A blog about software quality

Highs and lows, ideas and fire starters within the software quality domain.

Knowledge for nothing and training for free...

CommonPosted by Testsson 2017-05-16 11:38

Do you feel like you are stuck in knee deep wheel tracks doing the same thing day out and day in while the rest of the world seem to move out of sight into a hazy distance of cool techniques and mysterious processes?

You do need to invest time and energy but defining training for free as something that come without a monetary cost there are some simple things you could do in order to evolve even if your organization don't see the need/don't have the budget for courses or conferences. There are things like test bashes, meetups, un-conferences, web casts et.c. that are either free of charge or low cost. If you are serious in your quest for deeper/wider knowledge I would most definitely suggest that you attend a real life event as a meetup. The chance to talk to your peers and ventilate any ideas, impediments, worries is invaluable.

Start by checking out what's available in your area on sites like Eventbrite or Meetup. There are usually a number of groups and events available. Either be selective or just attend any gathering you find interesting (if nothing else there's usually free food and drinks). You'll soon find out what is right for you but a good idea is to check what other groups the people in your group are signed up to.

If there are no groups in your area you could consider staring one yourself. If you don't have any cool presentation to share you could always get people together and start discussions.


If you get an opportunity to attend a conference it's wise to consider your options. For a long time there were basically only three major test conferences, STAREAST, STARWEST and EuroSTAR. I attended EuroSTAR between 2003 and 2007 but felt that there was just minor news year to year (besides exploratory testing that kind of shook the community at the time).

Since then the number of test related conferences have increased dramatically and there are both generic ones as well as the ones with a special focus. There is also a great fluctuation in costs, mostly depending on where the conference is located. As an example two days at HUSTEF in Hungary or Nordic Testing Days in Estonia are around €300 while Agile Testing Days in Germany and EuroSTAR are well over the €1000 mark for two days of conference. The price difference normally doesn't reflect the quality of the venue.


Do you have something you feel the community could benefit from? It doesn't matter if it is a new revolutionary idea, improved processes, applied tools or just lessons learned, there are always someone who want to hear what you have to say. Share your thoughts by discussing them with your peers, do a lightning talk at a venue, present at a meetup or send in a paper for a conference. The best way to learn is to teach.

Practice makes perfect

Attending conferences, meetups and so on is of course very good but anything you learn have to be interpreted and come to use. It's said that things like courses, books, conferences only constitute some 10% of developing new knowledge. Networking, mentoring, and feedback is around 20%. In the end it's working on real tasks, challenging current ways of working that ads those final 70% that is needed to master something.

Go out there and exploit new things but make sure to add anything valuable you learn to your personal toolbox and let it come to good use.

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