My first attendance of the first and only Croatian software testing conference viaqa.
Viaqa is an annual software testing conference started by the individual initiative of a few Croatian software testing enthusiasts. Usually I associate the word conference with something stiff, formal and flamboyant but I found that is everything viaqa is not. Viaqa is meant to gather the small but rising Croatian QA scene in a relaxed manner with the aim of meeting other testers, exchange experiences and pass on knowledge. Anyone can give a lecture and there is no attendance fee!
This year’s fourth edition was held at the BIOS business incubator premises in Osijek and about 30 testers attended. The one day conference was divided into two parts. The first one consisted of organised lectures regarding various QA subjects and the second part was a more informal hangout with lightning talks. Lectures ranged from tightly tech specified to QA in general. Although I already had a chance to hear some of the lectures I could still find enjoyment in hearing them and was able to learn something new.
The gathering had the really interesting concept of lightning talks with which I was not familiar. The idea is that anyone can stand up and hold a 5 minute presentation after which everyone is invited to discuss about it. During lectures people would write down topics they wanted to discuss on a pin up board and the discussion was started with the most popular topics first. Most of the lightning talks were not presentations, they were more of an elaborate question aimed at other testers about their experiences regarding certain subjects. Lightning talks really gave birth to some interesting debates in which many people participated. That + the beer made it the shining moment of that gathering in my opinion. It is always interesting to hear how testers in other companies manage different challenges because testers tend to be in smaller teams (often a one man team) and usually it is hard to find someone to discuss your problems with. Programmers are in a much better position in that aspect.
Although viaqa was my first testing conference I found it to be a great experience and one of the few places where Croatian testers can interact. If you are a software tester and still reading this I would warmly recommend viaqa and Software Testing Club Zagreb which gathers software testers from Zagreb every two months.