Summer Internship Development 2020: Workload Forecasting

Posted by Yash Mundhra on August 28, 2020

You have probably heard it a ton of times by now: “2020 has been an unforgettable year”. However, the summer of 2020 is truly unforgettable for us, mostly due to the TOPdesk Summer Internship. Together with a bunch of talented students from different backgrounds we started our journey with similar goals in mind; to improve our software development skills, make some money and of course, enjoy the summer holidays!

Team Fortune Tellers

Bootcamp

We had our first official and virtual meeting in the beginning of July, where we met with the rest of the interns for the first time. It was weird at first to meet everyone online, but after a few icebreakers we all found a really good click with each other. We spent the first two week of the internship on a coding bootcamp. Through a fun crash-course on Java programming we learned the ins and outs of Object-Oriented Programming.

We also had a look at front-end programming and learned to use technologies and languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Vue. In the bootcamp we had various projects to apply our newly learned skills. An example would be creating a ‘Cookie Clicker’ game using HTML, CSS and Vue. During the Scrum and UI design workshop we learned how to work more efficiently as a team and what goes on behind the screens when designing a user interface. No matter how much programming experience you have, there is always something new to learn.

We would like to thank everyone from TOPdesk who was involved with organizing these insightful workshops especially because they had to be conducted online.

Our Project

During the remaining five weeks of our internship we started with our software project. Our project required us to create a software program that would predict the number of tickets (incidents) registered at a help desk on a specific day in the future. Our goal was to simplify the planning process for a helpdesk coordinator. So, let us say a helpdesk coordinator is planning next week’s or even next months’ agenda, we would like to be able to give them an insight into how many incoming tickets they can expect.

We started our project with researching the possible solutions and we realized that there were several ways of deriving a prediction such as: time series analysis, statistical forecasting and regression modeling. In the end, we opted to use deep learning, a subset of artificial intelligence. After settling on deep learning, we spent the next days understanding the concept behind it and exploring the different libraries we could use.  

Deep learning consists out of three main phases: pre-processing, training and validation. In the pre-processing phase we focused on discarding data that would either have a negative or no impact on the prediction. Training the neural network was the main part of our project and it was the first step towards returning an accurate prediction. In the validation phase, we put our trained neural network to the test by checking the accuracy of its prediction.

In the remaining weeks of the project, we used the agile methodology. Together with our product owner Dirk van Zijl, we created a backlog consisting of different user stories. Each of these represent a feature of the application that has to be completed. One particularly useful technique for estimating our workload was ‘Scrum Story Pokering’; a gamified technique for estimating the size and difficulty of our development goals. Through our daily check-ins and regular Scrum board updates, we managed to work in parallel resulting into our team being as efficient as possible.

Social Gatherings

Along with all the hard work and the weekly sprints, we also had our fair share of social gatherings and fun. Due to the Covid-19 regulations we had to find a balance between online ‘borrels‘ and in real life meetups. Of course, it was weird to have a borrel online, but with some drinks and online games such as: Pictionary, Cards Against Humanity, a Pub Quiz or a Music Quiz we were able to look past the online restrictions and enjoy each other’s company. We also had a bunch of days at the office allowing us to meet in real life and enjoy our breaks together by playing Mario Kart, Just Dance or Pool. After office hours, we often went up to the terrace to enjoy an ice cold beer.

One of the highlights of the internship was Dierenpak Dinsdag (Animal Suit Tuesday). A yearly event organized during the Summer Internship, where all the interns and even some other colleagues pull out their best animal outfits to wear at work (See the pictures below). After a day of meetings in our funky outfits, we finished off with a game of beer pong and some pizza at the park with all the other interns. 

Our Dierenpak Dinsdag Outfits

Apart from the weekly drinks and fun office days, we also had one large event with all the interns: The Beach Outing. The outing was not only with the development interns, but also with the interns from Sales & Marketing and Support. We all traveled to the beach of Scheveningen, where we were able take advantage of the warm weather and cooling sea. After a tremendously competitive, yet extremely fun beach volleyball tournament, we closed the day off with a delicious dinner and a ton of drinks!  

The Beach Outing

Finishing Off

All in all, I think I can speak for all of us when saying, ‘we had a wonderful and unforgettable time at TOPdesk’. As of writing this, we are in our final sprint focused on refining the user interface and enhancing our prediction accuracy. While reflecting back on the past seven week, I believe that we have not only developed ourselves personally, but also been able to improve together as a team. If you are considering to join the TOPdesk summer internship, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second and send out my application ASAP! 

First batch of TOPdesk Summer Interns in Tilburg

Posted by Juris Majors on August 30, 2019

During the free summer months, a lot of students take up a summer job. Foregoing the sun-filled beaches to make some extra money during their holidays. However, what if you could earn some money and gain valuable experience as a developer? (And still go to the beach during the best internship outing!) 

Well, if this sounds good already, read on to learn about our experience as Software Engineering Interns at the TOPdesk branch in Tilburg.

Who are we?

We are Team Spaghet, the team that has been working on improving the release notes website this summer. We are three students, all with a background in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. Our goals during this project were to deliver a great product, have a taste of the life of software developers and learn as much as we can along the way. 

