StarWest2013 was a different vibe than the other conferences I've been to this year. Not only was the attendance higher than was expected, but the enthusiasm and buzz was magnificent. Many of the sessions were informative and interesting. I can’t say all of the sessions brought up new topics or controversy but it would definitely be important for anyone new to software testing to get a better idea of how testing is done in different industries and different testing circles.
Overall, I left the conference feeling very satisfied. I think the only thing that threw me off was the fact that some of the sessions were not what I expected them to be based on the title.
I’d first like to thank everyone who made it to BearCaveWest on the first day of the conference. Much of the afternoon consisted of chatting, testing games, and trivia, and Paul Holland showed off some card tricks. Even with the tutorials going on there was a steady flow of traffic throughout the day.
Some of us SmartBears also got to meet the infamous Baloo!
Later that night, SmartBear and Techwell showed off their singing skills. A big shout out to our very own Gregg Hanson, for his impressive rendition of a Frank Sinatra song. After all the talented dancing and singing, I think many of the companies who attended the StarWest2013 reception will be adding singing as a necessary qualification for hiring employees moving forward.
Day one of the actual conference was when all the software testers got down to the nitty-gritty. There were conversations, author signings from some of the well-known testers, as well as a handful of sessions ranging from team culture to test automation techniques. For more details on the sessions I attended you can check out my StarWest Recap Day 1.
Day two was my personal favorite since it felt like everyone had adjusted to any time change they had to deal with and conversation seemed to flow smoothly. I had a chance to walk around to some of the other booths besides SmartBear’s and was delighted to find a robot that plays Angry Birds by SauceLabs. Although I can’t really understand the usage for such a contraption, maybe this could be the future of automated testing for mobile gaming? In either case, it is an innovative approach to AI.
Of course there were more sessions on Day 2, as well as lightning talks. There were some topics that engaged me more than others: Brett Roark's session revealed the fact that 50% of video game testing for World of WarCraft is automated testing; I also enjoyed a session about User Acceptance Testing, and a session about how one insurance company goes about having people test their product with no background in software testing by Susan Bradley. You can hear more about this session by Blizzard and another session on UAT in my StarWest Recap Day 2.
I think we had such a great time learning about software testing and interacting with fellow testers. It was actually kind of sad seeing everyone start to break down the conference on Thursday night. I’ll also have to agree with Matt Heusser on this one: The worst part of the conference was probably catching up on work the next week.
Were you at StarWest or listen to any of the sessions online? What were your takeaways?