Software Tester

Overview

Software Tester Overview

Software Tester apprentices are taught how to design and prepare test plans and conduct software testing to ensure that software is fit for purpose.They develop a good understanding of the software lifecycle and software development practices.

To achieve their Software Tester apprenticeship, apprentices must:

  • Demonstrate competence against two knowledge modules: Testing Tools and Testing Concepts. These are assessed by examinations set by the British Computer Society and regulated by Ofqual. Apprentices must pass both modules.
  • Submit a portfolio of evidence showing how they have applied the knowledge from these modules to projects and activities in their workplace.
  • Complete their formal End Point Assessment, which comprises: a synoptic project to showcase knowledge and skills from across the apprenticeship; a review of their portfolio of evidence; and a final interview with an independent EPA assessor.

Successful Software Tester apprentices go on into roles such as a Software Tester or a Software Test Analyst.

Technical Competencies

Upon completion of their Software Tester apprenticeship, individuals will be able to:

  • implement software testing procedures on software applications (including desktop, web, mobile, embedded, mainframe) to ensure agreed errors and security issues are identified, recorded, prioritised and corrected before release
  • review software requirements and specifications for software functionality and security, and defines comprehensive tests and conditions
  • design simple test strategies for non-complex projects
  • analyse test requirements and designs and prepares a test plan
  • design and build test cases, test scripts, and test procedures, with expected results
  • develop and collect representative and realistic test data
  • accurately record the outcomes of test activities and maintains accurate test records and reports
  • assess test results against expected results and acceptance criteria and through traceability to requirements
  • present and communicate results effectively using appropriate communication styles and media
  • operate the organisation's software testing tools effectively and follows procedures and techniques correctly
  • comply with relevant legislation and internal/external standards related to software testing and software security
  • advise and support others on testing processes and procedures
  • complete allocated tasks in accordance with the organisation's reporting and quality systems
  • operate within service level agreements
  • conduct a range of different software testing types (including Unit Testing, Integration Testing, Functional and Non- Functional Testing, System Testing, Stress Testing, Performance Testing, Usability Testing, Acceptance Testing, Regression Testing and Exploratory Testing); interpreting and executing sets of moderately complex test scripts using agreed methods and standards

Technical Knowledge and Understanding

Upon completion of their Software Tester apprenticeship, individuals will understand:

  • and can apply the basic concepts of software testing including testing types; test procedures; testing techniques; testing tools and testing terms
  • how to use and apply automated test tools
  • the importance of accuracy and clear documentation of software tests
  • how to use bug tracking tools
  • and can communicate the differences between software testing and verification
  • industry standard software development paradigms and methods (including. Object Oriented, procedural and agile) to conduct testing
  • that software should be secure by design and how to test for security requirements
  • the range and features of software test commonly used (Unit Testing, Integration Testing, Functional and Non-Functional Testing, System Testing, Stress Testing, Performance Testing, Usability Testing, Acceptance Testing, Regression Testing and Exploratory Testing)
  • how to set up and configure testing packages
  • the role of software testing within the wider systems development life cycle
  • the need for conformance to specific standards where appropriate (including data protection, health informatics, safety critical, etc) related to software testing

Underpinning Skills, Attitudes and Behaviours

  • logical and creative thinking skills
  • analytical and problem solving skills
  • ability to work independently and to take responsibility
  • can use own initiative
  • a thorough and organised approach
  • ability to work with a range of internal and external people
  • ability to communicate effectively in a variety of situations
  • maintain productive, professional and secure working environment

Qualifications

Apprentices will achieve one vendor qualification.

Funding

£18,000

Level

This is a level 4 apprenticeship

Professional Recognition

This apprenticeship is recognised for entry onto the register of IT technicians confirming SFIA level 3 professional competence and those completing the apprenticeship are eligible to apply for registration.

Duration

The duration of this Firebrand apprenticeship is 16 months. Because this period involves both training and the final End Point Assessment (some of which must be carried out in the workplace), employers need to ensure the apprentice’s contract covers the full programme duration.

Registration to the Register of IT Technicians (RITTech)

Once apprentices have completed their apprenticeship they are officially recognised by the British Computer Society (BCS) for entry onto the Register of IT Technicians, confirming SFIA level 3 professional competence.

Curriculum

Software Tester curriculum

Firebrand’s apprenticeship programme covers all mandatory knowledge and skills outlined in the apprenticeship standard. Every Firebrand apprentice attends a suite of market-leading training programmes, to cover knowledge required from the apprenticeship standard. This training is then fleshed out through a package of selected online learning, which also allows apprentices to explore any topics of particular interest/importance to them in greater depth.

