Software testing conferences

This post is part of the Pride & Paradev series.

As a tester, should you attend software testing conferences?

You should attend software testing conferences

Software testing conferences are a fantastic opportunity to meet other testers in person and discuss challenges you face and come up with ideas on how to do things better. You may get to know other testers online and if you get to meet them in person at a conference it will strengthen your working relationship.

Your employer may have a training budget for each staff member, and if you’re a self-motivated learner like me, instead of using your training budget to attend actual training, or a testing certification, you can instead use it to attend a software testing conference where you’ll learn a great deal more real world knowledge. I use my training budget each year to attend one overseas conference, so I am selective in which one I attend.

One of the biggest benefits of attending a software testing conference is realizing that you and your organization are not unique in the testing problems that you face by hearing from others in similar situations, and hearing of suggestions to overcome them.

You don’t need to attend software testing conferences

Conferences are expensive to attend as often they’re in a different city/country to you and you have to pay for travel and hotel costs, as well as tickets. If you are a contractor or casually employed, it will often mean time off work also.

Lots of conferences now stream their talks live for free, and most speakers publish slides or videos afterwards, so you don’t need to specifically attend to capture the knowledge the speaker presents.

A lot of software testing conferences fill slots with ‘serial speakers’ who speak at every conference they can, often with recycled material that you may have seen in some form or another at some point elsewhere. If you read the blog of one of these speakers, chances are the content of their talk will already be available in a slightly different form.

The worst part of attending a software testing conference is having to put up with potential bad behavior of other attendees. As well all know, people at conferences can be in bad form, which has led to many conferences now having a explicit ‘code of conduct’ for attendees, which makes the sensible people feel like children.

Many conferences are also drinking parties in disguise, so if you’re a teetotaler like me then you’ll often feel out of place as soon as the partying/drinking begins.