“Best Practices” for First Time #CAST2014 Attendees

Now don’t lie….when you saw the blog post title, how fast did your blood pressure spike? Did you open the blog post before firing back on Twitter? Did the use of “best practices” have no impact on you whatsoever?

Thought would start with a little fun, but as have been eagerly anticipating CAST 2014 in NYC, it made me think back on my first CAST and what an eye opening experience it was.

I always tell people there is nothing like your first CAST conference and had some tips/suggestions for those attending their first this week (not an exhaustive list) from my experiences.

  • Live it up – Be fully engaged and participate in your tutorials, sessions, open season, etc. Participate in the Tester Games, Tester Competition and everything the conference has to offer. Jump into a lunch table vs finding one in the corner by yourself.
  • Engage in Open Season – Engage and pay attention to the Open Season sessions. They are often times just as beneficial (if not more) than the actual presentations themselves.
  • Socialize – Attend the evening events and reach out to others during the breaks. You will meet some amazing people and they are willing to share their expertise.
  • Don’t Be Intimidated – A lot of the big hitters will be at CAST. You have read their books and articles, attending their trainings and followed them on Twitter. Don’t shy away when you have the opportunity to meet and introduce yourself. What I have found is they are eager to meet and help others continue their path and growth in the software testing field. Sure they may quiz you and challenge you, but you will be the better for it I promise.
  • Get Twitter Handles – If you aren’t following these folks already, you will want to. Not only is it a great way to stay in contact, but the articles folks share along with topics and problems at hand you can learn from and sometimes even offer help back as well
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Disagree – You don’t have to be a jerk about it, but if you feel yourself disagreeing or having a contrary opinion with someone don’t hesitate to share and offer it up as part of the dialogue. You may want to have some info/data to back up your claim, but this is part of conferring that we all talk about.
  • Confer, Confer, Confer – This pretty much sums up all of the above, but the more you put into the conference the more you will get out of it.

Now I didn’t do a lot of these my 1st CAST, but each year have done more and more. You will find by doing this that when you come back next year for your 2nd, you will know more people and people will know and remember you. CAST is not only a great conference, but now it also feels like a reunion of sorts and looking forward to seeing my friends & colleagues again and meeting new ones as well.

Looking forward to seeing/meeting you in NYC!



About Alex Bantz

Director of Quality Engineering at Salesforce in Indianapolis, Indiana. The views expressed here are my own and not those of Salesforce. I am a proud father of 3 wonderful boys. I have been involved in the field of software testing 15 years as both an individual contributor and in managerial/leadership roles. I enjoy not only learning new techniques but also assisting others in their growth and development and am a vocal supporter of the importance of software testing. View all posts by Alex Bantz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: