FISITA 2016 World Automotive Congress in Busan (Korea)

During the FISITA 2016 World Automotive Congress in Busan (Korea), ICT Group reached out to the world with its Motar platform. ICT Automotive colleague Johan van Uden was invited as a speaker for one of the technical sessions. He presented the work described in a technical conference paper about the case study of applying Motar in a racecar. busan201609280951Influential specialists and world leaders in the Automotive domain discussed the trend in Automotive development, which is rapidly changing from classic manual programming towards Model Based Development. Complex new features are largely software based, like for example those related to autonomous driving (generally grouped as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, ADAS). Next to intelligent autonomous vehicles, also connectivity and eco-friendliness were the main topics of this conference. Motar actually fits right into this modeling trend and serves as an excellent platform to automatically generate code from AUTOSAR-based models using Simulink. Automotive engineers can focus on the high level IP work, while Motar (fully integrated in the MathWorks tool chain) takes care of the translation into the hardware.

With a history of 60+ years the biennial FISITA World Automotive Congress has become the leading international meeting place for the world’s engineers and executives to share technical knowledge and ideas, with more than 1500 attendants from over 40 countries. For more information about the presentation of ICT Group, please visit motar-platform.com or contact us motar@ict.eu

Hack For The Future

Picture this, an office floor filled with technology enthusiasts, programmers, strange hardware contraptions, weird software solutions and pizza. Wondering what is going on? It is a typical Hackathon. Cool, but what the hell is a Hackathon? If you ask Google this is what you get “ [ ˈhakəˌTHän ]  an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming. “, true but it’s so much more than that. It is also a place where were you can put your creativity to work, meet new people, learn new things and most of all have fun with technology. This year the Hack Together hackathon is organized in Sofia Bulgaria with Strypes as a sponsor. The topic? Nothing less than the future! How can you improve the world of tomorrow? This hackathon will last for 48 hours and is held during the weekend. There are no specific programming languages specified, no hardware limitations, no topic limitations and therefore no limit to the creativity and imagination. tumblr_njpx9gcend1qh5tg1o1_500_bigger

The Team

As a forward looking company ICT Group is sending a team of enthusiasts to the Hackathon. The team consists of ICT Hackathon 2015 winners Gertjan van Zon, Niek Linnenbank and software solution expert Edo Noordhuizen. All part of the Machine and System Unit. A team is no team if it has no name. So in honor of Operation Manager Inge Pebesma who brought the team members together, the team is called I.N.G.E. which stands for ICT Nerd Gets Euphoric. Because we are all nerds and very Euphoric about this Hackathon!

The Jury

In a Hackathon everybody is a winner but as the proverb says, some more than others. But how do you determine a winner of a Hackathon? Is it by originality, functionality, presentation or the amount of fun the team had making the project? Luckily they have found some people to carry that burden. The jury consists of the Chairman of BASSCOM and the founders of HackBulgaria, MOVE.BG and LAUNCHub. Personally those name don’t mean anything to me but in Bulgaria they are the well-known in the Technology, Programming and Start-up scene.

The Prizes

Of course there are prizes, what would a contest be without prizes? Without any doubt the first price are the eternal bragging rights that you have won this hackathon. Besides that, there are also some more trivial prices like money and goodies.

The Preparations

How did the team prepare for this hackathon? The best way to prepare for a hackathon is to have some open minded brainstorm sessions. So the team ordered some pizza’s and came up with some great ideas. Some were even too experimental and impossible to make in just 48 hours, but you should always have dreams. During the hackathon the idea will probably change course a couple of times but that’s all part of the fun. Check out this blog and Twitter to find out what kind of technical stuff we are taking with us.

No pizza’s, WTF !

