SWTC Monthly Update – September 2018

Bad news, the summer holidays are almost done. Good news, SWTC is busier than ever and growing! We’ve a couple of new SWTCs ready to rock and we’re continuing to work on SWTC 2.0 (more on that next month hopefully) to improve the SWTC experience for everyone. SWTC London is just getting back into its groove and SWTC Brighton, Cambridge and Manchester continue to flourish and it’s astonishing to see how far through the season they have all got. Time flies!

Announcing SWTC Midlands

This is hot off the press, so hot we haven’t had time to get quotes from our newest hosts: Vernon ‘Tutu’ Richards (Sorry Vern – Mark) and Wanda Hawkins. However, we’re pleased to announce that both are joining us to start a new SWTC in the Midlands, specifically in Nottingham.

Anybody who has been to a TestBash will know Vernon for his awesome MC’ing skills but he has a little secret he’s been keeping. He’s an amazing tester with bags of experience both in testing and teaching testing. Combined with the talented Wanda, who is a well-known organiser of Agile events in the area and equally experienced tester, SWTC Midlands is going to kick ass! We’re currently working with SWTC Midlands to get everything organised for a start in October and hope to share a little more from Vernon and Wanda soon.

Congrats to SWTC Glasgow

Finally, we want to congratulate Del and Tracey for finishing their first season of SWTC Glasgow. The work they have put into making SWTC Glasgow grow and work for the students and mentors has been astounding and it’s been amazing to see how much they’ve grown in confidence throughout the year. We always knew it was going to be risky handing over our SWTC baby to others, but they’ve done a great job and not just delivered fantastic sessions but helped the content and approach of SWTC mature as well. Congrats again to both!

As for future plans for SWTC Glasgow, there will be more announced in the future after Del and Tracey take a well-earned break.

Where is SWTC Belfast?

Due to the workload outside of SWTC we have faced lately we have had to the let the organisation of SWTC Belfast slide a little and this is completely on Mark and Dan. Add to that the summer holidays (who wants to stay inside and learn when it’s so sunny outside) it’s meant there has been a delay but we hope to rectify that soon.

We’re happy to say things are back on track and we are working with HughHeather and Nick to get the first events up in the next month or so.

Well, that’s all for it this month, there is a lot going on in SWTC that we are excited to share in future posts but for now, our focus is getting SWTC Belfast and Midlands ready for all those budding testers out there.
– Mark and Dan

SWTC Monthly Update – August 2018

Despite the hot weather, all our clinics are working hard on delivering awesome opportunities to learn about Software testing. SWTC London is back in full swing, and SWTC Glasgow is coming up to it’s first birthday, which is fantastic!

Since we are in full summer mode at the moment, there isn’t much to report on SWTC changes and updates at the moment. However, for this update, we wanted to focus more on the Software testing community at large and talk about some awesome things going on right now.

Get to know our hosts

Mark has been playing catch up on Neill Studd’s brilliant podcast Testers’ Island Discs, which if you haven’t come across it before is a fun twist on Desert Island Discs. Each episode a guest from the testing community shares five tracks they would take with them if they are stranded on a Desert island whilst also sharing a little bit about their Software testing experience.

It’s a great show and what makes it even better is that three of our hosts, Claire Reckless and Richard Bradshaw from SWTC Manchester and Karo Stoltzenburg from SWTC Cambridge have been on the show. So if you want to find out a bit more about our amazing SWTC hosts, then check out the podcasts. Karo’s is especially awesome as she describes what an SWTC session looks like.

Free tickets for TestBash Manchester

An amazing opportunity for those looking to learn more about Software Testing has opened up. Leigh Rathbone, along with the wider Software testing community, has crowd funded 4 tickets to TestBash Manchester:

This is a great chance for those looking to learn more about Software Testing and connect with some amazing people, so we want to encourage all our students and followers to sign up and take advantage of this opportunity. You can find the form to apply for a ticket here

Well, that’s it for this update. Short and sweet, because, well… it’s too damn hot! We’re off to have an ice-cream and a sit in the shade!

