Equinor Developer Conference 2021
The 2021 edition of EDC featured 44 talks and 15 workshops across three days. The best part? It was almost entirely community driven. Here’s how!
It’s been two whole years since our developers could gather for a three-day festival of code and all things software. This November, the stage was once again set for our 2021 edition of EDC - the Equinor Developer Conference.
This year’s edition was truly a conference for the community and by the community. Almost 1/3 of the attendees took part in hosting a talk or workshop of some kind. Topics spanned from robocars and astronomy to event-driven architecture and cyber security – and everything in between.
Most important of all, however, was the opportunity to mingle and meet colleagues again after this long period of time stuck in a home office.
“The workshops and talks were varied and held a really high quality, but the social part of EDC was especially important this year. Getting to ‘talk shop’ with colleagues and meeting everyone again really inspired me and gave me a big boost of energy to take back to work.
Angela is heading up a competence center for Liquids and Analytics in Marketing & Supply Solutions and has been to several earlier editions of EDC. This year she was one of about 230 participants, but software developers weren’t the only disciplines represented. Data scientists, designers and data engineers were all found on the conference floor.
You could really tell that everyone enjoyed the networking opportunity, but it was especially welcomed by our graduates and recent hires. Daniel Sander Isaksen was one of them, and he explains that the vibe of EDC was the best part:
“I really enjoyed the fact that it’s such an open and welcoming community to be part of, especially as a graduate. It was three days of learning and networking with colleagues, but also a great way to get to know people on a personal level.”
Daniel Sander Isaksen
Daniel joined our graduate programme in 2021 and works with digitalization on Johan Sverdrup. He even got to hold two presentations at EDC and was part of the organizing committee and helped shape the Hackerspace – a zone especially meant for relaxing, experimenting and hanging out.
The hackerspace, pictured above, gave our developers plenty of opportunity to try something new, play around or mingle with colleagues at EDC. (All photos: Torstein Lund Eik)
Changing perspectives on API’s
Stavanger was the place to be during the first week of November. We opened the doors and started the show with a keynote delivered by our own Harald Wesenberg – before everyone ventured forth into the world of workshops and talks. Talks and workshops were all suggested by our own community, and one was the “API first in practice” workshop held by Dagfinn Parnas and Frederik Borgersen.
They wanted to promote the principles of API first and API as a product in order to help others deliver APIs used across current and future digital initiatives, as part of Equinor’s API strategy.
“In many cases, an API can be difficult to reuse as it fulfills the needs a single front-end system has for integration with a single back-end system. APIs only provide value when they’re being used, so it's critical to understand the business processes potential API consumers focus on and how the API can support them while being reusable for other consumers in the future.”
Their team works on the Maintenance API, where the API itself is the main product – and wanted to share their learnings from the last two years. They also discussed how their API fits into the Equinor API first strategy, gave participants a demonstration of the tools they use and how to setup new end points.
“I hope everyone got a clearer understanding of what we mean by ‘API first’, what we can achieve and how it all works. Our customers are developers themselves, and we wanted to share our processes with them directly.”
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A medium-short journey through the universe
Naturally, they didn’t host workshops all day every day. They also got to attend workshops themselves to get the full experience. Dagfinn attended a workshop held by Equinor’s Computer Security Incident Response Team.
“It was incredibly inspiring to hear them talk on some of the tools they use, and in detail how attackers may use memory overflow bugs to gain access,” Dagfinn explains.
“I’ve attended everything from super inspiring call-to-action talks to detailed, technical workshops during EDC. Getting to share our work with our colleagues was incredibly inspiring – especially after such a long time working from home,” Frederik smiles.
Walking around the conference floor gave you a strong sense of excitement from everyone involved. It didn’t matter if you were an EDC-regular or a brand-new addition to the gang.
"What I am really grateful for is that it was a safe space to try out things. You could put yourself in situations you are not that experienced in or comfortable with, like talking in front of people, and it felt safe, knowing that you have a friendly, supportive audience."