If you’re wondering how the team experienced the Hackathon you should keep reading otherwise this will be the end of the blog for you. The hackathon was, and basically every hackathon is, a really nice way to get in touch with all sorts of people and expand your network. The team has met some great people from very different parts of the community. From taxi driver to CTO, from Mobile App Engineer to ambassador. Wait a minute, ambassador? Yep, the Ambassador of the Dutch Embassy in Sofia held the opening speech. After that the team talked with the ambassador about technology and especially the Microsoft HoloLens and the impact it can have on so many things. The Ambassador was really impressed with the Microsoft HoloLens and enjoyed himself with the Holograms and HoloApplications. After this inspirational opening of the Hackathon it was time to get the grey matter working and develop the project.

The project

The Microsoft HoloLens is best described as really dorky looking sunglasses but that will change. In the near future everything will be smaller and smaller. Normal glasses size of even contact lenses with Mixed Reality are already within reach. The team made a really nice proof-of-concept of a Holographic Conference Room Reservation System, let call it a HCRRS. A What? A HCRRS! With the HCRRS you can put up a conference room sign without cutting down a tree of cluttering the work environment because it’s an Augmented Reality sign. A conference organizer can easily make or cancel a reservation of the conference using Augmented Reality or a planning tool after the sign is placed also using Augmented Reality. You don’t like the design of the sign? Change it by making a new one or selecting one from the Sign Design Store. The team also implemented environmental sensors which are inside the conference room, to inform the organizer or participant of the conference room environment in which the meeting takes place. If it doesn’t meet the criteria he or she can adjust the room environment. All this with a simple air-tap! So it’s a fully remotely updatable conference room sign, try that with a single piece of paper!

During the 48 hours the team encountered numerous difficulties ranging from network issues and “How do you add a webview to a 3D-object in Unity” to where are the pizza’s? A wide range of technologies were used such as PHP, Grovekit Hardware, JSON, Microsoft Holographic SDK, Microsoft Visual Studio, Raspberry Pies and the Unity 3D Gaming Engine. None of the team members had much of experience with Unity or the Microsoft HoloLens but that didn’t hold them back. Learning new technologies is one of the great experiences you will have when you are at a hackathon. holographic-conference-room-reservation-system At the end not all features were implemented, like the sign store, but the team was very satisfied with the result. After all this hard work it was time to preset the project to the jury. Unfortunately the live feed wasn’t stable due to Wi-Fi problems so the audience and jury didn’t see everything the Microsoft HoloLens user was seeing but that is all part of doing a hackathon. The team didn’t win but by participating in this Hackathon we’re all winners.

During the hackathon a lot of people were interested in the Microsoft HoloLens and the techniques we used for the project. A Hackathon is a perfect place to exchange information and gain new insides. Don’t want to leave your house for that? no problem. Use your personal book budget to get some gadgets or books and start experimenting. Challenge yourself! Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hacktogether/ Website: http://hacktogether.eu/ Twitter: #gertjanvanzon Bookbudget : @AFAS under “Performance and Development”

Help companies optimise processes by analysing data

Mane Lambeens (26) and Julià Delos (33) both recently started working for the innovation team at ICT Group. They gave an interview about assisting companies in optimizing processes by analyzing data. Read the article written by Brainport TalentBOX about how Mane and Julià pioneer with Data Science as a Service at ICT Group.

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Also interested in storing and using data to gain insight and optimise processes? Please contact Bart Lamot, Innovation Manager.

