TestBash 3 is over, but its impact reverberates on… Danny Dainton talks below about how the TestBash experience has changed his testing career.
There has been a date, for one massive event firmly cemented in my calendar for just under a year. An event that personally means so much to me, an event that gave me the great big slap in the face I needed to kick start my software testing career. An event that gave me new confidence and opened my eyes to the wider testing community. That event is Testbash!
At the beginning of 2014, I witnessed a huge number of folks in the testing world publish blog posts and articles detailing what they had achieved during the previous year, the goals they set themselves, the events they attended, the exciting new things that they had learned and of course what they hope to accomplish in 2014.
My year was slightly different, it started in March 2013.
If I was to rewind 12 months, my life was very different. I was stuck in a rut and didn’t know which way to turn to get myself out. After finishing an extended overseas vacation in Australia I took a job with a company that had expressed their desire to establish a software testing element to their current business model. I’m an enthusiastic bloke and I was loving every word of what I was hearing from these people and loved that I was going to be part of something new and unique to this company. Sadly, after a few months within the firm the direction switched focus to a more profitable area and the newly formed team that I belonged to was separated and placed within non testing roles.
As someone who loves testing this was a big body blow and I felt demoralised by the whole situation, I continued to pursue testing in my own time and try to learn as much as my free time allowed me, between the various contracts on which I had been placed. It was like an addiction for me, I needed to get my testing fix during the day.
Local test meetups proved to be a beacon of hope shining through the blanket of grey cloud that surrounded me during those dark days (slightly dramatic), the chance to actually speak to a real person about testing was unreal. I first noticed TestBash whilst looking for my next meet up and thought it would be perfect to get myself along too and meet other like-minded people. I applied for funding to TestBash via my company as many other people would do, but they looked at me like I had two heads and refused to even entertain the idea of paying for me to attend.
Obviously this was a kick in teeth and hard to take, it made me even more frustrated by the situation that I had found myself in. I took to Twitter to vent my anger and express my jealously of all the lucky attendees. I’ve blogged about this particular experience but basically the truly awesome Rosie Sherry gave me a life line and asked if I would like to help her out during the event in return for a free ticket! It took me a split second to decide. I was on my way to TestBash!
I can remember the day so vividly, The pre-TestBash meetup where I met Rosie for the first time, having a beer and a chat with new people, I even managed to spill a drink over Simon Knight – not my finest moment – and of course, I remember every single glorious second of the day itself.
The excitement and buzz on the day of the event when the doors were opened for the first time was unreal. Happy smiley conference-ready people flooded in and the helper team of which I was a part greeted them with open arms, signed them in and directed them towards the lean coffee workshop.
Listening to the speakers each giving their talks, I couldn’t help but be inspired by them all, and took on board amazing new information from each of the topics. One thing that stuck in my mind from Amy Phillips talk about “Managing A Lean Test Team” was hiring the right sort of person, not being afraid to hire a person that might not be perfect right now but that has the potential to be [the right person] in a couple of years because they can work towards it, if they have the right attitude, passion, enthusiasm, and desire to learn the craft. Ping! – Huge light bulb moment!
I knew that I was that type of person and I knew that I had something to offer a team or organisation if they were willing to take a gamble. The rest of the conference was a chance to hoover up and consume as much advice as I physically could that would put me on the right track, firmly heading towards my goal of being a “proper tester” not just a huge fan.
So where did I go from TestBash 2?! What did I change?!
I was encouraged to start writing a blog to help document my testing journey, I invested much more time in the community via twitter and took part in more local meetups, I attended (with Rosie’s help) Rapid Software Testing with Michael Bolton and finally after a few months, through lots of hard work and effort I landed a Test Engineer role at NewVoiceMedia working with Rob Lambert and his amazing team. At the moment it’s really hard to not walk around the office without a massive smile on my face, I’m loving being there and learning something new every day from the guys and girls at NVM.
What did you take away from TestBash 3?! How will you apply the new things you have learnt?! If you’re like me and these new things end up taking you towards where you want or need to be in life… It’s going to be one hell of a Journey! Good luck and make sure you send your experiences in to The Testing Planet!
About Danny Dainton
Danny works as a test analyst at NewVoiceMedia and blogs at http://dannydainton.com/. Follow him on Twitter – @DannyDainton.