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From University to cowshed

Completing your studies and starting in the professional field is a milestone that brings both excitement and uncertainty. Mike Jordens (25), a hardware engineer at Nedap Livestock, shares his experiences and insights to make this transition smoother for future graduates.

Get those hands dirty

Mike graduated in Electrical Engineering, with a master’s specialization in Integrated Circuit Design (ICD), and found his place in the New Market Solutions team at Nedap Livestock. At Nedap he found the perfect balance. “Sometimes I’m in the barn taking measurements, working under the microscope, and I’m spending only half of my time on my laptop. It’s a great variety!” In a team of five, ranging from a nearly retired colleague to a young professional, Mike feels both challenged and valued. “I learn a lot from my colleagues, and I was taken seriously right away,” he adds.

This role allows him to put his knowledge into practice. “The way of working during my thesis is very similar to working at Nedap. It involves a lot of learning, experimenting, teamwork, and taking courses is strongly encouraged,” says Mike. He recently completed a 3-day course in Altium Designer and will take an EMC course later this year. What particularly appeals to him at Nedap is the hands-on experience it offers. “There aren’t many companies where, as a master’s educated person, you still get to work so much with your hands,” he notes. His affinity for farm life comes in handy here. “I’m not afraid to get dirty, which is a good thing when you’re taking measurements in a barn.”

Tips for Students

Mike’s first meeting with Nedap was during the Business Days Twente, a career event at the ‘Grolsch Veste Enschede’. He highly recommends this event to current students as it was a perfect way to meet potential employers. In addition, the experience he gained during his thesis gave him a taste of the field. “The way of working during my thesis was very similar to working at Nedap. It prepared me well for the field,” he says. His advice for students and young professionals is clear: “Start establishing a routine during your studies so you don’t have to adjust when you start working. And don’t hesitate to ask for help; everyone is open to help.” Mike also emphasizes the importance of being proactive, even before you’ve finished studying. “I applied early, months before my graduation. It not only gave me a head start but also a clear goal.”

For the future, Mike sees himself as a specialist who continues to dive into technical issues. “I am more interested in deepening my technical skills than in climbing up to a management role,” he explains.