What I wish I knew when I started testing: Get involved with the testing community

In November 2018, I gave a talk at Belgrade Test Conference on ‘What I wish I knew in my first year of testing’.

Here’s the second post on the series with some key areas from that talk.

(Here’s the link to the first post: What I wish I knew in my first year of testing - Expectations vs Reality)

This post will focus on more “accessible” ways of being involved in the testing community (i.e. not speaking at conferences or starting testing meetups/events)

How I discovered the testing community

At my first company, I worked with a few people who were involved with the testing community - it is through them I discovered it existed. There were also a few people at the company who organised a testing meetup in Wellington, New Zealand. Later my former mentor and two other women started a testing meetup in Auckland, based off the model that was done in Wellington. Note: The meet-ups would have a 20 minute experience report (where someone shares their experience on something) and then this is followed by a facilitated discussion where everyone can share ideas with each other (not just direct questions towards the speaker).

How I have benefitted from attending meetups (and seen others benefit)

Discovery of new testing tools and how they are being used

By attending meetups, I was able to listen to others share their experiences on what testing tools they used and why. They would also often share why they chose the tool and any struggles they had.

Expand understanding of how testing is/can be done

If you only work at one company for a long time, then your understanding of how testing can be done is probably fairly limited. From what I have seen, testers who don’t try to see what’s out there and expand their understanding on testing, might not even realise that their understanding is limited.

By attending meet-ups you’ll get to see what other testers are doing and how they are solving problems etc.

Networking

You get to meet new people. I also know a few people who got jobs based off people they met from attending meetups.

Online forums

I wrote a few posts in the Software Testing Club back in the day and enjoyed reading others' experiences on there. Nowadays, I am somewhat active on the Ministry of Testing Discussion forum. In online forums you can ask questions and get a wide variety of perspectives on that question.

Next steps: How YOU can get involved with the testing community

For more information on what I wish I knew in my first year of testing, check out my eBook: Starting Your Software Testing Career.