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INNOVATIVE QUALITY PRODUCTS AND SYSTEMS

Quality Advice by Robin Dudash

IQPS President and Instructor Robin Dudash (CQM/OE, CSQE, CRE, CQE, CQA, CCT, ANAB-LA, IATF-LA, MBA) is one of the most qualified quality professionals in the world. In Quality Advice by Robin Dudash, Robin shares her QA industry knowledge on a variety of relevant topics. Robin provides training for the quality professional and private consultation for companies through Innovative Quality Products and Services. She is an instructor of the Internal Auditor Training Course, as well as the Certified Software Quality Engineer Exam Prep Course. In addition, Robin offers Root Cause Analysis Training, ISO 9001 Training and ISO Software Consulting to businesses interested in improving their internal management systems. Check out her blog entries and help inform other industry professionals by sharing online!

Your ASQ Certification Exam Checklist – Software Quality Assurance Certification

If you’re soon going to take your Certified Software Quality Engineer exam with ASQ, it can be overwhelming to consider all the items that you will need to have prepared in advance and the ones that you will need to bring with you to the testing center. Becoming certified as a Software Quality Engineer confirms your commitment to quality and the positive impact it will have on your organization. [1]

After you sign up for your spot to take your future ASQ exam, it’s vital to next choose your ASQ CSQE certification preparation course to help you study and gain the knowledge on which you will be tested. We offer an online and onsite CSQE training course that reviews the following:

  • Quality philosophies & principles
  • Project management
  • Software inspection & test methods
  • Software maintenance
  • Configuration management
  • Software metrics
  • Software audits

After your CSQE training, you will be prompted to take the CSQE practice test. This will help you gauge your understanding of the CSQE information in preparation for your actual ASQ exam. If you do not pass the practice test, no worries. You can retake the test up to 3 times and can be extended upon request.

After you have completed your Software Quality Assurance Certification practice test, you should gather all the items you’ll need for the upcoming ASQ certification exam. The IQPS CSQE preparation course assists in narrowing the list of reference books down to 2-3. It can be helpful to work on bookmarking these reference books during your ASQ exam preparation course with IQPS instead of doing this task days before your ASQ exam.

ASQ candidates can now take their exam via two different administration choices. Candidates can not only take their exams at their local Prometric testing site but can now take their exam from the comfort of their home via ProProctor (remote proctoring).*

Taking the test remote

  • Test your internet connection — If scheduling your exam for remote proctoring, it is extremely important that you have a stable internet connection. Please perform a system readiness check prior to scheduling your exam via this method and once again closer to your exam appointment date to verify that your system is still meeting requirements. Failure to launch or complete your exam due to internet connectivity issues on your end will result in a $100 reschedule fee in order to reattempt the exam. A wired internet connection is recommended, if possible.
  • Room scan is required — Once the exam begins, you are not permitted to talk, stand, or move from your seat. Wall art, posters and whiteboards will be inspected. Also, no one else is permitted in the room with you while you are testing. During the check-in process after you have submitted all required photos, the proctor may ask to see your environment, including the walls, floor space and the desktop. Additional monitors and computers must be unplugged and must be turned off. You must agree to this scan or you will not be permitted to proceed further or to take the exam.
  • Reference materials permitted with restrictions — You are allowed to use reference materials. All reference materials must be bound and remain bound during the exam. Please visit https://asq.org/cert/faq/faq-taking-exam to see our open-book policy. You are allowed to use post-it notes as book tabs only. You are allowed to use hardcopy dictionaries and built-in calculators. You are prohibited from using electronic dictionaries.
  • Scratch paper is not permitted — Effective July 1st, 2022, scratch paper and physical writing objects such as a pen or pencil are prohibited for use during a remotely proctored exam. Instead, you can use the Scratchpad function in the exam application.
  • Breaks are permitted — Remotely proctored examinees are allowed a maximum of three ten-minute breaks during their session. Examinees are not allowed to leave the camera view without first notifying and being acknowledged by the proctor. Upon return, a full security scan will be conducted prior to resuming the exam.**

