This Guest post is from Duncan Nisbet, describing a peer workshop he secured a Grant from the AST Grant program to help finance.

Earlier this year we ran the 2nd North West Exploratory Workshop on Testing (NWEWT).

NWEWT follows the peer conference format which enables participants to dig deep into the topic, which this year was Growing Testers”.

Participants were given 2 questions which they could choose to answer either or both:

  1. As a Tester, how do you grow to keep up with the current trends in testing & development
  2. As someone responsible for leading Testers, how do you help Testers grow?

This years event was kept low key, with most of the participants living within 70 miles of the NWEWT venue but it was amazing to see (& hear!) the diverse ways in which the participants tackled the questions.

The participants ranged from new to experienced testers, 1st time speakers to keynote speakers & the young to slightly less young. This broad range contributed not only to talks given, but also to the open season which follows every talk.

On the topic of self development, most of the reports were based around the participant’s experience of how they grew themselves in their testing career. These ideas included participating in the testing community (any contribution is valuable!), checking out the wealth of free online training resources & reading other testers experiences in their blogs. Some of these resources were new to even the experienced testers!

One overriding commonality throughout the talks was how much FREE quality material for self development there is now, as well as some paid for training & material at a cost that won’t break the bank. No one really mentioned they had opted for the high cost, certificate-driven training, nor did we dive deep into that kind of training. Interesting.

With regards to leading testers, some interesting models were presented which the speaker was experimenting with in their organisation.

There was also a great discussion around software testing education before people get into the professional workplace; in universities, in colleges & even in schools.

Those of us who have engaged educational institutions shared our experiences & the challenges those institutions face in advocating software testing in their education programmes.

Several of us took away the challenge of engaging with more educational institutions & reconvening with our experiences & ideas for promoting software testing education in those institutions – watch this space!

Overall, the weekend was engaging & as expected there was some great feedback to help improve future NWEWTs.

One piece of feedback was more prominent than the others – participant’s wanted more controversy and contention to help drive debate. Well… we have an idea for NWEWT #3 that may just deliver on that request! We’ll keep you posted.

From Left to right: Duncan Nisbet, Emma Preston, Matt Bretton, Vishnu Priya, Claire Reckless, Jitesh Gosai, Callum Hough, Ady Stokes, Dan Ashby, Marc Muller,  Gwen Diagram, Ash Winter

The AST Grant Program is here to help you energize your local testing community.