Retaining IT talent in Twente is a subject that is regularly discussed. People and companies often speak about taking in students, but it turns out to be more difficult during the quarantine period. Now the question remains as how to best to deal with this. In this article, we look at NDIX, a business to business connectivity service provider, works with a project team of students.
“We started off in the region of the North-East Netherlands, but these days we provide companies with connectivity internationally. With a country-wide network in both the Netherlands as well as Germany, we serve 3500+ customers in the field of connectivity. We do this from our “headquarters” in Enschede with a team of 30 people by now. This growth lead to us having to reevaluate how we serve our customers and partners continually. We noticed that we could provide our customers with information much more easily during the order process, because we currently do this primarily via email and personal contact.” says Operations Manager, Harry Loof. NDIX is building a portal for customers and partners with the help of a team of students, of which Jarno is a part.
“Choosing to hire students and have them work on the portal was not a difficult choice to make.”
“With this team of students we are building a portal in which our existing customers & partners can find all their information. In this system they can, for example: view their bandwidth usage, collect financial data, or order a new Internet service.” says Harry. Choosing to hire students and have them work on the portal was not a difficult choice to make for NDIX. “The team of students has been working for just over a month now and they really shine. They are flexible, work well together and are on the same level.”
“Within software development, we work with the agile methodology. With each step, we develop something new in the code that we learn from, which makes the next step easier. This way we build faster during the entire process. When the students stay with the company for longer and have more background information, they will be able to quickly make the link to our existing applications. In this way, they learn to adapt quickly and understand the process better.
“We hope that, aside from stimulation by the students and innovations, we get to retain dedicated programmers who will ultimately be responsible for the portal and its design. They will be surrounded by a team of flexible students who will work together on the code to build the application. It is a conscious choice that we made, so that we can also scale up as soon as there are new projects.” Harry says.
“The work I do is challenging and interesting.”
We also asked Jarno about his part-time job at NDIX: “I started at NDIX since the spring and I work (from home) as part of a team that is building the NDIX portal, for at partners and customers. We have a meeting every Friday morning via Teams. During these meetings we discuss what happened last week, what we will do next week and the questions/problems we have.”
“The work I do is challenging and interesting, just like the internship I did at NDIX. The difference now compared to my internship is that I work in a team. That’s a fun experience and an addition to work. However, I personally don’t like working from home. I spend all day at my computer, I have little contact with other colleagues and I miss the coffee talk. I also miss hearing from my colleagues at the NOC. They are working around the clock to keep the NDIX network up and running. I learn a lot about the company itself, but also about internet technology. I regularly have questions about that. Also, I can not quickly receive feedback or advice, despite the fact that I am now in a team with other programmers. It is of course possible with Teams, but I prefer to walk to their desk. That is faster than sending a chat.”
“It is not all negative. What I really like about working from home is that you can decide where you work. When the weather is nice, I will work outside in the backyard which is very nice. I can also use my own equipment, which is an advantage anyway. I am eager to work in office again and see my colleagues. If the option is available, even if it’s for a day or two, I’d love to go!”
– Jarno Witjes, Software Engineer