Working as an IT specialist in the state: “There are so many smart people here!” – IT Pro – .Plan

As a developer, application manager or software architect at the state, you and your colleagues help keep the country safe and running on a daily basis. Techies who want to make a social contribution can indulge themselves here. The work is interesting, sometimes very surprising and always important.

Tweakers built the game ‘The Quest of the Low Countries’ together with the national government. In this old-school 8-bit point-and-click adventure, you’ll test whether you have the skills necessary to keep the Netherlands safe and run efficiently on a daily basis. Are you able, for example, to find a complex data error at KNMI, or to collect crucial information about a suspicious person for the Court Information (Justice)?

Data and sustainability

Thousands of IT professionals work for central government, from developers to cyber security specialists and architects. Thijs Terlouw is such a person. He has been working as a solution architect for the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) for two years now. The Knowledge and Data Center for Weather, Climate and Seismology is working on a safe Netherlands that can prepare for the impact of weather, climate and earthquakes. KNMI does this, for example, by issuing ‘code red’ warnings in extreme weather conditions, such as strong wind gusts or icy conditions. After his studies at Delft University of Technology, Thijs traveled to China to work in the technology sector for a few years. In the Netherlands, he was then active in the casual gaming industry until he sought a job within cycling distance of his hometown of Soest and with social impact.

“I found that job at KNMI,” says Thijs. “Here, everything revolves around data. A lot of data comes in, via our own measuring stations in the Netherlands, but also from international partnerships. Here at De Bilt, there are satellite receivers on the roof, and all data is processed by our supercomputer.”“With a major migration, you bump into all sorts of things” KNMI will soon move the computing capacity for its heavy data models to Iceland, where processing can take place more efficiently and sustainably. It involves international collaboration and the sharing of a powerful supercomputer that runs entirely on green electricity from hydropower and geothermal energy sources. Its own data center is also moving from its own basement to Amazon Web Services. “With a migration like that, you run into all sorts of things, from how you want to set it up to security monitoring and non-functional requirements from our teams.”

The supercomputer in Iceland is a partnership with Denmark, Iceland and Ireland. By joining forces, the computing capacity is almost ten times greater than the current KNMI supercomputer. The expanded capacity makes the most of the weather models using a greater amount of data than ever before. Thanks to the shared expertise and shared supercomputer, each country is able to publish earlier and more accurate weather forecasts.

Handling information carefully

As an agency, Retsoplysningen (Justice) is part of the Ministry of Justice and Security. Fingerprints, information about a family situation, criminal history or the validity of a residence permit, as well as information about detention for victims and mayors when an offender is released, are examples of information that Justid makes available in the legal chain via its IT facilities. This is information that is strictly confidential and must be treated with great care; it’s about people after all. Riekelt Brands works as technical application manager for Justid. He has been active in the Leeuwarden location since January 1.

“I spent six years working as a programmer in the commercial sector, where I found that I actually liked the management side of my job much more than programming,” says Riekelt. “At Justid you work as an application manager in devops teams. I am responsible for the systems continuing to run so that production does not stop. Justid faces the challenge of hosting almost everything internally because we work with sensitive personal data . What makes the work extra fun for me is that I have entered a whole new world here when it comes to software, I was used to working with PHP, and here it is about Java and primarily a lot of Oracle products. find it interesting, which ensures that I have found joy in my work for the foreseeable future.”

Working on interesting projects

Thijs is a real ‘techie’ who previously wrote for about technology and science. “In that respect, I am in the right place at KNMI. There are so many smart people in here! We have many lunchtime lectures where researchers give presentations on the most diverse topics, such as improving weather models with satellite data.” He himself is always working on several projects at the same time with his team. “The most important project at the moment is the modernization of the infrastructure behind 48 observation stations in the Netherlands. I also work on the European Meteorological Aircraft Derived Data Center. This is a very interesting project that makes it possible to measure weather data even more precisely with flight data from aircraft . .”

Afke Kingma, Riekelt’s colleague at Justid at the Leeuwarden location, has worked as a front-end application developer for a year and a half on the Criminal Justice Chain Database, an environment in which information is stored.“I found out here that working with Java and Angular is just my thing”t about persons who have come into contact with the law. She does this in a scrum team with testers, functional administrators, developers and information analysts. “I found out here that working with Java and Angular is my thing. I had no experience with Angular when I started here, but I could follow a course and get a lot of help from my colleagues. The application I use , worked is very exciting. It is important that data is always honest and displayed properly on screens. If things are not right, users in the criminal justice chain, including police and justice, cannot do their jobs properly.”

Social interest is never far away

At the national government, an IT person quickly takes on a great deal of responsibility. “I’ve been a senior developer and I’m used to ‘putting out fires’ myself if necessary,” says Riekelt. “When I just started my current job, we had to deal with a malfunction. Coincidentally, my colleague was absent that very day. If you’re dealing with a software package that’s new to you, and suddenly you have to do the whole myself. , It’s hard to swallow. Fortunately, we have a good documentation culture at Justid, so I was able to quickly find the solution.” In such moments, Riekelt feels even better how important the work he does is. “Our systems are used by the courts, the military police and the police, among others. If those systems don’t work, they can’t do their job properly.”

Although ‘De Queeste Der Lage Landen’ is of course a game with a high entertainment content, elements of it are definitely recognisable, says Thijs. “We really have a weather room that’s staffed 24/7, and a piece of XML came by. In the meteorological world, we work with various
open data standards, streaming, batch processing and RESTful APIs. Especially if you like to learn new things and want to contribute to a better Netherlands, you are in the right place as an IT professional.” Afke can completely agree with that. “The work we do at Justid also keeps the Netherlands running . The work is also challenging enough. I learn something new here every day and I’m part of a great team. If you want to contribute to society while doing interesting work, this is the place for you.”

Would you like to know more about working as an IT specialist at KNMI, Justice or other public organisations? Then play the game ‘The Quest of the Low Countries’ or look directly at the vacancies at

This article is not an editorial, but sponsored and created thanks to the National Government and Tweakers Partners. This is the department within Tweakers responsible for commercial collaborations, giveaways and Tweakers events such as meet-ups, Developers Summit, Testfest and more. See here for an overview of all campaigns and events. If you’d like to share ideas with us about this type of advertising, we’d love to hear from you. You can talk to us about this via [Discussie] Advertising in general].

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