Samantha Jeantel: My name is Sam Jeantel and I’m the training and consulting advocate for Coveros. I’ve been with Coveros for a little over five years. With me today, I have Brian Hicks.
Coveros provides professional training services delivered via our live virtual platform, on-site training, where we can come to your location, as well as public training delivery, primarily at our conferences. We offer certification courses accredited by the ISTQB and ASTQB, the ICAgile, and more.
Brian is a senior consultant and instructor and he’s going to provide a little insight to the course we’re speaking about and those certifications, as well.
Brian Hicks: Basically, I way I look at it, we deliver two different types of certified courses at Coveros. The first type are courses that we create. So we own all of the content and then we get that content accredited by appropriate certification bodies such as like you mentioned, ISTQB/ASTQB and ICAgile, and the second type of certification courses as a material that we license from from third parties and these include courses from places like Scaled Agile, which allows us to teach the scaled agile framework to students.
For me personally, I was actively involved basically from the beginning to the end and developing the content and getting our Mobile Application Testing course certified and accredited by the ASTQB, and I also worked closely with ICAgile to get our Foundations of DevOps course, accredited for live virtual delivery as there’s a sort of separate accreditation process for live virtual versus in-person delivery. And finally, I’m also a certified Scaled Agile, SAFe, program consultant, so I lead and deliver our licensed SAFe courses.
Every course has a specific set of learning objectives and an official syllabus that’s provided by the certification authority—ICAgile or ISTQB—and that syllabus has specific learning objectives that must be covered by the training material. So we have to supply that accreditation board with our training content along with a matrix that maps that content to the learning objectives. And in some cases, those learning objectives specify that we have to create hands-on exercises or interactive exercises for the students to accompany that learning objectives, so we have to demonstrate that we have an appropriate exercise in those cases.
Then we work with the certification authority to demonstrate delivery of parts of the course. We have a video call like this or something similar, where we actually demonstrate that we can deliver the course and gives them the opportunity to ask us questions about it. We also might submit content for review by outside reviewers that will also be validated against the learning objectives and allow them to provide their own comments.
There’s usually a bit of a back and forth where we address comments, make a couple of changes to the course, etc. Really, it’s a it’s kind of a collaborative effort because the ISTQB, ICAgile, and other certification bodies are invested in getting content providers like Coveros to get their courses accredited. So they work with us pretty closely—it’s a real collaborative process.
Sam Jeantel: Now that sounds a bit complex, but well worth it.
Brian Hicks: Absolutely.
Sam Jeantel: So I mentioned this earlier. We do offer certification training via our live virtual platform, so I wanted to touch base on that. How are you able to overcome the challenges of a virtual platform, ensuring that the engagement is there with those certification courses?
Brian Hicks: Yes. That’s a really great question. So the virtual classroom does provide kind of a challenge in terms of engaging the students—it’s a lot easier to engage with students when they’re in person and you can make eye contact with them and actually walk around the room a little bit. But for the live virtual classes, there’s a couple of different techniques that I personally use.
First, the platform that we use to actually deliver the training gives you the opportunity to deliver polls and questions and interactive activities to the students that gets them involved—answering questions and things like that. We also use the chat windows and the chat part of the application extensively, so I’m constantly monitoring that chat and allowing the students to ask me questions there. I’ll also use screen sharing to demonstrate particular tools.
We were talking about the mobile application testing course previously, and in that course we do a lot of demonstration of tools that allow you to test mobile applications on different types of devices. So I’ll often share my screen and walk the students through how to use it. And as an accompaniment to that course in particular, we give the students instructions on how to download and install all the tools themselves. So it gives them the opportunity to follow along.
Sam Jeantel: Now, as we’re talking about certification, what would you say are the top three benefits of certifications for individuals and/or a team?
Brian Hicks: Another great question. Certification is is an important part of any or any individual’s journey and their career. And the first benefit that I think of is, is the fact that any course, especially the courses delivered by Coveros, are accredited and the certification has been vetted by outside content authorities or authorities in the subject matter, like industry experts, so you can trust that the material is valid and is appropriate for the industry and for you and your work. So you can be sure it will be good material. It’s not just it’s not just somebody just wanted to create, you know, create some training course, it’s got some some intellectual heft behind it.
Second, having that certification indicates that you’ve got a base level of knowledge or you’ve obtained a certain level of knowledge and you’re actively invested in learning and education, and that’s usually a very attractive quality for our customers or for employers. It allows you to demonstrate basics and a certain level of skill.
And then third, the certification often enables access to additional resources. For example, we talked about the Scaled Agile framework and getting a certification with Scaled Agile gives you access to their material. Without the certification, you wouldn’t be able to do that.
Teaching to the test is always a challenge around an accredited course. We want to make sure that the course is designed in a way that will allow the students to pass a certification exam when required. What we also want to make sure, as a one of Coveros own internal goals, is that the course provides practical insight and practical techniques that they can take back to their jobs and actually use. So we try to we try to find that that balance. One of the ways we do that is we often provide additional exercises within a course that go above and beyond the exercises that are specifically required by the syllabus.
“What we also want to make sure, as a one of Coveros own internal goals, is that the course provides practical insight and practical techniques that they can take back to their jobs and actually use.”
Brian Hicks, Managing Consultant
We also encourage our instructors to tell stories and provide additional real-world examples of where they’ve applied the techniques and the things that we’re talking about in class. All of our trainers and instructors are actual technologists—we’re actually out in the field doing the things that we’re teaching students about—so we always have a lot of really good stories and good examples. So that’s a couple ways we try to provide a more content beyond just teaching to the test.
Sam Jeantel: All right, Brian, our time is almost up, but before you go, I just had one more question for you. How are you ensuring that those that take our certification courses can continue their learning journey? What other ways can they continue to implement what they’ve learned and develop those skills?
Brian Hicks: One of the things at Coveros training that we really believe is that certification provides that important foundation for learning; it gives you those industry-standard techniques and vocabulary to be able to grow. But your growth really gets accelerated when you get hands-on experience. So one of the things we’ve developed is complimentary training courses that combine some additional lecture-based courses with hands-on, deep-dive workshops to build on what you learn in the foundational classes. We organize those courses around what we call Learning Journeys.
“…one of the things we’ve developed is complimentary training courses that combine some additional lecture-based courses with hands-on, deep-dive workshops to build on what you learn in the foundational classes. We organize those courses around what we call Learning Journeys.”
Learn more and download sample Learning Journeys at training.coveros.com/unlock
These learning journeys are based on a target role or a career path. For example, we have a whole bunch of courses and journeys around testing, and one of our journeys is agile testing. So if you’re working in an agile organization and you want to understand how to apply testing techniques in an agile context, we start you off with a pair of training courses that give you foundational ICAgile certifications.
But then we augment that with our more in-depth workshops on test automation, on specific tools, and on specific agile testing techniques such as behavior-driven development. So we have a bunch of courses around agile testing that give you that more deep-dive into different agile testing techniques.
Similarly, for mobile application testing or for the mobile tester—that journey starts with the ASTQB certified mobile tester course that we mentioned earlier, and it continues with some practical, hands-on workshops that give you skills to use tools like Selenium and Appium to actually get hands-on experience testing mobile applications.
Sam Jeantel: Well, thank you very much, Brian, for providing those details. I often find that students want to know what the next steps are after completing a course, so mentioning the learning journeys is a good resource for those next steps. Thank you again for joining us.
Brian Hicks: Thanks, Sam, it was a lot of fun. Let’s do it again.