Which is better, ISTQB or CSTE?

Find the much-needed comparison of ISTQB Foundation level and CSTE Certification to determine which one would be better for software testing career.

Get the Basics Clear - ISTQB or CSTE, Which One is for You?

Being a certified software testing professional comes with its own benefits, such as better career opportunities and global exposure. The power of certification is that they make you stand out with the wide array of practical exposure in the testing domain.

While there are many certifications, the exhaustive list only confuses, and it is hard to choose the right amongst them. For your assistance, it would be best to get the answer to a question in demand- which certification to opt for? ISTQB or CSTE.

But first, why not get a basic idea of what ISTQB and CSTE Certifications are?

ISTQB Foundation Level Certification incorporates the best software testing practices and is aimed at individuals who want global acceptance in the field. ISTQB Foundation Certification is provided by the International Software Testing Qualification Board (ISTQB).

This examination is open for anyone including college pass out graduates who are aspirants and want to take their career in the field of Software Testing as well as for those who are involved already in software testing and working as a software tester, test manager, quality assurance engineer or even as a software developer. ISTQB provides an international platform for them for better professional opportunities.

The Certified Software Tester (CSTE) Certification focuses on higher-level testing, which demands an experience in the field of software testing to get certified. CSTE certification is provided by the Quality Assurance Institute (QAI). This exam is aimed at practical knowledge and rapid software testing career development.

Still, confused about which software testing certification would give you better prospects? Let us get into the comparison of ISTQB and CSTE for you to make an informed decision-

Comparison Criterion

ISTQB Foundation Level

CSTE Certification

Eligibility Criterion

It does not require any prior experience in software testing. Freshers are eligible to apply for the certification.

Individuals need to have 2+ years of experience in software testing. Freshers are NOT eligible to apply for the certification.

Examination Fee

Approximately $250.

This examination fee will vary in different countries since ISTQB holds international boards. 

Approximately $350.

It includes a PDF of its curriculum known as the STBOK (Software Testing Body of Knowledge), which helps prepare for the exam. If the applicant opts out of PDF version and wants to upgrade with a CD or a hard copy, the cost would come to $420.

Examination Format, Structure and Time

Multiple-choice questions

Paper-I: Multiple-choice questions

Paper-II: Essay/Subjective questions.

A total of 40 questions. The candidate requires 65% to pass the examination.

Paper-1 has 100 multiple-choice questions. 

Paper-2 has 12 short answer/essay type questions. 

The passing percentage for this exam is 70%.

The duration of the exam is 1 hour.

The duration of the exam is 2.5 hours.

Requirement for Recertification 

No, recertification is not required.

ISTQB certification is valid for a lifetime.

Yes, recertification is required.

CSTE certification is valid for three years, after which the candidate has to get recertified. Recertification will cost you about $200.


  • ISTQB Foundation has the benefit of offering the chance to anyone to appear for the examination. The applicant does not require any prior software testing experience. This is especially vital for entry-level testers who are looking forward to expanding their learning landscape. With international level recognition, the ISTQB exam opens doors on a global platform.

  • ISTQB is an entirely objective examination.

  • It does not require recertification.
  • CSTE is an internationally recognized certification that is highly respectful in its domain.

  • It focuses more on the practical approach rather than theory.

  • It is appropriate for people with experience in software testing.



  1. CSTE is a hindrance for entry-level software testing professionals because it allows only experienced ones to appear for the exam. 
  2. CSTE will cost a candidate almost three times more than ISTQB. Besides, the candidate will have to get recertified every three years, which will add up the cost and the preparation time.

Summing Up

Both ISTQB and CSTE focus on enhancing the skills of the software testing professionals by providing them with knowledge about best practices and principles, which is a huge advantage for professional growth. Even though both the certifications provide an international platform and open the gate for a better professional job, it is wise to consider other aspects too. 

Cost criterion is another prime factor that cannot be ignored while choosing a certification.

The ultimate decision is of the candidate, but getting a basic understanding of both and their comparisons will help you make a wise choice for your prospects. Your future deserves the best and only the best should you choose.

If you are still confused and unable to decide on the right one, we would like to suggest you go with ISTQB certification first as it comes with lifetime validity and the cost of getting certified is much cheaper than CSTE. Even if you have zero years of Software Testing experience, you are eligible to take ISTQB certification.

Categories: : ISTQB

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