Taking the test on-site

  • Reference materials permitted with restrictions — You are allowed to use reference materials. All reference materials (e.g., including all forms of notes) must be bound and remain bound during the exam. Bound refers to material permanently bound by stitching or glue and material fastened securely in its cover by fasteners, which penetrate all papers (e.g., ring binders, spiral binders, plastic snap binders, brads, or screw posts). Manually or hand-stapled documents that are not securely fastened in their covers are not allowed. The size of workspace area at Prometric test centers is limited. The approximate desk dimensions are 48in in length and 24in in width.Before you enter the exam room, the test center administrator will inspect all references. “PostIt notes” will be permitted as book tabs only (must be attached prior to entering the test center). The following items are strictly prohibited in the exam area: hand-stapled materials, blank writing tablets or tablets containing blank pages, unbound tablets, unbound notes, slide charts, and/or wheel charts (hand-held cardboard or plastic calculating devices with rotating or sliding pieces).

    Absolutely no collections of questions and answers or weekly refresher-course quizzes are permitted. Reference sources that contain such copies are not allowed unless the questions are removed or obscured. Examinees are responsible for abiding by applicable copyright laws.

  • Basic calculators are permitted — All computer-based exams feature a basic scientific calculator on-screen in the exam. Test center administrators can provide you with a basic calculator upon request. Any silent, hand-held, battery-operated calculator without an alphabetic keyboard will be permitted; however, all programmable memory must be cleared before entering the exam room.
  • Scratch Paper is permitted in some cases — Certain certification exams may include mathematical calculations. At test centers, Prometric will provide each candidate with a pencil and scratch paper to use during the exam.
  • Breaks are permitted but count against the clock – Candidates are allowed to take breaks during the exam, however, the clock on the exam will not be paused.

If you still have more questions about what you may need for your ASQ exam or have questions about your CSQE training, feel free to reach out to your instructor, Robin Dudash. (CQM/OE, CSQE, CRE, CQE, CQA, CCT, EXEMPLAR-LA, IRCA-LA, MBA) As one of the most qualified quality professionals in the world, she can help answer your questions and put your mind at ease!

If you need an ASQ exam preparation course for the Certified Software Quality Engineer exam, be sure to sign up today!

References

1. “Software Quality Engineer Certification CSQE”
https://asq.org/cert/software-quality-engineer
2. “Improve Your Chances of Passing an ASQ Certification Exam – Govind Ramu.”
qualityprogress.com
*https://www.prometric.com/test-takers/search/asq
**https://asq.org/cert/computer-based-testing

How to Easily Prepare for ASQ Recertification – Certified Software Quality Engineer (CSQE)

How to Easily Prepare for ASQ Recertification – Certified Software Quality Engineer (CSQE)

For certain ASQ certifications, it is required that individuals become recertified to verify that they have maintained the same knowledge level demonstrated when they originally passed their certification. 

These ASQ certifications do require recertification:

  • Quality Manager/Organizational Excellence
  • Quality Engineer
  • Quality Auditor
  • Reliability Engineer
  • Software Quality Engineer
  • Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Calibration Technician
  • Hazard Analysis
  • Critical Control Points Auditor
  • Biomedical Auditor [1]

IQPS offers ASQ recertification CSQE training to help individuals prepare. For those that want to renew their Software Quality Assurance Certification, IQPS offers an onsite CSQE course. 

The Certified Software Quality Engineering Training Course is based on the ASQ Body of Knowledge and provides a comprehensive presentation of all aspects of software quality engineering. Participants will learn about quality philosophies and principles, software development models, software inspection, and test methods, software maintenance, configuration management, software metrics, and software internal audits. 