Gold medal for innovation

Change has always been part and parcel of the modern version of the Olympic Games. Various types of sport are added to or eliminated from the event on a regular basis. For instance, during the twentieth century there were still a couple of sports in which only two teams competed. One of them was the Basque pelota, with Spain and France as the only participants, while Spain ended up taking home the gold medal. But the types of sports in which Olympic athletes compete are not the only thing about the Games that is changing: the very rules of sports are undergoing something of a transformation as well. Sometimes this is related to the evolution of a sport or the materials involved. For example, take the clap skate and modern swimwear – they’re all innovations aimed at improving athletes’ performance. Of course these innovations also play a part during the preparations and not only during the actual Games themselves. The techniques used during training sessions zoom in on all aspects of the athletes. Today’s athletes have a leading edge in terms of the Quantified Self. For most athletes, everything that can be measured is actually measured. Data science plays a major role in professional sports, just like it does in other industries. The Dutch National Sports Center Papendal has an exercise lab and employs embedded scientists. During the most recent Games, several changes were introduced to the rules of a number of sports. For instance, the hawkeye system was added to volleyball. This system was already in use in tennis, but from now on, volleyball teams can also call for a challenge to allow the system to check whether a ball is really in or out. However, people who watch the Olympic Games would like to see more changes, at least if you believe what’s being said on social media. Dutch national public broadcaster NOS airs the Games with broadcasts that can easily take up to half a day. Public TV channel NPO1 attempts to show a variety of sports and athletes, complete with background information and interesting guests. However, at times this leads to replays and images of previous editions of the Olympic Games, while viewers want to see a match that’s being played there and then. NOS constantly has to make choices in terms of the sports they broadcast, while some of the events are held simultaneously. This was also the case during the previous Games, but what has changed is that viewers have become used to being in control of what is being shown on television and when. This has been the case since the Summer Games of 2012, and now many viewers have become used to Netflix. The Netflix approach takes away the need to look at your TV guide to see when your favorite program is on – you just watch it whenever it suits you. The NOS does offer this service, but not everyone knows where to find it. The livestreams online allow you to watch all sports without the NOS determining any interruption for showing a replay or for interviews with guests. You can watch the live streams on your computer and/or tablet. And that’s exactly where the problem lies. Viewers’ preferences are different, but not their habits, so they still want to watch their programs on their television. Innovation does not only involve changes in technology such as offering streams online. To qualify for a gold medal in innovation, the changes need to fit in with the habits and lives of the people who want to use them. NOS is getting there, but we’ll have to wait for the next Games to see if they managed to succeed. I would like to make the following prediction for the upcoming Games:

  • NOS App for smart televisions and Apple TV / Google Chromestick
  • A lot more data science is shown: athlete, theme and country statistics
  • Commentary on some of the more obscure sports projected on top of the live images
  • Scores shown via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.
  • 360-degree videos for smartphones and AR glasses.

‘Machine Vision is not plug & play

Automatic quality inspection with Machine Vision reduces the cost incurred by production companies while improving quality. Fred Grootentraast, LabVIEW-specialist at ICT Group, explains how to implement Machine Vision effectively.

How many soft drink bottles?

Cost reduction and quality improvement is an absolute requirement in order to retain a competitive edge. This is possible with computers that carry out quality inspections. Machine Vision (MV) enables automatic product inspections by sending digital images (created with video cameras) to a computer, which then checks the images for the required specifications. This allows a company to check whether, for example, a crate contains the correct number of soft drink bottles, or whether the shape and size of a spark plug is correct. Because computers make fewer errors than human beings, quality is improved and costs are reduced. This is why a steadily growing number of companies in the automotive, food & non-food processing and agriculture industry are using Machine Vision.

Clear image requires good camera

Although MV has been around since the 1980’s, implementing technology is not merely a matter of plug & play. Machine Vision is a composite product of cameras (hardware) and image analysis software. Image analysis is only possible if the image has the right quality. And this requires the right camera lenses, lighting and filters (for instance a red filter that makes red text on a label readable). Factors that affect the image, e.g. outside light, reflection from other objects, or the distance to the product, determine which hardware is required. A preliminary study that will reveal the client’s objectives and their circumstances is a prerequisite for making the right choices.

Complex software tailored to requirements

Once the camera has created a good quality image, product errors can be traced using image recognition and analysis software. This is more complex than it seems. After all, before being able to spot an error (e.g. a missing bottle), the computer has to be able to recognize the product (e.g. a crate with soft drink bottles) on the image. The software is programmed by means of Vision libraries (i.e. standard software libraries that only require adjustments of details). However, implementation of the software requires customization because the requirements and circumstances for each client are different and unique.

The success of Machine Vision is dependent on the use of the right hardware and software, and this requires specialized knowhow of both disciplines. ICT Group’s professionals have this knowhow, and this enables us to implement the entire hardware and software suite. Our point of departure includes the client’s requirements as well as a thorough on-site survey. If required, the survey results can be verified in a test lab. And considering the fact that ICT Group is an experienced software integrator, integration with other software is a natural part of our process.

