Working during the summer? That is an idea that most of us students would immediately throw out the window. And indeed, I would agree if I had not done the Development Summer Internship at TOPdesk! Not only have I never imagined how much fun one can have at the workplace, but also, I would have never believed that such a brief period, 2 months, could teach me so much about programming and working in a team. And I have only TOPdesk to thank for this! If you think this is too good to be true, let me convince you otherwise.
The Summer Internship started off with a bootcamp. Legend has it after the end of the internship, you have become a coding ninja. In the duration of 2 weeks, we went through some intensive trainings in Java, Vue.js, Git, Scrum and many others. A senior TOPdesk developer taught us that being a programmer isn’t just writing code which produces the correct result but writing it in such a way that it executes efficiently and is easy to read and maintain. The highlight of the Java course was that every intern had their code reviewed by a TOPdesk developer and got immediate and insightful feedback. I would summarize the first two weeks of this internship as “a continuous opportunity to improve”.
The office in Delft is the headquarters of TOPdesk, thus having the highest number of employees. Because of that TOPdesk needs to accommodate the people going to work by car. Unfortunately, not everyone can find an available parking space. Quite often people circle around the parking lot hoping that they will find a spot but end up going to an alternative location. This can not only be frustrating but also a time-consuming experience which can be avoided with an automated parking system. Enter TOPdeck – a smart parking solution which indicates the availability of parking spots using a light and user interface. The light is green when there are available parking spots, goes to yellow if less than 5 spots are still unoccupied and turns red once the parking lot is full.
There are two main modules of the system – detect car objects and determine the outlines of the parking spots. The former leverages a computer vision model which uses AI to detect objects, while the latter is performed manually, using a web tool for image annotation. The system utilizes footage from TOPdesk cameras with a view of the parking lot which are used for the prediction of available spots. Upon request the algorithm takes a frame and analyzes it without storing any data. The system intersects the detected cars with each parking spot to determine how much of that spot is occupied. If the occupied area is less than a predetermined threshold, we consider the spot available. The throughput of our system is close to a minute because of the deep learning model used which is computationally expensive. Therefore, we cache the results so that our system is reliable and responsive. Plus, whenever the backend estimates a change to the current result, an event is triggered which updates the frontend and informs users about when the last update was made.
TOPdeck provides an intuitive user interface that shows the number of available spots per spot type, e.g. regular or equipped with an EV charger. It also makes sure that the administrator can adjust the marked parking slots in case the view of the camera changes.
Leisure time at the office
I cannot begin to describe how much we enjoyed this summer internship! Every day of the bootcamp we would end with a drink and a nice chat. In the first week of our internship, our supervisors had organized our first intern outing where we bonded over pétanque, board games, jenga, table tennis and a delicious dinner and enjoyed each other’s company. Every morning we will start with a fragrant cup of coffee prepared by the barista. When working on our project, we were constantly encouraged to take breaks. In the afternoons we would play a Mario Cart tournament, table tennis or table football. Every Friday afternoon, there is a company borrel with drinks and tasty snacks. On Dierenpak Diensdag all interns dress up in animal costumes and walk around the office in their funny outfits. The cherry on top was our second intern outing with Glow Golf, a borrel boat at the canals of the Hague and a mouth-watering dinner.
This summer internship taught me how to thrive in the field of software development. Your skills and qualifications might be crucial but if you cannot share them with someone who will appreciate them and be inspired to improve themselves, there is not much of a use. Feeling fulfilled from your work is just as important as doing it right. And the environment you work in is what can ignite the spark and inspire the rest of your career. I am so privileged to have learned that my team will trust me as long as they see my dedication and desire to make impact, will give me freedom to achieve things my way and won’t doubt my decisions if I motivate them and if I am responsible, anything is possible. These are the core values of TOPdesk which I learned to appreciate, and I am grateful for all the feedback I got that helped me change for the better, not only professionally but also personally. This internship provides so many opportunities to learn and people around you care for you and the progress you make. This is what makes it so hard to say goodbye to the summer internship, but every amazing experience comes to an end, and I am sure that the friends and connections I made here will last long.
The summer internship at TOPdesk demonstrates the power of combining learning with enjoyment, and it serves as a testament to the possibilities that arise when dedication meets opportunity. It not only provides you with valuable technical skills but also an enriching and enjoyable environment. I believe that the TOPdesk summer internship is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss, so don’t hesitate but send your applications immediately!