I originally posted this leading up to CAST 2014 last year and some tips I put together from my previous times attending CAST. With #CAST2015 approaching wanted to share as believe they still apply to first time attendees as well those returning for more.
Some new items to add to the list:
Lightning Talks – Attend and/or participate. You have an interest in speaking and/or have an idea you want to share , but lack the confidence and/or have a fear of public speaking these are the perfect outlet/platform to dip your toes in the water and do it. If not, at the very least you should attend and listen and engage in the Open Season portions. My co worker and I did this last year and am glad we did.
Evening/Social Events – Even if you aren’t a drinker, these events and the time you have to engage, interact and get to know your fellow testers is invaluable. These events are almost if not just as beneficial as the conference itself.
Bring a Friend/Coworker – Don’t be selfish and keep all of this wonderful learning and conferring to yourself. Encourage your friends and/or coworkers to attend with you. I started my CAST experiences flying solo my first 2 times. The next year we got that number up to 5 and last year 9. This year we have 15 of us that will be in attendance.
I find this helps the lessons and ideas sink in and gain traction more as now you have more folks on the same page and seeing the value of the ideas, techniques, etc. learning at CAST.
Another benefit is that you can have folks attend more sessions by spreading out and sharing the wealth. You are not limited to just those you as an individual are able to attend.