Friday, 25 July 2014

CAST2014 - A pre-conference post

CAST2014
A pre-conference post

What makes CAST a sell out?
Why attend CAST?
How do I get involved?
I cannot make it to CAST, how can I still be wholly present?


This post is an experience report by a first time CAST attendee.
What makes CAST, what it is?
The people who year after year book their tickets to CAST.
Those who carry the learning to their respective work place and come back to CAST with their work force the next year.

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The live webcast which is free for all it’s audiences.
The talks, workshops, hallway discussions , pre-conference, ongoing and post conference events.
As I gather, it is a technical event which is social and engaging and more.

I am happy for this learning and unlearning opportunity granted to me by the AST Grant Program.

Thank you Keith Klain, Anna Royzman, Benjamin Yaroch and others who made this happen. You guys rock. PerScholas Grant Program and with the help of the donations received, has extended this learning opportunity to eleven Per Scholas graduates this year.

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I welcome the participants, speakers and all who worked around the clock and behind the scenes to make the 9th annual conference of CAST happen.

Why confer?
I have had the best times conferring back home in Bangalore, India.
Have been fortunate to meet mentors during conferences.
Have learnt to know which conferences are a must to attend and which one's to give a miss.
What gets talked about in the world of Software Testing?
What's trending and what's a no-no?
Where do I invest my time learning and what’s taking my time away from leisure?
Humongous amounts of knowledge sharing happens in conferences, but is it for you? Is a question, for you to answer.
Anyone who is willing to take that plunge into Software Testing, may wish to attend conferences to know and learn first hand from the mentors, where, how and what to begin with when treading the path of Software Testing.
It is a great opportunity to UNLEARN. The joy of unlearning is as exhilarating as learning.
Lessons of success and failures are shared equally.
I definitely came out confident each time after every conference I have attended knowing what do I need to work upon and what should I let go off.

Talks & Workshops:
Here is the schedule of the talks and the parallel tracks: http://cast2014.sched.org
Choose and mark the talks which you wish to not miss.
Ask a friend to attend a parallel track and share notes.
If you always wanted to know, how do I get this idea presented to my seniors then do be present at Alessandra Moreira's talk “My Boss Would Never Go for That - Testing and the Art of Persuasion” on Tuesday, August 12th between 10:40am - 11:45am.

Challenge yourself to communicate effectively >> Learn how with Benjamin Kelly and Iain McCowatt “Speaking the Language” on Monday, August 11th between 9:00am - 5:00pm

Participants and non-participants:
To catch all the pre-event tweets and progression of CAST with just one click and if it helps you, pin this to the Start Menu on your phone -->
1) http://cast2014.sched.org/mobile/ and
2) #CAST2014 search results page on twitter.
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Pre-conference event:
Bummer! I may miss the pre-conference event “Testers' Scavenger Hunt” on the 10th of August, Sunday at the NYU Kimmel Center between 1 - 5 PM (as I will be arriving a little late).
This event is a great way to learn, to meet other attendees of CAST, to make new friends and socialize.
It already has good participation and definitely sounds fun. Happy hunting participants.
Do capture your prized moments and share it with the rest of us.
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Note:
Follow the leads of CAST on twitter with the hashtag #CAST2014
What do I need to bring to CAST?
I see Rachelle Below asked this question on twitter. Here is a list I made.
Enthusiasm.
Rested mind and body.
Color Pens / Pencils to make your own sketch notes of/at the event.
Camera / Phone to capture the event and share it with the rest of the audience.
Dice and games if you intend to gamify the event.

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Testing:
During the preparation phase of CAST, I got to learn and test (inclusive of myself).
I did not know, when I began I could do the amount of work I did and all by myself.
Learning about applying for Visa, testing the website, knowing about the fraud check department at the Visa Consulate - I was happy being there, witnessing the interview, oaths being taken, the communication between a fraud check officer and a victim. The rescue team, the whisking team, the brisk security at the Consulate all this reminded me of a hollywood movie scene.
I thank Anna and Keith for answering the questions I had inspite of their busy schedule.
It did help me learn and understand the robustness with which CAST operates.
Hakuna Matata:
To give our all at this event, it is only fair to ask ourself to be worry free. Remember to pack your thinking hats and store away or even better bury the worrying hat.

Socialize:
Indeed CAST attracts great talent from the world of software testing.
Remember to go say Hi to your favorite mentor and talk testing.
Pass on your business cards, I intend to do so.
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Shareaholic:
Love blogging? Live blog and microblog as the event unfolds.
Share as you learn.
Non-attendees and those who cannot be at the event, can benefit just as much as you.
Webcast
http://www.associationforsoftwaretesting.org/conference/cast-2014/webcast/cast-live/

Rest:
I had like to conclude by sharing this with you all.
http://jamesclear.com/better-sleep?hvid=5x3MK2
Get a good night's sleep if you wish to, as this 3 day conference does require our active participation and the energy to be active and be present.
This does not apply to those who intend to make the most of “The City That Never Sleeps” and enjoy the Happy hours with new and old friends made.

Acknowledgements:
Thanks to the CAST organizing committee, the sponsors and several friends Ajoy Singha, Smita Mishra, Parimala Hariprasad, Lalit Bhamare, Nagasahas Dasa and others who helped me by providing timely inputs.

P.S.
Be ready to be charmed and to awaken your senses to all the testing talks. Happy conferring.

Wishing all involved a grand success at this years’ CAST. See you all at NYC.

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