"It’s official! In April I will be starting an amazing new job!", I thought excitedly as I laid down my pen. I had just signed my contract with JCore during a nice lunch with a soon-to-be colleague. It was December 23st and signing the contract felt like an early Christmas present. Not only would JCore offer me plenty of opportunity to develop my technical and personal skills, they also offered a fun social environment. During the interviews I was told about pub quizzes, board game nights, Friday afternoon drinks, people playing videogames together…​ It seemed so much fun! I joined two of these events even before I officially started working for JCore. I had a great time and I was really looking forward for this to become my new normal. Little did I know that my actual new normal would be vastly different due to the corona crisis.


It’s strange starting a new job in a time like this. On my first day I had an appointment at the office to pick up my new hardware and some goodies. The colleague I had the appointment with showed me around the otherwise empty office. She explained a couple of things to me, we had a nice chat and then I returned home. And there I was, home again, just after lunch time, after having met only one colleague. It felt strange, like my day was already over but hadn’t really started yet at the same time. For a moment I was afraid that I would become isolated. I was afraid that I would have a hard time connecting with my new colleagues, both on a social and professional level. I also worried that JCore would not be able to find me an assignment during these strange times. I saw quite some corona-related challenges ahead of me, but decided to just go with the flow and try to make the best out of it.


So far, I’ve been enjoying my new job at JCore. It was different than I had originally anticipated, but a good start nevertheless. Over the past three months, it was very easy for me to reach out to colleagues, for technical questions and fun conversations alike. I also join the digital Friday afternoon drinks regularly and partake in the randomly assigned coffee breaks every now and then. My day to day work mostly consists of doing courses to broaden my knowledge and skills. I love to learn new things, especially if it will help me become a better software developer. For example, I’ve been practicing with Spring Framework 5 and Spring Boot 2 by setting up my own project. This allows me to experiment, discover new techniques and deepen my understanding of the core concepts. It also allows me to explore other topics like Hibernate, SQL and Angular, and to create a deeper understanding of RESTful APIs. Surprisingly, I even may have found a bug in Hibernate where the @NotEmpty annotation gets ignored when updating a persisted Set using its getter. That bug got me struggling for a while, especially because the code responsible for updating the Set was autogenerated by MapStruct. Lucky for me, a colleague helped me to figure that out. Now I can finally put my mind to rest and continue experimenting in peace.
        Besides doing courses and experimenting with different technologies and techniques, I also joined the Fast Track on Game Technology – an unusual subject, but highly educational nevertheless. It forces you to adopt a different mindset, as developing a game poses different challenges than developing your typical back-end application. It helps me improve my problem-solving skills, adopt new ways of thinking and learn more about C#. I also hope to be challenged like that in a future assignment. I joined a small team of colleagues from JDriven and Divotion working on a small project for one of our customers. I’m mostly working on the Spring backend and I’m currently looking into encryption and decryption of properties files. It’s a great opportunity to learn and to get a taste of the real work, but I’m looking to do a longer assignment. I love to put my newly acquired knowledge into practice, learn about new technologies and techniques, and to further develop my skills. I would especially love to be working on a project that contributes to society. I’m ready for a new assignment, even during these strange times!