May #MidsTest: “The Testing Social Network”

It was through continual and persistent poking that we eventually got Lee Marshall to do his first ever talk at #MidsTest. His first ever 99-seconds talk at TestBash Brighton also encouraged him to do a slightly-longer-than-99-seconds talk at #MidsTest!

Lee wanted to share his experience of his learning via the social network, specifically in the software testing context – hence the topic: “The Testing Social Network”. Ideal for a newbie with plenty of things to take away for experienced tester too.

The event was held on 24th May at our usual venue of Ramada Solihull where  our sponsor Matt Drinkwater from WoodrowMercer and hosts Raji and Ranjit met and welcomed the attendees.

With the room set (with gopro recording the session and all that…)

It was up to Raji to do the honours to firstly welcome the attendees, thank our sponsors, introduce the speaker and set the agenda.

Lee’s motivation was to share his journey of discovering and learning from various social networking sites/media and how it could become a vast knowledge base for testers – those new to software testing and as a reminder, a reference for experienced ones too.

Lee started with his experience of meetups and how one of the earlier #MidsTest sessions featuring Santhosh Tuppad had allowed him to understand and appreciate an area of testing he does not participate in his place of work. He also showed interest in knowing from the attendees of various other meetups, testing ones or others, that people attended. Some of the notable ones that were mentioned were

  • Other MoT meetups
  • Coventry Tech Meetup
  • Lean Agile Birmingham
  • Coventry and local area Agile meetup
  • NoSQL and Big Data Birmingham

Next, Lee’s source of learning was the discovery of various blogs that he reads religiously.

Lee’s favourites included blogs by  Michael Bolton, James BachMaaret Pyhäjärvi, Dan Billing and Simon Knight. He also observed that Twitter served an excellent platform to float an idea, a question, a suggestion around and get a feedback or a response almost immediately from across the globe. Lee also spoke about his how using blog and/or twitter with different perspective helps community gain from interactions amongst each other. Once opening it up to the attendees, following quick, notable mentions made:

Following this, Lee mentioned the Testersio and Ministry of Testing slack channels and how he had used them to get answers to his queries and even contribute to a shared Spotify playlist!

Forums then featured with as SQAForums, uTest, Reddit and LinkedIn and how they were much easier to navigate and search the topic you are interested in. Product-specific forums, especially those that are specific to tools are also a great source of information in getting specific questions answered quickly.

Lee then moved onto one of the most active events for any tester to learn – Conferences.

Citing his own example of how he was able to get a suggestion while discussing his requirement for screen capturing resulted in him trialling a tool that converts a series of screen captures into an animated gif file, Lee highlighted the benefit of not just being able to meet and network with individuals, presenters but even discuss topics that were talked about during the day – or within the community in general helped him significantly.

Some of the conferences noted were

Podcasts and Videos also featured as an excellent source of learning, serving those who commute, or for those who prefer audio-visual learning. Of particular interest to Lee were the feeds available from Ministry of Testing and Richard Bradshaw‘s Whiteboard testing video channel.

Mentions to various testing and non-testing related videos were mentioned, including TED talks – and the most popular list in particular.

Online website techgig.com also got a mention from one of the attendees.

With Lee’s talk finishing well ahead of time for food, it was the most opportune time for some Q&A

with some anecdotes from our co-host, Raji on how learning from the community, setting up a Testing meetup led her to her employment…

Overall, although it felt a bit rushed, Lee’s talk was well received and it did not appear as if Lee was doing his first ever talk!

Following a big round of applause for Lee on his first talk, it was left for the attendees to know about a few of the events happening over the next month before the next #MidsTest.

Encouraged by the quality of our sessions (and the venue and also our wonderful sponsors WoodrowMercer and Matt Drinkwater), two of our regular attendees even volunteered for their own talks/presentations. Definitely encouraging signs…

A list of future event (and past ones with reports) is available on our events page.

If you would like to attend or even speak at one of our events, please get in touch via email us at midsTest (at) outlook (dot) com or twitter or simply contact us via this form.

Finally, Lee has a blog post to go with his talk here. A link to the video will also be updated on this post once it becomes available.

Some pictures of the events are below:

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