Jeroen’s Challenge: Deliver on this career opportunity

After earning a degree in Embedded Software, Jeroen Wennekes quickly became one of the rising stars within ICT Group. “I think it has everything to do with the many career opportunities the company has to offer. I started out as a junior software engineer and was promoted to senior software engineer with the Healthcare unit within five years. During this period, it became my ambition to reach for the role Operational Manager (OM). I assumed it would take about ten years, but this career opportunity came much faster than I expected, also thanks to my own OM.” Jeroen is 28 years old, making him the youngest OM ever at ICT Group. “It is to the company’s credit that ambition and hard work are acknowledged with opportunities and actual career steps.”

Born techie

“Will I miss software programming?” Jeroen pauses to think. “I’ve always enjoyed it very much, it feels like a hobby. I’m a born techie. In the short period that I’ve work as an operational manager, I’ve used my technical knowledge and experience in Healthcare on a daily basis. A recent example is that a certain technical request was made within my account, but based on my years of experience in their operations I knew they were asking the wrong question. I discussed this with the client and explained what I thought was needed. They really appreciated the initiative. So now I use my knowledge in a different way which I like even better. It helps to support the client’s success and endorses our own capabilities.”

“As a company, we value human capital and care for our people’s wellbeing. ICT Group has lots of opportunities to offer, I’m proof of that”

Operational manager

“My work consists of three main tasks,” Jeroen explains. “I am responsible for the wellbeing of several colleagues who work in secondment. I am their go-to person within ICT Group, I function as the contact person for the client, and together with each team member I make professional development plans. I currently manage the account where I used to work in secondment myself. Soon, I will be taking on more accounts. Furthermore, as an operational manager I am responsible for part of the acquisition. And thirdly, I help design the short- and long term strategy for my business unit.” His input is based on everyday practice and provides valuable information for the future. “Yesterday, I had a very productive day if I may say so,” Jeroen says smiling. “Through my network, I was able to deploy one of our software engineers on a project in my account. I also met someone at my client’s office who was looking for programming support, it is very likely they will hire the software engineer I proposed. Furthermore, I had some good talks with a couple of team members about their professional development. And I spoke with a developer from my own network who is interested in joining ICT Group.”

Vision

“In my role as OM, I completely underwrite ICT Group’s vision on employer responsibility. As a company, we value human capital and care for our people’s wellbeing. ICT Group has lots of opportunities to offer, I’m proof of that. They noticed my drive and offered me a chance to challenge myself. Proactiveness and ownership are important values within ICT Group and will pay off. Personally, I find it essential to take responsibility for your own success. I also expect that from my team. I’ve told my colleagues that I will not stalk them with courses and seminars, but I do require them to keep working on their professional and personal development. I will support my team members to reach their goals at all times.”

Are you looking for a job where you will be challenged?

Take a look at our vacancies: www.ict.eu/jobs.

Lowie’s Challenge: become an all-round senior project management advisor

Lowie Luijks is a medior project management advisor in the field of quality management. “I studied Technical Business Administration because I want to take complex projects to the next level. At NedMobiel, I got the opportunity to put this in practice.”

Currently, Lowie is working for several departments of Rijkswaterstaat in Zuid-Holland and Zeeland. “I deliver products and services to the Tunnel Team that maintains the tunnels, to the Coastline Team responsible for the North Sea shore, and also to a bridge project. Furthermore, there is the waterway project, the junction project, and the European Water Guideline project. The products and services are based on the plan-do-check-act methodology (the Deming Circle), a well-known concept in quality management. Examples of my work are the design, modification and implementation of processes, internal audits, product tests and project evaluations, and initiating improvement schemes. I always strive to dot the i’s for my clients.“

Variation

“The five departments at Rijkswaterstaat in Rotterdam for which I work are each situated on a floor in the same office building and I try to meet with a different team every day of the week. The project team Waterways A is located in Middelburg where I work one day per week. The variation is very pleasant, it keeps me on edge. On Fridays, I usually work at NedMobiel when most of my colleagues are also in house. Normally we will work on internal projects when we’re at the office. I am, for example, involved with the execution of internal audits for the ISO certification. Together with some colleagues, we’re working on an onboarding plan to optimise the landing of young professionals at NedMobiel. This is a structured training and learning programme to help new colleagues feel at home and be deployed on projects right away.”

