David Laird

Petrolink People

In the first part of our Petrolink People interview series we meet David Laird. Over the eight years with us, David has moved from Data Operator, through software testing, to application development.

Let’s hear a little more about David’s life at Petrolink.

Degree: Mass Communications

How did you get to where you are today?

I heard about Petrolink through a friend, who always talked about the interesting challenges he was dealing with each day. That combined with interview prep allowed me to get started at a Data Operator.

To be frank, at 25, I knew nothing about oil and gas, nor anything about working in a technology company. What I did have, was a good knowledge of office software service coupled with a keen eye for detail.

In those early days, I was focused on picking up the software tools and helping wherever else I could. My colleagues saw me as reliable and I moved to the Static Data Management team.  I stayed for a few years before moving on to Vanguard (think crack team of trouble-shooters) then on to software testing and development.

Petrolink pushed me out of my comfort zone, often being thrust into positions without much prior knowledge. Success has been the result of learning from my supervisors and peers, being careful in my work, and taking on tasks outside my current role.

In his spare time David enjoys reading
sci-fi and comedy books and playing RPG video games.

What does a typical day at Petrolink look like?

First, I’ll join any meetings our international teams need me on. This is usually a VOIP call with our people in Kochi, Jakarta and Aberdeen. The goals vary – sometimes it’s knowledge transfer, sometimes a project review or planning our latest product release.

Next, I’ll check my development testing tasks for the day. Usually this is focused on the upcoming version of our software, with the goal of getting it out the door as soon as possible while still maintaining quality. Whether I write code or test some code that others have written depends on what needs to get done.

Occasionally, someone from Operations or Platform Support will ask me for help. I have a good knowledge of our software, so I’ve become the go-to guy for troubleshooting. I can provide guidance or – for more tricky issues – I will do my own investigation. I enjoy investigating issues as it lets me solve a mystery that might have an unexpected answer. Once I reach my conclusions, I’ll write up my findings for others to confirm and learn from. At the end of the day, I’ll double-check whether I have any emails I need to reply to, or anything urgent that needs to be accomplished.

Did you know? Over 70% of staff have been at Petrolink for 3 years or more.

Any advice for a new start?

Be curious and interested. Don’t be afraid to ask for information from ‘higher level’ co-workers, even if you just want to learn something new. In my experience, everyone here is helpful and forthcoming with sharing knowledge.

What do you enjoy most about working at Petrolink?

I’ve never worked in a large corporation but my impression is that they usually involve a lot of micro-management and red tape. Petrolink is more flexible – as long as the product is high quality and on-time everyone is happy.