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Birte’s first week at Teal Partners: "Educational and overwhelming, but one thing is sure: I'm super motivated"

Birte De Smedt joined Teal Partners in the beginning of October. We asked her to keep a diary of her first week. Enjoy the read!

Hi, I’m Birte De Smedt and I’ve recently graduated, in July 2020. During the summer holidays, I decided I wanted to work at Teal Partners. I’d been thinking about Teal Partners since the job fair at my campus. I went with my gut instinct and contacted them. So, here I am, at the start of this new adventure. And, there’s lots to tell you about.

Thursday 1/10

After a train ride and walk from Antwerp station to the Teal Partners office (with the help of Google Maps), I take the lift up to the second floor and walk into the office. Jelle, whom I only know through email, instantly greets me, as does Tim, who will be showing me the ropes for the next few days. It’s a very warm welcome. After a short tour of the office, I sit down at a desk next to Tim.

Tim helps me install various programmes and tools. We sort out the setup I need for the Actief Interim project, which I’ll be working on. All the while, new colleagues stop by at my desk to say hello. As does Koen, whom I’ve only spoken to via video call.

At lunchtime, we grab a bite to eat, and I meet a few more colleagues as we do. It’s nice, although, I secretly find it all a bit overwhelming. It’s not easy to join a group, where everyone knows each other, as a newbie.

In the afternoon, Stijn sorts out my flexible remuneration setup. I’m given a list of questions about my colleagues, with the aim of getting to know them a bit better. It catches me a little off guard. I still need a bit more time to get used to the group.

Tim explains the Actief Interim project to me and how exactly it works. He tells me that they use ‘API calls’. Some of the terminology is quite new to me because I’ve only just graduated.

I find it all incredibly interesting and listen carefully. Around five o’clock, I’ve just about had enough new information I can process in one day. So, I head home.

Friday 2/10

Today, the real programming begins. I’ll be adding a small block of code on the existing website of Actief Interim.

We start with the back-end and move on to the front end. It’s quite special doing full stack development. It’s not really something we used to do at college. Back-end and front-end are usually split up into separate subjects, unless in Java, but Teal uses .Net and C#. A lot of things in the front-end are new to me. I’ve never heard of Angular and Typescript etcetera. Luckily, I pick everything up quickly. Towards the end of the day, I also learn to use source control.

Now and then, someone stops by to say hello and ask me if I can keep up with it all. It’s quite challenging, that’s for sure, but the learning process happens gradually. After just two days on the job, I already know that I really like it here and I’m super motivated to persevere.

As a very shy, quiet person, it’s quite hard for me to make contacts. It’s great to see how well my colleagues know and get on with each other. I noticed that at the Friday drinks, a fun end to the working week, albeit a bit overwhelming for me.

Monday 5/10

I meet Britt. It’s her first day today. She will be taking on HR and other administrative duties. It’s really nice of her to have baked biscuits for us.

Tim gives me a few jobs. I decide to extend the small block of code I created on Friday so that it gives a more complete overview.

Tim suggests writing the project completely from scratch. That sounds good to me because I don’t know yet how exactly the back-end and front-end are structured. I do some of it together with Tim, and some of it by following tutorials, because I want to learn independently too.

Tuesday 6/10

Today, I continue working on my little project from yesterday. It’s a website I’m building from scratch, based on an existing database. It’s gradually coming together.

This lunchtime, I’m having lunch with Tim, Thomas and Dan in the park. I like getting some fresh air and talking to a small group of people.

In the afternoon, I carry on working on my project independently.

Wednesday 7/10

Today, I’m able to apply what I’ve learnt last week. I’m finding it easy to add things independently. I absolutely love programming this.

In the morning, I video call Tim when I get a bit stuck. Tim is a big help to me and I’m glad that I can pick his brains. I’m amazed at how easy this is, digitally, through screensharing, among other things. Britt asks me to go to lunch with her but unfortunately, I was still on a call with Tim. It’s so nice of her to think of me.

In the afternoon, Koen stops by for a chat. He reassures me that I don’t have to worry about not fitting in and tells me I’m doing a great job. And, that if there is a problem I want to talk about, I can always go to him. He tells me Tim is very happy with me.

This gives me a boost because I’m a bit insecure and because of my shyness, I was worried that I wouldn’t be such a good fit for Teal. But as time goes by, this will get better. I just need some time to get to know everyone, at my own pace. Not that easy, of course, in these coronavirus times. The programming itself is also still a bit hit and miss, but that’s to be expected.

By Birte on 2020-11-23

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