….I’m not going to lie.
In the name of maintaining relevance, I have added to each section of this blog, to reflect how remaining relevant isn’t a static thing. Any new content, I’ll add in italics.
The whole point of starting my blog came about as a result of some self-reflection. We have recently been recruiting new testers.
Throughout this season of recruitment, I found myself drawn to reflect on what we want in a tester and I found a really nice blog on this subject by Dan Ashby, take a minute to give it a read, I really like the mind map, it’s a very stimulating conversation tool.
The node within the mindmap that challenged me most and caused even the inception of this blog page was the node ‘Remaining Relevant’. I really had to think about what that meant to me and also how long I had been testing software before I would be someone that could reasonably have spoken on any of these subjects:
- Last conference/meetup attended
- Keeping up to date with the industry
- Favourite testing book or blog
- Personal blog/Twitter
But now, what do they mean for me? How would I address them for myself?
Last conference/meetup attended
Obviously this could be answered just by saying ‘last March at TestBash – Brighton’ but I would hope that I would be able to show awareness of conference(s). What happens at them, what benefits can be gleaned from attendance and so on.
For me, attendance at EuroSTAR 2013 was a huge eye opener. Even though I started as a tester in 2004, I saw nothing outside of computer games QA until 2012. Even the idea of transition out of the games industry into the wider software testing world seemed to be a rather huge tangent. As this paragraph is from the crux of this blog….
The point is that not only had I never attended any conferences or meetups, but that I had absolutely no awareness of the wider software testing community, practices, ideas, heuristics, blogs or anything that is so cool about being a part of the software testing community.
Since EuroSTAR came into my life, I’ve realised what conferences are, the people that you meet and the value of the sessions run, the conversation and debate. It’s all so stimulating and refreshing.
I have since attended National Instruments’ Automated Test Summit and TestBash Brighton and can attest to the benefits. I will touch on this more practically in another blog in the future.
As for meetups, that is something that I have not yet managed, maybe part of that is a convenience issue, I have two small boys and I live in rural South Kesteven, I will endeavour to look harder and maybe even look to start one, if I’m feeling game.
Having written this, I have attended a TestBash, UKSTAR and two EuroSTARs (hosting the Community Huddle in the later two.
I also have attended and even hosted an MoT Meetup, with my colleagues. I know that there are a lot of passionate testers out there who give up their free time to arrange and host these events; from sponsors, to hosts, arranging guest speakers and everything that goes along with that. I wholeheartedly endorse looking these up. https://www.ministryoftesting.com/ministry-of-testing-meetups
and while we’re at it, if you want to nominate a meetup hero, please take a look at https://ukstar.eurostarsoftwaretesting.com/ukstar-software-meetup-hero-competition/
Aside from TestBashes and STAR conferences, there’s the unicorn loving Agile Testing Days, and countless others. Conferences provide an opportunity to hear new ideas, meet some heroes of the testing world, bring new and exciting ideas back to your work place.
Keeping up to date with the industry
The internet is the best way to stay connected and up to date with things.
Twitter is amazing, I don’t use it anywhere near its potential, but when I find a blog, hear a talk or get referred to someone who might have something to say about software testing, I will follow them on Twitter.
Incidentally, my handle is @christovskia I may even tweet more than links to memes, my blog posts, Eurovision, TdF or Superbowl, feel free to follow me and find out.
On the subject of Ministry of Testing, they sent out a great post 30 Things Every New Software Tester Should Learn that is well worth a read.
And finally, Flipboard where you can follow various topics and share interesting articles. Ministry of Testing share yet more great stuff there too.
For me, I find some blog posts that look interesting and leave them open in my browser and dip in and out as and when I can. I find inspiration and support in these blogs.
Almost as soon as I published this blog initially, Slack became a thing I needed to be a part of. Ministry of Testing host a great Slack which is the most wonderful celebration of testers and a great resource at your fingertips, https://www.ministryoftesting.com/slack_invite is where you should go to check it out.
Favourite testing book or blog
This is totally subjective, I don’t really read many testing books per se. But, as above, blogs are my thing.
In the MoT Slack, there is a #blogs channel that I would recommend. I can at least now recommend a book, Dorothy Graham‘s new book along with Seretta Gamba, aroud test automation.
I’ve noticed more as I’ve written this that I’m going to be repeating myself a little here, but I tweet a little, and I write this blog. The blog is shared on my personal Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
It goes without saying that I am representing myself and there is an obvious association made with my employers. The representation of myself on social media and via blogs can be supremely advantageous for both parties, but can also be a deal breaker, not only with current employers, but any potential future employers.
For that reason, I may be quirky sometimes (for want of a better word), but I try to be mindful of the reception that could be greeted by anything I may post online. This is something that I have become more conscious of since the early days of my social media existence, but worth bearing in mind which posts are publicly viewable.
I have found myself more recently trying my hardest to follow more testers on Twitter, I have made some great connections and seen so many great debates. It is true that you can find yourself only following people that have the same opinions that you do, but without contrast, we can’t learn so much. So I would recommend following people that you might not be able to resonate with, maybe when you find something that you disagree with on a point, you’ll discover what you really believe in?
Twitter has been my main source of new ideas and blog posts, but also podcasts. Having had a short discussion with some testing peers last week, we shared some that I think are worth recommending here:
So, please stay in touch, let me know your thoughts, tap in to the industry, be inspired and inspire!!