My first year at Twipe – Stijn Janssens

After starting my computer science education in Antwerp, last year I graduated from KU Leuven with a Master’s in Engineering: Computer Science specialized in Artificial Intelligence. Now I am on an exciting next step in my journey: joining the Twipe team.

At first I was surprised by the uncanny similarities and many shared interests I had with every Twipee. For each of my hobbies, from playing percussion in the Wind Orchestra of KU Leuven to my humble LEGO collection, I found a likeminded Twipee. The team I would work with, being one of the toughest things to check during interviews, was already spot on!

I embarked on my journey as the new Young Graduate at Twipe in the frontend department. Looking at my background, it is an area I had zero experience in. I took on the challenge, and combined with great guidance from my mentor, I overcame the steep learning curve to become a React Native developer. Soon I was already making an impact on the creation of the new app for The Telegraph. The whole point of being a Young Graduate is to soak up experiences in lots of tracks to discover what you like the most.

Twipees truly think according to their company values, one of them is Trust in Talent. The trust becomes very clear once you get to know that after only six months I was able to set up a completely new flow from Firebase to BigQuery and take complete ownership on it. I started learning about cloud computing and soon managed to create useful dashboards that were used daily by both internal as well as external management during the development of The Telegraph app. Talk about impact! Soon I was giving trainings to the other developers on how to efficiently use the new setups I created to allow them to further build on this project.

At the time I’m writing this, I have made the shift to one of the other squads of the development team, the AI squad. With a lot of excitement, I started on a track close to my education: the personalised recommendation system JAMES. As this is a greenfield development project at Twipe, many new technologies and good practices have originated within the JAMES team. I learned new frameworks such as Terraform, cloud infrastructures with microservices and data processing pipelines on AWS. As a computer scientist trained in AI, Python is the language I am most comfortable with, so soon I began to have a big impact within JAMES as well.

Currently I am involved in the technical project management and scrum management of JAMES as well as customer contact with the launch partners while still doing my development work. In the spirit of the Young Graduate Programme I was encouraged to step up with this new role and take extra ownership, something I still really appreciate. I have also been able to further develop my soft skills by giving trainings on the JAMES project to new Twipees.

If you have made it this far in my little blogpost, something about the Young Graduate Program or the projects we work on and the technologies we use should have sparked your interest. I can only tell you that the Twipe team makes all of the above ten times better. A lot of initiatives are popping up to keep the company vibe alive in corona times. During normal times we have a (very serious) kicker competition complete with statistics, ranking models, custom in-house rules and a ton of fun. And for all of you fellow musicians out there, once corona regulations allow it, we will even start a Twipe band.

After such an amazing and educational first year at Twipe, I cannot wait to see what my second year as a young graduate and the rest of my career at Twipe will bring!

Stijn Janssens, Young Graduate Software Engineer at Twipe

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