– Dan and Mark

SWTC Monthly Update – July 2018

June has been a very busy time for myself and Dan with conference season in full swing and balancing work and personal life. However, that doesn’t mean our SWTC hosts haven’t been giving it their all! Brighton, Cambridge and Manchester are now in full swing and SWTC Glasgow is fast approaching the end of their first season. The meetups are going strong and it’s a testament to all the hosts how organised they are, delivering amazing sessions with their own unique experiences and style.

SWTC 2.0 progress

As for SWTC 2.0, we have seen some progress. On the community side, Mark has spent time with each of the Hosts talking about their experiences of running an SWTC and what works for them and what doesn’t as well as some unexpected but inspired ideas. The information gathered has been extremely useful and it will form the basis for the SWTC 2.0 community we want to grow.

Additionally, we are now starting to roll out training sessions which are lead by our hosts in paid public and private events. The first of these is being carried out as we speak by Claire @clairereckless and Kim @punkmikwho are running an Exploratory Testing 101 session at the London Tester Gathering Workshops. There will also be a session at TestBash Manchester with Hosts Tracey @tbaxter78 and Karo @karostol so if you are coming to Manchester, you definitely want to check that out.

It’s great to see the opportunities opening up for our Hosts to meet and work together from different clinics as well as do what they do best in situations outside of the traditional SWTC clinics.

Congratulations in order!

Finally, we just want to say a quick congratulations to our Hosts Emma at SWTC Brighton and Claire at SWTC Manchester for starting new jobs! It’s a privilege to see our hosts grow in confidence and we are sure they will bring that into their new roles.

So that’s it for this post. Short but sweet but my hope is to have more to tell you all in future posts as we start getting back into the swing of things (and try not to be distracted by the sunshine!)

– Dan and Mark

SWTC Monthly Update – May 2018

Hello and welcome back to our new monthly updates on all things Software Testing Clinic. In addition to the regular sessions in Brighton, Cambridge, Glasgow and Manchester over April, all the hosts got together to hear about the plans for SWTC 2.0 (More on that shortly) from Mark and Dan, and how they will be able to contribute to the growth of SWTC in the future. The feedback from everyone has been very positive, which is a great start and with everyone on board, we can start to begin to share our plans for the future with you.

So what’s all this SWTC 2.0 about?

As SWTC has grown we’ve had requests from fantastic people who are willing to give up their time to organise Clinics and share their experiences. This has manifested in the great clinics we currently have and the ones that are just about to start. However, for every one request to start a Clinic we accept we get two or three we have to say ‘Yes, but just not right now’.

This isn’t down to the experience or dedication of those volunteers, but simply put Dan and Mark have limited time to contribute to the growth of SWTC. To get an SWTC up and running it requires time and support, with Dan and I travelling to locations to help run initial sessions that we have to balance with full-time work. Add to this that we get a lot of requests to start Clinics all the way from the UK to New Zealand, we just simply don’t have time or money. But that’s all going to change with SWTC 2.0.

With the support of Ministry of Testing, SWTC will be creating a small online community for our SWTC hosts that will offer support, access to materials and a place to contribute towards the structure and content of SWTC lessons. As a community, we will work together to share and review new ideas and support one another to ensure SWTC delivers relevant training for our students and mentors, that is focused around the strengths of our hosts.

But that’s not all, once our community is in place we will then to begin to welcome new SWTC, from around the world! Using the Ministry of Testing platform, we will be developing a training pathway that can support budding SWTC hosts in how to organise and run their own local SWTC.

This means anyone with experience in software testing, will be able to apply to the pathway, learn about SWTC, setup and run an SWTC locally and also join our community to contribute towards its growth! With this in place, we will be able to empower a generation of new testers to grow into amazing software testers from the UK to New Zealand.

