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The best software QA and testing conferences of 2020

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John P. Mello Jr., Freelance writer

Some may see testing as a fairly boring and static set of practices, but leaders in this space know it is a vibrant discipline that is constantly improving every year, thanks to exciting new techniques made possible by better automation tools and artificial intelligence. More than ever, software quality drives business growth. Attending conferences is the best way to keep your skills and knowledge about these trends up to date and connect with your peers in the larger testing community.

Here is TechBeacon's shortlist of the most popular QA and testing conferences in 2020.

[ Get up to speed on quality-driven development with TechBeacon's new guide. Plus: Download the World Quality Report 2019-20 for lessons from leading organizations. ]

January

CodeMash

Twitter: @codemash
Web: codemash.org
Date: January 7-10
Location: Sandusky, Ohio, USA
Cost: $350 to $1,000 (time-sensitive discounts available)

CodeMash is focused on being fun and family-friendly. The event is held at the Kalahari Resort, Ohio's largest indoor water park. There's even a parallel conference just for children and young adults called KidzMash, with several rooms designated for kids to enjoy STEM-based, hands-on activities. KidzMash is a free event for the spouses and families of CodeMash attendees.

Who should attend: Developers, testers, and anyone who works with code

**If you missed this year's show, follow them on social for takeaways.

February

Automation Guild

Twitter: #automationguild / #testingguild / #perfguild
Web: guildconferences.com/conferences/automation-2020/
Date: February 3-5
Location: Online
Cost: $197 (group discounts available)

Automation Guild is a fairly new but already popular conference, conveniently accessible from the comfort of your home. With over 20 speakers and more attendees than many small but more expensive conferences, Automation Guild kicks off the year with a focus on test automation. Recordings are available 24 hours after the conclusion of each conference day, and even if you can't make it, you can still purchase the videos afterward; however, you'll miss out on the many interactive opportunities.

Who should attend: Software testers and developers

European Testing Conference

Twitter: @EuroTestingConf
Web: europeantestingconference.eu/2020/
Date: February 6-7
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cost: €1,299

Organizers of this event want to get away from conferences that "feel more like sales pitches than practitioners sharing the craft." At the beginning of the conference, sessions are geared toward connecting attendees with each other and making the conference a more welcoming and less scary place to be. At the end, flexible spaces are created to help conference-goers share actionable and relevant insights gained from the forum.

Who should attend: Software testers and developers

QA or the Highway

Twitter: @QAortheHighway
Web: qaorthehighway.com
Date: February 25
Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA
Cost: $95

This one-day regional conference focuses on software testing and quality. Organizers describe the event as a "regional, professional conference featuring real-world experience and thought leadership in the QA and testing industry."

Who should attend: Software testers, practitioners, managers, and developers

TISQA Conference 2020

Twitter: @TISQA_RTP
Web: tisqa-rtp.squarespace.com
Date: February 26 (workshops) and 27 (conference)
Location: Durham, North Carolina, USA
Cost: Conference, $149; workshops, $299; both, $399

A small conference with some big names, the one-day TISQA conference also includes workshops. It's located in a rapidly growing region for STEM companies, near Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Research Triangle Park. Workshops cover topics such as testing in continuous delivery, running risk assessments, and behavior-driven development.

Who should attend: Agile practitioners, software developers, software test and QA professionals, software development managers, and QA and test managers

[ Get up to speed with TechBeacon's Guide to Software Test Automation. Plus: Get the Buyer’s Guide for Selecting Software Test Automation Tools ]

March

STPCon Spring 2020

Twitter: @SoftwareTestPro / #STPCon
Web: stpcon.com
Date: March 31-April 2
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Cost: Conference, $1,395 to $1,795; workshops, $645 to $1,695; conference and workshop packages, $1,695 to $2,195 (time-sensitive discounts available)

STPCon promotes itself as "designed by testers for testers." Organizers emphasize testing management and strategy to help attendees expand their techniques, get up to speed on the latest tools and trends, improve processes, and better understand the testing industry.

