19 Feb 2024

Life at Inimco

A day in the life of an Inimco new hire

Routine and variation. These contradictory terms come naturally to Youssef El Boujeddaini. Youssef joined Inimco as a software developer in the summer of 2023. As a new hire, he benefited from the onboarding process and immediately felt at home. “What strikes me most,” says Youssef, “is the personalized approach you get. And the way that everyone makes you feel at home from day one.”

A warm welcome

What did your first weeks at Inimco look like?

Youssef: For the first weeks, I received a personal planning, which detailed what needed to be done and what was expected of me. In many companies you have to wait for your laptop or for software that needs to be installed, and you have nothing to do the first few days. At Inimco, though, it was all well planned. There was a day-by-day schedule that was adapted for my job.

I experienced it as a warm welcome. You’re introduced to everyone in the office, and I also had a meeting with each of the people that I was going to work closely with. It immediately made me feel part of the team and the company. No one works on an island at Inimco, so you have a view on the entire company. Everyone knows what everyone else is working on and everyone shares their knowledge. The first couple of months, I was in the office almost every day. Only when I felt that I knew how things worked and had got the hang of it, did I start working from home a couple of days a week.

What do you think of the ʽbuddy’ program, where you are assigned a colleague for any issues?

Youssef: I definitely see the value of that. It’s good to have someone who will answer every question, both formal and informal ones. I’m an extroverted person, so I will ask any question to anyone, but for people who are a bit more introverted, it’s nice to know that your ‘buddy’ is there for any questions you may have, even very sensitive or personal ones.

Did the image you had of Inimco correspond with reality?

Youssef: Sure. Everything they mentioned in the job advertisement and what they said in the meetings, turned out to be the reality. Inimco keeps its commitments. There’s a great atmosphere in the company and everyone respects one another.

What struck you most when you started out at Inimco?

Youssef: Everyone is so helpful. Whenever you have a question, they will drop whatever they are working on and give you some advice. And not just in the first few weeks. Everyone is very keen to help one another at any moment. But the most amazing thing is the individual approach. That is really exceptional. From personal experience: during my job interviews, I said that I am a Muslim and need to pray a couple of times a day. Not only did Inimco approve it, they even made sure I have a specific place where I can go and pray. I don’t know of any other company that would do that.


Grabbing opportunities

At Inimco, people are given responsibility quite quickly. Wasn’t that scary?

Youssef: To be honest, it was scary. When you realize you have only been at the company for a couple of weeks and are already tasked with writing code that will go into production at a customer site, it’s easy to suffer from imposter syndrome. I asked myself “am I really allowed to be doing this?”. But, of course, I was surrounded by highly experienced and qualified colleagues to help me and everything I wrote passed our usual stringent quality tests. As I love a challenge, I quickly got used to it. At Inimco you’re expected to take on more responsibility. As soon as you take the initiative, you’re given the opportunity to prove that you’re up to it.

How do you plan your days?

Youssef: Every day, I carve out two two-hour blocks for ‘focus time’. That way I’m sure that I can get things done. Those focus blocks can be anything: developing code, writing documentation, making an analysis, helping out with customer support… Some days I can get a lot done by having these focus blocks. When I’m in the flow, I can continue working until the focus is burnt. When you’re really focused, you can get so much work done that it looks like a team of 10 people has been working on it. That compensates for days when you’re less focused.

Routine helps getting in that flow. For instance, by consistently starting work at the same time, say at 8 a.m. After a while it feels like you’re flipping a switch at 8 a.m., and automatically get a strong focus. I’m an early bird, and I like to get things done early in the morning.

On the other hand, I also need some variation. That’s why I was an ambassador for the AP school while I studied there and I was also student representative at a Flemish level. I need some new things from time. You can’t spend all your time behind a game console….


A family of nerds

Did you feel that your IT studies prepared you well for a job in IT?

Youssef: My studies in applied computer science gave me a good, broad basis, which allowed me to think about what I wanted to do and pick the job that appealed to me most. My education didn’t provide me with in-depth knowledge in one specific topic, but I knew enough about a broad range of subjects. I think it’s best to learn the specific knowledge on the job itself.

What attracted you to IT studies in the first place?

Youssef: To be honest, I’ve always been a nerd. When I was 8 years old, my brothers aged 16 and 18 were always playing videogames, were building their own computers, and started programming. I wanted to do that too. In fact we are a family of curious people and nerds, as my sisters and brothers all became engineers or study chemistry. I always want to know how things work. For instance, when I want to make an Ikea cabinet, I don’t follow the manual, I want to find out myself how and why pieces fit together, and what happens if I turn a screw less hard than prescribed. Even as a child I already wanted to know, for instance, why a water boiler heats so fast. Even in sports, I want to know how every muscle works and why they hurt after a certain effort or movement. Joints feel different after kickboxing, wrestling or indoor foosball. I want to understand why.

On your LinkedIn page, I see you know five languages. Congrats! Is there a similarity between learning languages and mastering programming languages?

Youssef: I wish both came easy. There are similarities, of course. If you practice a language enough, you speak it better. And the more you practice programming, the better you get at it.

Where do you see yourself at 35 of 45? Do you have a career plan?

Youssef: Hey, I’m only 23 now, even 35 seems such a long way off… I would like to become a true expert in a certain domain. The person that other people turn to when they want to know something about that field. A trusted expert of whom people say “if Youssef said it, it’s 100% correct.” I don’t know yet what that subject will be. Perhaps .net, which is my current area or expertise, or Azure. Time will tell. And I still have plenty of time to decide.

Would you recommend friends or family to come work at Inimco?

Youssef: Sure. I enjoy it here and I would certainly recommend it to anyone. You feel welcome immediately. You get a lot of flexibility. And as I already said, the way the company takes a personal, individual approach to everyone, catering to everyone’s specific needs. A lot of other companies could take an example from that. I keep in contact with other alumni from AP and when I compare my situation to theirs, I’m very glad where I am.

What advice would you give someone who’s just graduated and is on the verge of ‘real life’?

Youssef: My advice would be: understand what you want to do and what you would love to do. When you graduate in IT, there are so many vacant positions to choose from. I know people who have gone for the biggest salary, but who are now spending months on the bench at a consultancy. I know people who jumped at the first job offered, and now regret their choice. Invest some time in thinking what you really, really want to do, and then go for it.