Joost Houwen

There are various ways to be successful; ICT Group encourages its employees to pursue these

  • 19 April 2017
  • 5 min

Joost Houwen joined ICT Group in 2016 as a software developer in the healthcare industry. Why did he choose this company? What is it that makes his profession so appealing? And what are his dreams for the future?

In his previous job, Joost worked together with his team to develop an e-commerce platform. A great project in which I learned a lot, says Joost. “The functionality itself was pretty straightforward. What was more complicated was the fact that the enormous number of functionalities had to be combined into a single package. It was as if we were putting together a huge jigsaw puzzle. The first step of the solution consisted of creating a framework. The challenge was to keep the various interfaces of the puzzle pieces as simple as possible, allowing us to fit them together.” From the moment the team had put the puzzle together, Joost’s interest started to fade. “You can endlessly keep adding and optimizing functionality, but I’m far more interested in developing a framework.”

Healthcare requires the highest-quality software

He was contacted for a position at ICT Group, and was interested in learning more about it. “My interest was piqued by the fact that they were looking for someone to develop software for the healthcare industry. ICT Group and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are developing a workflow management system together for hospital oncology departments. The software generates highly intelligent planning schedules that speed up the process of examining patients so they can receive their diagnosis sooner. The software optimizes processes and automates workflows. Quality is extremely important, because even a minor glitch in the software can have huge implications. Everything is tested thoroughly. Quality comes before speed, which suits me down to the ground. I like to do a thorough job and make things transparent and traceable so that you have a solid foundation for future extensions.”

ICT Group wants its employees to develop

Joost decided to make the switch to ICT Group, also because he was told that he could participate in the MGH project. “And that’s what I did during the first couple of months after joining ICT Group. However, a new contracting position came up that really matched my skill set and experience. Even though I had chosen ICT Group for their in-house projects, I said ‘yes’ to the contracting job. I understand that things can sometimes turn out differently than expected. As it happened, they didn’t force me to take the contracting job. It would have been fine if I’d said ‘no’.” Joost is currently working on a project in which he is creating a DTAP environment for a diagnostic center/primary care clinic. Quality is also an important issue here. “I’m developing software that automates workflows. It’s important that all processes are seamlessly aligned, avoiding the risk of any job failing to meet the requirements or getting delayed. Basically this software has the same functionality as the application we developed together with MGH, apart from its scale and the fact that it’s used for different diagnostic purposes.”

Pursuing your own dreams

Joost is very happy with his employer ICT Automatisering. Especially because they provide the kind of career pathways he finds interesting. “I took a Professional Leadership course in my very first month on the job. It shows you how to discover your motives. I learned that what excites me more than anything is being of added value to others. I discussed this with ICT Group and we looked at how we can make the best use of that desire in my position. For instance, I’d love to convey my passion for my profession to others. That’s something that we are actually doing right now. I’ve been given the opportunity to organize a ‘Train the trainer’ session and to give presentations at colleges. That’s an excellent match with my primary role as a software developer. It allows me to test the waters and find out if it’s something I’d like to pursue further.”

Success depends entirely on passionate people

Joost is the embodiment of ICT Group’s vision that success depends entirely on passionate people: “ICT Group looks at what people enjoy; what their interests are and what they’re good at, without pigeonholing them into a particular job right out the gate. You’re given plenty of opportunity to develop. And that’s nice, because there are various ways to be successful. I like it when your employer encourages you to find those ways.” It creates a certain culture and mentality in the company, Joost observes. “Everyone here is passionate about what they do.” And that can be pretty dangerous with a wild bunch of software developers, he says with a smile. “Like I said, developing software is just like solving a puzzle. And it’s just as addictive too. Sometimes I really have to tell myself to call it a day. Otherwise I would continue until the early hours of the morning.”

"I learn something new every day, I’m getting a chance to explore extremely interesting issues, my work contributes to society at large, and I get to earn a good living on top of that. What else could you ask for?"

He’s happy that he made the switch to ICT Group. “My former job was also a lot of fun, but after a while I noticed that I’d become stuck in a routine and was really working on autopilot. Now I have to use my brain in everything I do, and that’s a lot more interesting. I learn something new every day, I’m getting a chance to explore extremely interesting issues, my work contributes to society at large, and I get to earn a good living on top of that. What else could you ask for?”

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