“I want to take complex projects to the next level. At NedMobiel, I got the opportunity to put this in practice.”

Horizontal organisation

“NedMobiel is a horizontal or flat organisation which means we all share responsibility for several business processes. This feeds my sense of entrepreneurship, even though we work within a company context but I really like that. You’re free to bring up your ideas, generally over lunch or by the coffee machine where everybody meets informally, including senior management. Good ideas will be elaborated on with the support of colleagues.” Lowie was promoted from a junior position to a medior position relatively fast because he was able to distinguish himself in the field of process optimisation and quality management. “A project I was involved in lately, has determined my ambition for the future. On this project, unforeseen circumstances led to a lot of extra work within an existing maintenance contract. No-one could see the wood for the trees anymore. I was able to structure the internal process for the completion of the extra work which improved the working relations between the contractor and Rijkswaterstaat. This learning-by-doing experience in risk and contract management has inspired me to aim for a senior position in all-round project management. Because of the flat structure in our organisation, proactiveness and initiative shape your future for the most part. Anything is possible, especially if you have ideas of your own and find the right people to support you. As a direct result, I just started a course in Change Management. This will help me move forward regarding my professional development in project management. It gives me a lot of energy and motivation!”

Do you want to take complex projects to the next level?

Take a look at NedMobiel’s vacancies: www.ict.eu/nl/vacatures/nedmobiel/.

Midas’ Challenge: Using technology in even smarter ways to improve safety

“As a Safety and Security Consultant, I have several roles. For example, take the project I am currently involved in, the strengthening of the Houtribdijk. Rijkswaterstaat (the client) built this dam in the early seventies between the IJsselmeer and the Markermeer with a connecting road between Enkhuizen and Lelystad. The embankment no longer meets the standards of the Water Legislation and needs reconstruction on both sides. During the project, the Houtribdijk will stay open for traffic and recreation. I am the liaison between the client and the contractor in the areas of labour safety, traffic safety and nautical safety. The goal is to realise the most safe environment before, during and after the construction phase for the workers and the users of the dam.”

Generalist

“Within my field of expertise, a lot of different specialisations and technologies come together but I am trained as a generalist. With my interdisciplinary background, I bring the specialists and technicians together to solve complex safety issues. On projects, it is my duty to guide the thin line between everybody’s freedom to act and everybody’s personal safety. This goes way beyond making people wear their mandatory safety helmets or reducing the speed limit for traffic; this is about human behaviour and communication. But I will never take the moral high ground because it’s very important to not become the person of which colleagues think ‘oh, it’s him again’. Therefore, I spend a lot of my time on construction sites to collaborate with the workers on making safety something tangible. The rest of my time, I’m working with specialists to develop new safety products or I’m implementing safety policies at a management level. This variation makes my work very interesting. I see it as a great challenge to integrate safety in the DNA of the project, because at the end of the day we all want to come home safely.”

“I see it as a great challenge to integrate safety in the DNA of the project, because at the end of the day we all want to come home safely.”

A Remarkable Company

After studying Safety and Security Management, Midas could immediately start working as a consultant for NedMobiel in a team of four safety experts. Midas: “It shows what a remarkable company NedMobiel is. We are involved in complex and high profile infrastructural projects. The safety culture at construction sites is a very important theme for us and especially for our clients. More often than not, I have noticed that safety from the contractor’s viewpoint is considered a burden, which leads to a gap between safety policy and everyday practice. That’s why NedMobiel targets safety as a culture in everything we do.”

