A lot of my friends asked me how I get the chance to speak at conferences? others asked me if I’m doing PhD or what ?
To answer all your questions, It’s totally different, I’m not a PhD student and it’s not my ambition, my engineering degree is enough to start such adventure. Actually, those conferences are mostly oriented for industrials interested in software testing or agile or other interesting technologies used in IT companies.
It’s also worthy to tell you my story from the beginning and how I make my 1 year old dream turn into a reality in 2019.
“Finance Engineering as an option leads to my First Job as a TESTER”
I started my career in a startup testing a trading mobile application. I discovered testing from scratch through my first job just after graduation.
I know it seems a bit strange to start my career with such position but I accepted this challenge because I have a finance background through my last year option “Finance Engineering” combined with IT and also from my end of study project which was done in Tunisia Stock Exchange supervised by Malek Kazdaghli who was my biggest source of inspiration, it was even the best professional experience I’ve ever had until now.
Moreover, I was the only tester at that company, the project manager Wafa M’barek helped me at the beginning. She was my testing hero. In fact, she was an Ex-Tester managing the whole team.
After just few weeks, I become very passionate about testing and I like discovering hidden bugs the “unknown unknown” in both iOS and Android applications.
I started with manual testing during the first six months and after that I got the chance to learn mobile automation using Appium, to be honest at the beginning it wasn’t very evident, I find some barriers, but it was the reason that motivates me to explore more, ask and learn through online communities like stackoverflow and others…
“My Second and Third Steps as a TESTER”
My passion about testing is not related with business domain anymore. I got the chance to test several applications in different fields combined between mobile and web applications during my second job. After that my third job in automotive field, it was a new challenging experience. I proposed to run a workshop about testing in the end of 2017 for students of my school ENSI as I am an active member of Forums & Events Committee at Primatec (the company where I currently work). It was a nice experience to make them aware about testing from scratch. I decided to extend this presentation to other engineering schools in Tunisia to make them passionate about software testing because it wasn’t available as a course.
We all know that testing is context dependent, In fact, different types of software need to perform different types of testing. But becoming a good tester is not related to what kind of software you are testing, you can discover more in details What Makes A Good Software Tester.
“From a TESTER to a Community Organizer Outside Working Hours”
Add to that I joint many French & English Testing and Agile communities such as the Ministry of Testing community, other helpful slack channels where you can find a large global community, blogs or LinkedIn groups such as Le métier du test. I end up creating our first Tunisian Testing community in collaboration with the biggest global testing community Ministry of Testing (you can take a look into the whole story From TestSphere Cards to MoT Meetup Organiser).
We also have our own slack channel (everyone can join). I get the opportunity to facilitate different kind of workshops for my testing community and also for my colleagues at work which gave me more confidence and I started building my dream “becoming an international speaker” that combines my two hobbies : travelling the world and attending conferences.
“My first International Conference Abroad as Participant”
In November 2018, I decided to attend to my very first International Testing Conference in Belgrade #BTC2018.
I get the chance to assist to many interesting talks delivered by well known speakers in the testing industry such as Ard Kramer, Dan Cuellar the founder of Appium (the tool that I used in mobile testing), Gareth Waterhouse, Nogens Maik, Viviane Lyrio Vieira, Dawid Pacia, Maciej Wyrodek, the famous hacker Santosh Tuppad, Alexei Vinogradov …
I also asked some of them about their secret how they started speaking in such big conferences as international speaker.
Merging all their answers, I discovered that the secret is to talk about your own story because it will make your topic very original without repeating standards and known knowledge that everyone can learn through online platforms or from books also your topic shouldn’t be very technical they want follow your story in case they are not using the same tools, frameworks as you or not interested to know about such staff…
The last advice is to keep trying without giving up. I recommend this link that contains all coming testing conferences around the world. You can check the call for paper schedule for all conferences.
“First Time Ever, My papers are Accepted in Many International Conferences”
After dozens of rejections in 2018, I decided to talk about other fields not very technical as I did before (but it was unsuccessful). My new story was about the importance of building communities of practice in agile organizations and as an example I mentionned our local testing community in Sfax with different activities and also the importance of gamification in building such communities you can read about our meetups in my medium blog.
Finally my story was accepted, I started my conference tour in June 2019.
“My first International Conference Abroad as a Speaker”
- Journée Agile Belgique on 14 June 2019 #journeeagile It was my very first experience ever as a speaker abroad in the 10th biggest agile edition in Belgium done in Liege. I’m so proud to be the only Tunisian Speaker.
Receiving great feedbacks from the audience encouraged me a lot, I’m glad that I inspire #journeeagile organizers to start their future community of practice.
“My Second Agile Stop in 2019”
- Agile En Méditerranée Gammarth on 22 June 2019 #agilemed19 : It was the first agile conference in Tunisia created by Dhiaeddine Ben Cheikh. I get the chance to meet a lot of active speakers such as Judicaël Paquet (myagilepartner), Amina Bourguiba, Faten Habachi, Nawel Lengliz, Slim Mesfar, Afef Belhaj, Aline Renan, Couthaïer FARFRA, Elodie Emo and also Stéphane Rondal the one that I met him also during Journée Agile Belgium!
I used the hashtag #agilemed19 in twitter to talk about conferences I attended. They announced my name at the end of the conference ! I won the book of Judicaël Paquet Framing Agile 1.1 very interesting book to explore by the way.
“My Third Agile Stop in 2019”
- Agile En Seine Paris on 17 September 2019 #agileenseine19
More details about my talk are available here (in French)
It was randomly sorted by languages the first three talks are done in French !
I also delivered two English talks for my first time in front of multinational attendees !
- Targeting Quality 2019 in Cambridge, Canada
- Software QS-Tag 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany
I invite everyone to try this amazing experience as a participant in an international conference and then why not as a speaker, it allows you to make your job funnier. You will also win more knowledge, collected from different corners in the world that you can use it in your everyday job so that you can break the working routine with new tips and new ideas. You can also follow me in twitter @emna__ayadi and check conferences outputs with different hashtags that I mentionned.
Believe in Yourself and Take the Challenge
My last advice to everyone don’t stay in your comfort zone for more than a moment otherwise you will be trapped there! Take Challenges even if you spend a big part of your personal time, money or even your vacation leaves (in case it’s not counted as a learning leave, unfortunately, it’s my case in the 3 coming conferences that’s why I didn’t take summer vacation this year) to make my dream come true!
Remember that nothing is Impossible even the word itself says I’m possible !
Useful tips to be a speaker by Elisabeth Hocke