A challenging project? Check. The latest frameworks? Check. An international team? Check. At a transport and logistics company, software engineer and solutions architect Jacques de Wet checked off all the boxes for the perfect job.

Containers instead of books

“When you order a book online, you can follow its status in the courier company’s app. For my client, an international transport company, I’m working on something similar: their customer portal. It’s an online dashboard where customers can monitor their shipments via a website or mobile app. But there’s one big difference: it’s not for books, it’s for large shipping containers. Customers are multinationals that ship components and finished products around the world.”

“Of course, it’s handy to know when your book will be delivered, so you can arrange to be at home. But there’s a lot more involved in international transport. Everything is connected to everything else. If a component isn’t delivered in time, it has an effect on the production schedule. And when a finished product is late, it affects the distribution schedule. So clients want up-to-the-minute updates on how a transport is doing, so they can take action if necessary.”

Thousands of updates per hour

“The customer portal project is really complex. It starts with the scale of the data traffic that feeds the dashboard. We receive an update for every miniscule change in a shipment. That adds up to thousands of updates per hour. It’s our team’s job to ensure that the message flow is processed automatically and presented to clients in an easy-to-read manner on the dashboard and via push notifications.”

“What makes the project even more challenging, is the high standards for the stability and reliability of the system. There are such high stakes involved in international transport that the dashboard has to be able to work perfectly all the time. Also, my client wants the system to be scalable, so it can grow as the global economy picks up. And then it should be flexible enough to process daily peaks.”

Working with a modern stack

“It’s the complexity that makes me love this job. Coming up with creative solutions for new puzzles – and contributing to a tool that offers customers convenience at the same time – is what I enjoy about the field. No two days are the same, and that keeps things interesting.”

“Plus, the technology we use is developing at a lightning pace. Adapting to those developments is all part of the job. So I spend part of my time studying new tools and frameworks we can use to offer the best service to clients of the logistics firm. That means our team works with the most state-of-the-art stack, and in the process I’m constantly expanding my knowledge and skills.”

Colleagues from every corner of the world

“I just mentioned the clients of the logistics firm, but in my day-to-day work I refer to them as ‘our clients’. I work at Capgemini, but I feel like I’m also part of my client’s team. I think a lot of my Capgemini colleagues in similar functions would recognize that. And that says everything about our commitment to our clients.”

“The company is a multinational, so we at Capgemini work for the client from a lot of different countries. Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, India; you name it. There are at least 200 colleagues spread around the different teams. My team, which focuses specifically on the customer portal monitoring function, is made up of the client’s employees and people from Capgemini. There are nine of us in total: seven developers like me, an analyst, a product owner and a technical specialist.”

“This team is also one of the things I enjoy about my work. They’re fantastic people, who put a lot of energy into their work. On top of that, they come from every corner of the world. I was born in South Africa, my colleagues come from the Netherlands and Poland, and the client is German. That adds a lot to the job. And it’s great to see how we all work together towards the same goal: making the work of ‘our clients’ easier.

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