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Building AIKI: the Smart Suggestion AI

Posted by Maxim Marchal on

Developing an AI prototype

Group picture of the team. 6 people smiling

TL;DR: If you want to brush up on your programming skills, make some nice money and work in an environment with clever, friendly people: go do the Development Summer Internship!!

Introduction

Artificial intelligence is the buzzword of the decade, no question about it. While it used to be very difficult to develop an AI product from scratch (unless you were an experienced researcher), now the entry barrier is so low that even students can implement something meaningful. This was the premise of this year’s TOPdesk Development Summer Internship: get a handful of young people with affinity for programming and let them develop a technical product from scratch. The only common denominator for this year’s group was that everyone was highly motivated and a student with at least some experience with programming; besides this, the group was a nice blend of different nationalities, personalities and skillsets.

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Summer Internship Development: The road to RoomSense

Posted by Lucie Oude Luttikhuis on

Imagine, you’re sitting behind your desk, exhausted after building a difficult piece of code. You really need some time to relax. Luckily, TOPdesk has specific game rooms for this purpose, so you ask some colleagues and head to the room. Arriving there you notice that it is occupied, and the people inside mention that they just started their game. It would’ve been nice to know that before your walk. Unfortunately, you didn’t, so even more frustrated you try to get back to work.

As Summer Interns, this is the situation we were trying to solve during this summer. Only six weeks ago, we arrived fresh from our universities to get some working experience. Most of our team members only coded in their computer science courses. Now, we’re almost done with creating a fully working website.

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Testing: bugs and emotions

Posted by Bart Klinge on June 5, 2019

While reading the ISTQB handbook (not something I advise you to do) you will sometimes come across stories of testers having difficulty talking to the people who do the coding and how to deal with that. Having to tell the coder that what they created contains bugs or is missing a feature somehow is possibly problematic and how to tell them is supposed to be a skill testers should have or develop.

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International Hackathons: Tinkering Time, Freedom and Responsibility

Posted by Hazel Hollis on March 29, 2017

TOPdesk International Hackathon

What makes TOPdesk TOPdesk? When you ask around, it all comes back to our corporate culture. TOPdesk gives its employees freedom to explore and experiment, coupled with the responsibility to use this wisely. Just one example of this is our International Hackathons, where self-selecting teams work on a project of choice. At the latest International Hackathon, TOPdesk colleagues from all over Europe gathered together in Kaiserslautern for three days of innovation and fun.

 

Hackathons – An Agile Development Microcosm

International Hackathons at TOPdesk are a microcosm for the way that TOPdesk tackles the challenges of Agile Development. Nobody is going to breathe down your neck and tell you how to do your work. No, sir.

Instead, we give individuals the space to experiment. Teams look critically at their own processes, and select those methods that lead to the best results. You see this in the variety of tools and techniques in use at our (currently) sixteen Scrum teams. I want to share a few of the tools my International Hackathon team selected to make our project a success. Come, take a peek into the world of Agile Development at TOPdesk.

 

At the core of the TOPdesk culture are freedom and responsibility.

 

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DIY Flower for Valentine’s Day

Posted by TOPdesk on February 14, 2017

Today is the very first Valentine’s Day since we launched our Techblog. We would like to take the opportunity to thank you, our readers, with a puzzle! Take a small break from coding to complete the following analogue challenge:

TOPdesk-sends-you-flowers

Some TOPdesk developers master this skill already. As a result, you will often find our workspaces and huddle rooms cheerfully decorated with colorful flowers and swans.

Download the TOPdesk_DIY_fold-flower_2017

Tweaking the office atmosphere

Posted by Tobias Spöcker on January 16, 2017

Post-it wall

Company culture and office atmosphere

An attractive environment helps team productivity, even managers know that by now. Everybody enjoys working in a nice office atmosphere. A variety of things can help to reach this goal. For example personally customizable workplaces or aesthetically pleasing office design which usually includes colorful furnishing and decoration. Often, simply providing all the necessary tools to accomplish the job in a good manner can also be enough to achieve this.

Of course, this is only a fraction of what leads to a good work and office atmosphere. Besides the mentioned tangible options there are also social characteristics.

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Let’s get hacking

Posted by Fijke Roelofsen on November 14, 2016

20161013_102605

“Please tell me you’re seeing this too.” Read all about this year’s Hackathon.

On 13 October, our developers across Europe teamed up for the Hackathon, a day to mix up the teams, take a break from regular development tasks and focus on original new ideas.

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A small story about a foreign newcomer to TOPdesk

Posted by Nicanor Gutierrez Requejo on August 2, 2016

Almost a year ago, and after six years working in a research center, I decided to start the search for a new job. I had lived all my life in a small region of Spain and thought that the time had come to “see the world”. So I began to look for something that could fulfill my desire and change my life. It took time, a lot of telephone and Skype talks, rejections from my side and being turned down. At one point I even started doubting whether I was making the right decision at all.

The chosen one

Things changed when I saw a really interesting company claiming to be almost exactly what I was looking for: TOPdesk. The first thing that really caught my attention was the job offer. It was original and creative, with a hint of humor.  It came from a company that really seemed to consider their developers more than just a bunch of people you hire from a recruiter to replace the ones that just left. That got me interested right away! But as you probably know, there are a lot of attractive offers which turn out to be the exactly the opposite. Luckily for me, the opportunity just kept getting more and more interesting.

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