SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.

Occupational Certificate: Software Tester 
119438  Occupational Certificate: Software Tester 
Development Quality Partner-MICT SETA 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Part-Qualification  Field 10 - Physical, Mathematical, Computer and Life Sciences  Information Technology and Computer Sciences 
Undefined  70  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-ELOAC 
Registered  EXCO 0522/24  2022-08-04  2025-12-31 
2026-12-31   2029-12-31  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The purpose of this part- qualification is to prepare a learner to function as a Software Tester. A Software Tester assess the functionality of an application against client's specifications.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Plan and prepare to test and debug source code.
  • Test or debug source code.

    The need to develop a part-qualification was established by industry's role-players during the realignment of the National Certificate: Information Technology (Systems Development). The part-qualification is aimed for learners who wish to pursue a career as Software Testers. This part-qualification has drawn some of its modules from the realigned Occupational Certificate: Software Engineer.

    The design of the Software Tester part-qualification was also influenced by the lack of registered Software Tester occupational qualification on the National Qualifications Framework. Organisations that were consulted and participated in the process of realigning this qualification included employers and training providers such as Yitro Innovations, iThemba IT Solutions, E-kasi IT Solutions, CTU Training Solutions, Bytes People Solutions, i-College, Ginini Consulting, Puzzle debt, DVG, Mpande Technologies and Torque IT. Their input has been used to ensure that the qualification is fit for purpose.

    Typical learners to enrol for the part-qualification are people with workplace experience in the Systems Development areas who would like to formalise their training and other professionals, school leavers and qualifying learners, who have already been exposed to the system development area and want to pursue a career towards Software Engineers.

    Upon completion of this qualification, learners may gain employment in the Software Engineering field within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry and all other industries that requires ICT services. Qualified learners can also be entrepreneurs servicing other industries with ICT requirements.
    Learners who successfully complete the part-qualification can advance their careers by enrolling in higher-level qualifications, which upon completion, will enable them to take higher level responsibilities in leadership or pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.

    Businesses, organisations and communities will benefit from this qualification by being served by qualified Software Testers. These professionals will efficiently and effectively perform their roles by contributing to the building of the economy and South Africa as a whole, through developing innovative software solutions facing the country. 

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    RPL for Access to the External Integrated Summative Assessment
    Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of results or by certifying a work experience record.

    RPL for Access to the Qualification
    Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirements:
    The minimum entry requirement for this qualification is:
  • Any NQF Level 4 qualification. 


    This qualification is made up of compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skill and Work Experience Modules:

    Knowledge Modules
  • 251201-001-00-KM-01, Software Engineering, Level 6, 20 Credits.
  • 251201-001-00-KM-04, Fundamentals of Project Management in Relation to Software Engineering, Level 5, 5 Credits.
  • 251201-001-00-KM-05, Digital and Business Mathematics, Level 5, 15 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 40
  • 251201-001-00-PM-04, Test or Debug Source Code to Ensure Client's needs are met, Level 5, 15 Credits

    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 15.
  • 251201-001-00-WM-04, Software Testing, Level 5, 15 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 15 

    1. Plan and prepare to test and debug source code.
    2. Test or debug source code. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Explain the general principles of software and system testing methodologies and techniques.
  • Read and interpret design specifications.
  • Prepare programming environment such as platform, libraries, etc.
  • Inform affected role-players about scheduled testing and debugging process.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Design functional and non-functional test specifications.
  • Perform functional and non-functional tests against given test specifications.
  • Record and report all relevant activities where required.
  • Produce a software and system testing report.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Integrated Formative Assessment
    The Skills Development Providers will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated External Summative Assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment
    An External Integrated Summative Assessment, conducted through the relevant QCTO Assessment Quality Partner is required to issue this qualification. The External Integrated Summative Assessment will focus on the Exit Level Outcomes and Associated Assessment Criteria. 

    International comparability was done against qualifications offered in New Zealand and Australia. During the international comparability study, no exact match was found for the Software Tester occupationally based qualification. Therefore, this part-qualification was compared with Software Engineering related qualifications offered in the two countries.

    New Zealand
    New Zealand is offering a Diploma in Software Development, Level 6, ID number 2604 with 240 credits.

    Some of the institutions that offer this qualification include but are not limited to Activate Training Centre Limited, New Zealand School of Education and Northland Polytech Ltd. The entry requirement into this qualification is the attainment of any Level 5 New Zealand Certificate in software development. Learning duration was not specified. This qualification is aimed at preparing learners who have attained a range of Information Technology (IT) knowledge, specialist practices and technical skills in software development, for employment in an entry-level developer or tester role in a range of organisational contexts, or to proceed to further study.