After passing the CSQE final exam through IQPS with at least an 80% pass rate (multiple attempts allowed), the participant is presented with a certificate indicating the passage of the course and given credit for 21 hours of study (or 2.1 RU’s). RU’s of training are required to maintain your CSQE certification by ASQ National. To recertify, CSQE holders must obtain 18 recertification units (RUs) within a three-year period or retake the certification exam at the end of the three-year recertification period. [2]

When you are ready to take your ASQ recertification exam, check out our blog that explains ways to help pass your ASQ certification exam to learn about helpful test taking tips. Recertification for Certified Software Quality Engineers helps individuals qualify for more positions in their industry that they may not otherwise without recertification. These positions are in industries that have a growing demand such as automotive, utility, and energy. Recertification also provides you with the opportunity to improve your bottom line through career advancement and network with other quality professionals. 

If you are ready to take the next steps towards your ASQ CSQE certification or recertification, sign up for our Certified Software Quality Engineering Training Course today! 

References

  1. “Improve Your Chances of Passing an ASQ Certification Exam – Govind Ramu.”
    qualityprogress.com
  2. “Software Quality Engineer Certification (CSQE) – ASQ”
    https://www.cool.osd.mil/usn/search/CERT_CSQE1028.htm

Ways to Help Pass Your ASQ Auditor Certification Exam

The first ASQ certification was developed and offered in 1968. [1] The program has now grown to over 15 certifications, including CQA and CSQE. Read on to learn some tips and tricks that can help you to pass your ASQ Auditor Certification Exam.

Preparing for The ASQ Certification Exam

  • Not Reading the BoK thoroughly – An important first step is to read the BoK carefully before planning your preparation for the exam. [1] BoK stands for Body of Knowledge, which is the sum of knowledge accepted on a subject according to ASQ. This is one of the agenda items covered in the IQPS Certified Quality Auditor preparation course.
  • Being Unaware of ASQ Exam Preparation Aids and Practice Tests – ASQ Practice exams can help you test your knowledge for a specific certification and help you find any areas that you may need to review again. IQPS offers free practice tests for CSQE and CQA to help students prepare for their upcoming ASQ exams.

ASQ Exam Strategy

  • Selecting The Wrong Open-Book Materials – There is no limit to how many books you can take to the exam. The only books not allowed by ASQ during the exam are resources containing a question & answer format. Your exam proctor could strictly interpret the policy and disallow some of the materials you bring, so do not rely on open books too much. [1] Since the ASQ exam questions require application of knowledge and experience, the IQPS auditor training courses focus on practical case studies.
  • Not Utilizing Practice Exams Before to Help You Learn How to Manage Your Time – IQPS online practice tests for the auditor training courses can help you discover how you will want to dedicate your time during the exam. Ideally, you’ll complete the exam in 75 to 80% of the allotted time, using the balance for reviewing answers. [1] This is important so that you do not spend too much time reviewing your answers and not completing the actual test.

Taking the ASQ Exam

  • Lacking Confidence – If you have prepared for the ASQ Exam by taking IQPS auditor training online, then you have reviewed everything that you will need for your test. You can feel ready knowing that you have completed an auditor training course created by one of the most qualified quality professionals in the world!
  • Not Following The 30-60-90 Seconds Rule – On your first round through the exam, answer all the 30-second questions. If you need more than 30 seconds to figure out an answer, move to the next question. Once all the 30-second questions are answered, use the same approach to answer the 60-second ones. The following round is for questions that take 90 seconds. Lastly, address the questions that take two minutes or longer to answer. [1]

Sign up for one of our ASQ exam prep courses today to help you ensure a successful ASQ exam outcome!

References

1. “Improve Your Chances of Passing an ASQ Certification Exam – Govind Ramu.”
qualityprogress.com

How To Secure An IT Auditor Job

IT auditors are necessary for ensuring an organization’s IT systems and infrastructure run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. This means safeguarding information, minimizing the risks associated with the computer networks in the company, and creating strategies to prevent security breaches.

As you prepare for IT auditor job interviews, it’s important to relay these skills and capabilities to your interviewer.

Here are some important questions you may be asked and how to best respond to them [1]:

How will you explain technical issues to people who lack technical knowledge?

Communicating technical terms is critical to being a successful IT auditor. Sometimes management won’t understand the technical terms you are using, so it’s important to turn a difficult message into a simple one.

