Walking Down Memory Lane

Did you miss out on this years Equinor Developer Conference? Or do you want to take a walk down memory lane and relive the three-day event? Then we got you covered.

Developers from all over Norway gathered in Stavanger for the third Equinor Developer Conference – EDC among friends. With an agenda jam-packed with software treats it was no wonder it had a grand total of 165 attendees from 40 different departments.

There’s no doubt about the fact that knowledge sharing is caring and the conference is one of Equinor’s ways of doing just that.

But now it’s time to ask one of the big questions in life: how did it all go down? Join us for a trip down memory lane and relive the experience once again.

Check out the aftermovie from EDC 2018! (Video: Torstein Lund Eik)

Starting It All Off

After everyone had flown into Sola Airport and wandered the short walk over to Quality Hotel Air, the conference could finally get crackin’. Tuesday morning kicked off with a welcome by Knut Erik Hollund, who helped start the the first EDC two years ago.

Shortly after introductions and warm welcomes had been extended it was time for the first keynote by Simon Brown. In his talk “5 things every developer should know about software architecture”, Brown wanted to bring some old architecture techniques back into the fray.

“People have thrown away stuff like diagramming and documentation modelling, and I try to encourage people to do some up-front thinking before they’re about to code," Brown explains.

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Knut Erik Hollund had the honor of opening EDC. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor
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Jørgen Kvalsvik gave an intro to Haskell during the first day. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

Knut Erik Hollund had the honor of opening EDC. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

Jørgen Kvalsvik gave an intro to Haskell during the first day. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

“The pendulum needs to swing back the other way again so that teams do some of that stuff upfront before they start coding and get carried away,” he added.

He also held two smaller workshops that Tuesday and got an outsiders look into the programme. Brown often holds talks at conferences like these and naturally we had to ask him what he thought about EDC.

“One thing I found very interesting was the developer survey. I’ve seen some public developer surveys but I don’t really see internal surveys so it was rather interesting to see that done,” he said.

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There's nothing like LEGO to get into a Design Thinking mindset. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor
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Jørn Ølmheim gave a beginners introduction to the Elixir programming language. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor
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Concentration is almost as important as a computer when you're learning a new language. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor
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Markus F. Dregi was the tour guide for the Brainfuck programming language. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

There's nothing like LEGO to get into a Design Thinking mindset. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

Jørn Ølmheim gave a beginners introduction to the Elixir programming language. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

Concentration is almost as important as a computer when you're learning a new language. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

Markus F. Dregi was the tour guide for the Brainfuck programming language. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

Workshops, Languages and Keynotes – Oh My!

There’s hardly a better way to kickstart a day than an interesting keynote? Olve Maudal from Cisco’s Norwegian offices seemed to capture the crowd with his talk about how their software development workflow works – and how it could be transferred to other companies. Some of his key takeaways were to do like Toyota: try to suck a little less each time.

“You should also encourage code reviews but avoid them being mandatory. Beware of the observer effect that encourages people to get better when they’re being observed,” Maudal said.

Another natural highlight during any conference are the workshops. EDC was no exception and featured 8 workshops, 5 mini-workshops and 5 sessions dedicated to programming languages. Erik Parmann from Software Innovation in Bergen held the Lisp-session on EDC’s first day. 

“I’d definitely want to host a workshop again. I want to work in a company that has a solid and active developer community and I’m willing to help make that happen."

Erik Parmann

When he was asked to hold the session there were quite a bit of thoughts going through his head beforehand.

“I asked myself a bunch of questions, ranging from “do I have the time to do this right” to “is 2 hours enough for people to learn anything?”. But I decided that I’d do it anyway and since it’s such a nice crowd it wouldn’t have to be perfect. After all, it’s better that someone does it than it not being done at all,” Parmann smiles.

