. BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (Publisher)
Agile Testing Foundations: An ISTQB Foundation Level Agile Tester guide.

According to recent 2023 statistics, even 86% of software teams use Agile methodologies. Because of that, software testers need to know the best ways to handle testing in such an environment. This book covers the basics of Agile principles, methods, techniques, and tools in the software testing context. The book complies with the ISTQB CTFL-AT (Certified Tester Foundation Level – Agile Tester) syllabus. The publishers released the book on July 7, 2017; the latest Agile Tester syllabus update happened on September 30, 2014.

Advanced-level books

For advanced-level exams, there are four books compliant with ISTQB:

  • Black, R. (2014) Advanced Software Testing – Vol. 2, 2nd Edition: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Test Manager 2nd Edition. Rocky Nook (Publisher)
  • Newbould, C. (2022) Software Testing Advanced Test Manager Guide for ISTQB Exam certification. AiFlex (Publisher)
  • Black, R. (2016) Advanced Software Testing – Vol. 1, 2nd Edition: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Test Analyst. Rocky Nook (Publisher)
  • Mitchell, Jamie L., and Black, R. (2015) Advanced Software Testing – Vol. 3, 2nd Edition: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Technical Test Analyst. Rocky Nook (Publisher)
Advanced Software Testing – Vol. 2, 2nd Edition: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Test Manager 

This guidebook will help you prepare for the ISTQB Advanced Test Manager (CTAL-TM) exam. Thus, the book complies with the ISTQB Test Manager Advanced Level syllabus v2. The fundamental concepts in the book are still relevant to test managers, even though it has been almost ten years since its release. The publishers released the book on September 12, 2014, and the latest update of the Advanced Test Manager syllabus appeared on October 12, 2012. This book is a must-read for any test manager, even those not aiming for testing certifications.

Software Testing Advanced Test Manager Guide for ISTQB Exam Certification

This book is a comprehensive and complementary guide for preparing for the CTAL-TM exam. It follows the ISTQB Test Manager Advanced Level syllabus v2. From my experience, this book is a massive help in studying for an exam. The book provided many practical exercises, sample questions, and detailed explanations.

Advanced Software Testing – Vol. 1, 2nd Edition: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Test Analyst

If you are interested in enhancing your skills in test analysis, design, and execution, then this book is the perfect resource for you. The content has practical and hands-on examples, including advanced test design techniques. You can use this book to prepare for the ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst exam (CTAL-TA). The book’s publication date was in 2016. However, ISTQB updated the syllabus in 2019. It means some of the material may not be up-to-date.

Advanced Software Testing – Vol. 3, 2nd Edition: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Technical Test Analyst

The primary audience for this book is technical test analysts who want to learn more about technical testing topics. This book is a valuable resource for those preparing for the ISTQB Advanced Technical Test Analyst exam (CTAL-TTA). The publisher released the book in 2015, but ISTQB updated the latest syllabus in 2021. Some of the material in the book may also not be up-to-date.

Expert-level books

For expert-level exams, there are two books compliant with ISTQB:

  • Black, R., Rommens, James L., and Van Der Aalst, L. (2017) The Expert Test Manager: Guide to the ISTQB Expert Level Certification. Rocky Nook (Publisher)
  • Bath, G., and Van Veenendaal, E. (2013) Improving the Test Process: Implementing Improvement and Change – A Study Guide for the ISTQB Expert Level Module. Rocky Nook (Publisher)
The Expert Test Manager: Guide to the ISTQB Expert Level Certification

This book covers the ISTQB Expert Level Test Manager syllabus. It is a comprehensive guide for experienced test managers. Even if you are not an experienced test manager and have no intention of taking an exam, this book can still be very beneficial. While preparing for the CTEL-TM-MTT exam, I found this book extremely useful, and it significantly affected my success in the exam. The book presents content for all 3 CTEL-TM exams (CTEL-TM-MTT, CTEL-TM-OTM and CTEL-TM-SM).

Improving the Test Process: Implementing Improvement and Change – A Study Guide for the ISTQB Expert Level Module

This book is a helpful guide for those wanting to improve test processes or prepare for the ISTQB Expert Level exam. In this book, you will find complete coverage of the CTEL-ITP syllabus for the Improving the Test Process module of the ISTQB Expert Level exams. The book provides content for 2 CTEL-ITP exams (CTEL-ITP-ATP and CTEL-ITP-ITPI). The book is over ten years old but is still one of the best guides to improve the test process.

