Software QA & Testing Meetup – January Notes

Software QA & Testing MeetupDuring last January’s meetup, I promised to publish my notes containing the concepts and links that were discussed.  While this post is a little late in coming, it’s finally here.

Finding Your “Testing Spark”

The following information is good for:

  • New testers
  • Managers thinking about helping their staff to improve
  • Testers feeling burn out and needing to find their Testing Spark
Testers need to feel of value.  How does this occur?
  • Helping to make the projects they work on better for users
  • Feeling a sense of purpose
  • Feeling they can make a difference
  • Being able to learn and develop skills
  • Feeling challenged, be able to user their brain
  • Being able to teach, give back to others.
  • Achieving goals
  • Enjoying teamwork with coworkers
If some of these needs are not being over an extended period of time…
  • Burnout may occur
  • Less satisfaction
Question to think about?
  • Is your career going the way you want it to?
  • What makes you tick?
  • Examine why do you like to do testing?
  • What do you like about the profession?
  • What interests you?
  • What are your goals?

What are some things you can do to shake things up?

  • To get out of a rut
  • To start your career out successfully?
Focus on being a craftsman in your profession!
  • Learning and expanding skills
  • Networking
  • Be active & contribute

1. Individual Pursuits



Great source of Software Testing Readings.  Highly recommend in the testing community:


However, you don’t have to stop just on software testing, read areas that are closely related (dev, ui/ux, scrum master) or those on other subjects like human factors, psychology, critical thinking, decision making, communication, note taking, etc.


CAST 2015 reading list.


Check out not just Amazon, if you are an avid reader with a book budget, consider Safari Online


Consider checking out LeanPub as books are being developed, you can get some good deals.


Check out publications by Gerald Weinberg – Testers Series


Better Software Magazine –
Professional Tester –
Software Test & Quality Assurance –
Tea Time With Testers –
Testing Experience –
Women tester’s magazine –



Such a variety of blogs out there that can be reviewed.  If you have an interest, it’s most likely being covered.
  • From extremely technical blogs to straight up testing techniques
  • Get a perspective on the testing community, how things are changing
  • How people are approaching challenges
  • Calling out webinars, seminars, experience reports on conferences, etc.
  • Links to podcasts can help you find new resources to check out on a weekly basis. Tracking over 500 blogs currently


Start your own blog

Self Directed Education Opportunities


Course range in a wide variety of prices.  You can find sales.  At the first of the year, I was able to get any course for 10.00


uTest (Hands On) – It’s free –
Articles, Forums, uTest University, Paid Projects


You Tube Videos – Search for your favorite subject, have fun! –


Whiteboard Testing (new in the last 2 months)  – Trying to get a repository of quick videos w/out having to try to search through YouTube –


The Dojo – Ministry of Testing –

Discussion Forums 


Software Testing Club –

2. Getting “Social” 

Testing Communities 


Advantages of Meetups
  • You get to meet a group of like minded individuals
  • You make new contacts – both one-on-one and as a team
  • It will help you focus on what you are looking to achieve
  • Get new ideas, inspiration and motivation
  • You can be empowered and re-energized
  • You may learn new things very quickly and without research
  • You may find support to take your projects forward
  • Might find a new career opportunity
Travelling?  (Check out a list of global software testing meetings listed on
Make your own if you don’t like what you see or your needs are not being met.


Engage in other meetups related to software development/critical thinking/psych – TechLife Columbus –


“Online” Meetups


Hard to get out?  Try out the Weekend Testing sessions over Skype –
Weekend Testing (Americas)
Weekend Testing (Europe)
Weekend Testing (Australia/NZ)


Attend Conferences/Workshops 


  •     QA or the Highway 2016
  •     CAST
  •     StarEast
  •     StarWest
  •     STPCon Spring
  •     STPCon Fall
Go to learn
Go to network
Go to give back something to the community, fill out request for speaker invites (locally, regionally, internationally)
Meet some people, start going out to lunch
Start communicating
Can’t make it in person, don’t forget about the virtual conferences, there are several a year.



Real time updates


So, who to follow?


One way to start:
Mine through my followers and who I am following
Find the “big names in testing” and drill down


Compile a list of local testers to connect



Follow others
Read their stuff
Find out who is in your community to connect with
Check out Interests

Find some folks.


Benefits of Mentoring are numerous


For the Mentor
1. Allows the mentor to “give back” — to both the organization and the mentoree
2. Reminds the mentor how to listen actively rather than passively
3. Encourages the mentor to share knowledge, which helps increase the mentor’s sense of self-worth
4. Strengthens the mentor’s interpersonal relationship skills
5. Teaches the mentor about other areas/departments within the organization
6. Helps re-energize the mentor’s career
7. Leads to more personal satisfaction on the mentor’s behalf


For the Mentoree
1. Increases the mentoree’s self-confidence
2. Helps the mentoree learn to take better control of his or her career
3. Teaches the mentoree how to speak up and be heard
4. Educates the mentoree on how to accept feedback in important areas, such as communications, technical abilities, change management, and leadership skills
5. Improves the mentoree’s interpersonal relationship skills
6. Provides an important networking contact for the mentoree
7. Helps the mentoree better understand the organization’s culture and unspoken rules, both of which can be critical for succes

3. Pursuits @ Work 


Take what you are learning, innovate, share
  • Start a brown bag at work
  • Get co-workers together to talk
  • Create an Inhouse Discussion Area
  • Start an Inhouse meetup
  • Start an Inhouse conference
  • Teach a skills
  • Peer Testing Events
  • Software Testing Events
  • Show a videos, conferences, interviews, etc
  • Start a Book Club
  • Tester Games (Fluxx, Mastermind, Set, Cubu, The Dice Game, Zendo, start Tester Challenges) – Erik Davis

4. Wrapping It Up
Great, but I don’t have time for this stuff at work?
You’re right, you may not.
You need to own your career, you can’t rely on others


Focus on being the best testing craftsman you can be


If your current working environment doesn’t have what you need…it may be time to look elsewhere


Own your career, go where you want to go
What can I do today?
Where do I want to go?