Making Safety Smarter by the Day

More than a year ago, NedMobiel joined ICT Group. “That created opportunities to give my field of expertise a huge boost. At ICT Group, there is a lot of knowledge to make all sorts of processes much smarter. Predictive Analysis is a tool with which physical safety can be increased, but it can also advance social safety at large gatherings. Take tunnel control, everyone has come across it at some point. There is no traffic jam, yet the signs restrict traffic speed in the tunnel to 70 or 50 km per hour. This measure is based on the principle that a traffic jam in a tunnel increases the risk of incidents which needs to be avoided at all times. With smart software, the number of traffic movements in the tunnel is analysed. When it becomes more crowded in the tunnel, the control system automatically kicks in to keep the traffic flow smooth. The same Predictive Analysis tools can be developed in cities and at events, the camera’s are already everywhere so why not use them intelligently? If we can teach smart software to understand and predict human behaviour, we can increase social safety. For example, the vision system records a disruption in a continuous flow of people at a festival; this could very well indicate an emergency. The vision software automatically alarms and instructs the police or the festival crew. As a safety expert, I am convinced that in the near future we will apply more smart technology to do dangerous work. Smart technology can take over a lot of inspection and detection work, allowing us to improve both physical and social safety. I can’t wait to see what drones will add to my field of expertise.”

Do you want to work on complex safety issues?

Take a look on www.ict.eu/nl/vacatures/nedmobiel/.

Younes’ Challenge: To become proficient in as many programming languages as possible

Younes just came back from the Middle-East where he provided support in the commissioning phase of a complete production line for cooking oil. “This region is known for its unrest,” says Younes, “I don’t think I would go there as a tourist. Nevertheless, I never hesitated when I was asked to provide support on location. I have been to the region four times now and really got a good sense of the atmosphere. It is beautiful and the people are very hospitable. They work very hard to rebuild the economy, this huge vegetable oil refinery is a good example of that effort.”

Younes works in secondment for an international machine manufacturer in the food industry. “With the automation of such processes, several machines and installations need to communicate flawlessly. For this project, I have automated the production process with Siemens’ TIA Portal. The refinery is the end-user of this product so for me it’s a great opportunity to be completely involved from the beginning to the end. The project will be coming to an end soon, then it is time to deliver the final acceptance test.”

Freedom

Younes is very aware of the nice variety in his job. “Some days, I can easily work from home in Antwerp, other days I work at my client’s office in Brussels or I fly out to whatever city to provide support or after-sales on site for the end-user. That flexibility gives me a great feeling of freedom in my work.” Now that this assignment is coming to an end, Younes and his Operational Manager (OM) are discussing what his next project is going to be. “My OM suggested two different projects from which I can choose. One is with a pharmaceutical company that is growing very fast. In this project, I would have to determine and describe the automation specifications for the suppliers of new pharmaceutical machines. The new machines must be able to communicate with the existing production lines to guarantee continuity in the 24/7 operational plant. The other project is at a machine manufacturer for compressors and generators. They have in-house programmers who are writing new software for their products and they are looking for a trouble-shooter for the aftersales team.

“At ICT Belgium my curiosity is constantly encouraged and I really appreciate that. Because of that, this is not just any job but I really love my job.”

Making choices

“This is not an easy choice” Younes adds, “but I’m really grateful that I have a say in the matter. My OM is convinced that I will develop new skills on both projects and leaves it up to me which way I want to go. The project in the pharmaceutical industry will help me to further develop my leadership skills as a coordinator. The project with the machine manufacturer could really help me develop my professional skills. I could advance my knowledge of generic programming languages like C# and Java. For me, that is currently the biggest challenge in my work, I really want to master as many programming languages as possible. I am quite comfortable with industrial programming languages like Step7 and TIA Portal by Siemens or Rockwell’s RSLogix. It would be great to have the opportunity to focus on C# and Java, these are for software engineers the equivalent of English in the spoken languages. At ICT Belgium my curiosity is constantly encouraged and I really appreciate that. Because of that, this is not just any job but I really love my job.”

Are you looking for a job where your curiosity will be encouraged?

Take a look on www.ict.eu/jobs.

Sarah’s Challenge: Make old and new installations communicate with each other

Sarah’s father introduced her at a young age to the world of electronics. At first, only to computers and software followed by analogue electronics. After her education, Sarah started working in software programming but she always knew that her real passion included the technology of hardware.

The choice for ICT group was made easily when she was offered the prospect of developing her professional skills in Industrial Automation. “I now work in secondment on a project in the paper industry, a plant that turns fibre into all kinds of high-end cardboard and paper products. Here, I get to work with the automation of electro mechanics, engines and hydraulics, but also smaller electronical systems, control technology, PLCs, HMIs, SCADA, I feel like a kid in a big playground. Right from the start, during the job interview, my curiosity was triggered and that drew me to this company. I really feel encouraged to learn and develop myself at ICT Group.”

