Testing in the Future – a Barcamp Perspective

The QS camp 2019 is over – QS camp 2020 will come. As it was great. And as there were many questions left. What will be the future of testing? What do we need to learn?

by @deniseyu21

The third QS Barcamp in Hamburg, was again organized by StugHH and OOSE Innovative Informatik at the wonderful location in the Schanzenviertel in Hamburg. You don’t know what a barcamp is? Maybe have a look at my post about the first QS Barcamp that took place in 2017. This year, we had 29 session in seven different tracks. About 80 people being interested in quality took part at discussions, barbecue and fun. I enjoyed the barcamp a lot, thanks to the people (and the organizers 😉 ) it really was great again.

So what is the Future of Testing?

During the keynote session by Dr. Armin Metzger the participants could gain some insight on  what topics might be of relevance in the future. Is it the increased complexity because of IoT?  Is it the uprise of AI? Generally we have to get used to the idea that things change rapidly and get more complex. So what can we do about it? One of the ideas Armin gave, was that it would be good to get into the position to have reusable software and hardware parts and to have standards, so that you do not have to test everything always. The participants picked up some of the topics the next day in Open Space sessions: what do you need to know in order to test AI? What kind of new approaches to testing do we know? What skills will be needed in the future?

What is the Future?

My sketch note of the keynote

To me, it was interesting to see that there is nothing like “the one future”. Depending on each person’s work and level of knowledge, different testing topics seem normal or futuristic. You think IoT is the future? Maybe, but maybe it is the presence. At least there already is a certification class available: ASQF® Certified Professional for IoT (CPIoT) . Sorry to say, but usually if there is a certificate available, we do not talk about hot shit anymore.

You think testing OF AI is the future? Well, we are definitely missing a lot of methodological knowledge for testing OF AI. There are some ideas out there, but also: that is presence! AI is everywhere, I hope someone validates it!

Robotic test automation with the use of AI is just lurking around the corner, from ATD we know “applitools eyes” or testim.io – tools that start in a promising way. And maybe reduce some effort of “old fashioned” testing. Future? Probably there is more to come… so yes. But it is out there already.

Last but not least, there was a session on skills needed. I will not repeat what has been said there, as it seemed to me that it was just the usual stuff. I would add skills of data science for AI testing. Maybe new automation languages; skills about testing frameworks, that reduce the need for doing everything oneself… and even that is not exactly hot shit. The future is now. Now is the future. Just stay curious and learn.

Visions and Visionaries

To me it seems that maybe the barcamp format is not the right format for answering these questions, unless you got many visionary participants. People who have tried new stuff. People who think three or four steps ahead. Testing future will change with other technology future. So maybe you would need tech visionaries as well. If you mainly got people with questions, you might not get too satisfying answers unless the right participants are there. One of the open space rules says: “Whoever comes are the right people”. But this might not be the influencers that would ease discussion of visionary ideas. Or the discussion is at a basic level, inspiring some, but disappointing others.

My vision for the next barcamp would be to try to attract more participants with interests/expertise fitting to the keynote. But also better explain how open space works to avoid that people are disappointed. It is perfect the way it is. If you want teachers and influencers only, do not go to a barcamp. A barcamp is meant for discussions at eye level. And networking.

Everyday Heroes

One impression I got from the barcamp is, that we all are everyday heroes, fighting with a lot of obstacles, not only of technical kind, but also social. So often I heard that testers are still not valued. I find this pretty sad. Community work like the barcamp, Ministry of Test, Software Test User Group Hamburg, …. will remain of relevance in order to support each other. Now and in the future. Thanks for being there.

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