The ISTQB product portfolio has been evolved on the basis of several market studies as well as the outcomes of the ISTQB® Effectiveness Survey.


It follows a Matrix approach characterized by:

Levels, that identify progressively increasing LOs Foundation, Advanced, Expert and

Streams, that identify clusters of certification modules: Core, Agile, Specialist


These modules address testing practices specifically for the Agile SDLC
ISTQB® recognizes the importance of Agile practices that have become a de facto standard in many contexts; taking also into account the outstanding success of the Agile Tester Foundation certification module, ISTQB® has decided to single out an ad-hoc separate Stream, on which significant investments have been planned in order to complement the existing module with new Advanced modules, covering both organizational and technical specificities of testing in Agile contexts


These modules correspond to the “historical” ISTQB® certifications and so they:

  • Cover software testing topic in a breadth- first, broad, horizontal way,
  • Are valid for any technology/ methodology/ application domain
  • Allow for a common understanding


These modules are new in the ISTQB® product portfolio and address specific topics in a vertical way, meaning that:


  • They are built using a drill down / deep-dive approach
  • They can address specific quality characteristics (e.g.: Usability; Security; Performance; etc.)
  • They can address technologies that involve specific test approaches (e.g.: model based testing; mobile testing; etc.)
  • They can also be related to specific test activities (e.g.: test automation; test metrics management; etc.)
  • They can also cluster testing know-how for application domains that deserve or require a specific approach (e.g.: automotive; pharma & medical devices; gambling; etc.)

Please note: It is possible that the STB will not offer all ISTQB syllabi. It could also be that certain syllabi will only be offered in the native language and will not be localized.

Specialist modules are potentially numberless; ISTQB® has defined an initial set of Specialist modules(see the ISTQB® Product Portfolio) on the basis of the outcomes of its surveys; additional Specialist modules will be defined in future on the basis of market needs, emerging technologies and new paradigms in software development

In any stream, there may be modules that heavily rely on the content of the Core Foundation; for this reason they can be additional referred as “Extensions”.

Pre-conditions among certifications

Pre-conditions relate to certification exams and provide a natural progression through the ISTQB® Scheme which helps people pick the right certificate and informs them about what they need to know.

The ISTQB® Core Foundation is a pre-condition for any other certification.

Additional rules for ISTQB® pre-conditions are summarized in the following:

    • Foundation Core shall be required for Advanced Level Core
    • Foundation Core is the default pre-requisite for Foundation Level  Specialist certifications unless differently stated in the specific module; as of date, all Foundation Level Specialist certifications require Foundation Core as a pre-requisite
    • Any Advanced Level  Specialist or Expert Level Specialist module which is linked to a lower level Specialist  module shall require certification at the lower level.
    • Expert Level modules shall require certification at the corresponding Advanced Level .
    • Any Advanced Level  Specialist  module which is not linked to a lower level  Specialist module shall require the Foundations Core as a pre-condition.

Such rules are depicted from a graphical point of view in the ISTQB® Product Portfolio map