2013 What a year to be in the Testing community!

So me and my girlfriend were sat having a drink in a popular coffee bar when we got onto the subject of what we have both been up to this year. I was quick to call upon job changes and conferences trips but after giving it some more thought, this has been an incredible year in which I have achieved a lot!

Conferences
TestBash, the link is for TestBash 3 which you should all click and register for now! But this was indeed TestBash 2 and it was excellent. It was my first conference solely dedicated to Testing and it didn't disappoint. The whole set up was excellent, the pre & post conference meetups, the talks were engaging and thought provoking was a really enjoyable day. I also got to meet lots of cool and interesting people, but we will get to that later.

The Selenium conference was my second conference of the year, while Brighton is nice this was in Boston, USA which turns out to be a really nice city. The conference was my first taste of a really big conference with attendees from all over the world. I had the privilege of attending all three days of the conference including the workshops, got to meet some people I had been following for a while and had some excellent social nights, which you can read all about here.

Those two were more than enough, but it didn't end there on the conference front. Thanks to the help of the majority of your reading this post, I won a ticket to EuroSTAR 2013. The conference was truly great 4 solid days of learning from a variety of mediums. Workshops, talks and of course the chit chat in lobby and lets not forget the pubs and bars. I haven't wrote up anything on my blog for EuroSTAR however I did write something for EuroSTAR so hopefully that will be published by them soon.

Training
Rapid Software Testing (RST) was my first training of the year by James Bach just before TestBash in Brighton. This is truly a great three days, you will have information overload during the three days but the really learning from RST comes in the following weeks and months and is still continuing today. If you any budget for testing training, please attend RST over everything else you will not be disappointed.

Rapid Software Testing for Managers (RSTM) was my second training of the year by Michael Bolton also in Brighton, its that damned Rosie Sherry making all these courses so accessible! This was a 1 day version of the course, have to admit it was a little squeezed but so much material and again as with RST the learning doesn't stop once you leave the room it continues, you want to continue looking into what Michael said.

London Tester Gatherings Workshops (#LTGW2013) this was an excellent two days of workshops arranged Tony Bruce and Skillsmatter, I have never attended a Skillsmatter event before but was truly impressed by the whole event. Great speakers covering a variety of topics, can't wait for the next one.

Exploratory Workshops in Testing
We hosted the first Midlands Exploratory Workshop in Testing (#MEWT) this year, which was my first introduction to the format of an EWT. Was my first real talk, so was a real learning curve, I didn't get the format right as I had slides, you live and learn, slides for a EWT talk, what a newbie!

Speaking
I am still yet to do what I would class a a proper talk yet, however this year I did get my first taste of talking in front of people. It started with a 90 second lightning talk at TestBash, where I decided to run around in a circle, crazy I know, but it did happen you can watch it here, about 5 minutes in. A side from running around in a circle there was a message which you can read about here.

Someone told me once you have done one talk, the rest are easier. Turns out this was true, but not only easier, you want to do it, you don't have to pushed and encouraged to do it. So when the opportunity for lightning talks came up at Selenium conference I jumped at the opportunity. There is also a video of this which I have added the post about the selenium conference I linked earlier.

Also as mentioned I did the talk at MEWT, which I later repeated at the Sheffield Tester Gathering which was awesome.

Testing Meetups
I started hosting #NottsTest and more importantly am still hosting NottsTest. It's really great meeting local testers regularly and can't encourage everyone enough to attend a meetup if there is one near you or start hosting one if there isn't! I also attended several Sheffield Testing meetups and one London one during the LTGWs.

People
I have been introduced to a lot of testers this year and had the privilege of talking to a lot of great testers on twitter and skype, however I have also met a lot of testers this year.

It would take me a long time to list them all and I would certainly forget somebody so I am not going to try, however I want to say that getting out there and meeting people is so valuable, the initial learning and conversations are great but building those relationships means advice can be just an email / call away, of course this can be done solely online, but I find face to face over a beer is a lot better.

But I am going to name a few people though, as these people have been a real help and inspiration this year, Rosie Sherry for her encouragement in setting up NottsTest and her continued support throughout the year, especially when I need a new notepad! Huib Schoots for his continuous encouragement and support. Stephen Blower for his support in attending EuroSTAR but for also joining me in the meetup journey and also attending them, not to mentioned him arranging some excellent Skype sessions.

2014
As you are aware from a few posts back, 2014 is going to start with a change for me which I can't wait. But in general I want more of the same.

My main ambition for next year to get talking at more events, be it smaller events in the UK but also some of the larger conferences. I am already signed up to talk at Belgium Testing Days and will be submitting proposals over the next few weeks for other conferences.

So here's to 2013, was a great year on the testing front and a big hello to 2014!!! Hopefully I will get to see more of the people I have been fortunate to met already plus those I haven't had the privilege of meeting yet.

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