I'm from a family with six children, so being around others has been my natural state. Two of us ended up in the software industry. I became a tester and my brother became a programmer. I always thought it came from what we were good at - so very fixed mindset of me. Looking back, I remember limited access to computer at home. I remember the lan-parties for boys only. And I remember being quite happy and content not facing weirdness by trying to join anything I did not feel welcome to.
I chose to do something where I would be welcome. Where I would not stand out too much. And where I would not get special attention and help because I'm a girl, without giving up my interests. And software testing is perfect -
I told myself I don't really like programming. I told myself I had (which is true!) enough to learn on other stuff. But for the other stuff (team collaboration improvement), I volunteered myself to work as a mob with my team - one computer for getting the code in and my taking my fair share.
I learned that learning this coding stuff is easier than most stuff I've dealt with under the label "testing". Stuff that programmers say are programming, I say is testing. The thinking and analyzing. The understanding the problem and solution. While my programmers may at first tell me "var" letter by letter, a moment later I know that and learn more as we go. And with my presence, we avoid many costly mistakes, have a better big picture and a voice of conscience reminding that we really did not test enough yet.
In a mob, the code isn't mine. It's ours but I can see my fingerprints all over it. I don't have to deal with the "since women don't code well, you'll need special attention on feedback that you learn this stuff". All this special attention makes me very uneasy, just like pushing myself to places I'm not welcome to. And it gives me the social aspect of work I'm craving.
I would love to see people with my type of background - and any background - at the Mob Programming Conference. With Kindness, Consideration and Respect as guidelines for the type of work in mobs, I feel safe and welcome. And welcome you to join the experience. An experience it is, with 2 workshop and reflection heavy days, only opened and closed by a talk.