I received an email recently about an event happening later this month in London, UK. It's the world's first official Testathon (testathon.co). The site describes the event as "like a hackathon but for testers. You’ll be testing apps in teams with some of the best testers in the world." I know some of the judges and think this will be a fantastic opportunity for those who can attend.
When I received this notice my first thought was: this is a really cool thing and I should tell people about it. My second thought was: I don't normally write about conferences so do I blog about this or not? Well, yes, I decided to blog about it.
In the "Context-Driven" Software Testing community, actions speak louder than words. That's one of the reasons that certifications (like those from the ISTQB and QAI) are treated with low regard and even disdain from some people in the testing community. The main issue here is that these paper transactions (certifications) emphasize memory-work over hands-on practice. Here's a Quick Acceptance Test: does the [particular] certification reflect (1) a level of demonstrable competence and ability in the desired field, or (2) the ability to spend money and regurgitate specific knowledge without context?
So what is the response from the CD Testing community? Get together and test things! Practice makes perfect, so practice and learn from your peers and colleagues.
One of my favourite social ideas from the past decade has to be "Weekend Testing". The basic idea is to get together online and do some group testing sessions. It's a good opportunity to practice testing techniques, learn to communicate with other testers, and provide some valuable feedback to the sponsor companies providing the software to test (when applicable).
At some testing conferences we are also beginning to see Testing Labs appear. These are dedicated areas with computers, laptops, and other electronic things that you can get your hands on and test in a pressure-free environment. My friend and colleague Wade Wachs and I have recently inherited the official "Test Lab Rat" (organiser/manager) mantle from a super tester and teacher, James Lyndsay. James is continuing the Test Lab tradition in Europe and abroad and asked Wade and I to help manage the Test Labs in North America.
The message here? Just test.
Remember the old Chinese proverb: "Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand."
If you happen to be in the London, UK, area later this month, attend the Testathon and get involved! Meet some fellow testers, maybe some famous ones, practice, have fun, learn and take pride in your craft.
I wish the Testathon organisers much success so that we can see more events like this happen all over the world. Let's start something new, something powerful, something cool.
Learning can be fun, and we need more testing professionals who see the fun, form and function in their professions. The more passionate professionals we have in the Software Development community, the quicker we can all move forward.
Do you know other opportunities or events that puts practice over show and tell? Let me know.