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Everybody that knows me a little, knows that the EuroSTAR Conference holds a special place in my heart. It’s the first international software testing conference I went to and I have been eager ever since to earn a spot on each year’s edition after that, whether by submitting a paper and getting accepted, bargaining with my manager or – I was extra lucky last year- as a EuroSTAR program committee member . This year is extra special, since it takes me back to my first visit in 2006; Manchester.
I remember entering the hall and getting in line at the registration desk. I had never before gotten a whole bag with goodies, a name badge on a key cord and – back then – a sweater (I still have that sweater; a red hoody with the embroidery ‘EuroSTAR Manchester 2006’ on the chest). I still have that exiting feeling when entering the venue hall where EuroSTAR’s at; it’s the vibes I guess and the anticipation of the days ahead.
In my first year I was a bit overwhelmed by all the impressions. I didn’t even apprehend the large number of topics, tools and other stuff there was to be found in Software Testing, back then I was still a rookie and wet behind my Software Testing ears. There were all these people who were apparently accomplished speakers and renowned within the testing field of expertise and I was awed that they took their time to talk with, discuss with and show interest in a newbie like me (that ‘speakers key cord’ apparently didn’t mean ‘out of reach for newbies’ ;-). I got immensely inspired to be able to accomplish the same. Making a difference within the profession (or craft) and to be able to share knowledge and to inspire others, like they inspired me.
Being at EuroSTAR is not only gathering information. Its meeting people, sometimes by just wandering through the hallways, the expo floor or by joining them during lunch. It’s also hunting for gadgets, there’s always some cool ones that you just want to have (a couple of years ago I ‘scored’ some silly egg cups; which had two little feet underneath so it looked like the egg had feet, I still smile when I use those cups). It’s being extra excited when there’s a prize draw or something to win at a track (in 2006 I won a BUG-MUG at Julie Gardiners track). It’s the good food and snacks during the conference and the special gala with the glamorous touch and festive mood (I find it extra special when people also dress to the occasion and in 2006 I got to see the inside of Manchester United stadium). It’s the extra dimension of being able to do actual testing on the conference in the Test Lab and it’s seeing all vendors proudly displaying and showing off their products at the expo floor.
It’s only 6 weeks from now when I’ll be walking through those doors where I went through five years ago. The difference is I’m no longer in the ‘newbie’ category. The similarity is that I’ll be as thrilled as I was back then!