“I glue a lot of things together, this may sound odd, but I am responsible for connecting design and development."

“I glue a lot of things together, this may sound odd, but I am responsible for connecting design and development."

Berend Swennenhuis is a front-end developer at TRIMM. In this interview he tells us how he got here and how he uses his developer-skills to fire his bow in his spare time.

Berend, you have been working here for a couple of years now. How did you end up here in the first place?

“TRIMM has always been familiar to me. I’m from around here and studied Art & Technology in Enschede. After I graduated I applied for a job as a designer at TRIMM. At the time there was no space for a junior designer. However, TRIMM helped me to find a job in another organization. At that company I was the only designer in a team full of developers. This is how I came into contact with development. I really started enjoying development and even did it a lot in my spare time, so I made the decision to pursue a career in development. Of course, I had to gain some additional skills, so I did a lot of studying and experimentation in my own time. TRIMM was aware of my plan to leave my job and offered me a job as a front-end developer. That was two years ago; I’m still really glad about the choice I made.”

What is your job as a front-end developer at TRIMM like?

“I glue a lot of things together. This may sound odd, but I am responsible for connecting design and development. A designer comes up with a lot of wonderful ideas, which sadly can’t always be put in code. I’m the person who sits down with the designer to discuss the possibilities and technical limitations. We like to challenge each other a lot: that is when the magic happens. Also, parts of the design are often missing. For example, animations or responsive states. I fill in these holes myself. That is when my background as a designer comes into use.

I’m also working closely with the back-end developers. This is primarily a technical cooperation.”

Which programming languages do you use?

“When I started here in 2016, I was skilled in HTML and CSS. I had little experience with JavaScript. By doing a lot of studying and experimentation in my spare time, I got much better at it. At the moment we work a lot with Angular. These kinds of frameworks separate simple websites from complex, data-driven applications. At TRIMM I primarily work on larger projects, which justify the overhead of Angular. For simpler products I use Vue.js or native JavaScript. JavaScript is the most fascinating part of front-end development in my opinion: it takes care of the interaction on a page.”

Are there any specific projects that you are proud of?

“Yes, we rewrote a complex internal application for a customer. Among others this involved switching from AngularJS to Angular 2. It was brand new technology at the time and we were ahead of other companies. We also found new applications for the new CSS Grid system. Applying new techniques and learning along the way, that’s what I really enjoy about my job.”

Sounds cool! How do you continue to develop yourself in your area of work?

“Initially I cooperated a lot with the senior front-end developer in our team. I learned a lot from him, which allowed me to start doing a lot of things by myself very quickly. We keep each other up-to-date about the latest developments in the field of front-end development. It is such a fast-moving technology that it can sometimes be challenging to keep up. When starting new projects, we always investigate which knowledge and techniques are required. Sometimes this leads to us having to do a short (online) course, which is paid for by TRIMM.

I also develop myself outside of my job. I really enjoy sports and recently picked up archery. I love to combine these hobbies with programming. For example, I connected an Arduino to my bow. This helps me determine the optimal angle of my bow and arrow.”

You’re a part of one of our innovation-teams. How do you make space for innovative projects and ideas?

“We like to experiment with new techniques. However, we have to estimate for every individual project whether or not we have the space and time to do this. We look at things such as deadlines, budget and project complexity. One time, we offered a customer a new product as a token of appreciation. The customer didn’t know we were working on this, so we could put all our creativity into it. The result was a dashboard optimized for an e-paper display, which was written in Vue.js.”

You’ve told us you’re still happy at TRIMM after two years, but wat is your best memory of your time at TRIMM?

“The time I got to be the lead developer in a project. The team consisted of one specialist in each field. It really felt like my own project, because I wrote all front-end code. I started working at TRIMM six months earlier. It really excited me to have that kind of responsibility.

I feel very good in my current team. We have the same type of humor and fit well together. People take a lot of initiative in organizing fun activities. As a team we participate in a lot of sports events like badminton, softball and curling on natural ice. I really love these sports-related activities. A recent highlight for me was when we went mountain biking through the beautiful countryside of Luxemburg.”

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