Software Engineering Days – Knowledge Transfer at Zühlke

18 September 2013
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Reading time: 3 minutes

Later this month Zühlke will join the ranks of companies that hold their own engineering conferences.

All the software engineering professionals (which for us includes project managers, who were all engineers first) will meet for a couple of days in Frankfurt (Germany) to share knowledge and experience. We will have a very exciting keynote from Jeff Norris of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory followed by programmed sessions led by Zühlke staff from around the group companies in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the UK. We will also have a substantial Open Space component to keep the conversations form the programmed sessions rolling.

The Conference Programme – State of the Art Software Engineering

The topics that our engineers have chosen represent  good survey of current good practice in software engineering. We will see examples of OSGi used to manage large, complex software tools; we will learn about the architecture of functional programs; we will look at the relationship between user experience and Agile processes. Among the technology topics there are sessions on:

  • Big Data
  • Test-Driven Development for embedded systems
  • Modern approaches to concurrency
  • Life with Scala

Some of these have already been discussed on this blog. One great thing about the conference is that there is a mix of reports, presentations and hands-on practical sessions.

We won’t just learn about something, we have the chance to learn it, from people who have used a tool or technique in practice.

And we will look beyond technical practices to the broader context of software engineering. Pure science needs to be enlightening and could be useful, applied science can be enlightening and must be useful, but engineering must be useful and profitable.

Zühlke has its roots in Gerry Zühlke’s  product development company founded in 1968 and that idea of making new, valuable things for the market still informs what we do, even though most of it now is software rather than hardware.

Our Goal

We will look at the relationship between innovation in the market and software development projects which support it; we will look at the relationships between technologists and business people, and the new skills that programmers need to make all this work in the commercial world.

In a growing multi-national company like Zühlke it is too easy to lose track of the breadth of experience that your colleagues are accumulating. We can suffer from a bit of tunnel vision, concentrating on our project, our local business.

I’m looking forward to a long series of conferences with my colleagues here, and maybe even for us to publish Proceedings in future years. I’ve been working on the Programme Committee and will be chair of the track that discusses new trends in project management, innovation and emerging technology. But I get to pretend that I’m not purely a manager these days and will also be running my “Test-Driven Development as if You Meant It”  workshop.

If you are a Zühlke software engineer I hope to see you in Frankfurt, and if you aren’t, I hope you can keep your envy under control.

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