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Kari KakkonenAuthor and CEO of Dragons Out Oy

Keynote of TestIstanbul 2024

How children test and what can adults learn from it

The popular Dragons Out book about software testing is much liked. It has been read in schools. Children have read it independently after receiving the book from teachers or parents. Schools have used the free supporting software testing presentation to organize a lesson or two to discuss software testing. Especially coding and mathematics classes have been suitable for software testing learning.

I’ve been a guest lecturer in several classes at advanced schools. On those occasions, I’ve interviewed children about how they learned software testing and what do they think about it. Now it is time to reveal the secrets of how children learn to test. There are also insights into how adults could learn in a much more effective and fun way. We’ll talk about storytelling as a way to learn but also of hands-on practice and fun as an essential learning element.

I’ll also recap the book project briefly. I chose to write a book about software testing targeted to children to help in the great lack of software testing in the ICT business, the lack that just seems to be increasing. I also wanted to show people an alternative route into the exciting world of software. It is not only the coding that exists in the software world. The process took almost three years, but in that time I have founded a company for the book project, written the book in Finnish, had numerous pilot readers and review rounds, translated the book to English, found publishers for both Finnish and English editions, organized a crowd-funding campaign, gave many lectures at schools and conference speeches at event and fairs. The project culminated in associations and companies donating books to schools and a diploma of donations being handed to the Minister of Education. And finally, of course, I as the author getting the EuroSTAR Testing Excellence Award, which I feel is not only about my 25 years of dedication to the software testing community but especially this book for children initiative.

I’ll reflect on how we can take insights from how children learn into how adults learn.

  • Use examples and analogies from real-life
  • Be extremely clear and concise
  • Hands-on, mostly exercises in the learning
  • Use all the senses (listen, see, talk, draw mindmaps)
  • Use common workspace for real-time status of testing (e.g. Mural, Miro)
  • Get your hands dirty and test some (buggy) software immediately & explain how you test it

About Kari Kakkonen

Mr. Kari Kakkonen has worked in software testing for almost 30 years. He is the co-author of ACT 2 LEAD Software Testing Leadership Handbook, and author of fantasy software testing book Dragons Out to teach software testing to children.

Kari is the 2021 EuroSTAR Testing Excellence Award winner, Tester of the Year in Finland Award 2021 winner, and DASA Exemplary DevOps Instructor Award 2023 winner. He is the author, CEO and Director of Training at Dragons Out Oy. He has M.Sc. from Aalto University ( He works mostly with agile testing, lean, test automation, DevOps and AI.

Kari has 25 years of testing experience, 15 years of agile experience, 10 years of DevOps experience and 5 years of AI experience. He’s been working in ICT consulting, training, finance, insurance, pension insurance, public sector, embedded software, telecom, gaming, and industry domains.

Kari was on the Executive Committee of ISTQB ( 2015-2021. He is on the Board of Directors of TMMi ( He is the Treasurer of FiSTB ( He is the co-founder of FiSTB Testing Assembly, the biggest testing seminar in Finland, for which he has been a co-organiser for 10 years.

Kari is a singer, snowboarder, kayaker, husband and dad.

Kari has given public talks and is a passionate advocate for software testing and QA. He is active on LinkedIn and welcomes you to network.

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