EuroSTAR 2020 Preview – Ushering the Conference of a New World

Dear testing community, it is a different world that we are in from the last time we witnessed this spectacular event. We will be behind screens in quiet homes as against the buzzing chatter of the venue, exchanging virtual greetings rather than handshakes in person, clicking buttons instead of clinking glasses. But there is much to celebrate and be excited about with this fully online event. It will perhaps reach out to a much bigger audience than ever before! In a way, this will remove many physical barriers or logistical issues in reaching out to this fantastic conference. It has perhaps enabled the attendance of more experts who would otherwise be bound by their schedules. I am excited at the prospect what other opportunities this might bring about. And I can already feel the energy – have you heard the fabulous Community Choir? It feels like a prelude to a great celebration – can’t wait for the action to begin!

This year it is incredibly special for me as I am playingtwo different roles at the event. One of a reporter, which I have thoroughly enjoyed in the past, and one of a volunteer where I get to help the fantastic Eurostar team run some of their sessions on Huddle. I am absolutely thrilled about getting to have conversations with amazing speakers, experts and testers from around the world! I will be holding a space called session room at the end of each day to gather inputs, feedback and thoughts. I welcome all participants to reach out to me during the event – I am all ears!

I have already had a great start in my role as a reporter, interviewing the committee Chairman Rik Marselis, committee members Zeger Van Hese and Marta Firleglast week to get some thoughts about the conference ahead of the event. They have all expressed their excitement for the new format and have requested all participants to make the most of the opportunity! As highlighted by them, this might be a new format but it has fabulous range of activities and interactions on offer. Those who are regular to the conference, I am sure you know what to expect but the new twist is bound to be a unique experience. And those who are attending for the first time, I bet the excitement is rising in anticipation! Hope you all are set to behold this carnival, as the stars of the testing world descend into our homes!

It is such a difficult task for me to highlight what stands out for me in this year’s program schedule. The committee lead by the Rik Marselis, has brought together a line-up of talks that is looking brilliant! From incredibly relevant topics like contact tracing, to performing QA on Mars, the variety of the topics is a big feature of this year’s programme. The theme of ‘Testing in the wild’ has brought out really interesting choice of topics amongst the speakers!

Day 1 – Tuesday

The day one of the conference is absolutely star studded and I am going to struggle choosing between the tutorials. The opening note by Rik I am sure would be a highlight and so is the rest of the stellar line-up for the day. Some of the top names in testing like Michael Bolton, Fiona Charles, Fran O’Hara, Derk Jan de Grood, Rikard Edgren, Alan Richardson, Dawn Haynes are all going to share their insight, each of them is unmissable. But I am going to take comfort from the fact that unlike previous years, this time I will be able to catch up on recordings of these sessions which is invaluable.

Day 2 – Wednesday

The second day of the conference will feature a host of track sessions and promises to offer a selection of some unusual topics like how to develop the next generation of testers, future proofing careers as our ‘habitats’ are changing, preventing burn out in tech industry and many more technical talks too. The key notes speeches are also standing out to be of diverse nature, with Ronald Cummings-John talking about developing good quality narrative, Abby Bangser addressing test observability and the day will see a crescendo with testing guru Michael Bolton taking to the stage with the topic ‘Let’s talk about problems’. This day promises to be amazing with some ‘Ask me anything’ sessions to be held in the huddle area, where all get to quiz the experts about our topics of interest.

Day 3 – Thursday

The final day of the conference will bring three exciting key notes from some of the renowned speakers like Tomasz Dubikowski who will be speaking about testing microservices, Tanja Vos on GUI testing using AI and Jason Arbon on AI Testing. This day also seems closest to the theme with some unusual topics like what testers can learn from elephants and testing in the wild at 130 mph! I am intrigued by the very titles! There would be a fitting finale with committee chairman addressing the participants and presentation of the EuroSTAR Gala awards which should be a great experience too. It is bound to be an awe-inspiring moment to find out who has won the prestigious Testing Excellence Award this year.


On the side of networking aspect, I must say there are various fringe events lined up that I wish to be a part of. The speed meets, the virtual fun run, lean coffee sessions are all looking to be a great opportunity to get to know other testers from across the world. I will be involved in some of those sessions in the capacity of a volunteer, which would be a new perspective to these activities. For those of us who want to get more technically inclined in the conversations can look forward to the Test lab, or bring your problem to the ‘doctors’ at the Test Clinic, or the very interesting security testing session ‘cmd+ctrl bank’ to get hands-on. As always, looks like there will never be a dull moment in the conference!

I truly am in admiration of the conference organising team who had to completely shift their approach to the conference. The unexpected change of circumstances must have felt like a daunting challenge to bring together an online event, to maintain the same level of engagement with the audience and speakers. Through their resilience and creativity, the conference team has overcome this hurdle, ensuring a high quality event. This fabulous set of people worked tirelessly to bring together what seems to be a highly impactful programme and I give it to them for all their hard work.

Ready to Go

The circumstances we are in just now, it feels like we can do with a bit of pepping up, getting a dose of motivation and rekindle the spirit that feels a bit jaded. I believe EuroSTAR 2020 will give us all that opportunity. It will give us an occasion to rejoice in each other’s company, appreciate what is great about being in testing, give us a reason to smile and be cheery. I would like to think the spirit of testing community will beat thetest of time caused by the pandemic and come together to celebrate this festival of testing. So, I look forward to be there and hope to see as many of you as possible!

About the Author


Sowmya Ramesh is a testing professional with over 18 years of IT industry experience currently working as a consultant with 2i Testing. She has a deep interest in the area of non-functional testing, in particular, accessibility testing which she has promoted for a number of years in the testing community. Sowmya enjoys interacting with people and blogging about professional topics of interest. She has delivered talks in MOT Edinburgh meet up and DevTest Summit. Sowmya is currently playing the role of a reporter on Eurostar Conferences and associated with the same team in a volunteering capacity since two years. A mother of two young children, Sowmya is a trained dancer in an Indian classical dance form called Kathak which she is actively pursuing as a learner as well as a performer. .
Find out more about @brsowmya

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