Would you like to know how we can implement Machine Vision in your organization? Please contact Fred Grootentraast.

Decision Support System helps medical specialists make best use of data to provide better healthcare

Hospitals collect massive amounts of medical data, day in day out. Data that is a potential treasure chest, as it allows them to improve the quality and efficiency of the healthcare services they provide. However, many medical institutions experience this treasure chest as a black box – a box of useless, unstructured data. Raymond Beijen, Regional Sales LogicNets Europe (partner of ICT Group), advises hospitals to use smart software that will allow them to deploy and thus benefit from collected data.

Unstructured reporting

I know from experience that medical data such as patient data, results of scans and blood tests are often recorded manually, even today. For instance, the results of a patient test by a medical specialist are often recorded in a handwritten or typed report. The drawback of “manual” recording lies in the fact that it is so-called plain text rather than structured data that can be queried. This makes research into better treatment methods of patients complicated, time-consuming and costly. What’s more, unstructured recording is error-prone: when a secretary has to re-type a hand-written report, interpretation errors may occur that may be overlooked during the check by the specialist.

Automatic decision support

Medical data can be recorded by means of decision support software. This software uses a decision tree to support the specialist in making the right diagnosis in a structured manner. The decision tree is a visual representation of the protocol to be followed. It is shown on the screen of the specialist who follows the tree by clicking on a series of choices (decisions). Because the decision support tool also stores the underlying test data in a central, queryable database, the data can be accessed for research into more effective treatment methods, to cite just one example. This allows medical data that is recorded and stored by means of this decision support software to contribute to higher quality healthcare services.

New tool in healthcare services

So far, the only specialists in the Netherlands who have worked with a decision support tool are pathologists. We, LogicNets en G2 Speech, are currently engaged in talks with radiologists to convince them of the added value of the tools. Our innovative tool is based on voice recognition. G2 Speech provides the required technology and LogicNet is the supplier of the decision support and structured reporting software. A radiologist uses his hands for his investigation of the image and dictates the decisions suggested by the tool, after which the tool marks the choices he made. Proper structuring of the information thus collected allows future research aimed at improving healthcare services in general.

‘Navigation help’ improves workflow

Because decision support tools assist specialists in conducting research in accordance with the applicable protocol, their work will also become more efficient and accurate. Protocols are like TomToms that navigate specialists through the entire healthcare and/or research process, right from an initial complaint to the diagnosis and the related treatment plan. However, many specialists, especially those with more experience, follow a protocol mentally. Although they nearly always arrive at the right diagnosis, sometimes they take a diversion route which takes longer than necessary. A decision support tool makes this impossible, and it reduces the likelihood of errors. What’s more, the tool records each research step, allowing the process to be checked later on.

In short, I believe that decision support software helps hospitals to improve the quality of their services. On the one hand, by making data available to facilitate research into better healthcare. And on the other, by safeguarding and checking adherence to applicable and mandatory protocols.  In addition, the tool enables specialists to work faster and with increased accuracy, and these benefits apply to all medical specializations.

Would you also like to improve the quality and efficiency of your healthcare services using decision support and structured reporting? Contact Raymond Beijen of LogicNets or Jeroen van Laarhoven of G2 Speech.  

Professional PA Management (ITIL for PA / Smart PA Management)

