The 2016 Conference of the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2016) took place in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia. PQA was a key sponsor of the event and our Co-CEO, Christin Wiedemann, was the Program Chair. CAST is held annually, and is a catalyst for testers and professionals in the QA industry to teach, learn, introduce, discuss and present new technologies and concepts surrounding Software Testing. PQA Testing and PLATO Testing sent five employees to the event, not only to participate in the conference but also to introduce PLATO Testing and explain its impact on the lives of Aboriginal people across Canada.

Everyone’s experiences, although different, have one thing in common: They felt fortunate to have been given the great opportunity to attend and represent PQA Testing and PLATO Testing.

From going out to team dinners and participating in beer tasting tours, to exploring the city with PQA / PLATO founder Keith McIntosh by foot and going to CAST 2016, everyone had both an enjoyable and educational week. At CAST, the team listened to the keynote speakers, Nicholas Carr, Dr. Sallyann Freudenberg and Anne-Marie Charret, talk about their experiences and passion for software testing. While Dr. Sallyann addressed the collaboration of Neuro-Diversity and Software Development, other insights on testing and how much potential growth there is in the industry drove deep conversations and contemplation. There were various sessions including the importance of breaking the bubble and the communication barriers that take place within a company, the requirements of a tester’s mindset with experiential workshops of agile analysis models and a talk on how to implement exploratory testing and how few organizations are ready to accept the differences between exploratory and more traditional methods. In addition to the exceptional content, the conference enabled attendees to meet others from the industry, giving them an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences.

Words from Keith Joe, PLATO Testing team member:

“Our founder Keith McIntosh’s talk, “25 years of testing through the eyes of a Rock Star”, was truly inspiring and the music in the presentation rocked!  Keith used rock music to make points (and puns!) about how software testing has changed over the years. PQA’s Director of Quality Mike Hrycyk’s talk was titled “17 Reasons Why Life for Testers is Better with Agile”. He explained how using agile methodology can make us better testers, and he was able to relate his talk to how our iQmetrix testing team currently works. The lightning talks were cool and the ethics debate was truly great.  Having so much software testing experience in one room was very humbling.”

One of the great aspects of visiting Vancouver was getting the chance to meet PQA co-workers on the west coast. The Vancouver office had a BBQ in Vanier Park, where PQA and PLATO staff were able to mingle and speak to each other in person rather than via skype, Slack or phone. Christin was kind enough to take the team for a tour through Vancouver where they stopped at a few places including the Cypress mountain lookout point, the dam and Stanley Park.

The overall experience at CAST 2016 is one that the team is very grateful for.

“CAST was a great opportunity to connect with, and learn from, fellow software testers. For me, the talks I attended helped to reinforce the importance of communication amongst teams. Software testers are only a piece of the Software Development Life Cycle puzzle and I feel encouraged to form stronger relationships with other key players to ensure the best possible quality for the software my client provides.”
–   Adele Poirier, Software Tester, PQA Testing

“After starting my journey in the IT industry as a mobile app developer, this whole CAST experience solidifies my passion for testing and how much I love my job and look forward to going to work for PLATO each and every day. As an Aboriginal new to this industry and this initiative, I want to be a mentor for upcoming Aboriginal people looking for a career in the software industry.   I want to guide them and teach them everything that was taught to me.   With a little hard work and perseverance anything is possible!”
–   Keith Joe, Software Tester, PLATO Testing

See you next year at CAST 2017!

Categories: Conferences