Join Online Communities
Whether or not you have local communities to join, you can benefit from the diversity of backgrounds and ideas that an online testing community provides. Here are a couple of examples.
Weekend Testing lets you practice your exploratory testing skills with a truly global community of testers. There’s likely to be a session coming up that will fit your schedule. Another global group is Software Testing Club. It provides a variety of forums for asking questions and sharing experiences, plus links to local testing communities. There are also many mailing lists, such as the Agile Testing Yahoo group.
As long as you live in some part of the world that has Internet access, there is a community you can join where you can learn and pay that learning forward to others.
Reflect and Grow
So, what have you done for your career lately? In my experience, testers with the right mindset and attitude write their own ticket for the best jobs. Demonstrate that great attitude with a diverse mix of professional growth activities. If you can’t easily point to three ways you’ve pushed yourself to learn in the past couple months, start experimenting. Pair up with a buddy and encourage each other.
Participating in user groups, online communities, and conferences lets you pay forward the help you receive. You can help advance the craft of testing while improving your own skills. As testers add more value, and our profession gains respect, we all benefit. Most importantly, you’ll have fun as you connect with other testing professionals and improve your own abilities!