Review of the best European and not only QA-conferences of this year


    Hello, Habr! My name is Vlad Romanenko. I work as a testing engineer at Badoo, on the iOS team.

    Do you like to make new acquaintances, share knowledge and experience and be in trend? Then I suggest you add a couple of upcoming events to your calendar.

    I started attending various conferences and meetings several years ago, while still at university. Of course, they were very different from those that I go to now. But even then I understood that it is difficult to keep abreast of current trends without participating in relevant events.

    There are already about 20 conferences on my list. Among them is International GIS Day at the Belarusian State University, Conference for GIS Users and Developersopen source in Moscow and many testing conferences (for example, this and this ).

    I noticed that many testers and QA engineers for some reason avoid conferences. And in vain. On the one hand, there are you with your questions to the community, on the other, there is a community that is interested in your experience. And why not combine the two sides? That is why I decided to share my opinion on upcoming events and inspire you to attend them.

    First of all, at the conference you:

    • meet new people and find like-minded people;
    • share your knowledge, get reviews and food for thought;
    • learn something new, gain valuable experience;
    • discover career prospects and opportunities in the local and international markets;
    • advertise yourself and your company;
    • have fun (and also fun and food :)).

    Your behavior and choice of activities will be determined by the purpose of your visit to the event. There are several options for participation:

    • organizer;
    • presenter;
    • a guest;
    • volunteer.

    I tried three of them (the organizer has not yet been able to stay) and I must note that each has its pros and cons.

    Presenter


    So, you decided to make a report (by the way, find out what type of speakers you belong to). In this case, you will have to devote a lot of time to preparing and “polishing” your presentation. However, in return you will receive not only valuable feedback and the opportunity to share your ideas, but also, as a rule, free attendance at the conference, as well as the opportunity to decorate your resume with a report.

    Pay attention to the topic of discussion of the first experience of public speaking.


    Mitap through the eyes of the speaker (Minsk, Republic of Belarus)

    Visitor


    Another option is to come to the event as a visitor or guest. Everything seems clear here: you just need to buy a ticket and come. What could be in the way? Probably the price: tickets, road and accommodation will cost a lot. So it’s not superfluous to clarify whether your company can help with the costs.

    In general, I am convinced that if you are going to a conference just to attend presentations and master classes, not trying to actively participate in them, you should not go at all. The organizers of most major events post presentations / videos of performances on the Internet in a few weeks or months - a good option for fans not to waste too much, right?


    Evening after the conference

    Volunteer


    And finally, the third option is a volunteer. I like this role, and I, among other things, actively participate in environmental volunteer activities (but this is a topic for a separate article).

    Not all conference organizers announce the search for volunteers. Be prepared for self-presentation and a few rejections before being accepted. It is equally important to remember that you are at the conference to help the organizers, so be active, and if something goes wrong, offer your help.

    Last year, I volunteered at the European Testing Conference in Helsinki, and it was incredibly useful, full of work and entertainment for three days.


    Nice review of my volunteer activities

    What events to visit


    You can select interesting international testing conferences to visit using this updated list . To search for local events, I recommend meetup.com - there is information about a large number of events in different countries and cities for every taste. Finally, I highly recommend joining the Slack community of testers and subscribing to its #events channel. It was thanks to this group that I learned about the Romanian Testing conference , which will be held on May 9–11, 2018. You can also subscribe to specialized podcasts to listen to announcements and feedback on events: for example, there is a good podcast about automation Joe Colantonio and the Russian-language Radio QA,which recently discussed the Selenium Conf conference .

    Regardless of your current location, you can find an event that you will conveniently get to. I am currently working in London, so I will look for conferences in Western Europe. But on my list there is also one event in St. Petersburg.

    Now let's move on to some interesting events of 2018.

    What? European Testing Conference
    Where? Amsterdam (Netherlands)
    When? February 19–20
    Link: europeantestingconference.eu/2018
    And although this conference has just ended, I cannot ignore it.


    During the performance

    I admit, I like her the most. Last time in Helsinki, I was impressed with how informal communication is combined with presentations and practical sessions. I mean, you are not just listening to speakers, but also taking an active part in different sessions. The conference was best described by Maaret Pjarvi, so I’ll just share a link to her post “ How is European Testing Conference Different? ”. By the way, in her blog you will find a lot of useful tips regarding conferences and testing in general, so bookmark and gradually study.

    Stay up to date: twitter.com/EuroTestingConf

    What? UKSTAR
    Where? London (UK)
    When? March 12–13
    Link:ukstar.eurostarsoftwaretesting.com


    Lean coffee. Photo by @UKSTARconf

    This conference is a must to attend, you will not regret a single penny spent. Last year I was not able to come, but I met with the organizers and heard feedback from the participants.