Dutch company

ICT Belgium was founded in 2017 as a subsidiary to grow ICT Group’s business and secondment activities in the Belgian market. The Belgian branch has already grown into a lively organisation with many different nationalities. “The Dutch influence on the organisational culture is evident, especially the informal atmosphere. In general, Belgian companies are more hierarchical which can be pleasant for people who like clear internal work relations. However, I must say I have adopted the Dutch way and can really see the benefits. Everybody is very accessible and even management is easily approachable. It is important that employees reach their highest potential and are encouraged by means of the Dutch coaching culture to keep learning and move forward. The message is not ‘this is your job, just do it’ but they look at how your talents and interests can be fulfilled. Receiving a compliment is nothing out of the ordinary here. When a project runs well or the client is happy with the work, it is shared. That makes me enjoy my work even more.”

“I feel free to lay out my ideas when I think something can be done better and it is always taken seriously.”

Tech support

Sarah’s job is to help build a complete machine park for the papermill. “My role is to assemble information on the installations and about the different vendors, document how it everything works and interacts, from the arranging the fibres to rolling up the end product. I document the kinds of breakdowns and errors that can occur, how to diagnose these emergencies, and how to solve the breakdowns.” Currently, Sarah’s work consists mainly of tech support services. ”I’ve had a good day when I am called to a breakdown which we can solve rather quickly. Preferably without interrupting the production process. For me, that is a good experience as I learn how to stay calm when ten people report some emergency at same time. Without keeping your head cool, nothing gets solved, and I’ve learned that a little humour can help keep everything together.” An additional challenge in Industrial Automation is that modern programming languages like TiaPortal have to collaborate with legacy codes like Step7 and even Step5. “I can see where everything is coming from and at the same time where it is headed in terms of automation. Introducing modern systems and techniques is not always easy because in these big factories all machines, old and new, must be able to communicate with each other. I find that a very interesting challenge.”

Women in technology

More and more women are working in technology, but in practice the balance is still off. “During working hours, I meet women more often, not only in support roles but also as peers. For myself, I never really thought about it because from a young age I have always been the only girl interested in technology. After a while, gender is not an issue anymore as colleagues just want to know what I can contribute and if I can do my job. But the same goes for any new colleague. I feel free to lay out my ideas when I think something can be done better and it is always taken seriously. I am very happy with the outlook and the opportunities I am getting here.”

Are you looking for a new challenge?

At ICT, we connect people, technology and ideas. Are you looking for a new challenge? Take a look at ict.eu/jobs!

Eric’s Challenge: plenty of variety in technical projects and job roles

Eric Gelders is a technical consultant with the Industry unit at ICT Group. He manages production automation projects as a lead engineer and facilitates the engineering team to find the perfect collaboration mode. “I fully immerse myself in the group of professionals and make sure all members can reach their full potential. The better the teamwork, the better the achievement and it is my goal to make everybody part of that. As a consultant, I often communicate with clients about technical and procedural matters, and since my language skills are quite good, I usually document the automation processes. In the future, I hope to develop my coaching skills and integrate the human factor even further in my work as engineer.”

Professionalisation

Eric is an expert in Wonderware, a programming system specifically for industrial automation processes. Having had some years of experience in providing software training, at ICT Group another dimension was added. “Together with some colleagues, we developed an applied Wonderware training with a basic guideline for how we want to build systems. In general, engineers are quite inventive and will find a solution for any challenge they find themselves confronted with. But if each of us does their own thing, it will become very complicated to follow up on each other’s projects without compromising the high standards in quality we all strive for. Due to the increasing complexity of projects, it is evident that we need to apply a consistent approach to warrant the quality.” In the meantime, dozens of colleagues have been trained in the Wonderware guideline and clients are already benefitting from this method. “The best thing is that we haven’t taken away the autonomy of engineers and still reach an optimal implementation. It is great to make such a big step in professionalisation with the support of so many colleagues. Sometimes, I feel things aren’t moving forward fast enough, but I’m very pleased with these results.”

