The Power of Networking!

I’m inspired to write a blog about the benefits of networking in our industry due to the London Tester Gathering (LTG) that takes place every month…

I’ve been attending London’s monthly tester meetup for well over a year now and wanted to discuss why I think that networking at events such as this one has been an essential element in my career as a tester.

WHY NETWORK?

The reason that I began attending these events initially was to meet other software testers. At the time I was the only tester in the organisation that I was working for, which employed around 40 developers; none of which were that enthused by my need to talk about everything and anything testing! 🙂

So, at first, I wanted to attended purely to grasp at the opportunity to talk to other testers, but after this initial phase of excitement of just being able to talk about testing, I found that this “just talking” was actually very valuable for me in progressing myself as a tester.

WHY MEET PEOPLE?

We can gain a lot of valuable information just from talking with other testers:

  • Stories – One of the best reasons to network is because you get to hear lots of stories about experiences, and you get to share your own experiences too.
  • Knowledge – Sharing stories leads to knowledge! Listening to other peoples experiences is a great resource! Every month, when I attend the LTG, I regularly learn about new experiences that people have had around testing methods and techniques that they have used, with models that they have found useful or not, and the tools that they find useful (and of course the tools that they would avoid too!).
  • Ideas – Discussing testing methods, techniques and tools can easily stem new ideas for better processes in your own organisation. It can stem ideas for new tools to create. And having peers around you to network with allows you to bounce your ideas around with them to get some valuable feedback!
  • Building your resources – After you meet someone and you form that initial friendship with that person, it’s very much often the case that you keep in touch with that person, either by meeting them regularly at the meetup events, or by adding them as contacts on your social networking sites… This gives you the opportunity to continually chat to them and learn from them!

WHERE?!!?!

Well, in most major towns and cities throughout the world, there are monthly tester meetups!
The London Tester Gathering is hosted by the one and only Tony Bruce (@tonybruce77)- view it’s LinkedIn group page. It’s held in a cosy pub function room which offers an easy going, relaxed environment and is great for meeting and chatting to new like-minded people from all different varying experiences over a beer or two.
There are other testing conferences to attend too. Some are free and some cost money to attend. But conferences tend to be more focused on presentations, with a little added time to network over breaks and at the end…

And if you can’t attend a meetup, don’t worry! There are plenty of other great places for being able to chat to testers – like online forums and testing websites! LinkedIn has lots of testing groups that you can join, where there are endless discussions for you to get involved in. And one of my favorite websites is the Software Testing Club. There are always great discussions going on there, as well as the site having lots of useful resource pages on tools and testing techniques!

Blogs can be great resources too (as you’re probably aware, given that you are reading a blog right now! 🙂 ). I find that the comments on blog posts can be especially valuable!

Finally, Twitter is also a great resource for getting involved in testing discussions (although the 140 character limit can be annoying). Get involved in the #softwaretesting discussions, and follow other testers and industry leaders to find out about their experiences!

So, what are you waiting for??

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