Having just experienced a couple whirlwind days of StarEast I can confirm this: there is a lot going on. The conference program itself makes that clear: printed out, the agenda is an impressive 10 pages. At times there are up to 5 software testing sessions running simultaneously – and they are all interesting.
The first thing I did when thumbing through the StarEast program was to look for the software testing trends. Software testing conferences, especially ones with the prestige and draw of the Techwell conferences, make a good litmus test for the ideas and concerns that the software testing world is confronted with. What matters now? What are software testers talking about, and what do they want to know more about?
So like any good nerd, I pulled up the StarEast program online, hit “Ctrl F” and started searching keywords.
However, the software testing presentations that caused the biggest buzz on the show floor were the ones containing less-used keywords: Exploratory testing, Continuous Testing, artificial intelligence, and shift-left. Here’s a quick overview of what you might have missed:
Why is Everyone Talking About the Future of Testing?
Watch free at the StarEast Virtual Conference here!
Gerd Weishaar’s talk on the future of testing wound up being one of the most visited talks at the online StarEast virtual conference, with over 450 attendees. In the presentation, he discussed how over the past two years, the vast majority of industry experts have felt compelled to provide their perspective on “the future of testing.” This is unprecedented. Something must have fundamentally changed to generate so much buzz…what is it?
Although some claim that these fundamental industry shifts spell the death of “testing,” Weishaar believes they open an opportunity to elevate the role of the tester. This session explored the perfect storm currently disrupting testing, how it is already impacting testers across the industry, and how the role of testing and testers can evolve from a providing “hygiene” service to a becoming business-critical protector of the user experience.
Lightning Strikes the Keynotes
Lee Copeland and Guest Speakers
Lightning Strikes the Keynotes is a well-loved staple at the Techwell conferences. As the moderator, Lee Copeland selects 10 popular speakers and challenges them to give a full and interesting presentation within a strict 5-minute timeframe. Highlights of StarEast 2017’s “lightning strikes” included Michael Bolton rapping “Hamilton style”, Isabel Evans on 18th century Scottish farming practices, and Ingo Philipp equating exploratory testing to teen sex [quick explanation here].
The Lightning Strikes the Keynotes session was also streamed on the StarEast virtual conference, and can be re-watched here.
My Failures in Software Testing
Many of the presentations at StarEast revolved around the human heart of software testing. Isabel Evans’ talk was an excellent example of a growing, industry-wide awareness that testing, DevOps, and Agile are driven, first and foremost, by people.
In her 30+ years in the IT industry, Isabel Evans has learned more from her failures than she has from her successes. Why is this? And what has she learned? That making mistakes is the way to learn, and that allowing yourself to be wrong allows you to grow. Isabel opened up about her greatest failures, including how someone described her as an “elderly woman” in the technology industry. As a result, she has taken as her motto Bob Dylan’s line: “I was so much older then—I’m younger than that now.”
Isabel shared why being Generation A means continuing to fail, fail, and finally succeed—over and over again. As someone affected by the “imposter syndrome,” she reflected on confidence dropping as expertise grows, the necessity of dealing with constant change, and why we can never know everything.
Isabel may be an “elderly woman in tech” (we disagree on that issue), but she is still planning to make more mistakes and learn more new skills and knowledge.