I like the SQE.
SQE brings columns by Michael Bolton almost monthly on the Better Magazine. They also arrange the nice STAR conferences (hadn’t the opportunity to participate yet, but I will eventually) and store a large number of articles online of all testing flavors.

Today morning I was greeted by an Email from SQE: The subject read “Are you certifiable?“.
My first reaction was to discuss the term. If I am certifiable? I? In my mind, I was arguing whether a person can be considered certifiable or maybe the topic of certification is the one certifiable.
As in “Software Testing is (or not) a certifiable topic” against “Johnny is a certifiable (or not) software tester”.

I was puzzled over the confusing choice of words:

A lot of good people (Rex Black, in a moderated way Lee Copeland, Michael Stahl (link to an unrelated article)…) support certification, and a huge lot of good people think that either the software testing arena is immature to certify, or the certifications out there are inadequate, or both (James Bach, Michael Bolton, James Whitaker, Cem Kaner…). For transparency’s sake (so you get the context of this rambling), while I admire and have learned a lot from the first ones, the last ones are personal heroes (ok, Michael Stahl is a hero+guru too 🙂).

So we did not even come to an agreement if the craft itself is certifiable, and you are talking about certifiable persons? How does that work?


At this moment I stopped musing and went to the dictionary:

Ok, my guess on the meaning of the work was correct: “a certifiable fact“, “capable of being guaranteed“.
So was the other meaning, about certifiable persons: “endorsed authoritatively as having met certain requirements” (in our case, an exam with multiple choice memory questions :)).
But wow. That one in the middle is a curious meaning! “fit to be certified as insane (and treated accordingly)
Certifiable == Insane. And while I don’t see a problem with insane people being ISTQB certified and vice-versa, it made it even a weirder word choice.

I had to search more in the internet to see that this “are you certifiable” idiom is a bit common in english. Microsoft even has a game with this name here.

So it was a joke! Ah, all a joke, but they kept me thinking.
I guess that most of the non-native speakers of the SQE newsletters didn’t get the joke. And they were this close to being offended (depends on the culture one comes from).
SQE (and all), it was good as an excuse for me to post the links for certification articles, but pay attention to your publications’ audience! It takes a lot of time to get your jokes overseas :).