    Upon completion of the qualification, learners will be able to:
  • Analyse requirements, design, and document software solutions for a range of problems in an organisational
  • Write and maintain programs using design patterns, data structures and algorithms to meet specifications.
  • Apply a range of software quality assurance techniques to verify correctness of systems.
  • Apply data management and storage technologies to support the software application and the development process.
  • Establish application security by integrating security principles throughout software development to ensure system integrity.
  • Choose, justify, and apply architecture, technologies, and tools, to implement the software solution.
  • Apply IT technical support concepts and practice to manage hardware and software resources to meet organisational requirements in a software development context.
  • Apply project management tools and techniques to an IT related project, to analyse and solve problems.
  • Apply communication, information design, personal and interpersonal skills clearly and professionally to enhance working effectiveness, efficiency, and quality outcomes in an organisational environment.

    Similarities between the South African Occupational Certificate: Software Tester and the New Zealand Diploma in Software Development have been found to be with some of the content covered in relation to software testing, target learners and the environments within which qualified learners operate.

    Differences were noted with the design and structure of the qualifications. The design of the Occupational Certificate: Software Tester comprises knowledge modules, practical skills modules, and work experience modules whilst the New Zealand qualification comprises core unit standards as well as elective unit standards from which learners can choose unit standards specific to the area of specialization they would pursue.

    On the other hand, the South African Software Tester qualification is designed as a part-qualification of the Software Engineering qualification. This implies that learners can choose specific modules to learn which upon completion will allow them practice as Software Testers. Testing and debugging in the New Zealand qualification has been covered as a quality assurance component.

    Entry into the Occupational Certificate: Software Tester is an NQF Level 4 qualification with experience in ICT whilst that of the New Zealand qualification is at Level 5. The South African qualification has higher credit value because of the inclusion of knowledge modules, practical skills modules, and work experience modules. On the other hand, testing and debugging has been covered as a component of quality assurance.

    Certificate IV in Information Technology, Ref number ICT40120, found on the Australian Qualifications Framework reflects the role of individuals who are job ready and competent in a wide range of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) roles and apply a broad range of skills in varied work contexts, using problem solving skills and effective communication with others. The qualification is offered over 13 months. This translates to one (1) year and 1 month. Some of the institutions that offer this qualification include amongst others the following: International Institute of Education, Abbey College Australia, Academy IT Pty (Ltd), to name but a few.

    Upon completion of the qualification, learners would have gained knowledge and skills in the following areas:
  • Database development: interpreting specifications, technical designs, and flow charts, modifying software applications, constructing technical specifications from models and testing, and writing technical documents.
  • Database maintenance: managing, cleaning, storing, and verifying organisational data, and evaluating compliance with internal and external data ethics regulations and legislation.
  • Gaming development: creating 2D and 3D modelling and animation software through scripts and storyboards.
  • Networking: installing, configuring, and testing networks and servers in organisations.
  • Programming: building, testing, and applying basic object-oriented language skills, user interfaces and software developments.
  • Systems administration support: implementing maintenance procedures and support to help troubleshoot system applications.
  • Web development: designing website layouts through textual and visual content transfer, search engine optimisation and simple mark-up language documents.

    The similarities between the Occupational Certificate: Software Tester and the Australian Diploma in Information Technology have been noted with target learners and course content.

    The South African Software Testing qualification is designed as a part-qualification of the Software Engineering qualification. This part-qualification allows learners to exit the qualification upon completion to practice as Software Testers. Regarding the Australian qualification, testing and bugging are covered as components of a unit of learning in the qualification.

    Comparison with regards to credits, duration and level was not possible as these were not specified in the qualification.

    The Occupational Certificate: Software Tester compares favourably with qualifications offered in Australia and New Zealand that were compared with. 

    This qualification provides opportunities for horizontal and vertical articulation options.

    Horizontal Articulation:
  • Occupational Certificate: Artificial Intelligence Software Developer, NQF Level 5.
  • Occupational Certificate: Cybersecurity Analyst, NQF Level 5.

    Vertical Articulation:
  • Certificate: Information Technology: Database Administration, NQF Level 6.
  • Certificate: Information Technology: Database Development, NQF Level 6.
  • Diploma in Information Technology in Network Design and Administration, NQF Level 6.
  • Diploma in Information Technology in Network Management, NQF Level 6
  • Diploma in Information Technology in Software Development, NQF Level 6. 

  • NOTES 
    Qualifying for External Assessment:
    To qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required knowledge and practical modules by means of statements of results and a record of completed work experience including Foundational Learning Competences.

    Additional Legal or Physical Entry Requirements:
  • None.

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers
    Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the QCTO website.

    The curriculum title and code are: Software Tester: 251201-001-00-01.

    Encompassed Trade:
    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
  • None.

    Assessment Quality Partner (AQP)
  • Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority. (MICTSETA).

    Parent Qualification
  • Occupational Certificate: Software Engineer, NQF Level 6. 


    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.