Last Tuesday I attended TestExpo 2017.
Since I switched back into testing, I have tried to read more about the changes in this field so that I’m more informed and in a better position to make decisions about the direction we take for QA within my day job and my personal projects.
Why is going to conferences and events good in general?
As I mentioned in my previous post, Ways to keep up your development skills as a Test Engineer, going to events like conferences or meet ups are great for improving your technical knowledge. But, they are also great environments to flex your social muscles and converse with your peers.
Learning to approach and make conversation with complete strangers is a soft skill that everyone should look to be improving. But more than that, it gets you out of your comfort zone of interacting with the same circle of people that you deal with everyday.
Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations makes you grow by building skills you wouldn’t normally use.
Being in a place where the majority of people are dedicated to improving the quality processes and products was definitely an unusual but brilliant feeling. As I tester, particularly in agile teams, you’re outnumbered by “sole” developers (those whose main role is development). This may lead to situations where you have to champion your opinions in order to get things changed for the better. So being in an environment so different to my day to day life instantly lifted some of my nerves.
At these types of events there are always opportunities for sponsored partners or vendors promoting their products.
My advice for dealing with vendors is to find out exactly what they do and only give your contact details to those who have products that you know may be useful in the future to your goals. Otherwise you could open yourself up to a lot of LinkedIn requests. By all means take as much information away, but be clear that you’ll be assessing what they have and whether it’s inline with what you want to achieve. You’ll contact them, not the other way around. It sounds a bit harsh, but in all fairness, you don’t want to waste anyone’s time, yours or theirs if their product isn’t what you’re looking for.
The vendors at this event were very honest and helpful and I got some great information in the form of the World Quality Report 2017 from Sogeti.
The day was arranged into series of talks and a round table (group discussion) session.
There were three specialty tracks being covered during the day at the event: Testing, Agile and DevOps. After the keynotes were finished, you could decide to pick and choose between talks from other tracks which I found was great as your interests may not solely be about testing.
The programme list for the day can be found on their website.
I chose to attend the talks within the Testing track. In total I attended all but one of the day’s talks (I did manage to get hold of slides from the talk that I missed so I wasn’t too disappointed).
My favourite talks of the day were:
- Keynote: Becoming a Unicorn
- The core competencies of a good tester
Both of these talks made me think the most and gave me a list of actionable tasks that I believe will make me a better test engineer.
- Make UI automation tests cover key user journeys and smoke tests and ensure a good ROI
- The values and benefits gained from good QA should be:
- You should aim to deliver quantifiable results that support the business values and it’s qualities.
- Build dashboards to share throughout the company’s teams to share quantifiable results
- The soft skills of QA engineer are just as important as their technical and analytical skills.
There was lots of actionable information for me to think of ways to improve the testing practices that I’m currently implementing. The content was a nice mix of beginner/refresher and new/intriguing tech. The attendees were very approachable and friendly and the venue, although a bit far out (near Heathrow!), was a lovely building.
I’d definitely recommend anyone with an interest in testing going next year!