Why do or don't you go to meet ups?

I asked this question on twitter yesterday and there were some interesting responses to why you do or don’t go to meet ups.

Personally I started the Brighton tester meet up because there were non and I wanted to go to some and meet more testers and talk about our experiences. I also wanted to give back to the local community and provide a learning space.
But I occasionally also go to other tech meet ups for the social side of things, more often than the actual talks. Basically to meet the local tech community.

Why don’t I go to some meet ups? More often than not it is related to self care and needing some time to myself on the sofa. I learned this the hard way last year when i was ill a lot especially after meet ups and conferences.

Why do you, or don’t you go to meet ups?


I’m on the committee of the Sydney Testers meetup group and run some of their events, and I love doing it when I’m free. I am also a member of various other groups. Usually if I don’t go to a meetup it is because of one of -

  1. it clashes with university evening lectures
  2. the wife has made me dinner
  3. I have to work late
  4. I’m not interested in the topic

I like to attend as many meetup’s as possible as it’s good to broaden your horizons. Whilst you may not have an interest in lots of the sessions sometimes at the meetup’s I find often speakers mention things which have lead me into looking at a new tool, technique etc that perhaps I wouldn’t have thought of or known about. I also really like meeting like minded people and eating pizza :slight_smile:


I love this topic! It’s really helpful for meetup organisers to see why people may or may not show up too. It’s not always clear cut.

I took it from both sides, why I do & why I don’t go :slight_smile:


One thing I became aware of from my questioning is that some people feel bad for choosing family over a meet up.
I have several friends who often have last minute childcare issues and then cannot make the meet up.

I think it is awesome to choose your family over a meet up. You are most likely already away from them for at least 8 hours per day if not more. Of course you should happily be able to go home and see them.

To add to the list why someone may not go. In my office I have heard, because they would rather be at home. Being a bit socially awkward and it drains me a lot I can understand that too. While meet ups are great for networking, getting inspired and finding new tools or ideas they can be draining especially if you find social situations hard.


In my case, I live about an hour from anywhere, and I’m narcoleptic so unless the meetup is on a Friday, within an hour’s drive, and not in the evening it’s not an option. That rules out almost all of them, sadly.


For me the big issues are location, parking and time. Seems like most meetups in my area are at 7pm on the wrong side of town where there isn’t any parking. The value has to be pretty high for me to stay late at my office, miss out on dinner with my family and pay $20 for parking.


I would love to go to a meetup.

Some day.


After work, I need to spend time with my family.
The closest meetup that I have heard of is a 90 minute drive away.
I have a few extra-curricular activities which I won’t give up, even for a day (sport and music).
I don’t know how to find meetups closer to home (and haven’t bothered to look it up).

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I live out in the sticks and have responsibilities at home I can’t avoid so if I was to go to an evening meet-up, realistically I’d need to have either taken a day off or got permission to WFH. Given that, there needs to be something specific to get me out to a meet-up rather than just socialising with other testers - for the same reason, I generally can’t do post-work drinks with colleagues.


(Putting on my Testing Rants hat for the moment, please excuse me…) I actually think that some testing meetups can put people off inadvertently.

As an example I went to a meetup some years ago where the first slide was a drawing of a man pissing on a T-Shirt with the ISTQB logo on it. It was meant to be a joke and I’m hardly a friend of the ISTQB foundation cert or organisation myself but when you see at a meetup the organiser publicly insulting a qualification that (to our chagrin) huge numbers of us have to get to even get a foothold in this industry it comes across as arrogant and off putting.

Other examples are organisers being condescending to or not socialising afterwards with people who are new to the industry or are looking for their first job, organisers and long established members in their own little cliques, talks on highly conceptual, abstract or CIO level-topics that your average rank and file tester can’t take much away from, talks that are basically sales pitches for some expensive automation or test management suite…


One thing you could do is find those meetups that post talk videos afterwards on youtube. You miss out on the socialising and networking but you at least get to see the talks.


I personally like to attend to meetups. It gives you a different experience, meeting with fellow testers/colleagues will always help you to stay up to date. Attending to meetup is also a good way to update your knowledge, you might learn about new tools, new techniques and new words.

One thing organizers need to keep in mind to make the session more practical People come for meetups to learn new things, not just to watch a presentation (and eat foods :slight_smile: ) so by making it more practical, it could attract more people – like having a hands-on session


I’ve noticed that numbers are a lot higher in hands on sessions. Having said that we had some people say they don’t want to go to hands on sessions & only want to attend talks. It seems there is a core group that will attend no matter the style but then other numbers really do depend on the session. The security testing sessions that NI Testers ran recently in Belfast had a very good turn out. There was a mix of talk and hands on which seemed to be a really good format.


A great way I found to network but not attend meetups is to try Tuesday night testing that @simon_tomes hosts. I’ve only made one because it clashes with my yoga (mentioned above) but it was a fun way to network from the comfort of my sofa


We really try to be open minded and welcoming to all. Everyone’s experience counts. For example we recently had a junior tester join our meet ups and she said she was going to do the ISTQB in a couple of weeks and I started exactly the same way.
I encouraged her to also discuss the content and try to apply it. There are testing techniques that she now has names for that she didn’t know had names.

I would never tell someone they are wrong or make fun of their experiences. It is a shame when that happens.


I’ve been in the same situation and had actually paid for hotels to be able to attend something I thought was really worthwhile. But it needed to be something really important and interesting to me.


I have the same issues compounded by being stuck on public transport (no driving license because of epilepsy). A typical journey at peak commuter times into my job takes 1 hour 45, if I try and do this outside of peak times I’m looking at 2 hours 30 plus to get home which means I don’t see my kids and barely see my wife. And then I get up at 5.30AM to do it all again. With certain rest requirements to remain well I just cannot do it. I’ve seen the online kind of things, but I find communicating over them difficult to say the least. I’ve missed so many leaving drinks for valued colleagues over the years that everyone assumes I’m not going to turn up. Teach me to live in the country side.


I try to go my local testing one each month, but as I don’t drive I’m at the mercy of my coworkers who also go but have real life getting in the way sometimes.

I went as I wanted to hear more about testing beyond my own company and being able to hear about first hand experiences gives more weight. In under a year of going I even ended up presenting a session which I wouldn’t have thought I’d do when I first went. I think it could have gone better though I got good responses, and hopefully it can lead to bigger things.

I haven’t been at a hands on / interactive session, and as I’d need a laptop (I use a gaming tower), I’d have to share which would feel awkward.


This is such a great post Kim! Its good to see what people think about the meetups and reasons they may or may not be able to attend. I know our numbers can be small, but it is still worthwhile to have them. I find them invaluable, not only do I learn new ideas / tools, it keeps me motivated and believe it or not the motivation can waiver off from time to time. I would miss our meetups if we didnt have them. We will find an even keel to encourage people to attend. We may have to change it up a bit in some way. I quite like the recording of our talks, or possibly go live if we can. We have the facebook page, maybe its time to use social media in a better way! lol Damn it coming up with ideas when I only wanted to say this is a great post! lol


Great post, and lots of answers so far.

I think that my answers mirror a lot of others’ answers.
When I get home from work, I want to spend time with the family, and after a severe health scare a few years ago :mask:, I dislike being in a stressful situation, which is what travelling does to me :sweat:. I also don’t deal well with large groups of strangers- I get flustered and stressed out. If these meetings could be held in a virtual form, where I can hide safely in anonymity :wink: , I’d be a lot more likely to attend :slight_smile: