WorldSkills Finals, Developing IT Solutions for Enterprises: What It Is, How It Was, and Why 1C Developers Conquered the Event
WorldSkills is an international movement hosting professional competitions for young specialists under 22 years.
The international finals take place every two years. This year, the home of the finals was Kazan (the previous finals were hosted in Abu Dhabi, the next one will be in Shanghai).
WorldSkills Championships are the largest professional excellence world championships. While the first competitions were focused on ordinary professions, today, the focus is on professions of the future, such as IT disciplines for which a separate huge cluster was created at the championship in Kazan.
The IT block includes a competence (as a ‘kind of sports’) titled IT Software Solutions for Business.
Every competition allows a limited set of tools to be used. For example, for the landscape design the rules of competition impose restrictions on the list of possible instruments (without specifying a manufacturer or color), whilst for the software solutions for business the list of approved technologies is strictly limited t to specific technologies and platforms (.NET and Java with a defined set of frameworks).
Information technologies are growing exponentially with new technologies and development tools continuously coming into play. Therefore, 1C Company is convinced it is necessary to let specialists use those tools they know and want to work with.
In fall 2018, the WorldSkills board agreed with us. The next step (not a simple one) was the trial run of the methodology for incorporating new technologies into competitions.
The 1C:Enterprise platform was included in the infrastructure list of the championship in Kazan, and the experimental IT Software Solutions for Business Sandbox was organized. It’s worth mentioning that in the framework of this special site, participants performed the same tasks as the participants acting on the main stage, IT Software Solutions for Business.
English is the official language of the championship. All materials (source codes, accompanying documentation, software interfaces) need to be presented in this language. Despite the doubts of some people (even today), 1C programming language is available in English.
Nine young specialists from 8 different countries (Philippines, Taiwan, Korea, Finland, Morocco, Russia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia) competed at that site.
Joey Manansala, an expert from the Philippines, was the chairman of the jury board—a bundle of experts from Finland, UAE, Costa Rica, Korea, Russia and Taiwan.
Interestingly, Russian engineers (Kirill Pavkin, Aigul Sultanova) and one engineer from Kazakhstan (Lyudvig Vitovskiy) decided to use the 1C:Enterprise platform whereas other developers used .NET for desktop development and Android Studio for mobile development. All 1C backers are very young (Kirill is a school student from Stavropol, Aigul is a college student from Kazan). On the other hand, their rivals are much more experienced (e.g. a contestant from Korea won WorldSkills championship in Leipzig in 2013 while others already participated in WorldSkills contests earlier and/or have several years of industry experience).
Considering participants used various cutting-edge technologies during the competition, we had a chance to test our platform in the field to compare both the quality of solutions and development speed.
Essentially, the task deals with coming up with a workflow automation solution for an enterprise. This year, the fictional company Kazan Neft was taken as a subject enterprise.
Kazan Neft is one of the largest oil companies in the Republic of Tatarstan. The business is a national market player and internationally recognized name in the industry. Headquartered in Kazan, Russia, it specializes in exploration, extraction, production, refinement, transportation, sale and distribution of oil, natural gas, and oil products.
As the company rapidly expands and opens new branches across Russia, Kazan Neft executives decided to implement new workflow automation software. The main focus of the new system is the maintenance and management of some of its operations.
Participants received tasks in the form of modules or sessions (7 in total) with the requirement to complete them within a limited time. Three sessions for a desktop solution, 2.5 hours each. Other three sessions involved client-server development, where the client was a mobile application, and client-server interaction was carried out through the WEB-API (3.5 hours). The last session focused on the tasks for reverse engineering of existing software (2.5 hours). During this module, participants had to be guided by the information provided to them and
1) design the structure of the application database (by building an ER diagram),
2) analyze system usage scenarios (by constructing a diagram of use cases),
3) develop and design a software solution interface in compliance with the functional specifications.
Developers used .NET (C#) and Java (including Android Studio for mobile development) at the main site, and applied the same platforms and 1C:Enterprise version 8.3.13 in Sandbox.
Following the end of each session, the experts assessed the output—a ready-made viable project addressing the set objectives.
The objectives' key feature was their realism—i.e. lots of requirements and limited time. Most of the challenges were not special. Instead, they were very close to real industrial processes specialists face every day. Participants had to solve as many tasks that would deliver the greatest benefit as possible. To this end, an algorithmically complex task is not always the best in terms of its advantages. For instance, a viable three-table accounting system is more valuable than a classy reporting form featuring complex algorithms that would be completely useless without those tables.
Programmers had to not just to program the task being stuck to the technical requirements. They had to analyze the task, define subtasks, design them, and determine what they can actually get done within a short period. For 4 days of the competition, participants worked in conditions of severe time pressure, often starting every next session from scratch. Even specialists having long-standing experience in the industry hardly manage to fully complete the objective for the time given.
We also should mention the assessment system employed during the competition. For every session, the task authors gear up a multifaceted set of criteria that include
compliance with UI requirements
accordance with the style guide adopted by the company for which participants develop their solutions
Each assessment criterion has a minor weight which implies that a participant gets tenths of a point for satisfying one. Thus, it is possible to scrupulously analyze the performance of every performer.
The final results were impressive.
Kirill Pavkin, 17 years old from Stavropol (Russia), won the competition. Kirill developed his solution using the 1C:Enterprise platform. A participant from Taiwan took second place. The overall table of the top six results is given below:
Undoubtedly, Kirill got victorious thanks to his talent, knowledge, and skills.
We also must notice that all three participants that employed the 1C:Enterprise as a development tool took the top five places. This certainly proves the world-class quality of the 1C:Enterprise.
Upon finishing the competition, the winners were awarded pure gold medals (for respective places) and cash prizes at the KazanExpo Media Center. They also received certificates allowing them to undergo an internship at 1C Company.