Wow – 2011 was a roller coaster ride year for me! It truly has been an exceptional year, both professionally and personally. Although I’ll mainly be focusing on the professional stuff here, there’s been a lot of other stuff happening in the background with my wife and her various entrepreneurial efforts. I’ll leave those for another time though!
To put my year into context, I should start off by mentioning that at the end of 2010, I transitioned from a permanent tester role with my previous employers, into a freelance role with my current client. This was quite a change for me and one of the main benefits (in addition to some extra cash, which is never a bad thing!) has been the sense of control and empowerment over my career – particularly in regards to things like training, professional development, and generally shaping my own destiny. Going freelance has definitely been a catalyst for some quite major changes!
23/02 – Nottingham Software Testing Club Meetup with James Bach
So the first major event of 2011 was persuading some of my colleagues to go along to a tester meetup in Nottingham. It was the first time I’d heard of such a thing and, particularly since James Bach was going to be speaking, I thought it was worth paying a visit. Unfortunately, due to geography and travel considerations, my colleagues and I weren’t able to stick around to actually listen to what James had to say. Thankfully, this man
recorded the event so I was able to catch up at a later date [Well – I thought he did anyway… I’ll have to dig this out some other time.] To be honest though, listening to James wasn’t actually the highlight (sorry James!).
The highlight was meeting and listening to other testers! I’d been lurking on various forums over the past couple of years and had engaged in some degree of dialogue, but actually meeting other testers; in the flesh..! This was a revelation, and in particular a chance meeting with Tony Bruce would lead me to bigger and better things in the future.
16/5 – London Tester Gathering Conference
As a direct result of chatting with Tony at the Nottingham Meetup, and connecting with him via LinkedIn, I became aware of the FREE(!) London Tester Gathering Conference that took place in May 2011. Since I was now a freelancer, and didn’t need to ask anybody’s permission, or write a business case for the funds, I decided to book a couple of days off of work and go along. Once again, I had the most amazing time meeting with, chatting to and learning from other testers. In particular, time spent in the company of Anna Baik, James Lyndsay and Tony Bruce began to fuel the flames of an idea; the possibility that I could do the same thing, in Birmingham!
14/7 – 1st Birmingham Software Testing Club Meetup
Within a couple of weeks, I’d been in touch with The Software Testing Club/Rosie Sherry with a view to organising a meetup in Birmingham. After some effort, I managed to get it off the ground with some degree of success. Just one meetup wasn’t enough for me though. I had bigger plans!
With my newfound velocity, I decided that it was time to start a blog! There were a few reasons for this to be fair, including but not limited to IR35 protection, a desire to host my own content and promote my own services – I had realised that there would be a number of benefits to having my own site on which to do, well, whatever I wanted really. Also, I knew that there would be further meetups, and therefore plenty of content…
17/10 – 2nd Birmingham Software Testing Club Meetup
The 2nd Birmingham tester meetup came and went in a flash. In all honesty, I wasn’t quite so enthused by this event since it felt a bit hijacked at the time. Nevertheless, in terms of numbers, content and enjoyment – the event was deemed to be a success. While organising this event, I became aware of (and got a significant discount for – thanks to Bill Matthews) my next activity.
14-16/11 – Rapid Software Testing
The Rapid Software Testing course by James Bach and Michael Bolton is fairly renowned (within certain circles) in the world of testing. Highlights for me are documented here, though the additional benefits of meeting and training with other testers (including Danny Crone, Tom Wood, Ranjit Shringapure & James Christie) as well as James Bach, should not be underestimated. In addition to the course, James spoke at the 3rd (and final for the year) Birmingham Tester Meetup.
15/11 – 3rd Birmingham Software Testing Club Meetup
18/11 – Agile & BDD Exchange
Following on directly from the RST course and my lambasting of Cucumber, I decided it was probably a good idea to go down to London again and try to get a better feel for what this BDD stuff was all about. After quite a hectic week, and having had to take in quite a considerable amount of information already, I wasn’t best prepared for the event though and spent the afternoon in a kind of comatose stupor. Thankfully, the presentations were recorded and can be found here. Highlights of the day – meeting (again) and getting to spend some time with Vernon Richards, and also Phil Kirkham.
26/11 – The Testing Planet Editor
To top the year off, I got offered (and accepted) the role of Editor for the highly esteemed The Testing Planet publication! This was a major coup for me (and hopefully for them!) and served as the icing on the cake of a pretty amazing year in terms of my development as a tester and a freelance!- Simon