From trainee to employee at Estate in Tilburg

Fontys School of ICT

Fontys ICT University Alumni Gijs and Leo have their say

A graduate internship is part of every course study. Preferably with a company that will challenge you. If you work hard and your employer is pleased, the chance exists that they might ask you stay. You then will bid student life adieu and say hello to a new working life. You have made the step from intern to employee. This is how it went for alumni Gijs Hendrickx and Leo van Schooten of Fontys ICT University. Both completed their Partner in Education Estate programmes in Tilburg. And with success. Estate was so enthusiastic about these two gentlemen that they were offered a contract straight out of school. So what’s it like to work at Estate, anyway? And what do they do there exactly? Time to interview these alumni.

Please briefly introduce yourselves...
“I am Gijs Hendrickx, 23 years old and I graduated in June 2017 as Software Developer with Estate. I am currently living in Tilburg, but I was born and raised in Rijen. I like to play tennis and I enjoy drinking with my friends at parties and festivals.”“My name is Leo Schooten, I am 21 years old and I also live in Tilburg and I graduated in June 2017 as Software Developer just like Gijs. I like to play sports, I enjoy going to the movies a lot and in the weekends, I drink beer.”

How did you two wind up at Estate?
“We both graduate at the same time and when we completed our internships, they were very satisfied and asked us to stay. Estate offers a fun working atmosphere and you have the freedom to further develop yourself. They even have a budget available for every employee to take a course study, for example. That possibility for personal development was a big plus point for me. What’s more, the employees there all eat lunch together during which we sometimes play darts or foosball. That’s how it is here. A very informal atmosphere,” explains Gijs. “At Estate, you manage yourself and work independently; there is no hierarchy, no big boss. It’s all very accessible and open,” adds Leo.

What are your positions at Estate?
“I am a Software Developer (32 hours per week) in a project team in which we work on various specialised projects. One project I worked on recently concerned a registration tool for Open Days and Visiting Days at ROC Tilburg. This was my first project as a “real employee” and I really enjoyed it. You first attend a briefing where you are provided all the information and then you give advice and start working with the project team. We use Scrum for this. The goal is to deliver something no time at all. I have a lot of say in this and everyone is free to share their opinion,” says an excited Gijs. And what Leo? “I work as Software Developer (40 hours per week) in a service team. I take care of customer tickets. This included an internal application for ABN AMRO, for example. The client wanted extra features for this app, like being able to place a “like”. So, that’s what we did. As part of the service team, you also give advice. We are sometimes given assignments by our clients that are quite difficult to implement. We then advise them and suggest an alternative solution.”

And you graduation, how was that? Any tips?
Gijs: “Graduation went well for me, the mentoring was outstanding and I made it through alright. My graduation assignment was quite difficult and I was really thrown into the deep end. I was asked to make an application that re-used data (collected via Sitecore) in a dashboard. Tips: take the time to think long and hard about your assignment. You are going to spend four months working on it, so it’s important that you enjoy it. If it doesn’t capture your interest, you won’t last long. Leo adds:  “You should also have enough freedom for your own interpretations.”

And, how does working life suit you? Do you miss student life?
“I like working. The difference is, when you’re a trainee, you can start as late as you like. Now you have to make hours and you have holiday days. So, it’s a little more serious. But, you knew it would be. It’s just a matter of making that switch,” says Gijs. Leo: “The majority of what I learned during my study at Fontys ICT University can be applied here. The knowledge I have acquired as Software Engineer and in studying architecture can be used for my work. We also used Scrum during our study and this can also be applied at Estate. This is a real advantage. You know how the team works, how the costs are estimated etc. So we didn’t need to take crash course in Scrum to start working here.

“What’s also great about Estate: the Friday afternoon get-together. A lot of day trips are also organised by the active employee association. So, if you’re looking for great job, I would recommend that you apply right away!”

Estate currently has several job openings. See the job openings here.