Max Martens was already developing websites and web shops for friends and acquaintances while studying computer science. It resulted in a one-man business that he enjoyed running. "But I missed colleagues to spar with. Besides, being self-employed means you spend quite a lot of time on all kinds of peripheral things that I don't enjoy doing." And so he looked around.
However, the list of requirements a new employer had to meet was long. "I would like to work at a socially relevant company. It is important to me that I can express my entrepreneurship in my work. I would like to keep developing myself and expect an employer to support me in that. And I value flexible working hours. After all, I was already used to working at times that were convenient for me."
Socially relevant work
He was taking a traineeship at a teaching hospital when he saw a job opening come up at InTraffic. "This fitted the profile perfectly. InTraffic deals with major mobility issues: how can we lower the threshold for people to take public transport? How can we better connect partial transport and public transport? I find those kinds of issues super interesting." One of his first projects as technical lead was a proof of concept for the Amsterdam metropolitan region to predict when it gets too busy on the road or in public transport. With a small team, Max developed a dashboard on which you can monitor and even predict visitor flows. "There is now also interest from other municipalities," he says.
Many people benefit from my work
He currently works on the team that creates information products for Amsterdam's buses, streetcars and subways. "That's software that public transport users interact with on a daily basis. I think it's cool that so many people benefit from the software I develop." He finds the most enjoyable part of his job to be "solving complex puzzles. "Although I like developing a nice, fresh front-end, I find the smart solutions that run on the back-end more interesting than building a sexy front-end. The more different streams of information have to be brought together and the more information has to be enriched, the more fun in it."
"I find that I really enjoy bridging the gap between business and IT and that this very role can be very useful within projects."
Focus on quality
He really likes the corporate culture at InTraffic. "We are very focused on quality. We deliver good, reliable software and pay a lot of attention to reducing any technical debt. If we get into a squeeze because we misjudged how much time something takes on the front end, we won't just make concessions and deliver slightly less good software. We will always consult with the customer and see if we can get a little more time. That culture suits me. I hate it when, because of time pressure, I have to deliver software that I don't actually support 100 percent."
Room to develop yourself
He currently programs primarily in Java, but also knows a number of other languages. "The great thing is: once you know a few languages, the threshold is relatively low to pick up a new language. I think that's cool, I don't like to get stuck in one language. And also not in one type of project. I'm still at the beginning of my career. You don't know what work suits you best until you've done a lot of different things. I think it's great that here I get the chance to work on different types of projects and gain different experiences."
Bridging the gap between business and IT
He is currently focusing on developing his business side. "I notice that I really enjoy building a bridge between business and IT and that precisely this role can be very useful within projects. They are two worlds with their own ways of thinking and their own jargon. I have therefore already taken some shorter courses focused on the business side, so that I learn better how to translate from IT to the business."