Specialist-level books

For specialist-level exams, we will briefly review five books that comply with ISTQB:

  • Kramer, A. and Legeard, B. (2016) Model-based Testing Essentials – Guide to the ISTQB Certified Model-Based Tester: Foundation Level. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • Yorkston, K. (2021) Performance Testing: An ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level Specialist Certification Review. Apress (Publisher)
  • Black, R. (2018) Mobile Testing: An ASTQB-BCS Foundation guide. BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (Publisher)
  • Baumgartner, M., Steirer, T., Wendland, M-F., Gwihs, S., Hartner, J., and Seidl, R. (2022) Test Automation Fundamentals: A Study Guide for the Certified Test Automation Engineer Exam. Rocky Nook (Publisher)
  • L. Pollner, A., Fewster, M., and Schieferdecker, I. (2020) Test Automation Engineer: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Level Certification. Rocky Nook (Publisher)
Model-Based Testing Essentials – Guide to the ISTQB Certified Model-Based Tester

The ISTQB glossary defines MBT (Model-Based Testing) as “Testing based on or involving models.” It is a unique approach to test software. Various software testing books mentioned MBT as an approach even several decades ago. Still, the MBT in the ISTQB certification scheme appeared just in 2015. From personal experience, when I needed to know more about this technique and apply it in daily work, I looked for answers and found this book. It is an excellent guide explaining all essential MTB topics. If you are also interested in passing the ISTQB Foundation Level Model-Based Tester Certification (CT-MBT), this book is a perfect choice.

Performance Testing: An ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level Specialist Certification Review

The success of any software and application depends highly on its performance. However, mastering performance testing is a complex and challenging task that requires time and effort. Continuous education is essential for testers who want to become proficient in performance testing. This book is a combination of theory and practice with real-world examples. The book covers fundamental principles of performance testing, different types, and testing activities. It explains key performance metrics and how to analyze the measurements. Also, it describes various tools in the performance context. It is an excellent guide for conducting performance testing in a structured way. This book is also helpful for studying for the ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level Performance Testing exam (CT-PT).

Mobile Testing: An ASTQB-BCS Foundation guide

The Chartered Institute of IT, BCS, published this book on August 22, 2018. It is based on the ASTQB (American Software Testing Qualifications Board) Mobile Tester syllabus, where the last update happened on September 15, 2015. The book covers quality characteristics for mobile testing, environments, tools, techniques, and more. If you are involved in the mobile testing industry and have no clue where to start, this book is a perfect starting point.

However, the ISTQB has a separate Mobile Application Testing Foundation Level syllabus. The International Software Quality Institute (iSQI) provided this document. ISTQB released the syllabus in 2018 and updated it on May 3, 2019.

Even the syllabus documents are the primary source to prepare for exams. Still, books are more descriptive and complementary to the syllabus. Just keep in mind that both mobile testing syllabi documents have different contents. Also, the exams are different: Mobile testing (ASTQB) and Mobile Application Testing (ISTQB CT-MAT). Choosing which syllabus to study is your decision, but learning one syllabus and taking a different exam could be challenging.

Test Automation Fundamentals: A Study Guide for the Certified Test Automation Engineer Exam

Test automation has been a buzzing topic in the tech industry for years and will remain so for the foreseeable future. People are not just interested in mastering test automation but are also showing a keen interest in becoming certified, and this trend is growing. This book explains how to prepare for test automation and design, develop, and verify automation solutions. It also covers risks and contingencies, metrics and reporting, and continuous improvements. The book is ISTQB compliant for the certification of CT-TAE (Certified Tester Test Automation Engineer). The last update by ISTQB on the syllabus was on October 21, 2016. The publishers released this guidebook on October 11, 2021.

Test Automation Engineer: Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Level Certification

You can find plenty of outstanding books on test automation, but only a few follow the ISTQB CT-TAE syllabus. This guidebook is one of the several books that comply with the syllabus and can be a complementary guide to preparing for the exam.

CONCLUSION

Books are not mandatory to prepare for ISTQB exams but are a great asset to your studies. It is also valuable for testing skills enhancement and staying updated in software testing. Because software development develops rapidly, ISTQB constantly reviews and updates the ISTQB certification scheme. Authors have to update their books with new editions to comply with the latest syllabus versions. If you have any other books to recommend that could help testers prepare for ISTQB exams, please get in touch with us, and we will add them here to the list.