Who should attend: QA and testing professionals, developers, software development managers, and QA and test managers

TestBash Brighton

Twitter: @ministryoftest / #TestBash
Web: dojo.ministryoftesting.com/events/testbash-brighton-2020
Date: March 23-27
Location: Brighton, UK
Cost: Conference, £399 to £499; courses, £1,200 to £1,700; workshops, £399 to £499; childcare, £39 (time-sensitive, group, and Ministry of Testing pro member discounts available)

This is one in a series of TestBash conferences held in Europe and the United States. TestBash opens with three days of courses on agile, automation, and testing essentials; has a full day of workshops; and includes a conference day with nine talks. In addition to the Brighton bash, conferences are also planned for Detroit, Michigan (April 23-24), and Utrecht, Netherlands (May 28-29).

Who should attend: Test automation and QA professionals, developers, software development managers, and test managers

April

SauceCon 20

Twitter: @saucelabs
Web: saucecon.com
Date: April 27-29
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Cost: Conference, $899 to $1,099; conference plus workshop day, $1,398 to $1,598 (time-sensitive discounts available)

SauceCon is Sauce Labs' annual event for the testing software vendor's global community, but it also attracts many automated testing pros who don't use Sauce Labs products. The day before the main conference starts, SauceCon offers a day of workshops on various testing topics. The conference usually features a roster of more than 30 speakers from successful tech companies.

Who should attend: Test automation professionals, users of Sauce Labs products, and anyone doing testing with a device cloud service

Test & Quality Summit

Twitter: twitter.com/UKITestingBoard
Web: testqualitysummit.com
Date: April 29
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Cost: €160 to €205 (prices to increase soon)

The UK and Ireland Testing Board (UKITB) and EuroSTAR sponsor this one-day conference about new trends in software testing and quality assurance. It offers conference-goers an opportunity to tackle their own testing challenges and take solutions back to their workplace.

Who should attend: Software testing and quality assurance practitioners

Accelerate 2020

Twitter: twitter.com/Tricentis
Web: tricentis.com/accelerate/san-francisco/
Date: April 29-30
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: $249 to $765 (time-sensitive discounts available)

This conference is run by Tricentis, which makes a continuous testing platform. It merged in 2019 with another training conference outfit, QASymphony. The event gives conference-goers an opportunity to learn new skills and hear expert industry perspectives about continuous testing. It also gives Tricentis users a chance to see what the company has on its road map and to talk to Tricentis product experts to get questions answered and to optimize use of the platform.

Who should attend: Technology leaders, QA leaders, DevOps leaders, software testers, software developers, and product leaders

May

STAR East

Twitter: @TechWell / #StarEast
Web: stareast.techwell.com
Date: May 3-8
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Cost: Conference, $1,945 to $2,195; tutorials, $1,595 to $1,795; leadership summit, $595 to $695 (time-sensitive discounts and other packages available)

The STAR conferences are organized by TechWell, an independent IT consulting and training firm that provides training on a wide variety of topics in the IT space. The conferences are geared toward practical knowledge that attendees can apply immediately at work, and include short sessions, half- and full-day tutorials, multi-day in-depth trainings, and a leadership summit. STARWest, a sister conference, will be held September 29-October 4 in Anaheim, California.

Who should attend: IT directors, QA/test managers, analysts, test practitioners and engineers, development managers, developers, and CTOs

QUEST 2020

Twitter: @QAIquest
Web: qaiquest.org/2019
Date (2019): May 
Location (2019): Chicago, Illinois, USA
Cost (2019): Conference, $1,595 to $1,995; tutorials and workshops, $795 to $1,895 (time-sensitive discounts available)

Focused on software engineering, delivery, and testing, QUEST (Quality Engineered Software and Testing) features classes, tutorials, sessions, hands-on workshops, discussion groups, an expo floor, and networking events. Topics covered include agile, test design, automation, performance, mobile, security, and DevOps.

Who should attend: QA and testing professionals, developers, operations practitioners, and network architects

IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Validation, and Verification

Twitter: @icstconference
Web: icst2020.info
Date: May 23-27
Location: Porto, Portugal
Cost: Conference, $160 to $1,105; workshops, $125 to $ $325 (time-sensitive pricing and discounts for members, retired IEEE members, and students available)

The IEEE's ICST provides a common forum for researchers, scientists, engineers, and practitioners throughout the world to present their latest research findings, ideas, developments, and applications in the areas of software testing, verification, and validation. ICST 2020 will include keynote addresses by eminent scientists, as well as special, regular, and poster sessions.

