Yes, it’s Conference Submission Time.
There is a cycle to conferences. For the larger ones, i.e. EuroSTAR, ATD, etc., then it may even start before the last conference has taken place. The conference chair needs to be appointed. The venue and dates chosen – conference halls have to be booked well in advance.
When last year’s conference finished next years will be introduced. The new chair will set a theme, and post a call for papers. This is going on now for the EuroSTAR 2016 conference (Call for submissions closes on 5th Feb 2016).
Here are some Hints and Tips for submitting to conferences.
I was lucky enough to be on the EuroSTAR 2011 program committee and I wrote a post about tips for submitting here. The current EuroSTAR program team have done the same so don’t forget to check it out if you are considering submitting.
There were 460+ submissions that year, 2011, and only 50 or so successful candidates. It isn’t as simple as saying “Well that is a one in nine chance, so I will put in nine submissions!” Carefully read through all of the advice, then craft your proposal. And remember, if you don’t submit, then you definitely won’t be successful.
If you aren’t successful in winning a speaking slot at your chosen conference, then do not despair. There are loads of things that you can do, for free, in the interim, to a) develop yourself, and b) increase your chances of submission success for a future conference.
Here is my How to educate yourself in Software Testing for Free plan. Try it for a year, and get your ‘money back’ if it doesn’t work.
There is loads of free software testing stuff out there on the internet just waiting for you, so take advantage of it.
Blogs: Lots of software testers blog – you are reading one now – so check them out. I wish it was as simple as telling you which ones to read. It isn’t that easy. Follow the links to interesting blog articles. The bloggers you like will become favourites. But don’t forget that there are also interesting posts from people you may not have heard of.
Tip: Try reading blog posts that you disagree with. It may not change your mind, but you will get another perspective.
Presentations: Amazingly, almost all of the conference presentations can be found online. You can see the slides, read papers, and supporting material. Start by browsing the Resources section of this site 🙂 So you still get to read the presentations even if you didn’t go to the conference.
Tip: Check out Twitter for announcements of posts and uploads.
e-books: A lot of software testing authors write shorter e-books which are freely available. It doesn’t take long to search for them. Surprisingly, some of them are actually worth reading!
Tip: Try reading them on your daily commute – as long as you don’t drive. Or put away one hour a week to read e-books.
Webinars: Which are online presentations. These are great. I have done several myself which you can find in the Resources section. Basically you get to hear the presenter as well as see their slides. This adds an extra dimension to the presentation, and can give you further detail not available from just reading the slides.
Tip: Many of the major conferences arrange webinars throughout the year.
Live Days: Some conferences will actually broadcast a live day. They select presentations throughout the day that give a positive representation of the conference. These may even be videoed which will give you a real feel for the event.
Tip: You don’t always have to listen live. They are sometimes available after the event for later viewing. Great for conferences in different time zones.
Armed with all of this information, if nothing else, you will have gained a wider understanding of what is going on around you in the software testing world, and you may have learned a few things on the way.