It’s Not Just Testing Anymore: My Experience From a Testers’ Conference in Bratislava

Testers United Bratislava - Testers' Conference

Testing United was the first two-day testing conference in Slovakia bringing over 300 testing professionals across the CEE region together.

Software testing is often undervalued. Its benefits reflect in improved performance of software applications and their error-free and more reliable performance. Speakers at the conference talked about the changing nature of software development, testing and deployment and its growing complexity.

What is your expertise?

The opening keynote by Tomasz Dubikowski started with a bang looking at the skill set of the future quality superhero. Tomasz’s presentation, voted as the best one of the conference, called for quality of the craftsmanship, a set of benchmarks and rules to follow to make testing better and pride of being in the QA profession.

He also asked everyone to think about their domain expertise, mentioned the T-shaped skill set (having a deep knowledge in one area and broad overview in others) and upgraded it for the future.

(You can find all the videos here)

“What is the shape of your expertise?” Tomasz’s question invited everyone to think about what they want to and need to learn to succeed in the future from UI, security, performance coding, UX, to continuous delivery and integration. Tomasz called for being proud and think of quality in every aspect of your work.

You should also own your career and be in charge of where you want to go and what you want to learn. His presentation was timed perfectly to kickstart two days of inspiration and learning.

Everything is intertwined

Gojko Adzic took a longer route to show the challenges of the future. Drawing an example of algorithms driving prices of books to tens of millions of USD or putting twins on the terrorist threat list when they both applied for a drivers license and system evaluated them a threat since they looked the same to the computer and had different names.

How do you mitigate risks that happen after deployment of the code and who is responsible? The job of an IT professional is becoming more complex and tied to business, legal and user challenges.

Panel discussion "Back to the future" on what will happen to the testing industry in the next 5-10 years.
Testers United Bratislava Conference: Panel discussion “Back to the future” on what will happen to the testing industry in the next 5-10 years.

For me the panel discussion during the second day was the toughest one. I had to manage six bright minds, engage them and make it an interesting experience for the audience too. The key takeaways from the panel discussion touch the IT sector as a whole as well.

IT industry has a reputation for well paid jobs and comfortable lifestyle. Testing needs better branding, though, because it is important to build in quality and skills in the whole software development process. As Gojko Adzic said: “I don’t mind suffering through testing because I hate maintenance more than bug fixing.”

Szilard Szell from Nokia loves finding bugs and breaking things, that’s his motivation to be in testing. For testing researcher Ceren Sahin Gebizli it was about deep love for technology. As a girl, she was the one fixing TVs for the whole neighborhood. We talked about the need to learn new skills and stay on the top of your game.

The best keynote speaker of the conference Tomasz Dubikowski presenting the array of skills necessary to succeed in the testing industry.
The best keynote speaker of the conference Tomasz Dubikowski presenting the array of skills necessary to succeed in the testing industry.

These skills are not just hard technical skills, but also soft skills such as psychology, UX, understanding customers, and business needs. New emerging trend in the testing field is the responsibility for systems that malfunction. Who is the one who will be liable for complex systems endangering someone’s life such as complex systems in hospitals, or faulty wearables.

It’s in your hands

The speakers were calling for every attendee to take responsibility for their career and life in the broader sense. They urged to choose three things to do or learn, make a plan and execute. You can do this with any learning opportunity you encounter even more now at the beginning of the new year. Testing United is organized by Krone Consulting as part of their initiative to uplight the testing profession. 

The super-early bird tickets for the Testing United 2019 conference in Vienna are now available.

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