“Soon enough, I noticed that my talents and competencies were put to use.”

Work-life balance

“When I joined ICT Group seven years ago, my decision was based on the good work-life balance they stand for. In my previous job, I travelled the world for many years and I loved every minute of it. But my oldest child has just turned eight and I really wanted to always be there for my family. Nevertheless, I never feared a lack of professional challenges at ICT Group. Soon enough, I noticed that my talents and competencies were put to use. I’m being involved in recruitment activities, I counsel graduate students, and I’m working on a variety of projects. I’ve studied engineering, but psychology would also have matched my interests. At ICT Group, I have the opportunity to do both.”

Variety

“Just recently, a junior engineer and I delivered a major migration project for a client in the biochemical food industry. We’ve upgraded a Wonderware system with 80.000 I/Os (input/output data) 16 servers and 35 clients while the production plant was fully operational. Beforehand, we invested quite some time in designing a solid structure for the migration, resulting in a virtual flawless upgrade on location in only four days. Such a professional accomplishment makes me proud,” Eric says with a big smile. “In my experience, ICT Group offers employees a lot of space to pursue their professional interests. For me, it’s important to find a good mix between challenging engineering projects and other work. Other work refers to internal projects, the Wonderware training and recruitment activities. I also want to use my technical expertise as a senior project engineer and design systems as a technical consultant. It’s the variety that keeps me on edge and that is the reason why I’m very content with my job.”

Are you looking for a job with a good work-life balance?

Take a look at our vacancies: www.ict.eu/jobs.

Eric’s Challenge: being involved from the beginning to the end

“As a Control Designer, my work consists of designing and implementing software for PLC systems. These PLCs operate large machines or installations. I am also regularly consulted when new hardware needs to be purchased. I’ve deliberately chosen this field of work because I enjoy to work hands-on and stay involved throughout an entire project, from the initial design until the final commissioning on site. I want to deliver the total package, a reliable solution for the client with which the end-user is best served.”

Maritime installations

“I’ve been working for more than a year now for a client in the maritime industries. It’s an international manufacturer of solutions for heat, liquid, and gas transportation. I’m posted with the department that builds inert gas systems for vessels and it’s my responsibility to manage the entire process in the gas installation from the PLC. The User Interface is another part of my job, every single detail of the process in this immense installation must be displayed flawlessly for monitoring purposes. I’m also designing the database that is linked to the PLCs to analyse the production process. This combination makes sure that the installation is continuously optimised. Originally, the project was supposed to run short term. However, the client had several other interesting projects waiting and they were very satisfied with the quality of my work. Therefore, I’m happy to still be here.”

“The best projects are the ones where I’m involved from the beginning to the end, from the initial design to the final commissioning.”

A variety of disciplines

“I chose to work for ICT because of the many different disciplines in which the company is represented. It is certainly not my intention to keep switching jobs and therefore I’m pleased with the idea that it would be possible to work in a different field without leaving ICT. It’s not an issue at this time as I am very content with my position at the unit Water and Infrastructure, plenty of new challenges available in the near future. ICT Group was the only employer who could offer this perspective when I was in the market for a new job.”

Outside

“I am really looking forward to do a project outdoors. That’s what you picture working at the Water and Infrastructure unit, being outside at a lock or in a tunnel wearing a helmet. My first project at ICT was an outdoors project at the locks of Terneuzen. ICT Group certainly has those great projects being the preferred supplier of Rijkswaterstaat, enough opportunities at hand. My OM (operational manager) is keeping an eye out to spot these projects for me. We are training a replacement for my current project as I would never leave a project without its continuity warranted. The support of my OM in this matter is very encouraging and I’m exited to be starting a new challenge soon.”

Personal development

“Another important reason to join ICT Group are the opportunities they offer. The personal guidance is quite intense and because of that, I’m more aware of my own professional effectiveness. I have enrolled in the Professional Leadership training through ICT Academy which will add significantly to my personal development. At ICT, I am encouraged to make the most of myself and use my full potential. The organisational structure that provides you with an OM, someone who keeps your best interest at heart while you’re posted with a client, works really well. My OM checks if I’m still enjoying my work, monitors my training needs and whether I’m ready to start another project. My OM also keeps me updated about social team gatherings coming up and company events that could be of interest to me. These activities are always enjoyable and very much worth my while.”