Laura was also part of the organizing committee. There, she pieced the agenda together and even managed to give a talk herself. With a master's degree in astronomy, she embarked on a daring task: giving curious minds a medium-short journey through the universe in 12 minutes.
“I hope people got a better picture of the big bang itself as an event, but maybe also a curiosity to ask more questions around the topic,” Laura says.
Welcome to the learning zone
When you’re in learning mode, there’s no better place to be than a developer conference. Knut Utne Hollund works as a data scientist but wanted to learn more about the world of API’s and the complexities of getting software deployed.
“I was in full learning mode and might’ve been a little too busy taking part in workshops and could’ve spent a little more time just talking to people and hanging out. But that’s the challenge with these conferences! I still had a lot of fun and learned a lot.”
Knut Utne Hollund
Jennifer Sampson attended EDC for the first time. Her colleague and fellow team member, Peter Koczka, gave a talk about natural language processing (NLP). Peter gave a brief history of the major advances in the field of NLP, and then went on to show how to use off-the-shelf tools in Python to get started with NLP tasks.
“We received several questions from the audience during EDC and even started an NLP special interest group as a result. The group is for anyone interested in natural language processing and the possibilities it provides, but don’t necessarily work with it themselves."
Jennifer works as a lead data scientist from our London offices and eager Loop readers may remember her from the story about the natural language processing OPT team.
Adding tech to the toolbox
Among those who submitted suggestions for talks and workshops was Jørn Ølmheim. While he was part of the organizing committee, he also gave a talk on event-driven architecture.
“Event-driven architecture is a well-known concept that a lot of people use, but I wanted to give it some more attention and start a discussion. It can help us keep data synchronized between sources, which we see an increased need to do, especially between source and analytics data.”
He explains that while batch processing is often used when updates are done at specific intervals, it can also mean that a lot of time passes between each update.
“Event-driven architecture takes care of this by updating all the data when needed as events happen. I hope people left with ideas on how to use events to update their data and make it communicate across services,” Jørn says.
Another workshop was using Chromebook/ChromeOS as a development environment and basics of developing a progressive web app. Victor Nystad from the EDS team and Knut Erik Hollund, our Chief Engineer IT, were joined by Maxim Salnikov from Microsoft to give the workshop. Kristian Reed took part in the workshop and was impressed by the possibilities working with just a laptop and an internet connection provided.
“The talk on progressive web apps was very inspiring, and I’ll definitely be trying to use the Chromebook in my everyday development environment. We were able to develop and deploy software using them, and I think it can be an interesting technology to have as part of my toolbox.”
Incredible community engagement
Anna Kvashchuk joined Equinor in August of 2020 and naturally hasn't spent much time in the office. That made EDC quite a highlight and she was especially impressed by how the conference was entirely community driven and created by and for software developers in Equinor.
“I really think this is how you should organize a conference. Provide the resources and give people the freedom to come up with their own ideas for presentations and workshops. That makes it so much more engaging both for them and the audience. I’m definitely coming back next year!”
Planning an event like EDC takes time and work began 6 months before we could kick the conference off, but it wasn’t smooth sailing. With Norway being in lockdown until mid-September, there were a lot of uncertainties involved in planning it. Thankfully, we have an experienced team who knew what needed to be done.
Mats Grønning Andersen, leading advisor for software practices, was in charge of the organizing committee and explains that the gears are already turning to make EDC 2022 a reality!
“A third of those who attended took part in making it happen, and the amount of community engagement and interest in EDC was great to see. That really inspires us to keep on working and making EDC 2022 a reality.”
Mats Grønning Andersen
We might see you at the Equinor Developer Conference next year, but if not – you know you can read all about it right here on Loop! Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter, and we’ll let you know as soon as we publish a new story.
Until then, stay safe and take care!
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Meet the organizers
Mats Grønning Andersen
Lars Kåre Skjørestad
Daniel Sander Isaksen
Knut Erik Hollund