Kester Meurink is a software developer at Nedap Security Management who recently graduated from Nedap University. Before that, he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Twente. Even in his spare time, Kester likes to create things and is currently dabbling with woodwork and leatherwork. He finds this can be difficult in an apartment, but he’s hoping to source a workshop that’s better than his living room sometime soon.
Why I’m so glad I accepted an invite to join Nedap University
I’d finished my studies and was looking for a job when I was contacted through LinkedIn to ask if I’d be interested in joining the Nedap University programme. I’d come across Nedap at the business days at the University of Twente, but I’d never thought it would be something for me. At the time, I really wanted to do something in the medical world to apply the knowledge I’d learned.
I went to Nedap to see what the programme entailed though, and I was really enthusiastic about what I saw. Nedap is an amazing company and the programme seemed like the best way to further develop myself. I liked the fact it would enable me to work with Nedap’s software development team, as well as studying, and I’m really glad I decided to join.
Hands-on experience from the start
Before starting at Nedap, I only had a little experience of programming using C and C++ while working on mechatronics during my studies. So during the Nedap University programme, I learned multiple other programming languages.
During one module, we had to create an application for the healthcare department. Collaborating with other Nedap University students and working on that application, knowing that we made it from start to finish, was really amazing.
In fact, the thing I’m most proud of from my time at Nedap University is that we actually programmed fully functional software. To see, at the end of each module, that your programme actually works is fantastic. Especially in the beginning when I created a software programme from scratch for the first time. Then with each module you add new pieces of knowledge and realise that you actually understand what you’re doing and why.
A well-rounded education
Most importantly, my time with Nedap University enabled me to learn all the aspects of being a software developer. It’s not just about typing code, you need to know why you’re typing it in that way and understand the reasons for choosing one design or language over the other. Every module had a different topic, ranging from networking to UX to database systems. Together, they highlighted all the various aspects of software development.
One of the biggest challenges for me was switching my mindset from being in university to having a job. At university, you spend lot of time on technical skills and delivering the best possible result. There’s not a lot of focus on soft skills – you learn them by working with other students, but no one teaches you the correct approach.
A key challenge for me was that my lack of soft skills could negatively impact my development. Luckily, at Nedap University we all had colleagues mentoring us and helping us to develop across all areas. That really helped me to confront and accept my weaker points and to improve upon them.
Rising to the challenge of remote working
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and we had new challenges to embrace. Fortunately, we only had a few weeks of lectures left and the university managed to make these available online. During our project work, however, communication was sometimes more difficult. As we were all working from home, it made it harder to check each other’s work. So, at times, we got stuck on pieces of the assignment for too long – whereas normally we would have moved forward faster because discussing it face-to-face was easier.
We also had to do the final presentation via Zoom, but it actually went very well. It was a shame that the celebration afterwards was also at home.
Ready to make valuable contributions
During our traineeship at Nedap University, we learned how to develop software – but learning it and actually doing it are quite different things. The next step for me is to work with my team at Nedap and experience the different parts of AEOS practically, in more depth. So I can really understand what I’m doing.
When I was with Nedap University and working at Nedap part-time, me and my fellow students were already part of the team. We picked up one or two issues but couldn’t achieve too much because of our study workload. Now, however, we can really focus on the issues and contribute more towards the problems our team solves. And with the help of my supportive team, I’m positive I’ll succeed in developing my skills.
The road ahead for access control
Over the next five to ten years, I think the role of access control will remain as relevant as it is now, but its implementation will move to more to cloud-based solutions. This will bring new challenges compared to having a server in your own building, but I’m confident our team can handle those.
Of course, with the COVID-19 outbreak and more people working at home, it’s been proven that homeworking is very possible for most jobs. So, even after this pandemic is over, I think it will cause a shift in the amount of time people spend working from home, which will also require changes in access control systems.
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