There’s no “I”, we do this together

Rabobank Engineer’s Week is all about interaction within the IT community and about creating an Engineering Culture where we share knowledge, learn and have fun! Spread over three days and with over 70 talks and amazing keynotes, it was quite an interesting journey. What do you think about topics like Open Source, Artificial Intelligence, JVM languages, Building Resilient Teams and diversity?! It doesn’t matter if you’re a developer, architect or manager, we learn together! In this article I share my key takeaways from Engineer's Week.

Open Source matters

Sharing is fun, sharing is helping each other, also outside Rabobank. We do this by contributing to Open Source. It’s almost a kind of culture, creating software which is faster, better, cheaper and open to anyone. By doing this we enhance new skills and help the rest of the world.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future

If you look at the future, we need to embrace new technology like AI and Virtual Reality (VR). Using the Metaverse can improve collaboration (virtual meetings using whiteboard), productivity (extra screens/monitors), learning (extra dimensions), fun (playing table tennis). AI can also help you with coding, have you heard about ‘Diffblue’ for example? This plugin within the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) of the developer automatically creates the unit tests for the code. So, do you still need Test Driven Development (TDD)? Yes, it’s still valuable because there are always unexpected cases. So please keep doing this! Or experiment with it (with a code kata), it’s super valuable.

Kotlin is being used more and more

It’s interesting to see developers experimenting with other languages like Kotlin. It makes code less complex, it’s easy to write and causes less issues in production. You don’t need to migrate at once, you can use it together with Java. So, there is absolutely no pressure. It’s proven technology and it’s for example used by Google. By the way, we can also use Kotlin with Gradle to automate all the things away!

Building resilient teams

We need valuable and productive technology, but how do we build resilient teams? According to research by Stack Overflow we need to keep developers happy, but how? With flexibility (the when and where), possibilities to learn (minimal 70% love to learn a new technique once a year) and with a tech stack that makes them more productive. And giving them the freedom to experiment with things! One of the other speakers mentioned innovation days for example. Did you already do one?

Another essential element to build resilient teams is that every team member needs to agree to the shared goals. We need to avoid distractions, so teams have focus on their task and act like a group. Ask how it’s going with your team members. Only then you’re reaching your goal, like the Special Forces do!

Expand your horizon

The IT community is a diverse group of people. Everyone is unique and with people from various backgrounds, ages and genders joining the communities, it’s really important to respect these differences, both in the communities and in your own team. Only by embracing differences we reap the benefits of having diverse teams. So don’t fall into the trap of hiring more of the same because they ‘fit in’. You want to be representative to society (and that is not only consisting of men), so you need to actively hire for diversity. It will help to broaden your view and improve the quality of your product.

Having fun together

And what is an Engineer’s Week without fun? Have you tried out PowerPoint Roulette with a group of people? The premise of PowerPoint Roulette is very simple: the speaker tells a story using random slides, without being able to see the slides beforehand. That’s awkward, but also fun.  And a great way to practice your improv and storytelling skills. As you can read, the Engineer’s Week was all about learning, sharing, connecting and having fun with the community!

Thank you

Thank you to all speakers for a genius Engineer’s Week! My inspiration? Paul Kraak, Prashanth Chandrasekar, Clifford Chetty, Milan Bloem, Peter Schuler, Fremko Blox, Richard Abbuhl, Giovanni Tedde, Frodo de Poortere, Diane Blake, Mark Robinson and of course the awesome organisers Chris Stapper, Marjolein Humme and Britt Staal. Of course, there were more speakers, like 75+ (incl. me). I couldn’t share every presentation but well done!

About the author

Ko Turk
Developer (at Blue4IT), Tribe Digital Platform Area Consumers

Ko Turk is an experienced developer focusing on Kotlin, Java and Typescript. He is an international speaker at conferences and likes to write articles for the Dutch NLJUG JavaMagazine and the Rabobank Techblog. He is always available at Twitter.

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