‘Do you like challenges?’ and ‘when can you start?’…
Those were just two of the questions Chief Geek Stefan Hogendoorn asked me during an introductory interview for a summer internship at CTS NL. I had been learning how to code with Turing Society for a little less than a year when I wanted to take on an extra challenge in the field. At that moment a fellow member of the Turing Society posted a message about summer internships at CTS NL. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to find out if I really want to become a developer one day….
About CTS NL
CTS NL’s team started as Qlouder, working from Stefan’s kitchen table and grew out to the company it is today, with more than 180 employees. As the name suggests, CTS is a company that works with the Google Cloud, and as a certified Google partner CTS provides cloud solutions to IT problems for very big to small customers. Sounds vague? Let me give you a few examples: You want to set up a Google Cloud environment and safely store company info in the cloud? CTS can help. You want a dashboard to keep track of stock levels in different stores? CTS can help. You want a portal for your employees to login and find company information? CTS can help. You want to set up Gmail accounts for all your employees? CTS can help!
Because of the endless possibilities of working in the cloud and the growing demand, CTS is always looking for talented and skillful people that want to join. In contrary to most companies there is no such thing as fixed recruitment periods at CTS.
The Monday after my initial chat with Stefan I was at the office and ready for my first day. After setting up my new inbox I went through the employee handbook, which contains a few of the following codes of conduct:
# Dress code: You can wear anything that makes you feel comfortable, except Hawaiian shirts. You can only wear these fashion no-goes on the Hawaii-shirt day on the 21st of April. You should also bring your towel on the 25th of May.
#Ask questions: Stuck on something? Don’t be embarrassed to ask your colleagues for help. The general rule is when you’re stuck on something for 15 minutes it’s time to ask a colleague. Once, egg timers were used so that people would stick to this principle, however the ticking made people so nervous that it didn’t help.
# No 9-to-5 mentality: There is no strict policy on when to come into the office and when to leave. The most important thing is that you finish your work and that you keep promises made to colleagues or clients. So if you set a meeting make sure to be there on time!
# Lunch: There is no need to bring your own lunchbox to the office every day. CTS NL provides lunch and everyone that’s in the office that day takes time to sit down together and have a byte. This is also the time to listen to geeky jokes, but more about that later.
# Never leave your laptop unlocked: This is an unwritten rule that my colleague told me about. If you don’t do this or simply forget you might find a new screensaver on your laptop, one from David Hasselhoff to be precise. This is called ‘getting Hoffed’ and everyone could be the next victim. Consider yourself warned.
It’s this mindset combined with the people that work at CTS that create a very special vibe. Your inner geek just feels at home! While we’re at it, I didn’t realise how geeky CTS can be until I told my mom a joke from lunch that day. She didn’t understand how ‘orange juice with bits’ is super funny…
Everyone at CTS knows what he or she is doing, so for the first few days that I didn’t know what I was doing, luckily my colleagues could help me settle in. And this is not considered as a bad thing! As summer intern with basic coding knowledge it sometimes felt like some colleagues were performing magic on their computers. It was amazing for me to see how much knowledge there can be in a room! Every individual at CTS is an expert in their own area, ranging from different coding languages, the Google Cloud Platform, software or even life in general. This makes working at the office very interesting and necessary if you need help.
My timing to start working at CTS NL couldn’t have been more perfect. During my first week there was an office BBQ organised at Stefan’s home. It was awesome to get to know my new colleagues better and to just chill, eat and have fun together.
Everyone normally works in project teams and has their own responsibilities. You can notice that there is a great amount of trust in the employees and within the teams. Everyone would work on a specific part of a project and then send it to the other person to finish the next part, and sometimes they work together on parts of projects. This is really cool since everyone has their field of expertise and therefore knows how to do a specific part best. For me it was different since I had my own little project to work on besides everyone else. Of course I asked everyone for help about certain things but in the end it was just me working on it. The fun thing about this way of working and about the trust that even I could feel is that people are motivated to reach higher. A lot of colleagues started initiatives to increase the value of work by starting book clubs for example.
After 5 weeks of continuous coding, moments of euphoria, frustration and lots of help from colleagues and Google I managed to lay the foundation for a dashboard that I hope could be very helpful to CTS. I definitely learned to work with more coding languages and how to work with the Google Cloud Platform, but most importantly, for 5 weeks I could feel what it’s like to be a junior software developer.
I want to thank everyone at CTS once again for all the support, the open mindset and for making me feel at home. I hope to come back one day!
PS: We’re hiring
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