Cloud, collaboration, innovation, and more: The non-material keys to developer happiness
Posted: November 14, 2023
In March of this year, we held an internal in-person developer conference at AVEVA. It was the first time we had done this for quite a few years due to the pandemic, and we wanted to get it off the ground again because it’s a great forum for teams to share ideas, learn about new stuff, and network with people.
I was lucky enough to be asked to deliver the opening keynote to the 100 or so attendees and I decided that I would talk about something that is close to my heart: developer happiness, or the developer experience.
There are lots of things that make developers happy—a cool laptop with stickers on it, flexible working, one of those awesome Aeron chairs, unlimited access to all the latest tooling, and of course free food. But I wanted to focus on some of the less obvious, non-material factors: the cloud, collaboration, innovation and inclusivity.
As developers, we have a unique role to play in shaping the future. We are the architects of the digital world, and at AVEVA, of the digital twin. The work that we do has the power to transform every aspect of our industry—a big responsibility.
Technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace, and the cloud is at the forefront of this revolution. It has transformed the way we think about computing and opened new possibilities for collaboration, scalability, and efficiency, allowing us to take advantage of the latest technological innovations.
We’re doing some exciting cloud developments today within AVEVA that really are on the cutting edge. We have a number of initiatives looking at how we can best use artificial intelligence (AI), for example, and we’re working with some amazing cloud technologies to power our latest developments.
Working with cloud technologies makes us happy as developers because we tend to be an inquisitive lot. The cloud allows us to work on the leading edge of available technologies. It allows us to use the latest tools, gives us more opportunity for innovation, and lets us see the fruits of our labor much more quickly than ever before by getting our great software into our customers’ hands faster.
Using the power of the cloud to drive our developments forward, we can make our own developers happy, motivated, and committed by providing them with access to the best and latest technologies available.
We need to collaborate now more than ever to deliver our products to our customers in this increasingly technical landscape. No one person or team can keep up with everything. Collaboration can spark creativity by encouraging us to think outside the box and share our ideas with others. By collaborating, we can achieve more and do it more efficiently and effectively. This sense of accomplishment can lead to greater job satisfaction and happiness for us all.
We have a huge array of collaboration tools that we use to help us work effectively. From wikis to process improvements, project management tools like Azure DevOps, and chat tools like Teams, we have a thriving digital ecosystem that is essential to our everyday jobs.
With people returning to the office, we also have possibility of face-to-face collaboration. One of my favorite things to do is solve problems and come up with new solutions around a whiteboard—something that I really missed when working from home.
Collaboration can also lead to increased learning opportunities for developers: It exposes us to new perspectives, ideas, and techniques. This can help us expand our skill sets and knowledge, enabling a greater sense of fulfillment.
Collaboration can also reduce our stress levels—and who wouldn’t welcome that? Working on a project with a team can help distribute workload and reduce the stress on individual developers, leading to a healthier work-life balance and higher job satisfaction.
Innovation is a hugely important part of modern software development. It is essential to boosting our happiness for several reasons. Innovation encourages creativity. It gives developers the freedom to experiment with new ideas and technologies, think outside the box, and take risks.
At AVEVA, we foster a culture of innovation by encouraging collaboration and communication among developers, designers, other team members, and of course, our end users. We hold regular brainstorming sessions, hackathons, and design sprints to develop new ideas and improve existing ones. And simply talking to and inviting our customers to generate new ideas is also important in the world of innovation.
Additionally, we can grow innovation by making sure we are all staying up to date with new technologies and trends in the industry, and by incorporating them into our software development processes. Providing developers with the right tools and resources, including training, access to new tools, and collaboration platforms, is critical to staying on the leading edge.
Through a culture of innovation, we provide our developers with exciting challenges and opportunities to learn and grow, which keep them engaged and motivated. Developers can learn new programming languages, frameworks, and tools that enhance their expertise and empower them to reach new levels.
The technology we build has the power to bring people together and break down barriers, but it can also exclude and marginalize. As developers, we must strive to build technology that is accessible to all, regardless of background or abilities.
There are two key aspects to inclusivity: inclusivity in software design and inclusivity in the workplace. Both are crucial to software development for several reasons:
First off, inclusive development tends to make the whole product better: when software is designed with inclusivity in mind, it often results in products that are more intuitive, user-friendly, and easier to use.
Inclusive products also help us reach a wider audience of users, including those with disabilities, different cultural backgrounds, and varying skill levels.
That’s obviously good for the bottom line, but it also helps promote diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. Ensuring that everyone has equal access to technology and the opportunities it provides can help break down barriers and reduce discrimination in the industry itself.
Extending the spirit of inclusivity into the internal culture also makes developers happier. Developers who feel included and valued are more likely to feel a sense of belonging in the workplace and connection with teammates.
The combination of improved morale and greater diversity of perspectives can inspire greater creativity, leading to more innovative solutions and a greater sense of fulfillment for developers. Inclusive workplaces enable us to learn from our colleagues with diverse backgrounds and experiences, which can help broaden our skills and perspectives.
In closing …
Our industry and the work that we do has a huge impact on the efficiency, safety and sustainability of industrial sector—but, on its own, that is not enough to make the average workday rewarding. Thankfully, the environment in R&D at AVEVA does bring day-to-day satisfaction. Our focus on working collaboratively, harnessing the power of the cloud, always proactively seeking innovation opportunities, and prioritizing inclusivity make AVEVA a great place to build a fulfilling career as a developer.
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