So, unless you’ve been testing from under a rock you know that CAST 2012 happened pretty recently. This was my first software testing conference and I was super excited to be there. CAST is a pretty small (this year had maybe 175 or so participants) conference that is heavy on the conferring. Anyway, here are some of the things I took home from the experience.

Remembering how much I love testing
Prior to CAST, I had not really spent time around other testers since I moved away from Texas. I mean…I’ve seen people with the job title but no one really passionate about the craft. Being in a crowd of people whose natural instinct is to question and learn about everything surrounding was energizing. It was like returning home. The whole conference appeared to be designed around this ethos. Talks had built in time for questioning the speaker, workshops had built in time for recaps and discussing what was learned or not learned and unplanned (emerging topics and lightening talks) were put on when people came up with new ideas they wanted to talk about.

I can contribute (and you can too!)
Monday evening after the scheduled talks was a meeting for the AST education special interest group. This group was formed to talk about the SummerQAmp program which Michael Larsen and others have diligently been working on as well as the need for BBST instructors. I’ve taken the BBST foundations course and completed bug advocacy just before CAST. The result of this EdSig talk was me discovering an interest in being an instructor for the BBST classes. I’ve signed up for what is currently the last of the BBST courses, Test Design and also registered for the instructors course. I’ll post an experience update on this once the instructors course is complete in late October.

There is loooooots to learn
Critical thinking, system thinking, social sciences, observational proficiency, heuristics, and biases. These are just a few of the tools a tester uses daily whether they know it or not. CAST gave me a place to remember these and practice them in a group. The talks gave an academic setting to discuss the topic and workshops and tutorials gave a a place to practice and discuss our observations afterwords. I’ve now expanded my reading list on many of these topics and am eager to start turning pages.

I’ll depart with a nice piece of music by Ennio Morricone called Gabriel’s Oboe. David Childs is the soloist.