I wish someone would sponsor me to attend this year's StarWest conference.
The cost of admission varies from ~$900 a day to ~$4000.00 for the platinum-plated uber package, which is far outside my price range. But as a practitioner, I'd love to hear hear some of the insights coming out of the keynote presentations and to participate in some of the tutorial sessions as well.
One keynote that caught my eye was "Why Testers Need to Code: Facebooks's No Testing Department", presented by Simon Stewart from Facebook. I'd really like to hear his thoughts on this subject because from what I've seen and heard, the roles of software developers and testers are converging, thus making me feel like I'm actually correct about something.
More info on the keynote can be found here:
There are already a few shops in the St. Louis area who insist that candidates submitted for QA roles be able to code in a major programming language (usually Java). But the goal behind getting QA people who can code shouldn't necessarily stop at writing automated tests that developers can understand. Ideally, one would utilize these people and their skills to improve the overall quality of the software produced by the organization. Dev-capable QA people can easily apply their QA skillset to other parts of the development process, such as code reviews, requirements analysis & development, and actual software development itself. Going forward, there should be no reason why QA would need to be the third wheel working within its own silo on a development team.
Anyway, I hope that some of you are able to get to StarWest this year. If you are and can take in this keynote, I'd appreciate a briefing.