Before I start, I wish to make this very clear – this is a totally unauthorised and unsolicited article that has been written without permission or authorisation from the lovely people behind the very first Let’s Test Oz. Will they approve? I don’t give a sh*t!
However, I do give a sh*t about the education and betterment of software testers in Australia (and the rest of the world for that matter) and therefore I implore everyone reading this to check out the Conference website (http://www.lets-test.com) and sign up. I also implore everyone to pass on this information to their friends and colleagues, in order that the first Let’s Test Oz be a major success and that there will be many more Let’s Test Oz conferences in the future. I say this without fear or favour and without having attended Let’s Test in Europe. Why would I do this? Because I believe in the concept and I believe in the people who are behind this worthy and very valuable endeavour.
I also want to make it very clear that I will NOT be attending the conference as I will be in England enjoying my brother’s 60th birthday celebrations – family comes first, even when something very special is happening in my own backyard!!
Why am I so passionate and emphatic that you should attend this conference? Because of my own professional growth/experiences from attending top class software testing conferences around the world. I’m not talking about 1-day self-interest showcases or vendor-sponsored chat fests, I’m talking about industry-led experience-driven multi-track conferences where critical thinkers and industry thought leaders share their time and experiences with their peers.
The first software testing conference I ever attended was EuroSTAR in Munich in 1998. I got to meet Bill Hetzel, Martin Pol and Dot Graham and to this day I’m still in touch with both Dot and Martin – I was far too in awe of Bill Hetzel to ever think he’d be interested in staying in touch with me; having said that, I met him again several years later and he remembered me! Perhaps an Aussie flying across the world to attend a software testing conference was something of note in those early EuroSTAR years. Munich was EuroSTAR VI and Dublin, later this year, will be EuroSTAR XXII
I am very proud to be a veteran of six EuroSTAR conferences (Munich 1998, Barcelona 1999, Copenhagen 2001, Stockholm 2001, Edinburgh 2002 and Manchester 2011), speaking at three of them. I will always hold these conferences very close to my heart as highlights in my career as a professional software tester. A lot happened along the way, including a 4-year collaboration with the wonderful people behind EuroSTAR who believed in an idea Donna O’Neill and I pitched – AsiaSTAR. Although our dream of a truly Australasian event never quite came to fruition we did have four wonderful years in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne from 2001. We attracted some incredible overseas Keynote speakers to those conferences and I’m proud to say that I’m still in touch with all of them.
Funnily enough, my only real recollection of my first EuroSTAR in 1998 is something that happened on my way home. I was stranded on a plane for 5 hours at Munich Airport while we waited for each flight ahead of us, in the de-icing queue, to take-off…. Not really a highlight, but certainly memorable. You never forget flying through a snow blizzard! Thankfully, I still have copies of the presentations from every EuroSTAR I’ve attended to jog my memory.
In my experience there are far too many Testing folk who have never attended a Software Testing Conference – anywhere in the world. So when a world class event comes to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, you gotta be there. I’m not going to bang on about the cost or the time, all I’m going to say is that if you are serious about your profession you can’t afford NOT to be there. I can honestly say that my career in software testing changed during my first EuroSTAR and my new-found sense of being connected to other like-minded people was awesome.
If you are already using context-driven techniques this conference will expand your toolkit, if you have very little knowledge of this area you are in for a mind-bending few days.
95% of the people you meet at any testing conference are there because they share a passion and pride in what they do – it is truly infectious and inspiring. The minority who are there “because my boss wants me to report back on what all the fuss is about” often end up as evangelists in their own right!!
As I said before, I have been fortunate to meet some of the leaders of our industry and discuss my own challenges with them and they have also shared some of their’s with me!! I even hired someone (from the UK), who I first met when they were a speaker, at a EuroSTAR conference to work for me in Melbourne.
So, I’m going to say this one more time – real software testing conferences are gold and Let’s Test Oz is the real deal. Visit the website. Read the reviews. Don’t rely on your boss to pay for the experience – I never did. Engage with some of the speakers on Twitter – I do. If only my brother would have been born a few weeks later I’d be seeing you all at Let’s Test Oz 2014 – I will be at Let’s Test Oz 2015 (as long as it doesn’t coincide with my daughter’s wedding – in Munich!!).
Don’t think about it, just do it.
Dateline: Melbourne, Monday July 7 2014