How are apprentices taught?

Apprentices receive a range of market-leading training as part of their qualification – typically between three and five courses per apprenticeship - giving them fundamental skills at speed.

We'll deliver all the knowledge apprentices need to learn for each knowledge module in the Standard through our Lecture | Lab | Review delivery. Apprentices then attend a Syllabus Review Session to cover the knowledge content covered in the apprenticeship standard.

The information below outlines the training curriculum delivered for each Knowledge Module through Firebrand's residential classroom-based training and online learning modules.


Knowledge Module 1 & 2: Testing Tools & Testing Concepts

Upon completion of Knowledge Module 1 & 2, Software Tester apprentices will:

  • Understand and can apply the basic concepts of software testing including testing types; test procedures; testing techniques; testing tools and testing terms
  • Understand how to use and apply automated test tools
  • Understand the importance of accuracy and clear documentation of software tests
  • Understand how to use bug tracking tools
  • Understand and can communicate the differences between software testing and verification
  • Understand industry standard software development paradigms and methods (including Object Oriented, procedural and agile) to conduct testing
  • Understand that software should be `secure by design’ and how to test for security requirements
  • Understand the range and features of software test commonly used (Unit Testing, Integration Testing, Functional and Non-functional Testing, System Testing, Stress Testing, Performance Testing, Usability Testing, Acceptance Testing, Regression Testing, and Exploratory Testing)
  • Understand how to set up and configure testing packages
  • Understand the role of software testing within the wider systems development life cycle
  • Understand the need for conformance to specific standards where appropriate (including data protection, health informatics, safety critical, etc) related to software testing

Read through the full curriculum for Firebrand's classroom-based training and supporting online learning modules below.

This online session, led by a Subject Matter Expert, will focus on core concepts that apprentices will need to learn to get the most from their next residential training course. It provides practical information and/or study activities to help apprentices gain the prerequisite knowledge needed for the course.

This online session, led by a Subject Matter Expert, will focus on core concepts that apprentices will need to learn to get the most from their next residential training course. It provides practical information and/or study activities to help apprentices gain the prerequisite knowledge needed for the course.

Module 1: Introduction to Programming

Module 2: Object Oriented Programming

Module 3: Application Lifecycle

Module 4: Web Applications

Module 5: Desktop Applications

Module 6: Database

ISTQB Foundation Certificate in Software Testing:

Testing Throughout the Lifecycle

  • Testing Models
  • Testing System Integration, Component and Acceptance
  • Testing Maintenance
  • Testing Non-functional system
  • Testing Functional system

Static Techniques

  • Reviewing and the testing process
  • Benefits and costs of reviews
  • Types of review: Walkthroughs, inspections, technical review, informal review
  • Static analysis

Test Design Techniques

  • Testing Black and White box
  • Testing black box techniques including equivalence partitioning, state transition and boundary value analysis
  • Testing white box techniques including statements and decisions
  • Experienced based techniques
  • Choose test techniques

Management testing

  • Organisation
  • Project testing plan
  • Configuration management
  • Estimation testing: Inclusion in project schedule
  • Monitor and control
  • Track progress and deviations from plan
  • Incident management: Tracking, logging and analysis
  • Risk and testing

Test tools

  • Types of testing tools
  • Testing requirement; Static analysis
  • Testing design
  • Data preparation
  • Replay/capture
  • Test running
  • Test harnesses, simulators and drivers
  • Performance tests
  • Dynamic analysing
  • Debugging
  • Comparison
  • Management testing
  • Coverage measurement
  • Effective use, benefits and risk
  • Introducing tools into an organization

Agile Software Development:

  • Agile Software Development fundamentals
  • Aspects of Agile Approaches

Fundamental Agile Concepts:

  • Testing principles, practices and process
  • Differences between Traditional testing and Agile testing approaches
  • The roles and responsibilities of an Agile Tester

Agile Testing Techniques:

  • Agile Testing methods
  • Assessing Quality risks
  • Tools in Agile products

This extended online seminar provides apprentices with deeper insight into their specialist field, using case studies, real-life industry examples and interactive exercises to broaden apprentices’ experience and skills.

This extended online seminar provides apprentices with deeper insight into their specialist field, using case studies, real-life industry examples and interactive exercises to broaden apprentices’ experience and skills.