    I am attracted by the opportunity to attend a two-day event, filled with communication and performances. Why don't I prepare and discuss material that is really interesting to me? A few days after I found out about the conference, I clicked on the “Send” button and a couple of weeks later I received a welcome letter.

    We assume that you are already booking tickets, so do not miss my report on in-depth testing and analysis of iOS applications,I will speak on the second day of the conference. Natalie van Delft from the UKSTAR committee said: “It seems to me that I got the perfect combination of keynote speeches, master classes and courses, from which each tester will learn something useful.” I have nothing to add: come and see for yourself.

    Stay up to date: twitter.com/UKSTARconf

    What? TestBash
    Where and When?

    • Brighton (United Kingdom) | March 15-16
    • Utrecht (Netherlands) | April 12–13
    • Dublin (Ireland) | May 18

    Link: dojo.ministryoftesting.com/events


    Waiting for dinner. Photo by @perze

    These are well-known conferences held under the auspices of the Ministry of Testing. They take place regularly in different countries. The conference formats may vary depending on the venue, but in general these are one- / two-day events, including the conference itself and preliminary courses. In short, TestBash is a lot of speeches for every taste, free communication sessions and wonderful people, including recognized "stars" of the European and world community of testers.

    Stay up to date: twitter.com/ministryoftest

    What? Heisenbug
    Where? Saint Petersburg (Russia)
    When? May 17-18
    Link:heisenbug-piter.ru/en

    In December at the Heisenbug conference there were two excellent speeches about testing in Badoo: “ Expanding the possibilities of automation of Calabash-Android ” by Rajip Warma and “ Testing of geolocation in Badoo. Cones, stones, crutches and a selfie stick ”by Alexander Khozi and Nikolai Kozlov.

    The next conference will be held in May, many technical and practical reports are expected to help you increase your productivity. Get ready to meet sophisticated colleagues who are not afraid to get into the code, use non-trivial tools and develop their own frameworks.

    Stay up to date: twitter.com/HeisenbugConf

    What? Nordic Testing Days
    Where? Tallinn (Estonia)
    When?June 6–8
    Link: nordictestingdays.eu


    Presentation karaoke

    Last year, I was amazed not only with speeches on the topic of testing (I even tried to speak in the format of a short report ). By the way, look at the record " A Chase of Incremental Improvement ". I also really liked the “presentation karaoke” (this is when random images are displayed on the screen, and you need to tell them a coherent story) and other informal events on the evening of the first day of the official program.

    I’ll also mention (almost to the topic) that just in the messenger of the official application of the conference I saw an announcement about the opening of a QA position in Badoo, which completely changed my life.

    Stay up to date: twitter.com/nordictestdays


    Ambiguous slide from a report about robots (Tallinn, Estonia)

    What? EuroSTAR
    Where? The Hague (Netherlands)
    When? November 12-15
    Link: conference.eurostarsoftwaretesting.com

    In my opinion, this is a cherry on the cake. EuroSTAR is one of the largest and most diverse conferences on topics, with a long history. Her name speaks for itself, so I don’t even have anything to add. Unless, I would be happy to speak at this conference.


    At the EuroSTAR-2017 conference (Copenhagen, Denmark). Photo by Anna Khilyuk

    What? SQA Days EU
    Where? Riga (Latvia)
    When? March 22-23, 2019
    Link:www.sqadays.eu/en/index


    SQA Days-21. Photo BySTQB

    And the last event, experimental. This will be the first European conference as part of Software Quality Assurance Days . It's nice that the organizers keep the history of past events, and you can watch not only the programs, but also almost all the presentations and recordings of performances (the vast majority in Russian). I have spoken at these conferences three times and now I look forward to the English-language event, which was recently announced. I invite everyone to visit him!

    As you can see, conferences, cities and dates are very different. Choose the right event - and start preparing for it! Personally, I periodically look through news feeds and announcements to understand what events are suitable for me, and prefer to plan trips in advance in order to save on tickets. I try to attend local conferences, because it’s cheaper, I select several events, and then I edit the list depending on the situation.

    I also recommend that you prepare an action plan at the conference in advance. Check the program, choose topics of interest or speakers, and try to properly plan your route between the halls. By the way, participation in master classes and training sessions may require certain conditions to be met, such as having a laptop with additional software or some knowledge that needs to be shared with others.

    Some people at events are very shy and refuse to communicate and ask questions. And recently, I got into my hands, let's say, a “tool” that allows melt the ice of such participants - TestSphere , a deck of cards with notes about testing. Read more here. And I want to tell only about one of the ways to use these cards: to start a dialogue. You just need to find a person during the break, pull out a random card - and voila, you already have a topic for conversation. Here can be found and other ideas for using TestSphere.

    Feel free to tell us in the comments about your favorite conferences and do not forget to mention exactly what you liked. See you at the upcoming events!

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