The world around us is currently undergoing enormous changes that are also having a strong effect on our process automation (PA). The application of IT technology in PA is rapidly gaining popularity, for instance Ethernet networks with VLAN, Ethernet for Remote I/O, Virtual Machines, Cloud, Microsoft as Operating System for SCADA, etc. We are increasingly interconnecting systems that are often situated in different locations, thereby complicating their management. In addition, the systems are installed, operated and maintained by multiple parties. Management organizations are often confronted with the challenge of how to efficiently keep track of software and hardware updates and upgrades, and how they can guarantee the availability of the various systems. ICT Group has found that both the technical IT aspects and the management tools come in very useful in PA. The IT world has been applying a standard for configuring the management of IT resources (hardware and software) for years. This standard is known as ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library). Experience has shown that the ITIL standard is fully compatible with PA environments. Traditional PA management mainly focuses on resolving disruptions, which, in ITIL terms, corresponds to incident management. However, if you want to take PA management to a higher level, management activities need to focus on preventing disruptions, i.e. problem management according to ITIL. This will result in increased availability of the systems, and forces one to focus on optimizing the system. In short, ITIL works seamlessly with various optimization programs. A number of questions that can be asked from the perspective of ITIL include:

  • Do I have a list of all PA components, and do I know the lifecycle of each of these components?
  • How Cyber Secure is my system, and do I know who has access to which part of the system?
  • How much room for expansion do I have within my current system?

ITIL Framework The team of ICT Group has developed an ITIL scan that allows users to check the status of an organization’s PA management relatively quickly. The scan clearly shows areas that require improvement and allows us to make those improvements together with your organization. These improvements will increase the availability of your systems by means of proactive management. Interested in working with us to make your systems even more reliable? Please contact Arjen Van Dam.

Gaining control over your order and production planning is by no means an illusion

Your perfect order was delivered on time and fully in compliance with the right customer specifications. It was manufactured in a plant with a low energy footprint and optimized raw material consumption, where processes are monitored and adjusted continuously. Is Smart Manufacturing, which is what I’m talking about, also your dream? Usually, there’s quite a number of problems between the domain of dreams and the world of reality. One I encounter quite regularly in my work is poor communication between the order planners and the planners of the production department.

Incorrect and late orders

Miscommunications between production order planning and actual production often have a two-way impact. To begin with, the transfer of information from production order planning to the production department often leaves much to be desired. The planning department transfers the highly accurate monthly, weekly and daily planning schedules they prepare in the ERP systems (SAP, etc.) to the production floor. Because there’s no automated interface between the ERP system and the production department’s operating system, the information is often transferred by means of paper-based order lists and Excel sheets. Unfortunately, this is where errors often creep in. Errors can range from production not entering the order correctly in their systems or not receiving crucial information, such as a rush order that needs to be handled with priority or a production line that requires prior cleaning because of contamination risks. In short, they don’t have all the information they need. Because of this, there is a risk of production planning starting to process the wrong orders and/or processing them in an incorrect sequence. This can result in orders not complying with customer specifications and/or getting delivered late.

Truck arrives in vain

The lack of feedback on the progress of order processing from the production floor to the order planning department is also an obstacle when it comes to Smart Manufacturing. For instance, if an order is delayed due to production problems, order planning is often not notified. And if a notification is sent, it’s usually too late. This can result in late delivery of the order or a client’s truck waiting in vain at the factory. Moreover, production failing to report on actual usage of resources (materials, human resources) to order planning often leads to problems, for instance material shortages. Order planners calculate the quantities of materials theoretically required, but in actual practice this can naturally turn out different if, for instance, part of a batch is rejected and has to be produced again. If this information is not passed on to the order planners, they won’t know the actual stock levels and will be unaware of the fact that stock may need to be replenished. I all too often encounter factories whose production processes fail because of unanticipated raw material shortages.

Learn to see a blind factory

The communication problems between ‘the office’ and ‘the factory’ often render organizations ‘blind’ when it comes to controlling their factory, as they don’t have a clear picture of the factory’s operations. In order to be in control it is absolutely essential to have this insight. A tried-and-tested solution is to automate order planning (in ERP) and the detailed production planning, and to integrate them into a single planning module. Because this module allows two-way communication, it facilitates the continuous and dynamic process of planning, production, possible re-planning and production, etcetera. A system of this type provides unambiguous, transparent order information throughout the order process. In addition, a dashboard with a GANTT chart – a graphical representation of an order process – shows an order’s progress and production sequence. The planning module can also be used to simulate order scenarios that monitor resource levels (human resources, raw materials, machines, etc.), facilitating optimized scheduling efficiencies.