So that is it, SWTC 2.0 will allow us to global! Naturally, we’re very excited about this and we hope to bring you more news each month on how we are progressing with SWTC 2.0 as well other exciting announcements that we have planned!

– Dan and Mark

SWTC Monthly update – April 2018

Hello and welcome to our new monthly update for Software Testing Clinic! Last week saw us pass the two year anniversary of when we ran the first ever Clinic in London and it’s a great time to reflect on how much we’ve grown and changed. We’ve made new friends, seen new wonderful testers and experienced mentors grow and created new communities!

It’s great to look back but it’s equally exciting looking to the future of SWTC. There is a lot going on behind the scenes to help educate, support and encourage a new generation of testers as well provide new opportunities to those already in the industry, and we want to share with you what we have planned. So that’s what this new monthly update is about, sharing with you all our plans to make SWTC even more awesome!

SWTC Belfast is coming!

First up, there’s no better way to celebrate SWTC hitting two years old by announcing that we are starting a new Software Testing Clinic in Belfast. Belfast has proved itself to already be a vibrant community with the hugely successful TestBash Belfast last year, so it made sense to get involved and start up a Clinic with some of the communities most active contributors.

We also have a new first with Software Testing Clinic Belfast being run by not two hosts, but three! We have three excellent testers with a wide-ranging background in the form of Hugh McCamphill, Heather Reid and Nicholas Shaw who have this to say:

Hugh

I’ve slowly been getting more and more involved in the testing community in Belfast, starting with having run the Belfast Selenium Meetup for a few years and then really taking off with being a co-organiser of last years TestBash Belfast. I think the Software Testing Clinic is an amazing initiative and I’m super excited then to be involved in bringing it to Belfast! We have a great Tech community in Belfast and it’s through this that I met Heather and Nick, and I’m delighted to be working with them to help aspiring new and experienced testers in Belfast get engaged with learning and mentoring about testing and to be able to give something back to the wider community!

Heather

Belfast has a massive tech scene! One thing I’ve been noticing though is that there are a tonne of testing jobs and no testers to fill them. I’ve met some friends for life and mentors through attending some of the already established meetups in the city. That’s how I met Nick and Hugh. I’ve also attended some of the Clinics that Mark and Dan have run at the various TestBashes. I believe that a Clinic in Belfast will compliment the established meetups fantastically and help provide that stepping stone for people to go from discovering new testing techniques, to maybe one day being a speaker at one of the other meetups.

Nick

It’s truly fantastic to see the Software Testing Clinic come to Belfast, since the first SWTC was announced, I knew it could be incredible as a resource for training testers. It was at that time I first began annoying Mark about bringing it to Belfast and years later it’s good to learn persistence pays off!

Through co-organising the NI Testers meet up with the majestic Neill Boyd and Allan Hunter, I know we have a strong community of potential mentors, as well as hungry mentees. I’m looking forward to seeing what SWTC can do for those interested in software testing in Belfast and how the local scene will flourish even more as a result.

Welcome aboard Hugh, Heather and Nick!

Host change for SWTC London

SWTC London has just successfully finished its second season of sessions and will be back in May but with a slight change. Going forward Mark will no longer be hosting SWTC London with Dan (but you may see him sneak in as a mentor or student from time to time). Though this is very sad, Mark is using this opportunity to focus and grow SWTC as a whole (more on that in a minute).

However, as one host leaves another joins and we’re very excited to announce that Abby Bangser will be joining SWTC London as host. Abby was one of our first SWTC London mentors and supporters and will be joining Dan from May onwards, adding her own experiences and expertise to each session. Abby is an amazing tester and trainer and we’re so pleased that she will be joining SWTC London. Here’s Abby’s take on joining us:

I am very excited to be joining SWTC London as a host after being a part of it as a mentor from the beginning. What is so amazing about SWTC is that there are learnings everywhere, whether it is your first time learning about testing, you are a new mentor, or a seasoned attendee and becoming a host is definitely my next opportunity to learn. Thank you to Mark and Dan for bringing me on board and looking forward to working with the amazing team of other hosts as well of course to all the attendees in London!