Are you looking for a new challenge?

At ICT we connect people, technology and ideas. Are you looking for a new challenge as a developer, architect or engineer? Take a look at the vacancies at our website: www.ict.eu/jobs.

Jeffry’s Challenge: Finding the perfect work-life balance

The work involved with data standardisation at Waternet is a daunting task, presenting quite a challenge for Jeffry Withagen and his family life. ICT Group understands the importance of ensuring the optimum performance of employees and is always happy to provide personalised advice to each employee to help them find the perfect balance between their work and personal life.

Jeffry has currently been contracted by ICT Group to Amsterdam’s water company Waternet as a Senior Control Designer, where he is jointly responsible for programming, advising and organising new standards. “We develop technical standards for four different water treatment plants and pumping stations with associated field installations. While working on this project, I became the project leader’s right hand. In this position it is my duty to provide substantial motivation as to whether a certain task, idea or standard should be implemented.”

Working from home

Jeffry enjoys a special arrangement which allows him to successfully perform his work at Waternet and spend time with his young family. “With a second child on the way, my mind is mainly on my family at home for the time being, so I am ever so grateful to be able to spend more time at home.” Jeffry works from home two days a week and at the Waternet offices in Amsterdam three days a week. “I am partially compensated for my commuting time, allowing me to spend more time with my son.”

“ICT Group came up with this solution together with their client. Thanks to their full cooperation, I can perform well both when working from home and at the office.”

Energy

Even though Jeffry is not in the office every day of the week, he is closely involved in the developments at Waternet, and is enthusiastic about the company’s transformation. “The water company is shifting from being a water supplier to an energy distributor. For example, there are various projects in which heat pumps are used to generate energy from groundwater. Process technologists are also constantly exploring areas for improvement, such as the recent process adjustment for the pumps between Utrecht and the treatment plant in Leiduin, resulting in annual cost-savings of several thousands of euros. Developments like these mean we also get to develop new standards and benefit from these improvements.”

Are you looking for a job with a good work-life balance?

Take a look at the vacancies at our website: www.ict.eu/jobs.

Twan’s Challenge: I’m aiming to become a software architect and work with even more complex matter

It’s a piece of cake to order a new pair of shoes or a book online. Nobody is surprised when the package is delivered next day. What it took to get that done is a fine piece of clever engineering and process automation. Twan works on a project for an international manufacturer of logistical solutions in warehousing and for luggage handling.

Process automation

“The project I am working on right now is an advanced shuttle system for warehouses. Shuttles, elevators and robots are managed from a User Interface to pick up the pair of shoes you just ordered from the webshop. Keep in mind a warehouse the size of several football fields in which these shuttles with little baskets on top are moving around on sort of a light rail track. No need for anyone to climb in the storage racks anymore and no forklifts riding around, resulting in significant time gain and virtually no errors. Subsequently, the pair of shoes you’ve ordered is packed, labelled and ready for distribution.”

Social events

During his professional career, Twan has worked for several different IT companies. “What I appreciate about ICT Group, is the informal atmosphere. There is no stiff-upper-lip culture or a rigid dress code, that would make me quite uncomfortable. Most people are very approachable, even management and colleagues from other business units. The company is quite dynamic and organises regular business and social events. Although I am stationed with a client right now, I would never miss a dinner with my team at ICT Eindhoven. I not only enjoy keeping in touch with my ICT colleagues, it is also important that they know what I am working on and what I am good at. That will help me find a next challenge when I finish this assignment.”

“I find a challenge in any new project, the more complex the better.”

Airports

“The client I work for now wants me to extend my stay. I really enjoy projects I’m doing here and there are several interesting challenges coming up, for example a couple of visits to end-users abroad. For me, that is like the cherry on the cake, being away in a different environment, solving problems, and a content customer as a result. The shuttle system will also be used at airports to temporarily store luggage for delayed flights. When a flight is late, the luggage can’t be boarded and needs to be stored safely without getting lost in the system. A reliable, short term and flexible storage solution for luggage is crucial.”