Gaining control over your planning and production will really bring Smart Manufacturing within your reach. ICT Group can assist you in achieving this. We can visualize your work processes, reveal possible issues, and offer you relevant solutions similar to the solutions described above.

To exchange ideas with us on how to optimize your planning and production, please contact Anne Rissewijck, Senior Business Consultant for Food, Chemicals & Pharma.

“Speaking Dutch opens new doors”

Dani Kusuma left his home base in Indonesia to study IT in the Netherlands. During his IT studies, he decided to take a Dutch language course. This decision helped him to get a job as a junior software engineer at ICT Group, and today he’s still reaping the benefits of having learned the language. We spoke with Dani – in Dutch, of course – about the benefits of being able to speak Dutch, his work at ICT Group, and about typical Dutch expressions. Passport:ProfielFoto Name: Dani (Ardi) Kusuma Nationality: Indonesian Place of birth: Surabaya, East-Java Degree: ICT and Software Engineering, Fontys Hogescholen, Eindhoven, the Netherlands Work: KVGM, Roermond, NL (internship); Vos Logistics, Oss, NL (internship); ICT Group, Deventer, NL Languages: Indonesian (native), English (near-native), Dutch (advanced level) and Chinese (basic) Why did you come to the Netherlands? “After I completed high school in Indonesia, I wanted to go ‘West’ to get a taste of the culture and learn a Western language. My first option was the United States, but I opted for my second choice: the Netherlands. The United States turned out to be too expensive: the cost of one year of study in the States was equal to the cost of four years of study in the Netherlands. I started my studies at Fontys Hogescholen in Eindhoven, where I was living at the time, in August 2011.” How did you end up working for ICT Group? “I actually came across ICT Group while googling. The company appealed to me because of their extensive number of employees and the large clients they have in various industries, such as Philips and ASML. It’s the type of company where you quickly meet new colleagues and clients, and that’s something I enjoy very much. Moreover, I saw employees from a variety of nationalities on ICT’s website, which made me feel really at home. Together, these things are what made me decide on ICT Group.” What does your job at ICT Group entail? “As a junior software engineer, I develop applications for machine interfaces. I’m currently working on the interfaces of medical equipment for ENT specialists, such as a patient chairs and microscopes. I write the operating software for the devices and the other three members of my team develop the software that controls the hardware. Initially, we communicated in English for some of the time, but nowadays we only speak Dutch.” You started at ICT Group with a traineeship for which only Dutch-speaking candidates were eligible. How did you manage to get hired for this traineeship as an international? “I had already started to learn Dutch during my studies, which enabled me to write an application letter in Dutch, and I also managed to speak Dutch during the job interview. It allowed me to show ICT Group that I have a good command of the Dutch language. Evidently, I managed to convince them of my capabilities, which was obviously even more important.” How did you learn Dutch? “In the Netherlands, I took a language course which prepares you for the national NT2 exam. This is an exam for people who want to live and work in the Netherlands and want to demonstrate that they have a sufficient command of the Dutch language. I ended up not taking the exam because my degree course was taught in English and there was no requirement for a Dutch language certificate. However, I believe my command of the language is sufficient for me to do a Bachelor education taught in Dutch. The language course was only an initial step. I managed to develop a good command of the language by watching television and movies with Dutch subtitles. But I’ve learned most from talking to Dutch people in their language.” So you learned Dutch even though this was not strictly required? Why? “If you want to live and work in the Netherlands, I believe you should speak the language. After all, apart from a few exceptions, the language of communication in Dutch companies is Dutch. But I’ve also noticed that in personal contacts with Dutch people it’s handy to be able to understand or make a joke in Dutch.’ What do you think of the Dutch language? “It’s a nice language, especially all those typical expressions. Take ‘chopping the knot,’ for example. It means making a decision, but I can literally see someone taking an axe to chop the knot. On the other hand, Dutch is a difficult language. The grammar is much more complex: Indonesian has far fewer tenses and verb conjugations.” How has ICT Group helped you in learning Dutch? “ICT offers a Dutch language course for beginners (up to B1 level), but I didn’t take this course because I’m already at a more advanced level. In addition, every now and then ICT organizes an International Night, an evening set up to provide internationals with knowledge and support to help them deal with issues they encounter, such as taxation, housing and cultural differences. They do their utmost to help internationals get settled in in the Netherlands. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the last session because I was visiting my family in Indonesia.” Are you happy at ICT Group? “Absolutely. For now, it’s perfect! Either way, I feel very much at home in the Netherlands, so much so that I’m even considering applying for Dutch citizenship. Everything is so well organized and structured here, which is the opposite of Indonesia. Take the traffic, for instance. Nearly everyone sticks to the rules. In Indonesia, no one observes the rules. If you do, you just don’t get anywhere.” What advice would you give to internationals who want to take up a job with ICT Group? “Learn Dutch, because it makes your contacts with colleagues and clients easier and more fun. It also opens doors that otherwise might have remained closed.” Do you want to work on IT projects that are truly challenging? Consider a career at ICT Group! Find our up-to-date jobs page here.