Work begins on SWTC 2.0

2018 will prove to be an exciting year for SWTC as we begin work on our next iteration of SWTC or SWTC 2.0. With Mark leaving SWTC London he will be focusing on growing SWTCs support network and learning opportunities for Hosts, Mentors and Students alike by implementing SWTC 2.0. Meanwhile, Dan will be looking into new training opportunities and ways to financially support SWTC and help it expand.

We’ll share more details about SWTC 2.0 but we’re very excited about what this new initiative will provide those who want to start their own Clinics in the future as well as giving a voice to Mentors and Students about what they want to learn and how.

That’s it for this month, we will be back next month with hopefully more info on SWTC 2.0 and future plans.

– Dan and Mark

Software Testing Clinic Manchester and Brighton are live!

Hello all,

It’s been a busy few months find venues and sponsors for our new Software testing clinics. All that hard work has paid off and Software Testing Clinic Manchester and Brighton are now live! We will be starting with a special session for anyone looking to sign up as a Mentor so if you want to come join a safe space to learn about mentoring and how you can contribute to Software Testing Clinic then sign up via the links below:

Software Testing Clinic Manchester – https://ti.to/mot/software-testing-clinic-manchester
Software Testing Clinic Brighton – https://ti.to/mot/software-testing-clinic-brighton

Sessions for students will begin shortly after the mentor sessions so sign up to the Ministry of Testing Meetup pages to keep yourselves up to date with latest sessions:

Manchester – https://meetup.com/ministry-of-testing-manchester
Brighton – https://meetup.com/ministry-of-testing-brighton

Hopefully see you all there!
Mark and Dan

SWTC Newsletter September edition

Our next newsletter is out and it’s crammed with goodies! You can find new articles, videos, discussions and some recommended blogs posts in Septembers edition to enjoy.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter and we’ll have a brand spanking new one for you in October.

Remember, if you have a testing question that you would like answered, you can drop your question on The Club thread and we will answer it.

– Dan and Mark

SWTC Newsletter August edition

Oh wow! A new newsletter for all our Students and Mentors, packed with articles and videos answering your questions and what’s going on at Software Testing Clinic. It cannot be! Well yes, it can!

With the continued support from the very excellent Ministry of Testing, we are now releasing a monthly newsletter for you. You can find August’s edition here but to keep up to date make sure to register your email on the right-hand side, or follow us on Twitter.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter and we’ll have a brand spanking new one crammed with goodies in September.

– Dan and Mark

Software Testing Clinic is coming to Brighton, Manchester and Cambridge… and maybe a town near you?

Back in March at TestBash Brighton we proudly announced that Software Testing Clinic was growing with a vision of seeing multiple Clinics being run by the best and brightest in our community. Our first Clinic outside of London has been Software Testing Clinic Glasgow run by the simply brilliant Del Dewar and Tracey Baxter. Their hard work and enthusiasm has resulted in a Software Testing Clinic Glasgow that has exceeded our expectations, with dedicated mentors supporting a new generation of amazing students that’s going from strength to strength.

In fact Software Testing Clinic Glasgow has gone so well, we’ve decided to expand to not just one, or two, but three new locations! We’re extremely excited and proud to be starting:

We can’t wait to get started on these new Clinics that will begin late 2017 / early 2018. But don’t take our word for it, here by a way of introduction are our new hosts take on their respective clinics:

Software Testing Clinic Brighton

“Hosting the Software Testing Clinic Brighton! What a daunting and exciting challenge! Personally, I am really excited and honoured to be able to host the Brighton Software Testing Clinic together with Emma.