  • Test-driven Development: The Big Picture (1h 50minutes)
  • Automated Testing: End to End (3h 15minutes)
  • Software Process Management (3h 43minutes)
  • Secure Software Development (3h 15minutes)
  • Agile Development, Quality and Testing Practices (1h 17minutes)
  • End to End Software Development with Team Foundation Server 2015 (4h 26minutes)
  • DevOps: The Big Picture (1h 33minutes)
  • Implementing DevOps in the Real World (2h 53minutes)
  • Writing Maintainable Unit Tests (6h 15minutes)
  • Advanced Unit Testing (3h 1minute)

Total time: 31 hours 28 minutes

  • Test-driven Development: The Big Picture (1h 50minutes)
  • Automated Testing: End to End (3h 15minutes)
  • Software Process Management (3h 43minutes)
  • Secure Software Development (3h 15minutes)
  • Agile Development, Quality and Testing Practices (1h 17minutes)
  • End to End Software Development with Team Foundation Server 2015 (4h 26minutes)
  • DevOps: The Big Picture (1h 33minutes)
  • Implementing DevOps in the Real World (2h 53minutes)
  • Writing Maintainable Unit Tests (6h 15minutes)
  • Advanced Unit Testing (3h 1minute)

Total time: 31 hours 28 minutes

Prerequisites

Who can enroll on a Software Tester apprenticeship?

Is there an upper age limit for someone that wants to go on an apprenticeship programme?

Individuals can enrol as long as they’re over 16 - there’s no upper age limit. With a desire to learn and a real interest in IT, Firebrand will teach individuals everything else they need to know to succeed.

What's the minimum educational criteria for entry onto Firebrand's apprenticeship programme?

We don't set specific educational criteria - all our programmes are designed to upskill individuals with no prior experience. We only require apprentices to pass the Functional Skills diagnostic prior to enrolling on the programme (see below).

It's up to an employer whether they wish to specify any particular qualifications or experience (such as GCSEs or a relevant lower-level apprenticeship) as part of their application process.

I have someone that I want to put on an apprenticeship but they have no GCSEs in English and Maths. Can they still enrol on an apprenticeship programme?

Individuals can enrol on an apprenticeship without GCSEs. However, they will be required to pass a Level 2 Functional Skills assessment in both English and Maths as part of their apprenticeship.

During enrolment, we'll ask apprentices to take an online test to determine whether they meet Level 2 standards in English and Maths, before they start the programme. As long as they reach this standard, they can begin the programme. Our Functional Skills tutor will work with them to ensure they pass the exams during the first months of their apprenticeship.

My potential apprentice has an IT based degree. Are they eligible?

Possibly. We look at every case individually to see whether an individual's previous learning makes them suitable for an apprenticeship. In most cases, as long as there is clear evidence that an individual requires the skills to do their job and has not received previous training in most of those specified, then they are eligible. Even where an individual has some of the skills required, we may be able to adjust the programme (and the price) so they can get the training they need.

However, as apprenticeships are intended for individuals who need to learn skills from scratch, Firebrand’s digital programmes may not be suitable if candidates have extensive qualifications or work experience that cover the skills to be taught in the programme.

My apprentice doesn't want to learn through residential training. Can we still use Firebrand as a provider?

Not really. Our residential training courses are absolutely fundamental to our apprenticeships - this is when apprentices get the knowledge and skills they need to pass exams that show they've met the requirements of the apprenticeship. The supporting training we offer helps to prepare for these courses, but doesn't deliver the full spectrum of learning.

Over 20 years of residential delivery, we've consistently seen the benefits of professionals being able to acquire an entire skillset - and take their exam - in one out-of-office period. The immersive, no-distractions approach really allows them to focus on their learning, rather than feeling they're being called away from the day job. They take exams with the knowledge still 'fresh' and return to work with all the skills they need to progress.

End Point Assessment

How are Software Tester apprentices assessed?

An End Point Assessment (EPA) is the final step in the apprenticeship journey. Each apprentice is assessed by an independent organisation, who checks the individual can demonstrate all the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by their apprenticeship standard.

What happens during EPA?

Before EPA, apprentices enter a 'Gateway' period, where Firebrand's Learning Mentor will work with the employer, the apprentice and our Quality Team to judge whether the apprentice has fully met all requirements of the standard. After that, they will formally enter the EPA process and complete all the elements for that standard. The full EPA takes around 12 weeks to complete.

EPA elements vary slightly between digital standards, but all include a combination of the following:

Summative Portfolio

Apprentices collect evidence of how they have applied the knowledge, skills and behaviours learned during training as part of their job. This evidence is uploaded to their OneFile account, and monitored by their Learning Mentor and the Quality Team to ensure it is comprehensive and relevant. This evidence - the Summative Portfolio - is submitted to demonstrate their professional development over time. Summative Portfolio evidence can be written, image-based, audio or video – whatever medium helps apprentices get the point across best. Every apprentice's Summative Portfolio will include a series of projects, longer-form pieces of evidence showing how multiple skills have been used on a particular piece of work. 