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Lars Kåre Skjørestad hosted a workshop about Radix. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor
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Jon Jaatun led a workshop on design thinking. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

Lars Kåre Skjørestad hosted a workshop about Radix. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

Jon Jaatun led a workshop on design thinking. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

Printing Their Way Through the Day

With a bunch of workshops spread across three days the attendees had plenty of opportunities to choose from. A popular mini-workshop on EDC’s first day was 3D Printing, held by our very own Vice President Carsten Hammershøj. He had brought three 3D printers with him, which drew quite the crowd. Kristian Reed chose the workshop for a simple reason:

“I’ve always enjoyed being creative and making things myself. Being able to print things we’ve designed in 3D seems like a great way to use our imagination and unfold our creative mindset.”

Reed had tried out 3D printing a couple of years earlier and was fascinated by how much both the quality and the technology had developed.

“The entire workshop was great but I especially enjoyed learning more about the different materials. For example, I didn’t know you could print things in soft plastic that resembles rubber."

Kristian Reed

(Photo: Torstein Lund Eik)

While the smaller workshops only had a 2 hour format, the main workshops were spread across two days. Among them were the Omnia Radix workshop, where they got a first hand look at the DevOps platform. They got an introduction to the functionality and features of the platform, as well as trying it out for themselves through a case example.

“The workshop was well-prepared, and the example case demonstrated the steps of the process to set up the different environments. My impression is that Omnia Radix will be a very useful DevOps platform for software-developers when it gets released,” Marita Midthaug said.

Another popular part of the program was the last one, the Q&A with Corporate IT and the Digital Center of Excellence. If you ever wanted to ask questions to top-level managers, now you had your chance – a chance that quite a few grabbed.

Management had to answer questions related to organizational structure as well as competence among the leaders – and employees in the entire sector. There were a lot of eager listeners in the room while the questions went flying.

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Many took the chance to ask Corporate IT and the Digital Center of Excellence about the past, present and future of IT in Equinor. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor
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The Q&A session with Corporate IT and DCoE gave everyone an opportunity to ask questions directly to management. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

Many took the chance to ask Corporate IT and the Digital Center of Excellence about the past, present and future of IT in Equinor. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

The Q&A session with Corporate IT and DCoE gave everyone an opportunity to ask questions directly to management. Photo: Torstein Lund Eik/Equinor

EDC Participants Through the Years

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More Than Just a Conference

As a last hurrah of EDC, there was a presentation with some of the different workshops. At the very end, before people headed for their flights back home, there was a summary session on-stage with a few select participants.

“One thing that sums it up for me is that I had a really good time. I liked the keynotes and the workshops were good but what I enjoyed the most was the feeling of being part of a community,” Magrete Torland, Sector Manager of Software Innovation, said.

“I also get to meet people across locations and organizations in person, which makes it much easier to reach out to them afterwards. It’s hard to put a value on that but I think it’s very important.”

Per Olav Eide Svendsen came from Petech Johan Sverdrup and was very pleased with the kind of bridge building that EDC enabled.

“I really liked EDC but I’d hesitate to call it a conference, because it’s much more than that. I really like the concept of learning while networking. Next year I hope there will be more of us from outside SI, because we need to build more bridges between the strange silos we live in."

Per Olav Eide Svendsen

(Photo: Torstein Lund Eik)

A Great Yearly Meeting

You can ask managers and organizers what they thought of Equinor Developer Conference, but we’re out to get the real down-low – straight from the developer’s mouth. So, armed with a camera, a pen and some paper we hit the floor to find out what the developers thought.

One of the first people we met was Margaux Ledieu, a recent hire to Software Innovation in Stavanger. While she thought there were some talks she couldn’t relate to directly, it still felt like it would be useful in the future.

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“Getting to meet so many people was definitely a highlight. I meet a lot of them at work but it’s different to see them in an informal context and get to know them better."

Margaux Ledieu

She had signed up for a variety of workshops and said the mini-workshop in 3D printing was something she especially enjoyed.

