Equinor Developer Conference at a Glance
All talk and all action
No conference is complete without some keynotes to get things off the ground and EDC was no exception. We kickstarted the first day with keynote speaker Sam Newman, who took center stage and gave a captivating talk on microservices and serverless, exploring how these two ideas can work together. James Lewis followed suit on Wednesday, talking about the underlying principles that make microservices successful.
“Keynotes are tricky because you hope to broaden people’s perspectives. It’s less about practical application and more about allowing people to think differently about their day-to-day jobs. I’m hoping I’ve exposed people to some new ideas and maybe encouraged them to go and read a little more about Complex Adaptive Systems theory,” James said.
He attended both the first and second day of the conference, and was impressed by the topics attendees could explore:
“Some of the topics in the workshops are more innovative than many organizations I visit. There are several tracks about robotics for example, which isn’t something I see a lot of. I think it’s really great to see so many people passionate about software coming together.”
Topics ranged from the in-house app design system, how to become a post-digital enterprise, open source, deep C and much, much more.
Finding that technical sweet spot
One of the presenters was Stian Øvrevåge, who held his first-ever talk at EDC. The topic was Docker, a fundamental technology for building software heading into the cloud. Stian hoped to teach people both how it all works and to challenge some mindsets.
Normally, Stian is a part of the Radix team and he’s been wanting to challenge himself and host a workshop for some time. And when the opportunity came, he decided to go for it.
“I see hosting a workshop or giving a talk as another way of contributing and help everyone get better. I’ve wanted to try it for a few years so I had to give it a go when I got the chance.”
“The challenge is finding that sweet spot where both newcomers and experienced people can learn something.”
Variety of workshops
One of the participants in Stian’s workshop was data engineer Ørjan Misje, who wanted to learn more about Docker and get a more hands-on introduction.
“We got both a thorough introduction and then we had different tasks to complete, such as setting up containers and creating images - which was great fun. I definitely see a use for it in me and my team’s everyday work. It was a great first day of the conference,” Ørjan smiled.
On the second and third day of EDC, participants could choose from a new variety of workshops. Some of them spanned two days, while other were one-day workshops - both gave people a proper introduction into a subject, Rhialda Spahic said.
"I like that we had a lot of subjects to choose from and that when it’s a workshop they’re longer, proper workshops, while talks are shorter. That’s the way it should be," she smiled.
Another workshop that saw an attentive audience was the Introduction to MapHub by Torill K. Gabrielsen. Equinor has a large amount of maps and geospatial data available, which is openly accessible for everyone in the company. After attending EDC last year, Torill said she could host a workshop for this year’s event. While preparing for the workshop took more time than she had anticipated, it was worth it in the end.
Since our software developers are spread across different locations, EDC might just be the one time where most of them are able to get together. Sure, we can talk together via Skype but it can’t compete with meeting someone face to face.
“I especially enjoy the workshops that are a little bit more hands-on, like the robotics workshops. EDC is a lot of fun and a great way to meet people I might not meet otherwise.”
Joachim B. Holwech
His colleague Espen Tjønneland says that in a big company such as Equinor, the conference is the only mechanism to bring together this many people. This lets people learn more about what everyone is working on or interested in.
“If you ask me, the most important part of EDC is the networking aspect. In the end, everything we do revolves around the people doing it so an event like this is really important,” Espen Tjønneland said.
Being part of a software family
Software developers are spread all across Norway but we also have departments in other parts of the world. Jie Deng came all the way from Houston, Texas, just to be a part of the conference.
“For me coming to EDC was a no-brainer, the workshops were very interesting and they all covered different topics. Our software community in Houston is fairly small compared to Norway and I really enjoyed being part of a larger professional family here.”
Gaining new competence is a priority, especially in Software Innovation. Here, you can spend up to 20% of your time on gaining new competence. VP IT Carsten Hammershøj had the honor of giving closing remarks at EDC, and he was very impressed by the contents of the conference.
“Before you head home I want to remind you that Equinor is, and will be in the future, a software company. You all make it happen," he said.
"I’ve spoken to many of you about spending time on gaining new competence and this is what it’s all about. If you’re at EDC you’ve started that journey and I really hope you continue," Carsten added.
Making an impact
Naturally, all of EDC didn’t organize itself. Behind the three-day spectacular is an organizing committee that helped bring it all to life. They consist of managers, advisors, analysts and graduates, all pulling in the same direction.
One of them was Jørn Ølmheim, the one who brought Sam Newman and James Lewis aboard. While the increase in attendees can bring a smile to an organizer’s face, it also presents them with a challenge, Jørn explained.
“If we’re going to organize a conference for 300+ people, we would have to look at how we do it. We had some issues with finding enough room for everyone this year, so we might have to do more talks than workshops if we’re a bigger crowd later.”
“Then other external conferences may be a better fit. But personally I’d rather have 300 people with hands-on experience in a topic than 1000 people who just sat and listened to an introduction or talk,” Jørn added.
One of his committee-colleagues is graduate Margaux Ledieu, who saw room for improvement after last year’s EDC.
“One of the things I noticed was that there were few women speaking, which I wanted to help improve. When you’re part of the committee you have the power to talk to different people and find the ones that could help us learn something new."
Olve Maudal was a keynote speaker and workshop-host last year but this year he was part of the EDC committee, as one of our most recent hires in the leading advisor team. He told us that EDC was one of many factors that led him to join Equinor.
“It’s hard to come up with something that I would want to improve but maybe we should look at having a two day event instead of three? Not to cut costs, but then we could arrange it more frequently and get together more often,” Olve smiled.
But if you couldn’t make it to this year’s EDC, then there’s always next year. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter below to make sure you don’t miss out on more great stories from the world of software in Equinor. Until next time!
Meet the team that made EDC a reality.