‘Working in IT: breaking the stereotype’

Recent data from expertise agency VHTO shows that the number of women working in IT is alarmingly low. This is despite the fact that the market has a need for more IT-specialists. High time, therefore, to take a look at the image of IT jobs amongst women. We asked Sanne Meinders, software engineer at ICT Group, for her input.

Why did you choose this profession?
“I always said that I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. Until I was standing in front of a classroom, getting glassy-eyed stares from all the children. Not for me, I decided. At my high school’s job fair I took a look at the IT booth.  Suddenly a light went on in my head: this is it! I had always wondered what exactly that magical box on the table does. As a result, my mind was made up and I chose for technical IT studies!”

Why is it that so few women end up in IT jobs?
“The profession is still relatively unknown among girls considering their future career. They often think that they have to be math wizards to work in IT. That hasn’t been the case for quite some time now. There’s also the issue of the poor image: IT professionals are thought of as nerds without any kind of social life. I’m living proof of the fact that ‘being a nerd’ has nothing to do with your social capabilities. Rather, it has everything to do with being extremely passionate.”

What are some of the capabilities you need to become a good IT specialist?
“For me, what counts is that you have to love puzzles and you can never quit. When writing a piece of software, you will inevitably run into a range of challenges. Don’t get scared off, just solve them. This is something women can do just as well as men.”

 What does a day in the life of Sanne Meinders look like?
“The day starts with a scrum, during which all teams briefly discuss the status of running projects. Afterwards, I’m mainly occupied with building products by writing code. I do that in cooperation with the people on my team, and sometimes with the client as well. One thing is for certain though: it’s never boring! Every application brings its own challenges and often requires creative solutions.”

Can you give us an example of such a product?
I developed the WaterstandLimburg app. We are obviously proud of the result. Thanks to this app, inhabitants of the province can check out the local water level. Application like this are built from scratch. Usually, you have to write the entire app separately for Android and iOS because they don’t speak the same language. However, thanks to a useful tool called Xamarin, you can just write everything in the same language. That’s is a lot more efficient, because you can then use the same code for both applications.”

What makes working in IT fun?
“You’re working in an environment that develops at crazy speeds. Every week someone will come up with something new. There’s no end to the learning. This makes the job dynamic. Other than that, there’s a strong community of passionate coders, real tech-heads, that help each other out and share knowledge.”

And what makes ICT Group a fun employer?
“When I joined ICT as a junior, I was already sold on Xamarin. I remember saying: ‘This technique is very promising. We have to do something with it.’ Even though Mobile App Development was still in its infancy, I was given the freedom to master it. That’s one of the signature characteristics of ICT Group: there’s room for innovation. If you come up with good ideas, you get the opportunity to develop them.”

Do you want to work on IT projects that are truly challenging? Consider a career at ICT Group! Find our up-to-date jobs page here.