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How can I attend software testing conferences?

You want to attend a software testing conference, but your employer said it's too expensive. Here are some ways to improve your chances to attend.

Conferences are a great way to acquire new test techniques and learn from thought leaders across the software testing...

industry. Software testing conferences are also a great way to refresh if you are feeling a bit burned out with testing.

However, registration fees are expensive, and if travel is also involved, it may be prohibitively expensive for employers. When there are several software testers who would like the opportunity to attend, your chances of going get smaller. There are, however, a few things you can do to increase your ability to attend software testing conferences.

Start by showing that you are genuinely interested in not only advancing your career, but also being an active member of the testing or QA community. Begin by attending local meetups and joining regional testing organizations. Volunteer for them, and get to know the organizers and regular attendees. These organizations are usually run by folks with full-time careers just like you, and they will gratefully accept any help you can give. You can always start small, like working the registration desk, for example. If you decide to pursue a larger role, you can join the board of directors or develop the meeting schedule.

Let your employer know what you are doing, and be sure that it doesn't interfere with your work schedule. Find ways in which you can use what you learned from these regional organizations for your employer. Apply new concepts and aspects of worthwhile trends to your testing responsibilities. Testers who show this initiative are usually sent to conferences.

If there is still no budget to attend national software testing conferences, there may be an opportunity to go as a speaker. Most conferences give their speakers free registrations. Propose a talk on something in testing that you are well-informed about. If you are nervous about speaking, thoroughly preparing could help alleviate that feeling. Test your presentation, for example, in front of your colleagues or your meetup group. There are also organizations such as Speakeasy that help beginner speakers find mentors.

This was last published in May 2018

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How do you make yourself an indispensable conference attendee?
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In some prior jobs, I did conference planning. Another way to at least get your registration covered is to see if the conference organizer has an advisory board or has chairpersons for agenda tracks. Those positions tend to involve more pre-planning with the conference producer.
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Thanks, Scott. That's a great idea! Track chairing and volunteering is great because you get the opportunity to network with the speakers as well as the conference registration.
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