Blasting off to CAST 2010

It’s my first outing to CAST this year.

CAST has been on my wish list for a couple of years now, but with moving countries, raising kids, and earning a living I’ve found it hard to make it. This year I decided no more excuses, it was time to go.

As well as wanting to attend the conference and meet some great testers, I wanted the chance to complete the BBST Instructors course which is being held as a post conference session. I’ve been assisting in the Black Box System Testing courses for a while now. I find teaching them very satisfying and to boot, I get taught by some great testers on giving courses.

The post CAST session is being run by Becky Fielder a long time trainer and Cem Kaner. So as well as being taught by some of the best, I  get to meet them too. There is some information here on the course.

I was looking for sponsorship for this one though. There was no way I was going to be able to make it on my own. Fortunately the Association For Software Testing stepped in and have sponsored me the conference fees. So a BIG THANK YOU to the AST for that.

The Software Testing Club offered to sponsor my accommodation, so another big THANK YOU to Rosie Sherry and the crew at the STC.   The STC crew work really hard to make a genuine and real experience for many software testers.

I’ve had great support from them in so many areas, from mentoring, recruiting, publishing my articles as well as some great discussions on their testing forum.  It’s also nice to see people bringing fun into testing. I think sometimes we take ourselves way to seriously.

I’m still on the hunt for more sponsorship, so if you know of a company or association willing to support, get them to contact me. I’m happy to wear a T-Shirt at the conference, blog about how supportive they are etc. Another way to sponsor me is to offer me some work!

Below, I’ve included information about this year’s CAST. I hope you can make it!

Attend CAST 2010

The 5th annual Conference of the Association for Software Testing

August 2-4, 2010, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

“Skills in Testing”

About CAST

CAST reflects the AST’s core mission: to build community amongst scholars, practitioners, and students for the advancement of the practice of software testing. In 2010, CAST aims to leverage peer collaboration to build an enhanced understanding of how various skills influence tester effectiveness.

CAST offers a unique opportunity to learn and confer with others that simply isn’t found at other conferences. Each scheduled session allocates time for facilitated “open season” discussions that encourage participants to question and challenge the presentation. What takes place in the hallways, at receptions, and during meals and lightning talks truly sets CAST apart; for many attendees, the greatest value is derived from the opportunity to discuss and delve into the topics that matter to them.

Space is limited Register Today!

More information and Registration:

We can’t wait to see you in Grand Rapids!


Challengers are you ready?

So far the Gladiators have stolen the show. ISTQB and the other warriors of testing certification have dominated the testing world. It’s not the only profession where this is happening. Network Engineers working now need Cisco certification in order to get jobs, regardless of their depth of knowledge. In Ireland, solicitors now don’t need a degree, but pass an exam in order to practise. It seems every where people are needing to be labelled in order to find work.
So its refreshing that a group of men and women are fighting back. The challengers are now on the stage. Are we ready to back them?

I’m talking about the Association of Software Testing ( which is providing free online software testing training if you become a member of their organisation. Membership cost only $85 (there is a range of memberships). Try and get a ISTQB course for that price!

I’ve just completed the BBST (Black Box System Testing) Foundation Course. I would highly recommend this course to anyone, experienced or inexperienced. This course is like no other. It really challenges you to think deeply about what, why and how you test.

The course is very interactive, you need to be prepared to give an opinion and provide feedback.

What I got out of the course was that it’s given me confidence on critiquing other tester’s work. It has also challenged me to be more technical in my testing investigations. It was a great course, and though very demanding, I was sad that it came to an end.

One word of warning though, to get the most out of the course, I would give allocate plenty of time for it, preferably more than the 8 hours suggested.

One of the main reasons why I decided to take this course, was because I wanted to see if I could recommend or offer to testers I know an alternative to ISTQB. I’d also challenge any tester out there who has an opinion on Certification to take the course and then write a post about it.

Challengers are your ready?