If you are looking for the inside take on working at Petrolink you have come to the right place. Petrolink People delves into the working lives of our brightest minds and shines a spotlight on them as we journey together to a future where the full potential of the digital oilfield is realized. In this edition, we interviewed Alfonso Pratama, our Senior Development Lead based in Jakarta.
How did you get started in software development?
When I was a kid, I dreamt of creating cool websites, but I didn’t have the knowledge. At 18 I decided to take my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and then a Master’s degree in Information Systems. As soon as I graduated from the University in 2009, I applied for a job in a few IT companies in Jakarta, including Petrolink. At that time, Petrolink was hiring for Data Operator position for their operations team, but I tried to apply anyway. I secured an offer and joined the Petrolink family. Eight months later, there was a job opening to fill a position in the Development team.
I knew that the role would suit me and without hesitation decided to jump at the opportunity and became a Junior Software Developer.
As the development team lead you bridge the gap between the vision of product management and the realities of the code. How does this play out day-to-day?
It’s always been a challenge for a developer to turn ideas into a product that ticks all the required criteria. The product team’s ideas are not always easy to translate into a real product and sometimes it is not technically feasible. My job is to review the Product Management team’s ideas and consider if they are possible. Before an idea is turned into a feature request, the Product owner, the UX designer, the relevant stakeholders and I will meet to discuss the detailed requirements and the expectations.
As the technical lead, I need to come up with a technical solution, advice, development plan and estimates. Once the feature request is approved and scheduled, my next job is to ensure that the feature is implemented and delivered. To achieve that, I need to plan the rollout, design the architecture and work with the developer. As the development progresses, it’s my responsibility to ensure that the implementation is done correctly and efficiently by conducting a code review in which I provide some technical advice to my fellow developers. Occasionally, I initiate an ad hoc meeting with the Product Owner to show the progress and get early feedback. As we follow the scrum process, at the end of each sprint we will present the outcome done by each team member to get feedback and acknowledgment from the team and stakeholders.
You have been at Petrolink since 2009, what are the key changes in data management that you can point to since then?
The company and the industry are continually evolving. It is not only the data management products we provide which have changed, but also the technology that underpins them. Since I joined the company in 2009, there have been at least three major changes to our platform. In the early days, I worked with the legacy applications PowerShare and PowerStream. These platforms were great tools to share documents and remotely monitor the drilling activity in near real-time. They were, however, cumbersome to set up. For instance, to create or make changes to the real-time display, the client had to send a request to a Petrolink Administrator. Then, in 2010, we rolled out our new platform called PetroVault Console. An all-in-one solution built fully in .NET Framework. With an intuitive UI along with drag and drop features, it allows users to create and manage their real-time displays and static documents easily. We also built the WITSML store for storing and transferring real-time data. Deploying the WITSML store made data patching, inspection, and QA/QC easier than ever as now that key information is structured in a human-readable format. A few years later, as the technology became more advanced and efficient, we advanced our PetroVault with ETP (Energistics Transfer Protocol) which allow for sub second data transfer. We also reinvented our UI solution and rolled out latest platform called PetroVue. In this product, we diversified our technology stacks, embracing open-source solutions. PetroVue is designed to be intuitive, fast and efficient. We also built an alerting system Manage-by-Exception (MBE) that allows users to be notified of important events happening at the rig. Along the way we found users were frustrated at having to switch out of their Real-time application to interact with their colleagues. So, we added Impact into the PetroVue product family so our clients can now chat, share and collaborate right alongside their drilling data.
What has been your favorite project to work on?
Without a doubt PetroVue. I have been involved from the outset researching the technology stack, designing the architecture, implementing the base framework, building a PoC and leading the team to continue developing the product. There were a lot of challenges, hurdles and difficult decisions to make, but it has all been worth it. I’ve had a chance to road-test a variety of new technology stacks, e.g.: Backbone, Bootstrap, Angular, Material, React, Node, D3, ThreeJS, CreateJS, RabbitMQ, Socket.IO, Apache Flink, Cassandra, Docker, and many more. Another thing that I love the most about this project is that there’s a lot of cool and sophisticated stuff that we needed to implement from scratch, e.g.: a 3D Visualization Widget, Drilling Logplot, Well Schematic, Torque and Drag, Heatmap, and many more. The project has pushed us to think out of the box to make the most effective, efficient and greatest user experience.
What three experiences does a new visitor to Jakarta have to try?
My first recommendation is to try our famous delicious food, such as: chicken satay, nasi goreng (fried rice), nasi Padang, rendang, martabak and many more. The second thing I’d recommend is to visit our luxury malls, such as Grand Indonesia, Central Plaza, Pacific Place, Lippo Mall, etc. There’s a lot of things you can find there, such as aquarium, ice skating, a park, a luxury cinema, a healthy massage parlor, and many more. Last but not least, check out our newest public transportation, such as: MRT, LRT and Trans Jakarta. They will take you to your destination without the traffic hassle.