Synoptic Project

This is an extended, specific project task set by the EPA organisation, which is designed to allow apprentices to use a variety of skills to achieve a relevant solution to a previously unknown problem. Apprentices select their project from a shortlist of options. Synoptic projects ('synoptic' just means 'providing a general summary') last for approximately 40 hours, and must be completed in the workplace under supervised conditions. This allows assessors to 'benchmark' apprentices from different companies and in different jobs within a similar context.

Case Study Presentation

Instead of the Synoptic Project, some standards include a Case Study to help assessors make consistent judgements. As for the Synoptic Project, EPA organisations set a shortlist of possible titles, from which apprentices choose one for further development. They have 20 hours to complete the case study, before delivering the results of their work as a 20-minute presentation to an EPA assessor. The presentation includes a question-and-answer session on the apprentice's approach and methods. 

Knowledge Tests

Some standards don't include knowledge exams or certifications as part of the training requirements. Instead, apprentices' knowledge is assessed through a series of multiple-choice tests during EPA, which align to each of the modules they complete. For these standards, Firebrand's training programme includes a residential preparation course, when apprentices will go through the test format, revise knowledge topics and gain practice before taking the final knowledge tests.

Employer reference

This extended document is created by the apprentice's employer mentor, and explains how (in their view) the apprentice has met all the required competencies of the standard through the work they do. Firebrand Learning Mentors will provide a template and regular guidance on completing this document, so it becomes an ongoing record rather than a last-minute summary. The finished document should demonstrate the apprentice's value to the employer - a crucial element in deciding how effectively they've achieved the goals of the apprenticeship.

Interview

The final element is a one-to-one interview between the apprentice and the EPA assessor, usually conducted remotely. The assessor will ask the apprentice about the work in their Summative Portfolio and their approach to completing the Synoptic Project/Case Study. 

Who delivers our End Point Assessments?

The British Computer Society (BCS) assesses all Firebrand apprentices - it's the Chartered Institute for IT and the professional body for the digital industries.

RITTech registration

All successful apprentices appear on the BCS Professional Register for IT Technicians (RITTech) free of charge, and are entitled to use the RITTech letters after their name.

RITTech is recognised by employers and recruiters, demonstrating a higher level of skills and professionalism across digital and technology industries. RITTech is only awarded to people working at SFIA Level 3 or above standard.

Source: British Computer Society

Find out more about the End Point Assessment (EPA).

Progression Plan

How do Software Tester apprentices progress?

The pace of digital transformation means there’s always going to be new technologies and smarter processes in businesses.

Progress to the next level and learn even more new digital skills. Progression is a natural step in the IT industry and it keeps employee's skills refreshed.

Develop and reinforce technical knowledge by advancing to a higher-level apprenticeship or training on Firebrand’s public courses. Gain certifications on public courses from vendors like Microsoft, AWS and CompTIA.

Level 3

For apprentices at the end of their Level 3 apprenticeship, advancing to Level 4 is the next natural step. Learn further digital skills while in a more specific IT related role. Specialised Level 4 roles include being a Data Analyst, Cyber Security Technologist or Network Engineer.

Rather than just understanding an organisation’s technologies, learn to master them. Level 4 apprentices apply previous skills with new technical knowledge to gain greater responsibility in a digital role.

Take a look at our Level 4 apprenticeships to continue developing your IT career.

Level 4

After a Level 4 apprenticeship, apprentices can enhance certain specific skillsets and gain further product knowledge by taking Firebrand’s public courses. Public courses are the best option after successfully completing a Level 4 qualification. They align individual courses with desired IT skills.

There’s no limit to the number courses that apprentices can take. Continue learning with Firebrand and gain the certifications needed to move into top IT roles at twice the speed. Continue building a professional career in the right way with recognised industry qualifications

Start choosing certifications from over 700 public training courses.

Exams

Exams

While apprentices benefit from new digital skills they can use in their job, almost all digital apprenticeships that Firebrand offer provide the chance to gain industry recognised qualifications.

Apprentices gain qualifications through either BCS or Vendor specific exams where applicable. These qualifications add to a professional career and can be used to help move seamlessly between roles in the IT industry.

All relevant exams that will be achieved during this apprenticeship are listed below:

  1. ISTQB Foundation Software Tester

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