Being a tester is not always easy. It sometimes feels like we are swimming upstream and it is a lot more fun swimming with friends. There is a difference between trying to learn things from reading and adapting, and having these things brought to life by people who have tried things and had experience and are super excited to share.
About 6 years into my testing career I managed to convince my boss to send me to CAST (Conference for the Association of Software Testing). I am an introvert. While the thought of talking to a bunch of strangers and being in large groups of people, was incredibly daunting, the chance of meeting and learning from great minds in testing, forced me to get out my comfort zone. My first day was a tutorial session with James Bach. Someone whose work I had studied, and pored over, and attempted to use and adapt on a daily basis in my testing. James was teaching heuristics and we were encouraged to write our own. A scary task when you know you will need to share your thoughts with all those strangers!!!! A heuristic that eventually came to mind was 'Slowly, slowly, catch monkey'. I described what I meant, and it resonated. In the painful moment of feeling alone and overwhelmed, I got to meet testers from all over the world who were in a very similar position to me. That was the beginning. We bonded. They became my friends and part of my testing community. They introduced me to other testers. We formed a 'gang'. We talked over Skype and supported each other and sat talking testing until all hours of the morning. I realised that there were people with a similar passion. We could discuss our experiences and debate our thinking and move our craft forward. It was an experience that would change my career forever.
This is what we want to bring a lot closer to home for all testers in SA. We want you all to know that you are not alone, that there are people right here who share your passion and want to move the craft forward. They will be at Let's Test. You should be there too!