A great way to demonstrate your communication skills to an interviewer is by using past examples of how you explained complex problems to management. Showing your interviewer that you can adjust your language through practical examples, demonstrations, and comparisons is a great trait for an IT auditor to have.

What is your experience with auditing computer networks and IT systems?

When you talk about your technical experiences, talk about any operating systems, software programs, and tools you worked with. It’s always nice to point out any technical improvements you’ve made or any weaknesses of a network you identified.

Tell me about a technical problem you’ve encountered.

When an interviewer asks you this question, they’re assessing your problem-solving skills and your ability to make quick decisions. This is your opportunity to talk about an issue you’ve evaluated, your interactions with a non-IT user, and how you came to solve the issue.

 Tell us about a project you’ve worked on.

Talking about your previous projects with an interviewer is a great way to showcase the IT audit skills you possess. This is your chance to answer specific questions about technology and project management.

If you are interested in becoming an IT auditor, IQPS offers multiple internal audit training courses that prepare students for success.

References
1. “Learn how to get a job of an IT Auditor in an interview.” Interviewpenguin.com
https://interviewpenguin.com/it-auditor-interview/

How to Earn Your Software Quality Engineer Certificate (CSQE)

Certified Software Quality Engineers are professionals who understand software quality development, understand software inspection, and implement software processes that add value for users [1] and their employer.

To earn your CSQE certificate, you must meet the following requirements and pass the
CSQE exam[1].

  1. Candidates that wish to take the CSQE exam must have eight years of full-time, paid experience in one or more areas of the Certified Software Quality Engineer Body of Knowledge. Out of those eight years, three years must be in a “decision-making” position where a candidate is responsible for controlling and executing projects or processes.
  2. If a candidate has a diploma or degree, then they can waive some of the eight-year experience required.

    Diploma from Technical or Trade School – 1 year waived
    Associate Degree – 2 years waived
    Bachelor’s Degree – 4 years waived
    Master’s or Doctorate – 5 years waived

Once you meet the CSQE requirements, then you can start preparing for the CSQE exam by taking courses and practice exams.

The CSQE certificate offers many benefits that will help you stand out in the job market. Individuals that have a CSQE certificate have qualified for more job positions that allow them to use their creative and technical expertise to carry out innovative ideas.

If you are interested in earning your CSQE certificate, IQPS offers a CSQE training course that will teach you all the aspects of software quality engineering. The fundamentals discussed improves your understanding of the software development process and management.

Visit our courses page to learn more!

Study Tips to Help You Become a Certified Quality Auditor

Auditors with a CQA certification are professionals who understand the standards and principles of auditing and the auditing techniques of examining, questioning, evaluating, and reporting to determine a quality system’s adequacy and deficiencies [1]. Being a certified quality auditor is a great way to prove your skills and gain a competitive edge in your career.

To earn this certification, you must pass the CQA Exam.

The CQA is a one-part, multiple choice exam that is 5 hours and 18 minutes long. The exam is open book, and participants must bring their own reference materials. The CQA exam consists of 150 questions over five sections [1].

Part I: Auditing Fundamentals (28 questions)
Part II: Audit Process (44 questions)
Part III: Auditor Competencies (24 questions)
Part IV: Audit Program Management and Business Applications (30 questions)
Part V: Quality Tools & Techniques (24 questions)

The CQA is an important exam to pass if you want to further your career. IQPS provides internal auditor courses and study tips to make sure you pass the exam on the first attempt.

  1. Create A Personalized Study Guide: Everyone has different learning methods, so it’s important to find the study habits that benefit you! 
  1. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses: Knowing which areas you excel in can help you determine what topics you need to spend the most time studying. 
  1. Take Practice Exams: Understanding the format of the CQA is critical to understanding of what kind of questions to expect. 
  1. Time Yourself When Taking Practice Exams: Timing yourself during a practice exam will help you develop a good pace. This way you will have time to answer every question during the CQA. 
  1. Take Notes: During practice courses and exams, take notes on what confuses you so you can return to those topics.

