Shamyla, a software tester from London reflects on her experiences with tech meetups after speaking at the Community for Agile Testing meetup & other groups in 2017 and the positive outcomes which are to be gained from attending.
It’s December 2017 and I’m reflecting on the year gone by. I’m currently in the midst of preparing a conference talk and working on a side project. I sit back and think about all the opportunities, projects, ideas and friendships that have been formed over the past few years. The power of meetups is evident.
Meetup: a definition
A meetup, simply put, is a gathering of people with similar interests. Websites such as Meetup or Eventbrite allow one to search for events relating to a particular interest, be it baking or music. Tech meetup groups usually host events in the evenings. More often than not, there are speakers showcasing their projects or ideas. Or sometimes it’s just a gathering of like-minded individuals discussing software testing. This type was one of the first tech meetups that I attended.
Finding my path to testing enlightenment
Having pretty much been in the testing industry since I left university, I wanted to learn more about the testing craft and how it was being applied elsewhere. Did other testers face the same challenges? What are the latest innovations in Quality Assurance and how could I apply it at my workplace? These questions were answered and are still being answered. Meetups provide a sense of community and allow the exchange of ideas to take place.
“By learning, you will teach, by teaching you will learn” – Latin Proverb
The above proverb couldn’t be truer. Meetups are a great opportunity to hone one’s talent. Since I started attending meetups, I’ve been to events focussing on DevOps to Agile methodologies. Testing is a practice that covers a broad spectrum! I’ve learned so much about the testing craft and in return have been able to apply what I have learned time and time again. For instance, I recently hosted a bug (test) bash centering around testing personas. I first heard about testing personas at a meetup and was intrigued to hear how adopting a persona could reap rewards. The end result was a very beneficial testing session!
A lot of speakers tend to practice their conference talks at meetups. So, not only are you getting a chance to learn something new, but it provides a safe space for new speakers to deliver their talks. The Community for Agile Testing is one of those groups.
The Community for Agile Testing was the first meetup that I spoke at and since then I’ve gone on to speak at further two meetups this year. With plans to speak at a conference next year. After speaking at the Community for Agile Testing meetup, I was asked by MagenTys (who sponsored the meetup), if I would like to guest blog for them. I pondered over what topics to write about. But I then realised that being given this chance to guest blog is one of those opportunities that have come about, just by going to meetups. It seemed like the natural choice.
Personal development is not the only hidden gem to be found at meetups. It’s a great opportunity to meet people, network or find talent. Whether you’re a startup looking to promote your company. Or a tester trying to learn more about her industry. This was the situation that I found myself in a couple of years ago.
I can’t stress the importance and power of attending meetups. I look back at over how many people I’ve met over the last few years, the connections I’ve made and the opportunities I’ve gratefully come across. I honestly don’t believe that this would’ve been possible if I hadn’t attended meetups.
The power of meetups should not be underestimated. In this day and age, I cannot stress the importance of ‘owning’ what you do. Meetups allow you that opportunity. Continuous Improvement is a process that we hear about all too often being applied to products or services. Perhaps we should be looking within ourselves to see what we can do to change the face of software testing.
Thanks to Shamyla for this week’s blog post and you can discuss this more on social media by using the tag #ThePowerOfTechMeetups and you can reach out to Shamyla on Twitter at @lifeintest
Marketing Executive at MagenTys