Perks of being a social tester
If you have been testing a while you may have worked in a Waterfall method. You may have tested for few weeks from the test scripts and then written test scripts for a few weeks. It would be a solo process that would bring unhappiness and boredom. This is no longer the case for tester that work in any agile team. Testers are asked to bring up suggestions, improvements and challenge everything that is happening. Sprints are short, you have little time to write scripts and sometimes little time is left to learn new things.
Testing roles evolve all the time - it used to be only desktop applications, now we have wearables, 3D and other devices. How do we test them? Where do we get information without the obvious Google search?
The best way to find out is to ask others. Others, who have solved your problem, implemented it in their company and are happy to share their knowledge. Nobody hides their technique any more, they want to share. Sharing makes us collectively better testers.
I have found that there are two ways to reach people when in need of help. First is social networks. I use <a href="https://twitter.com/gita_m" target="_blank">twitter</a>, Slack and <a href="https://uk.linkedin.com/in/maligita" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a> when I need quick questions to be answered. Slack usually brings you answers quite quickly if you join the right groups (e.g. Ministry of Testing, Testers.io). Twitter and LinkedIn are not as reliable and as sometimes no answer comes at all.
Second way to reach people is by going to events. I love networking and I think it provides great opportunities. There are various meetups nationwide where you can meet great people. Other lovely perks of meetups include free beers and wine, snacks, t-shirts, mugs, pens etc. Have I sold this to you yet?
For informal meetups it's all about discussion. If you are quite shy you can still sit quietly and listen to the discussion and possibly ask questions about subjects you are interested in. It's always a good opportunity to challenge your ideas, ask for help, learn about new resources, tools, books or training courses. LeanCoffees, Open Spaces and Lightning Talks are good example for it.
By improving your skills you are becoming more employable and a lot of recruiters hang out in meetups trying to get best people. Some conferences have great workshops (<a href="http://www.ministryoftesting.com/training-events/testbash-brighton-2016/" target="_blank">TestBash</a> one of them) and allow you to try out some new tools. By knowing the right people or helping others may even get you free entry to events.
And lastly it is fun. Testers are fun to be around, we have our own dark humour and we are good at communicating.