Who should attend: Researchers, scientists, engineers, and software industry practitioners

June

Nordic Testing Days

Twitter: @nordictestdays
Web: nordictestingdays.eu
Date: June 3-5
Location: Tallinn, Estonia
Cost: Conference, €310 to €390, plus VAT (time-sensitive discounts available); tutorials, €350 to €400, plus VAT; package, €610 to €690, plus VAT

This regional conference attracts testers largely from the Baltics and Northern European countries, and the event has something to offer both seasoned and new-to-testing professionals. The forum's organizers say it's a good conference for "anyone who is interested in dipping their toes into testing and contributing to smoother software development cycle and quality."

Who should attend: Originally for testing professionals only, the conference now attracts everyone from programmers and UX specialists to project managers and designers

Romanian Testing Conference

Twitter: @RomaniaTesting
Web: romaniatesting.ro
Date: June 10-12
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Cost (2019): €110 to €510, plus VAT

Billed as the "biggest testing conference in Central Eastern Europe," this forum attracts quality assurance and software testers from all over the world. The conference workshops are especially useful for entry- and mid-level testers.

Who should attend: Software testers, QA practitioners, and developers

SeleniumConf

Twitter: @seleniumconf
Web: 2020.seleniumconf.in
Date: June 18-20
Location: Bangaluru, India
Cost: Conference, Rs7,000 to Rs9,500 (time-sensitive discounts available); workshops, Rs3,500 to Rs10,000

SeleniumConf serves users of Selenium, the popular open-source tool for web-based test automation. Conference tracks focus largely on Selenium issues, with a few broader testing topics thrown into the mix. In 2019, conferences were held in Tokyo, Japan, and London, UK.

Who should attend: Selenium users, developers, testers, and QA pros

Agile Testing Days USA

Twitter: @AgileTDUSA
Web: agiletestingdays.us
Date: June 21-25
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Cost: Conference, $995 to $2,095; tutorials, $875 to $1,395; conference and tutorials packages, $2,970 to $3,490 (time-sensitive and group discounts available; all prices will rise with time)

This conference is aimed at all software engineers and testing professionals. According to the conference organizers, the forum offers a fun platform to connect and network with the agile community through tutorials, workshops, keynotes, talks, and social events.

Who should attend: Anyone involved with software testing as well as software architects, application developers, IT managers, CIOs, CTOs, and software engineers

July

ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis

Twitter: @issta_conf
Web: conf.researchr.org/home/issta-2020
Date: July 18-22
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Cost: TBA in the spring

ISSTA is a research symposium on software testing and analysis that is dedicated to new ideas for how to analyze and test software systems. That includes theoretical or empirical research, new techniques, and case studies of testing and analysis tools and methods.

Who should attend: Academics, industrial researchers, and practitioners interested or involved in software testing and analysis

August

CAST 2020

Twitter: @AST_News
Web: associationforsoftwaretesting.org/conference/cast2020/
Date: August 3-6
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Cost: Conference, $999 to $1,399; conference plus tutorials, $1,499 to $2,399 (all prices will rise with time)

Organizers of this conference encourage a high level of interaction between presenters and participants. Sessions are split roughly evenly between presentations and "open season," where participants can question, discuss, and test a presentation. The conference focuses on networking, with several receptions, meals, and lightning talks, where attendees can hash over topics with peers, experts, academics, and other industry leaders. Organizers say the conference focuses on discussing context-driven testing principles, but covers other perspectives as well.

Who should attend: Software testers, practitioners, managers, scholars, researchers, students, and developers, as well as people who favor context-driven testing

September

KWSQA Targeting Quality

Twitter: @KWSQA
Web: kwsqa.org
Date: September 21-22
Location: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Cost (2018): CA$384.20 to CA$711.90 (time-sensitive discounts available)

The Kitchener Waterloo Software Quality Association (KWSQA) is a peer-run, nonprofit community of software professionals in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Canada who are focused on software quality. Its regional Targeting Quality conference annually attracts speakers of both national and regional reputation.

Who should attend: Software testing and QA professionals and managers, especially those in the Kitchener area

October

Pacific NW Software Quality Conference (PNSQC)

Twitter: @PNSQC / #pnsqc
Web: pnsqc.org
Date: October 12-14
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Cost (2019): $390 to $1,610 (time-sensitive, group and student discounts available)

Billed as the Northwest's premier software quality event, PNSQC offers keynotes, workshops, and panel discussions that cover testing, development, management, security, and more. The theme for the 2020 conference is "Quality Looking Forward," and it will explore the future of software and how it affects the quality of projects and organizations.

