From October 2 -7, I attended STARWEST, the largest and one of the longest-running software testing and quality assurance conferences in the US, sponsored by TECHWELL. It is one of the most respected conferences by QA leaders, as well as individual contributors, as there is something there for everyone in the QA field.
The weeklong conference featured many learning and networking opportunities on new and high demand topics. The conference allowed me to discuss with other QA practitioners not only high-level topics, such as the future of the QA profession, but also deep dive, technical discussions, such as automation strategies, BI and Big Data topics. The conference also featured excellent keynote speakers, training sessions, and a leadership summit.
An additional benefit is that STARWEST has a large vendor expo which allowed the attendees to explore the latest solutions in testing technologies, tools, and software. The expo allowed me to have face to face conversations with vendors in a short amount of time. Most vendors demonstrated their solutions, and some even had hour long talks scheduled to dive deeper into their solutions. It is quite a time saver.
What’s new you ask? The software industry is moving towards digital transformation and what that means to QA.
More than ever before, QA professionals have the responsibility to stay current on technology and tools. It’s not just a developer’s responsibility anymore. Technology changes so fast and it sometimes becomes difficult to stay abreast of all the new changes, but it is something that must be addressed to stay competitive in the QA space.
The transition to digital applications requires a different skill-set than was typically used to test GUI-based applications. It no longer requires QA to write a test cases and execute manual test. Maturing digital businesses are focused on integrating digital technologies, such as social, mobile, analytics, Internet of Things, as well as transitioning applications to the Cloud. These changes in technology, as well as the underlying architectures that support business solutions are radically changing the way software gets developed and how businesses work.
Companies are requiring changes to be implemented faster, frequently and with high quality. In order for QA to support these requirements, they must change their focus to:
As is normally the case, the IT industry is moving towards better, cheaper, faster. It was nice to see that there wasn’t anything radically different that was presented at the conference, which means that the Solutions QA team at Pyramid Consulting is aligned with the industry trends and we are doing the right things to support our customers. One interesting takeaway is that most of the vendors are headed in the same direction, which is to: