Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador

Start Early, Don’t Stop

Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador Robert van Mölken didn’t wait for school and doesn’t wait to share with the community.

By Bob Rhubart

March/April 2018

Gamers start young. But young gamers can also become young game developers, and that’s certainly the case with Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador Robert van Mölken, who first experimented with game development in the early 1990s at age nine, using QuickBASIC on the same Schneider computer he used to play storytelling games.

By 2000, van Mölken, then 15 years old, was earning money to spend on his girlfriend and audio equipment by building web pages. “It was better than a paper route,” he says.

Van Mölken earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Hogeschool van Utrecht and had a six-month internship with a company that created websites and graphics for various clients; there, he gained practical experience working in PHP, MySQL, and Flash.

Degree in hand, van Mölken’s career working with Oracle technologies began at a consulting company, and his work there involved Java, XML, and a government project to develop a SaaS application that allowed citizens to access various government services. “The application ran on Oracle,” he explains. “The front end was built in PL/SQL. Then we had Oracle middleware, and the back end was Oracle Database with a lot of PL/SQL for the logic.”

I had knowledge of cryptocurrencies, but I wanted to know what was behind it.”

In November 2011, van Mölken landed in his current role as senior integration and cloud specialist with AMIS in Utrecht. Most of van Mölken’s time at AMIS is now spent working on a project for the Dutch National Police. “It’s all Oracle,” van Mölken says. “The middleware is Oracle, the database is Oracle, the front end is Angular, and the back end is Java.”

Van Mölken writes code every day, relying on a variety of tools: Oracle JDeveloper 12c for designing and creating XML Schema Definitions, WSDLs, XSLT, and XQuery transformations; NetBeans 8 for Java EE; GIT and SourceTree for corporate projects; GitKraken for open source projects; Visual Studio Code for JavaScript and Node.js apps; Hyperledger Composer for blockchain apps; and Slack for communication on open source projects.

A good day for van Mölken is one in which he gets to work with Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain. His interest in blockchain began with the purchase of a few Bitcoins after the 2013 price drop. “I had knowledge of cryptocurrencies, but I wanted to know what was behind it,” he says. So he dug in. In 2016, van Mölken participated in a discussion of technologies to watch at a luncheon that was part of the UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) Technology Conference and Exhibition in Birmingham, UK. The enthusiastic response to van Mölken’s passionate remarks on blockchain led him to understand that he was on to something. What followed was continued experimentation and research, leading to several blockchain presentations in 2017 at various user group events, including a standing-room-only session at Oracle OpenWorld 2017.

The Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador program recognizes modern expert developers who blog, write articles, and present on topics including containers, microservices, SQL, NoSQL, open source technologies, machine learning, and chatbots. Learn more about Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassadors.

In the spring of 2018, van Mölken’s expanding expertise will hit another milestone with the publication of Blockchain Across Oracle (Packt). This follows Implementing Oracle Integration Cloud Service, coauthored by van Mölken and fellow Oracle ACE Phil Wilkins (Packt, 2017).

Looking to the future, van Mölken is both excited and concerned about the rapid evolution of technologies. “There is a lot of cool stuff going on right now—machine learning, artificial intelligence, IoT, streaming analytics, device management, and the changes in AngularJS. As a developer, everything sounds very cool.” But that makes it tough for him to decide where to place his focus.

In his evolution and growth as a developer, sharing within the community continues to play an important role. “When I want to learn something, I don’t pick up a book. I don’t really read books, even though I write them,” he admits, relying instead on blogs and videos other developers create to share their knowledge, experience, and code. “I’m a hands-on person, and for me that’s the most valuable way to learn.”

But van Mölken gives as good as he gets. His contributions to the community earned his confirmation as an Oracle ACE Associate in 2015, advancement to Oracle ACE in 2016, and confirmation as an Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador in 2017.

Van Mölken still enjoys gaming—when he can find the time. “I own a PS4, including PSVR,” he explains. “I generally play racing games, Zelda, and role-playing games, including Final Fantasy.” So whether it’s racking up points or pounding out code, the game is very definitely on.

Next Steps

LEARN more about Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassadors.

Photography by Ton Hendriks