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TestExpo 2016 - Insights from a Graduates Perspective!

Attending the various talks throughout the day, I found a lot of the speakers repeating things that have been stated for a while in the testing world: Shift-left approaches, focuses on Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD), how waterfall has become “less sexy”.

On Wednesday 12th October, I was invited to attend the TestExpo 2016 at the Emirates Stadium in London. I was asked to go along and give my view of the day as a graduate just starting in the testing world.

To give a bit of background about myself: I graduated university with a MChem (Master of Chemistry) degree from the University of Hull in 2015. I then got a few months experience in testing with a small company before joining Sogeti in summer 2016 as part of their graduate program. I’ve experienced introductions to DevOps, automation and SCRUM, and this is the experience that I took with me to the expo. With that being said, here are some thoughts about the day, and about testing in general:

The more things change, the more things stay the same. Attending the various talks throughout the day, I found a lot of the speakers repeating things that have been stated for a while in the testing world: Shift-left approaches, focuses on Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD), how waterfall has become “less sexy”. Everyone repeats the mantra of “technology is always changing”, and this is indeed true. However, the constantly changing technology simply provides the frame for all of these points to be discussed. Hot topics in the expo this year included things like: Security testing is becoming more and more prevalent, and needs to be included in initial development discussions rather than as a testing afterthought.

Overall, this highlighted to me that while we must indeed keep up with technology, we must also learn how to get better with the methodologies we are currently familiar with, as these will always be prevalent in the testing space.

Digital and DevOps are the current hot topics. Many of the talks I went to constantly stated the need to move to a more digital space, a more DevOps-y way of working. I managed to attend a round table about DevOps (chaired by our own Victor Laurel), and it provided good insight into why many companies are struggling to get into the DevOps space – they are halted by outside constraints and are struggling to get business strategists in their organisation to give them the funding and capability to move to DevOps. I personally attended the round table in order to help me better articulate why DevOps is a great way to add value, and it definitely helped.

Never bring a live demo that only works on 1 machine. It’s a cliché, and I’m sure is repeated by every marketing team before any presentations their team has to deliver. But even now, make sure you have a transferrable demo so you’re not left in the lurch when the venue organisers say you can only use the machine they are providing for presentations. Not to name any names, but I did have to sit through an awkward silence during one talk while he struggled to get everything to work. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t).

Andreas Sjostrom does not know what “a little bit of blood means”. Andreas gave a great talk about how we should integrate digital into our testing capability. However, he also showed a video of him getting an NFC chip implanted into his hand. To paraphrase him, he said “a little bit of blood comes out, which shouldn’t normally happen”. The ensuing torrent of blood that gushed out of his hand seemed more at home in a Quentin Tarantino movie than a testing presentation. But it was definitely memorable.

Overall, I think I learnt a lot. Some of the talks introduced concepts I wasn’t particularly familiar with, and I struggled with some of these accordingly. However, there were many interesting talks and I feel like I understand testing in a more natural, real-world setting.

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