26 Aug Meet Maarten De Bont
26/08/2021 - Merelbeke
My start at Sirus.
I started working at Sirus in September 2016 as a SharePoint Developer / Office 365 Consultant. As of today, I have been with this company for 5 great years. However, I can still remember exactly how everything started for me. I was quite stressful for the first interviews, because there was a lot of expertise within the company. The first meeting with Gert and Giselle had a very personal approach, which was very nice and comforting. Afterwards I received a company presentation of Continuum in Diepenbeek. I was able to indicate very quickly that I did not only want to work in SharePoint, but that I was also interested in Cloud and Office 365 as a whole. I’m most interested in the technical aspects where I can fully deploy my skills. And my wishes were definitely taken into account. This is partly due to the flat structure in the company: as a person you have a say in what you want to do and I still appreciate that a lot about Sirus.
Career up until now.
When I started, I was purely doing consulting work. I was brought in at HPE, Hewlet Packard Enterprise. At that time I was always working in the office, something we can’t quite imagine today. My assignment at HPE was to develop a tool on SharePoint sites based on a development tool they were already using. The focus of this assignment was to set up a structure called SharePoint Deployments. Furthermore, they also worked with the SharePoint on-Premises components, but not yet intensively. Therefore a tool was built to provide an automated structure on certain SharePoint sites.
My experience at SERV, Audit Vlaanderen and Hasselt
I also worked for SERV – the Social-Economic Council of Flanders – where I was partly responsible for SharePoint (SharePoint Online – migration from SharePoint On-Premises to SharePoint Online), but where also did scripting and development. Other organizations where I gained experience with SharePoint Online were Audit Vlaanderen and the city Hasselt.
Digipolis Antwerp: .NET Development project.
In August 2019, I received an assignment for Digipolis Antwerp. Here the focus lied more on .NET development. This was a refreshing change of work since I was fully immersed with pure .NET development without the context of a SharePoint or Office 365 API blackbox. I did not realize it at the time, but it turned out my passion lied more on pure development and could happily indicate to Sirus that this is what I really wanted to do.
The highlight of my passion for development.
As the next part of my career at Sirus, I got the chance to start a proof of concept application at a new client. This was about both .NET, IoT, Power BI and so much more. I distinctly remember saying “give me a day and I’ll try to build a mockup in .ASP.NET Core.” Quickly after the mockup was finished we got to pitch my work to the client, who then went on to work with it. For me, that was the moment I realized that I wanted to further explore my drive for development. However, I also realized that I still had a lot to learn, but with the proper assistance of Jochen – the COO of Sirus – and the opportunity of asking for help from others within the company, I found my path in the company.
The right support.
Of course, you always have some fear of doing something wrong, but with the right support, every project till now went fairly smoothly. I was able to do the architecture of the POC project together with Jen based on a cloud reference diagram from Microsoft. Jen’s experience came in very handy at the time. For this project, everything runs in the Azure cloud and there are a lot of components from the IoT Stack that appear in it. The project was eventually submitted and approved. For me personally this has been a very interesting and fun project, everything went smoothly and in retrospect it was not as difficult as I initially thought.
In a later phase the user interface was also adapted and I was allowed to take care of part of the front-end. I also enjoyed learning about this. Continuing to learn at Sirus is certainly possible; there are always people who are willing to share their specific expertise with you and you can go to anyone with your questions.
What will the future bring?
I would like to further develop my technical skills in the future. During my evaluation, I therefore indicated which exams and courses I would still like to take. After all, I find it very interesting that technology changes so quickly these days and that you can continue to learn. At the moment I still call in help from my colleagues in setting up a well-functioning architecture. This is an aspect I would like to improve so I’m more certain to set it up myself. My ambition is to eventually grow into a Solution Architect.
Conferences and soft skills.
Besides a Pluralsight account for all employees, I have also been given the opportunity to attend a few conferences on .NET, IoT and Azure. That was a very nice and interesting experience and I hope to be able to attend such conferences more often in the future. I also want to work on my soft skills so that I can play a more coordinating role.
How do you experience the new competences?
Nice breaks and a pleasant working atmosphere.
There is a lot of interaction within the Sirus company. There is a good and clear cooperation, everything is thoughtfully prepared and solutions are discussed. This ensures that you can learn from each other and also come into contact with employees with whom you do not always have to work. There is also contact with colleagues from Continuum, we talk a lot at the lunch table, but also during breaks at the pool table. Sometimes there is time for a nice, but also educational, break. Those fun break moments are missed right now during the Covid period. Nevertheless, corona also has a positive side for us. Because we can telecommute a lot, I am less easily distracted and can focus even better on my work.
Good collaborations and a coaching role.
I have had the opportunity to work with many nice people on many different projects and I am very grateful for that. I was also given a coaching role on a particular assignment. I really enjoyed doing that. I got to know my colleague Valentin better at this assignment. He is someone who is very eager to learn and to find out how something works. So I got to teach him new things and I personally enjoyed that a lot. We had close contact and went over a lot of things together. If a similar question were to come up in the future, I would agree to it with a resounding ‘yes’.
“My five years of experience with this innovative company have taught me that I have been able to learn a great deal here and that my adventure at Sirus is only just starting. Thank you for the wonderful years and opportunities.”
– Maarten De Bont –