At Agri Information Partners, we work every day to improve your data management. Some of our team members are more visible to the customer than others, who operate behind the scenes. Who are the people behind our products and services and what is their story? Today we talked to two of our colleagues, Desirée and Jelle. What are their daily activities, what motivates them and what makes working at Agri Information Partners so special?
First, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Jelle: “Hi. My name is Jelle Jacobsen and I am 23 years old. I studied Software Development at the HAN in Arnhem and successfully completed it. Besides my work as a programmer, I like to occupy myself with moths and nature more generally. These things are quite far removed from my work as a programmer. Besides the work I sometimes do in the evenings, I also like to do some hobby projects that relate to programming and computers. I build websites, for instance, and I always find it interesting to learn new things.”
Desirée: “Hello, my name is Desirée Groeneveld and I am 26 years old. My background is a little different. I studied Agrotechnology at Wageningen University. My hobbies are reading, hiking, and birdwatching. Outside my work, it is very important to me to spend time outdoors. Especially on the weekends, I try to do things that do not involve a computer. During my workdays, I already spend enough time behind my computer, so I consciously try to avoid the screens in the evenings and weekends.”
What exactly do you do at Agri Information Partners and how long have you been doing this?
Desirée: “I’m a software engineer for a custom project. We have been supporting MPS in their software needs for many years. For MPS, we are building an online registration system for growers and an associated auditor tool to audit these registrations and manage the audits. With two software engineers, we are building all the requirements for these products. From front-end to back-end to the database.”
Jelle: “I am also a software engineer, but then within the E-Brida and Mercado product team. The product team of our company deals with our own applications: our breeding tool E-Brida and our product management tool Mercado. In recent months I have mainly been working on E-Brida alone, but before that I also worked alternately on the app and on Mercado. Within E-Brida I mainly focus on the front-end work, which I have come to enjoy most. I think it is important that our products are user-friendly and work smoothly, and I like that the results from my work are always immediately visible.
I started working at AIP at the same time as Desirée. Before that, at the beginning of 2018, I did an internship here for half a year, which I very much enjoyed. I finished school the following year and did my graduation assignment at another company. After that, I immediately started working for Agri Information Partners.”
Can you tell us more about your current work?
Desiree: “Yes! [Desirée opens the online project board] Over the past few weeks I’ve been upgrading the registration tool from .NET CORE 2.1 to .NET CORE 3.1. With such upgrades, all kinds of adjustments are implemented in the application. We also continued with the auditor’s tool. This tool functions with different statuses, which have to go through the application with checks that verify whether particular actions are allowed or not. For example, adjusting data when a certain status has expired.”
Jelle: “Yes, how much detail do you want? 😉 At the moment, I am converting the Pedigree Book in E-Brida from the windows application to the web application. This is a long process during which all functionalities have to be returned one by one in the (renewed) web application. A recent job, for example, was building functionalities to upload and delete Pedigree photos in the web application.
What appeals to you in the team you work in?
Jelle: “It is very easy to communicate within our product team. You can easily approach everyone for help, regardless of the product.
Due to the rapid increase in the size of our team, people now tend to specialize in one of the two products. Previously there was more exchange between people in terms of the work activities. We are growing quickly and that is amazing, but of course, that also creates fun challenges. Personally, I like to focus on one product because this allows for specialization within the product and the applied techniques.”
Desirée: “Our team consists of three people. I work together with another software engineer and a business consultant. There is also a team on the customer’s side: Marcel, Ronald and Tim. So a team of six people, really. For our project, we have daily calls and a project meeting every week. What I really like about this team is that we have a lot of fun together. There is always an enjoyable and informal atmosphere.
Outside this team, I see very few of my colleagues, also due to corona. The current circumstances make it difficult to really talk to others. Your world does become a little small, which I think is a pity.”
What do you find interesting about our business/customers?
Desirée: “Haha, the same reason I chose Agrotechnology. We are at the interface between agriculture, nature and technology. Ultimately, for me, it’s about adding value for the growers. Both during my studies and at my job here, seeing that we can help the agricultural sector is what I always enjoy most. Of course, breeding is somewhat removed from the primary sector, but it is still very much embedded in it. That is really a reason I chose Agri Information Partners.”
Jelle: “When I joined AIP I did not know much about the sector. The company really appealed to me and the team is a good fit. It is amazing to see that with my knowledge and skills in the field of software development, I can contribute to the challenges in our sector.”
To what extent does your degree match your current work?
Jelle: “My degree provided me with an incredibly strong foundation. During my studies, I gained experience with many different topics and approaches. For example, I followed a minor in front-end development. We also had classes on the back-end part, which also included design topics. Because of this, I have some knowledge of all areas of software development, which I can combine very nicely for this job. Furthermore, ICT is a world in which everyone will always have to continue learning new techniques because it is constantly developing.”
Desirée: “I didn’t learn much about software development in my degree, but as long as you have the basics, it is fairly easy to get into it and to learn it at a high pace. I acquired those basics during a number of software-related courses, where I learned to work with Python and MATlab, for example. Agri Information Partners is very open to teaching people new skills while on the job and also gives employees time to acquire them. Besides, the people here really value knowledge about the sector and associated processes. For example, Agri Information Partners organizes a breeding course every year to support the (new) employees. My minor already treated some related topics, which helped me pick up the relevant knowledge of breeding.”
Would you recommend Agri Information Partners as an employer?
Jelle: “I would definitely recommend our company! The company is always very flexible when it comes to working hours, for example. There are very few strict rules and as an employee, you are given a lot of freedom. Agri Information Partners is not a very large company, which I also appreciate. If you want to work for a small company, I would definitely recommend Agri Information Partners.”
Desirée: “I very much agree with Jelle. It is a small company and everyone is easily approachable. They show their appreciation of us through small things such as flowers when someone moves, but also let you know personally that they are appreciative of your work and efforts. For example, we received help with setting up our workplace at home. Communication is also very easy: I can always ask someone if I need any help.”