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 From IEM to IBM

About Nick: “I graduated in 2017 from the PTL-track after my Design Project “Generating customer value – An evaluation of Assemblability” at Variass Electronics in Veendam and Research Project “Nano-porous materials for high energy density Li-S battery” at Yutai Pei’s Advanced Production Engineering department of the faculty. Was active in several student-assistant roles, active at Lugus as editor for the Lugograaf and joined the IBM Client Innovation Center in Groningen right after graduation.”


My great passions for digital technology and gaming brought me to the world of IT, joining IBMs Client Innovation Center here in Groningen for their Java-programming traineeship. As during our studies we’re taught to bridge the gap between management and technical specialists, I still felt that I was lacking technical expertise and therefore I wanted to learn programming and how to build software. Working my way up the ranks I quickly noticed that a technical programming specialist with soft skills and business knowledge is a highly valuable asset to employers. In addition, when working for a young company, you quickly identify business processes that can be improved too. It creates a lot of opportunities: Focus more on a business analyst on project basis for clients to capture and analyze requirements, or on an internal role to improve IBMs processes, become a project manager, or grow in a wide range of technical areas to climb the ladder as an IT engineer, consultant or architect. I’ve picked the latter career path where, after the traineeship ended, I started out as a front-end developer. First assignment brought me into the NAM to create a seismic engineering application for assessing buildings in the Groningen earthquake area. We collaborated with structural engineers from New Zealand, who even invited us over for a whole month in the final stages of the project! Ideal scenario of course to explore that country a bit more too, sadly this was a pre-COVID adventure and now that clients also experienced “working from home”, opportunities like this are turning slim. Absolute highlight so early on in my professional career. Gaining more and more IT knowledge, I started on a long-term project at Rijkswaterstaat where we maintained applications but also rebuild a large portion of them using a variety of different technologies. Utilizing my combined IEM and IT skills, it’s easier to translate technical challenges of the team to non-technical team members to create a lot of common understanding, which led to a Technical Team Lead role, to exactly bridge the gap between clients who talk business and our technical specialists. The world of IT is booming now with e.g., ChatGPT, Data & AI and rapid developments on cybersecurity or even cyber warfare. It becomes more and more important for businesses to protect their data, their systems and respond quicker to market changes. Knowing these business implications and be able to translate that to technical solutions and architectures makes this job so much fun. Especially when you make complex technical subjects understandable for your non-technical stakeholders. Trust us, we’re engineers!



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