 If you are interested in becoming a certified quality auditor, IQPS offers comprehensive courses that prepare you for certification. Visit our courses page to learn more!

References

  1. “Quality Auditors Certification – CQA.” asq.org

https://asq.org/cert/quality-auditor/references

A Day in The Life of an IT Internal Auditor

An IT auditor serves an important role for corporations, businesses, and organizations. Simply put, an IT auditor assesses potential risks that a client may encounter with their IT system [1]. As they continually evaluate risks, internal IT auditors keep up to date with the latest technology and compliance regulations, and identify weaknesses and improvements to IT systems.

Corporations rely on IT auditors to interpret and communicate complicated technical issues, new compliance regulations, analyze data, and be well-informed on the latest technology and trends.

To achieve clients’ needs, an IT auditor will prepare an audit plan to achieve the desired audit objective [1]

  • Gathering data by interviewing department employees
  • Comparing procedures to IT department standards
  • Creating and customizing actionable plans to improve IT systems
  • Evaluating internal control to keep data secure from internal and external threats
  • Performing audits of a corporation’s technologies and processes
  • Safeguarding sensitive information
  • Identifying system weaknesses and breaches in technology
  • Performing audit testing
  • Traveling to client sites

An IT auditor’s responsibilities extend to software, networks, programs, cybersecurity systems, communications systems, and more. Some corporations have their own internal IT auditor, while other corporations hire external IT auditors to evaluate their IT systems. Either way, both are extremely beneficial to the security and effectiveness of an IT system.   Overall, an IT auditor’s activities focus on their clients’ internal controls and processes in an effort to maintain integrity, availability, and compliance.

Without an independent review from IT auditors, technological infrastructure risks system breakdowns and security leaks. They are a critical component for corporations, businesses, and organizations.

If you are interested in becoming a certified IT auditor, IQPS offers comprehensive courses that prepare you for certification. Visit our IT Internal Auditing Course page to learn more!

References:

  1. White, Sarah. “What is an IT Auditor? A Vital Role for Risk Assessment.” CIO.com

https://www.cio.com/article/3346029/it-auditor-role-defined.html

IT Internal Auditor: Why You Should Have One for Your Company

An organization whose team of professionals understands how to continue an effective flow of production is beneficial not only to them, but to the customers and the organization itself.

The main role of an internal auditor for software development is to help the organization reach its objectives. This trained professional can confirm effective implementation of an organization’s processes and identify any process improvements. Internal software auditors’ efforts might focus on a major release or change to assure repeatable processes and ultimately customer satisfaction. Software internal audits assure compliance to ISO 9001:2015 or any other certification like CMMI appraisals.

IT auditors for software development are trained to:

  • Identify IT processes
  • Develop a process map in relation to ISO 9001:2015 or any certification
  • Create an internal audit schedule based on IT processes
  • Construct and use an audit checklist to applicable certification
  • Practice auditing techniques through case studies
  • Manage internal conflicts
  • Write reports and findings

IT auditors contribute largely to the process flow of an organization and confirm compliance to internal requirements. Those who take the IQPS IT Internal Auditor Training class are trained to provide a more value-added process audit which follows the audit trails to uncover opportunities. Internal auditing is a small but important role that contributes to repeatable processes, reliable software, and satisfied customers.

IQPS offers IT Internal Auditor Training for individuals looking for a better understanding of the process approach. We offer online training for certification. This course provides comprehensive presentations of case studies, IT auditing techniques, checklist development, and more. Sign up today!

Benefits of Software Quality Assurance

Does the quality of a software really matter?

The answer is yes, it most definitely does.

In order to continue the smooth process of running a company, one of the factors that contributes is a reliable software system. If a software product is not running properly, it leaves the company with concerns of their own: delays in production, risk of a data breach, and profits possibly lost.

Software quality assurance is defined as the process of ensuring the software is meeting the quality and standard qualifications for full optimization. The duties for the quality engineers involve pointing out issues found within the software data before it is released to the customer. Their goal is to satisfy the customer through the software’s functionality, usability, reliability, performance and serviceability.