“It was a good introduction to the topic and we even got to create and print something! Overall, EDC has been great content and great people from a great organization,” she smiled.

“But for new people I think it’s a little hard to mingle and some ice-breakers would be nice. I also think that 2-days workshops are a little long and would perhaps consider shorter workshops,” Margaux added.

(Photo: Torstein Lund Eik)

Worth the Expense

While we were wandering around the conference floor we met Kjell Einar Mikkelsen. He’s working out of Trondheim and was happy to meet his colleagues from around the country.

“I really like that we developers can meet like this once a year to share experiences and be social together. I really believe it’s worth the expenses,” Kjell Einar said

“The quiz was a  highlight, with our team doing a fantastic job. If it hadn’t been for the “Nobody Knows” 15-point bonus we would have won, as we were only 1 point behind the winner,” he said with a big grin. 

While Kjell Einar had attended the previous editions of EDC, it was the first software developer conference Yu He had been to. She used EDC as an opportunity to learn more about Python.

“I know Python on an apprentice level but I got to attend the Intermediate Python workshop, which showed me the fancy parts of Python. It gave me the courage and interest to continue to learn it,” Yu said.



“The opportunity to learn something new is definitely a highlight. But it’s also very exciting to know that people in Equinor are doing fun stuff in IT in addition to their daily work.”

Yu He

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There’s always room for further improvement and Yu told us she wished there were clearer requirements and backup-plans for the workshops.

“I didn’t have the required cable for one workshop only to find out there were plenty available later on, and in the Unreal Engine workshop the login server was down. It wasn’t the organizers fault and nothing we could do, but it would be nice if there was a Plan B for when these things happen,” she said.

“And it would be very nice if the hosting city can change every year!,” she added

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Building Equinor 2.0

Sveinung Rundhovde had also flown in from Bergen to take part in EDC and was pleased with the interesting content.

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“One of my highlights was the Unreal Engine workshop – I was amazed when Jens showed how he could relatively effortlessly, using existing tools, include surfaces from a reservoir model into the game we were developing. Suddenly, we were running around in a reservoir!"

Sveinung Rundhovde

“For next year, an improvement would be a soft-serve machine like they had at NDC Techtown,” he laughed.

“Other than that it was all perfect – kudos to the committee and speakers!”

There’s no doubt about the fact that EDC is a great way to meet colleagues and learn more about relevant topics. But it could also help in evolving Equinor.

“I think it’s important that we continue to invest in building EDC - it’s enabling us to see that we as a community are an important contributor in building Equinor “version 2.0," Marita Midthaug said.

Marita was, like many others, pleased with the conference programme this year and enjoyed the combination of lectures and workshops. This gave her the opportunity to learn more about new subjects and topics both theoretically and in practice.

“I can imagine that it is difficult to know where to “set the baseline” as we as a community might seem to be homogeneous at first sight, but are still quite diverse when it comes to interests and skills in technical details and soft skill capabilities,” she said.

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A software conference might also include welding. (Photo: Torstein Lund Eik)

Ready for the Next EDC?

“I think it was very well organized and very helpful for me to both learn and meet new colleagues,” Alex Zili Huang told us.

He didn’t get a room at the hotel at Sola and had to stay in Stavanger, which made it a little difficult to get to and from the hotel.

“For next year, it would be nice with a hotel closer to the city center or Equinor’s offices. I wouldn’t mind more data science topics such as deep learning, R, math and statistics either,” he smiled.

We’ll see if next year’s conference might feature a soft serve ice machine, more workshops and perhaps even a brand new city?

If you’re curious to learn more about the thinking behind arranging EDC you should read a couple of the stories below.

Either way, we hope to see you next year!

(Photo: Torstein Lund Eik)

People

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Margaux Ledieux

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Sveinung Rundhovde

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Alex Zili Huang

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Yu He

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Marita Midthaug

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Kjell Einar Mikkelsen

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