I’ve been home from the 3rd annual Conference of the Association of Software Testing in Toronto for three weeks now, and am still thinking about all I’ve learned.
This was my 3rd time attending CAST. As always, the keynotes, tutorials and track sessions were excellent…and as always, even better than that was the conferring. You see, CAST knows that it attracts testers with an impressive array of experience, and that making time for them to riff off of each other is very valuable. Toward that end, every single track session and keynote included substantial time devoted to discussion, with an explicit welcome to challenge the presenter or to otherwise test their assertions. Inevitably, the I found the lively conversation spilling over into dinner, or following us to the pub.
While I’ve been testing for eight years now, and have worked on a range of web and client-server applications, all of my work so far is limited to the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s a tremendous pleasure discussing testing with folks from vastly different industries, and from around the world.
One story of many: Over dinner I mentioned a problem that I thought was best solved by starting a conversation with the programmer. Scott Barber responded with something like “Providing the tester doesn’t get in trouble for talking to her.” I was surprised, and asked if that’s really something that happens much in 2008…and was informed by folks at the table from more regulated industries or on government projects that that’s not uncommon. Partly this made me very happy to be a tester for in very human culture we have at Freebase, but it also served to reinforce how easy it is to overgeneralize about the field of testing, when I’m really thinking about testing in a particular context or contexts.
Discussing our particular challenges, sharing stories, and questioning testers with very different perspectives really made CAST 2008 a joy for me…and I’m looking forward to 2009 in Colorado Springs!