My onboarding and first months at Fourtress

Published on Nov 05, 2020
By Thais / Software Engineer

My name is Thais Midorikawa and I am 27 years old. I was born and raised in Brazil in a Japanese family and moved to The Netherlands in July 2020 with my Dutch husband and my two Brazilian cats. During my free time I like to bike, play Scottish tunes on my fiddle and whistles, play video and board games with friends, and watch series with my partner.

Can you tell us a bit more about where you come from and what you did before joining Fourtress?

I lived and studied Control and Automation Engineering in Curitiba (Brazil) and went on an exchange program in Glasgow (Scotland) to study Electronic and Computer Systems Engineering. My first professional experience was as a web & app development intern for a small IT company, where I learned the basics for programming. Later I joined a local software consultancy company as an embedded software intern and learned about wireless comms and different types of processors. One year later, I started at Bosch as an engineering trainee to develop embedded software for the automotive industry, until my husband got a job offer to work in The Netherlands. During my last months in Brazil I worked as an Embedded Engineer on freelance projects for the same software consultancy as where I did my second internship.

How did you apply and what made you choose for Fourtress?

In July 2020, I had just arrived in The Netherlands and started applying for jobs in the Eindhoven area. It did not take long before I got a call from a recruiter asking me if I would be interested in applying for a position at Fourtress, which, from the job description, sounded as interesting as most of the vacancies in the embedded market. But only during the interview I realized that it was more than just-another-position-in-my-area, when I talked to the field managers and saw how proud and fulfilled they felt working at Fourtress and do what they do. During the whole interview process I could see this was a mutual feeling from the staff, and then I was sure that I wanted to be part of the team.

How do you experience working at Fourtress so far?

My first impression during the interview was correct: people really love what they do and feel comfortable in the workplace, they are open to talk about their passions and help you out whenever they can. It is an enjoyable and open environment, where everybody is stimulated to share their ideas and suggestions. This also reflects on the project aspect: one is free to do what they will, as long as they meet the project goals and deadlines, of course. Compared to my past experiences, Fourtress does less micromanaging and gives more trust to their employees. At the same time, the company invests a lot in their employees with additional courses, social events, and technical challenges.

I believe that this combination of factors contributes to an overall high employee satisfaction and, consequently, decreases stress load and stimulates my creativity.

What it is like to work for a consultancy company?

Working for a consultancy company is not new to me, although I have never worked from the client’s site yet. I really like the concept of being able to work on multiple projects in various industries throughout the years, as it gives me the opportunity to learn and focus on different areas that each application requires.

How did you experience your “onboarding” at Fourtress, especially in the current pandemic?

My onboarding was not greatly affected by the pandemic, as I started during the period of few coronavirus cases in The Netherlands. During my first week I was introduced to new colleagues, the office regulations, and the new projects I would be working on.

Which projects are you currently working on and what are the biggest challenges?

I am currently working on two projects:

  • Robot Arm Demonstrator – A 3D printed arm controlled by an Arduino and connected to a NVIDIA Jetson TX2. My task is to add more functions to the demonstrator to detect and grasp different objects with a Visual-Based Grasping model.
    • The project uses a Robot Operating System (ROS) Framework for controlling the robot and runs on a Linux machine. For robotic manipulation it uses Darknet YOLO for object detection and MoveIt for robot arm grasping. The programming language is mainly C++.
    • The biggest challenge in this project for me was to start working with ROS and computer vision, as it is vastly different from what I am used to in embedded programming.
  • Fitbox2Go Sensor App – A physiotherapy equipment assembled with motion and weight sensors to provide customized guidance to the patient. My task is to develop the electronic hardware and firmware to read and process sensor data and send it to a mobile app via Bluetooth communication.
    • The firmware is an event-driven application using FreeRTOS for task management, data processing for filtering oncoming sensor data and JSON generation, and Bluetooth Communication for data transmission. The whole application is written in embedded C.
    • The main challenge is to design the system to keep its energy consumption low, with low latency and high accuracy.

How do you see yourself grow at Fourtress in the near future?

In the coming years, I see myself becoming more senior in embedded software to the point where I’ll be able to lead a complex and relevant project in the area.