Software architect

Twan has been a Senior Software Designer at ICT group for two years now. “I find a challenge in any new project, the more complex the better. I generally work with C# and .Net to build a great variety of applications. I see myself as an all-round specialist who likes to be involved in all aspects of the process. It helps that I am curious by nature, can quickly analyse a problem and get to the bottom of it, and that I am solution driven. I am eager to keep up my knowledge of the field, I have taken all the relevant courses at ICT Academy. Together with my OM (Operational Manager) I’m investigating what could be the logical next step for me. My ambition is to become a software architect and deal with even more complex matter. ICT facilitates me to achieve my personal goals.”

Are you looking for a new challenge?

Take a look at our vacancies: www.ict.eu/jobs.

Hassan’s Challenge: If everybody says it can’t be done, I’ll keep looking to prove the opposite

Hassan has a passion for cars. At ICT Group, he combines this passion with another one: embedded software design. The automotive industry uses embedded software on a large scale to make cars smarter. “The challenge for embedded software designers,” says Hassan “is to create the best possible output with very little space, memory and processing power at your disposal. Everything needs to function in the best possible way and there are hundreds of plausible solutions. Only one is the best, and I really enjoy these kind of puzzles.”

Dutch directness

“When I started my job at ICT Group in 2017, it meant I had to move from my native country Egypt to the Netherlands. It took me some time to feel at home but I’ve really come to appreciate most of the Dutch peculiarities. One example is the directness for which the Dutch are famous. At the beginning, I didn’t get it, it felt so utterly rude. But after some time, I started to notice the positive effects of being straightforward. No misinterpretations, people know where they stand and what is expected, it makes everything much more efficient. I’m a hard worker and quite ambitious, the Dutch directness actually fits me like a glove. Now my family in Egypt has to get used to my bluntness,” Hassan says with a big smile.

“It makes me proud to contribute to the daily lives of people.”

International experience

“Graduating from university makes you knowledgeable in a way but in reality, you don’t know anything, yet. At my first job in Egypt, I learned a lot and gained some practical experience with AUTOSAR, an open software tool for ECUs (Electrical Control Units). At ICT, my first project was to design the embedded software for displays in high-end electrical cars. Our client was a major German manufacturer of smart technology for the automotive industry. After having worked on this assignment for almost two years from ICT Eindhoven and ICT Deventer, the client decided to assemble all design teams in a lab in Germany to gain some time. For me, it was a great opportunity to work in an international setting with colleagues from Germany, Romania, Hungary and China. This experience was enriching for me both personally and as a professional, something my colleagues at ICT will benefit from as well.”

Embedded software for car displays

“My work consisted of programming car displays for both the driver’s side and the passengers’ side. Who stops to think about the implications of making a plastic screen understand that the touch of finger means a playlist should begin to play or the temperature must be adjusted? But it takes some serious programming to make a screen smart enough to recognize the touch of a human finger, acknowledge the touch with an acoustic feedback and then generate the requested output. The embedded software design for the two ECUs I was responsible for, communicates data through the entire vehicle to make it as smart as possible. Most people have no idea how much software programming goes into automotive design, but cars can’t do without anymore. They wouldn’t be as safe, economical and comfortable as they are today. It makes me proud to contribute to that.”

Formula 1

“Nowadays, I work on a project for a Taiwanese manufacturer of displays. What makes this assignment interesting, is the fact that the client has no experience with AUTOSAR and I can share my knowledge with both the client and my ICT colleagues. We’re designing displaysfor mainstream cars on a smaller production budget. This requires even more creativity and solution mindedness.  That’s what I like most about this project, especially when my colleagues think it can’t be done within the planning and the budget. ‘Just leave it to me’ I’ll say to myself and will not stop until I have figured it out. It is my ambition to continue to develop my knowledge in embedded software for the automotive industry. I see Formula 1 as the pinnacle in automotive design and one day, I hope to work with the ICT team that’s involved with the development of F1 engines. It won’t be for my ambition or determination!”

Are you looking for a job where you can challenge yourself?

Take a look at the vacancies at our website: www.ict.eu/jobs.