Myself and Emma have been hosting a tester meetup in Brighton for a few years now but the Brighton meet ups have not really attracted many testers. Then while working in London I attended the Software Testing Clinic a couple of times. It was a really inspiring event with student and mentors learning from each other in a safe environment. I had never seen anything likes this for testers before and knew there and then that I wanted to get involved. After taking part in the session on mentoring and coaching, I knew not to be afraid anymore and to go out there and share.

Brighton has a vibrant tech community with many established meetups across programming languages and schools of thought, but apart from our tester meet up there isn’t much else in our domain. I am hoping that we can provide a great experience for new testers and people interested in the subject and also create some great relationships.”  – Kim Knup

Software Testing Clinic Manchester

“I’m really excited to be able to give something back to a community I’ve learned so much from by helping to bring SWTC to Manchester! Richard and I are looking forward to getting to know some new mentors and mentees, helping new testers enhance their testing skills, and more experienced testers strengthen their mentoring skills.  The great turnout for last year’s Testbash Manchester and the brilliant testing community in the city have shown us how many testers are out there who are enthusiastic about learning more about their craft, and who want to help others navigate the world of test.  We can’t wait to get started!” – Claire Reckless

Software Testing Clinic Cambridge

“Software Testing Clinic is coming to Cambridge! Where to start? How absolutely awesome Software Testing Clinic is? How happy I am for our testing community in Cambridge that we get the chance to host it here? How much I’m looking forward to seeing all the brilliant Cambridge Testers come together to learn, discuss, mentor, enjoy, share, discover, celebrate and explore the world of testing?

I’m in the lucky position to have seen this come together from both sides: as co-organizer of the Ministry of Testing Meetups here in Cambridge I’ve had first-hand exposure to the wonderful people we have here – creative, supportive, inquisitive all the way through! And from the times I’ve participated as a mentor in the London Clinic with Mark and Dan, I’ve enjoyed the great structure it provided to learn and dive deep into important aspects of the Software Testing craft and have seen what a great experience it is for students and mentors alike. The Software Testing Clinic in Cambridge will bring both worlds together and provide a safe and friendly environment for testers to learn and share – and I’m really happy to be a part of it! ” – Karo Stoltzenburg

Three awesome clinics run by amazing hosts is a great way to the end of an already fantastic year for SWTC. However, we are always looking to the future and we want to know where Clinic should start next and with that in mind, we’ve put together some details about hosting a Software Testing Clinic as well as details on how to get in touch with us to tell us you want to run one in your town. So if you feel you have what it takes to run an SWTC and are keen to get involved head over to the Software Testing Clinic site and get in touch! We can’t wait to hear from you.

Why are we doing this?

As with a lot of things in life, it started with a complaint. Well, two complaints:
  1. There are very few companies and events for senior testers to learn coaching and mentoring skills
  2. The amount of skilled testers who know their craft well in the industry is too small
For the past few years and especially after seeing ‘Why I Lost My Job As a Test Manager and What I Learnt As a Result’ by Stephen Janaway[1] I’ve wanted to become a Coach or a Mentor.   However, working as a contractor means I move around a lot, am restricted in what I can work on and who I work with and there are times that I might not be working with other Testers at all!  So how can I improve my coaching and mentoring skills when the opportunities to learn are so few and far between?

 

So one day I was complaining about this to Dan when he replied:

 

‘Do something about it, start a community’

 

Speaking with various managers and recruiters it’s clear that the tech industry suffers from a lack of skilled testers with many Testers leaving the profession to move into other roles[2].  We need a new generation of testers who are committed to the craft and have the right skills for the job. There are many people in chat rooms, testing forums and meetups that are new to Testing and are desperate for knowledge and direction.  However, training courses can be expensive to attend and difficult to get employers to pay for. Bad training could send a tester down the wrong path or require a basic level of experience which someone new to Testing may not have.

 

So Dan and I are doing something about it, we’re starting a community.  We’re starting the Software Testing Clinic.