Who should attend: QA professionals; software testers, managers, directors, and developers; security staff; CxOs; and engineers

November

Agile + DevOps East

Twitter: @TechWell / #AgileDevEast
Web: adceast.techwell.com
Date (2019): November
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Cost (2019): Conference, $2,195; two tutorial days, $1,795; packages,
$2,395 to $4,695 (time-sensitive discounts available)

At Agile + DevOps East, newbies have a chance to get up to speed quickly, and experienced pros can take their teams to the next level with hands-on, in-depth workshops. The 2019 conference included an Agile Leadership Summit and a DevSecOps Summit.

Who should attend: Agile teams and leadership; digital transformation teams; automation, developers, testers, and release staff; product owners; and managers

Quest for Quality

Twitter: @Quest_4_Quality
Web: questforquality.eu
Date (2019): October 27-28
Location (2019): Dublin, Ireland
Cost (2019): €800

Quest for Quality started in 2016 in Slovenia, where it attracted professionals from 12 European countries and 79 companies. In 2017, it was moved to the "European Silicon Valley" in Dublin, Ireland. Q4Q covers traditional and modern forms of quality assurance, along with how QA practices should interoperate with agile and DevOps practices.

Who should attend: QA professionals, software testers and other testing professionals, and IT managers

ConTEST NYC

Twitter: @TestMastersAcad / #contestnyc
Web: contest-nyc.testmastersacademy.org
Date (2019): November
Location: New York, New York, USA
Cost (2019): Conference, $1,199; tutorials, $799; conference, certification and tutorials, $2,699

ConTEST offers a broad array of activities—keynotes, classes, breakout sessions, workshops, TED-like presentations, trial labs, and networking opportunities. Its goal is to help testing and QA community members discover trends, share best practices, examine and investigate new technologies, and sharpen teamwork and leadership skills. This is a fairly new conference, but it has a strong following and is growing fast.

Who should attend: Software developers, software test and QA professionals, software development managers, QA and test managers, and IT and security team members

EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference

Twitter: @esconfs / #EuroSTARConf
Web: conference.eurostarsoftwaretesting.com
Date: November 16-19
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Cost: Conference, €1,850 to €2,395 (time-sensitive discounts available)

EuroSTAR, Europe's longest-running testing conference, has a rich history reaching back to 1993. (Note: EuroSTAR is not related to the TechWell STAR conferences.) The conference's key strength is the community that steers it. Each year a newly selected program committee and a 40-person panel of volunteers score upward of 500 submissions and select the best to create a comprehensive program that caters to a broad range of testing topics and specialties.

Who should attend: Software testers and test managers, test consultants, test analysts, senior IT managers, and software developers

Agile Testing Days

Twitter: @AgileTD
Web: agiletestingdays.com
Date: November 8-13
Location: Potsdam, Germany
Cost: Conference, €722 to €1,911; tutorials, €722 to €1,015

Agile Testing Days is one of Europe's main software testing events. By design, the conference venue isn't massive; organizers want attendees to spend plenty of time during the regular breaks between sessions mingling and discussing ideas. To foster those interactions, ATD has plenty of food and beverages on hand.

Who should attend: Anyone involved with software testing, as well as software architects, application developers, IT managers, CIOs, CTOs, and software engineers

December

Software Testing Conference (STC)

Twitter: @QAISTC
Web: qaistc.com/2019
Date (2019): December
Location (2019): Bangalore, India
Cost (2019): Rs8,125 to Rs12,500

STC has a new theme every year, but every conference includes five tracks that cover business leadership, emerging areas, program management, agile and DevOps, and tools and automation. The 2019 theme was "Architecting Continuous Quality."

Who should attend: Agile practitioners, software developers, software test and QA professionals, software development managers, QA and test managers, IT software team members, and line-of-business managers

There you have it: the best software testing conferences of 2019, month by month. Review the options and make your choices soon: Prices may vary based on how early you register. Also, remember that hotel and travel costs are generally separate from the conference pricing.

What are your favorite conferences and why? Post your comments below, and let us know if there are any other events or conferences we missed.

Image courtesy of @QAortheHighway.

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