The benefits of having a trained software quality assurance professional eliminates the possibility of having costly, time-consuming problems that leave a customer frustrated and confused. Below, find the benefits of having a certified software quality assurance professional.

Benefits of Software Quality Assurance

  • It saves money — Errors in an application found later can result in a costly fix. Whether it is small or large, it can lead to releasing fixes, patches, or even complete upgrades. Businesses lose up to $60 billion annually due to poor software quality. [1]
  • It saves time – Research found shows that a problem found in the production process of an application can take up to 150 times longer to resolve than if discovered in the design stage.
  • Prevents breakdowns – A quality application that is free of flaws means less time and money being used for fixing it. This also means satisfied customers who feel their money and time is being well spent on a reliable application. [1]
  • Increases product safety – A quality application will not leave customers exposed to cybersecurity breaches. Results of a data breach can be detrimental if not handled properly.
  • It creates optimal organizational flow – An organized process of software creation and editing reduces “labor hours, output increases, inventory reductions, and required capital” [1]. Software quality assurance establishes a goal of maximizing the quality of an application/software through the process of checking a program inside and out before approving it.

Professionals who are trained to ensure quality software is essential to keeping customers satisfied as well as boost your company’s reputation.

At IQPS, we provide an on-site software quality assurance course. Our program teaches students how to document and implement an ISO-certifiable quality system using a software life cycle model. You can find study courses, training information, and a course agenda on our training page: https://www.iqps.net/training.htm#software. If you would like to know more, visit iqps.net or email us at info@iqps.net.

References:

1. Underwood, Scott. “Exploring Organization’ Software Assurance Strategies.” Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4002&context=dissertations

The 5 Whys: An Effective Root Cause Analysis Method Taught by IQPS

Many companies have an unpredicted Quality problem with their product or service that is normally a sign of a deeper issue that needs to be address and solved quickly. A highly effective root cause analysis method is the 5 Whys Method. This technique will help you find the root cause of the problem and keep the mistakes from recurring.

For successful implementation of this root cause analysis method, an informed decision needs to be made. This means that a decision needs to be made based on the understanding of the issue at hand. It is a good idea to talk to people with practical experience in their area of expertise so they can give you the most valuable information regarding the problem.

When you apply the 5 Whys root cause analysis method, you want to get to the center of the problem and then fix it. Most assume the issue is a technical problem, but it turns out being a human or process problem. That is why it is crucial in finding and correcting the root cause to avoid continual failure.

How to Implement the 5 Whys Root Cause Analysis Method

 According to Kanbanize(1.), here are the basic steps for the 5 Whys you should follow:

  1. Form a team – Assemble a team of people from different departments. Forming a cross-functional team allows you to receive unique points of view and collect information to make an informed decision.
  2. Define the problem – Discuss the problem with the team and make a clear statement. It will help you define the scope of the issue you are going to investigate.
  3. Ask Why – Empower one person to facilitate the whole process. This team leader will ask the questions and keep the team focused. The answers should be based on facts and real data, not on emotional opinions. The facilitator should ask “Why” as many times as needed until the root cause of the initial problem can be identified.
  4. Take Action – After the team detects the root cause(s), it is time to take corrective actions. All members should be involved on a discussion to find and apply the best solution that will protect your process from recurring problems.

Overall, the 5 Whys root cause analysis method is an effective choice by asking a sequence of “Why” related questions to analyze and solve the root cause of the problem. It will also encourage your team members to share ideas to continually improve practices and eliminate or prevent processes from recurring.

At IQPS, our Root Cause Analysis Training course will teach you different root cause analysis methods that you can use to determine and address any Quality issues at your company. Please call us Toll Free at 800.540.9758, email us at info@iqps.net, or sign up for our Root Cause Analysis course today.

References:

  1. Kanbanize, 5 Whys: The Ultimate Root Cause Analysis Tool by Kanbanize | https://kanbanize.com/lean-management/improvement/5-whys-analysis-tool

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