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'Programming a robot for a Ministry of Defense event: that was really cool!'

Anniek loves surfing, sushi and robots. That is what drives her and really sparks her enthusiasm. But how do these drivers come up in her work? At what makes working at Capgemini so great? In this blog, Anniek tells us all about it.

 

First of all, we just have to ask: who is that cool robot in the photo?

“That’s Cozmo, a toy robot that I program at home. It’s actually mainly intended to teach children programming, but it’s also pretty fun for adults who love robots. He can do things like play memory games, cruise around, say certain phrases and even recognize your face.”

That's awesome! But women and robots: you don't see that very often...

“No, you don’t. The whole technical aspect is often labeled as ‘not for women’ or ‘too difficult’, but it’s really not so hard. Programming is actually the same as learning a new language. If you practice a lot and eventually get the hang of it, then it definitely isn’t that complicated. So the idea that robotics isn’t for women? That’s complete nonsense!”

What exactly do you do within Capgemini?

“Right now I’m working as a management consultant and spending most of my time on Robotic Process Automation (RPA). In other words, the automation of software processes. To give an example: there are many administrative tasks which require information from multiple systems to be collected, transferred and checked. Sometimes a person spends four to six hours working on this every day. A robot can do it in half an hour. That saves a lot of time, and it’s also less prone to errors.”

That sounds interesting. What is the best part of your work?

“People often have a preconception about robotics. They think it takes away jobs and would therefore lead to unemployment. But that definitely isn’t true for the robots I work with. In my case the focus is on automating administrative tasks that people generally don't enjoy: the tedious jobs that you actually just want to get rid of and often spend hours doing. If this kind of robot then takes over these unpleasant tasks, the employee will have much more time for the work that is enjoyable and inspiring. At the end of such a project, it’s also really nice to see how happy the employees are with the result.”

“And the end of such a project, it’s really nice to see how happy the employees are with the robot”

Which interesting project is number 1 on your list?

“Programming Pepper, a social robot. I had the opportunity to do that with a colleague for the opening of a large event for the Ministry of Defense. During the opening, Pepper had to carry on a smooth conversation with the Chief of Defense – the highest-ranking officer in the Dutch military – while also moving around on stage. It wasn’t so much that we achieved something great with our work, but it was so cool to be there: a room filled with 1,200 guests and lots of important people from all over the world. If something were to go wrong with the control of the robot behind the scenes, it would be very embarrassing. But luckily that didn’t happen!”

You have been working at Capgemini for three years now. What has your career been like so far?

“Over the last three years I’ve worked in multiple departments. I’ve held positions as a Java developer, a Mendix consultant and an innovation consultant at the Applied Innovation Exchange. I really enjoyed the latter role. That was also when I finally figured out that I am much more interested in analyzing and solving problems than in building the actual solution. For this reason, I’ve now switched to consulting.”

You've already done quite a lot, then!

“Definitely! I think that’s also the big advantage of Capgemini: you can try a bit of everything here. I was 21 when I came on board. I had just graduated and didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do. So when I was offered a job here, I thought: I’ll just give it a try! Now I’ve been at Capgemini for three years and I’ve really found my place!”

What's it like to work at Capgemini?

“To be honest, I used to be very biased against large companies. I thought that the main focus was on money and targets, and that an employee was nothing but a number. But Capgemini isn’t like that at all. Yes, it’s a large company, but that actually makes it really fun. You still know the people in your department, of course, and the teams are also quite small. And if you don’t know something, there’s always someone you can ask. Everyone is enthusiastic about what they do and willing to help you along the way.”

And why should someone really choose Capgemini, in your opinion?

“First and foremost, for the people. I feel like all of us at Capgemini are on the same page. Everyone gets along well and you click with your colleagues right away. I think that’s pretty unique. Another reason to choose Capgemini is the variety. Because you are always working at different clients, you get a behind-the-scenes look everywhere you go. That’s an ideal experience, especially if you come on board as an entry-level professional. You can also take part in many things alongside your work, such as the Innovation Lab, Women@Capgemini and youth associations. In short, there are plenty of extras and fun things to do. That was very attractive to me at the time, and I’m still enjoying it now as well!”

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