Behind the (computer) scenes, Calibrate is full of talent and knowledge. It is time to highlight some of the top people. Today we give the floor to Thomas, a front-end developer with a passion for accessibility. We already know this good-humoured kitchen prince inside out. Read on to get to know him too.

I am Thomas and I have been working as a frontend developer at Calibrate for two years now. Front-end architecture and theme development are really interesting to me. Currently my main interest is accessibility and making components accessible. In my spare time I like to play music and cook regularly.

How would you describe Calibrate's culture? What values are important to the company and how are these values applied on a daily basis?

When I applied, I was working for a company without much vision or values. The nice talk at their company presentations always turned out to be an empty shell. As a result, I had low expectations of the company culture.

Compared to my previous employer, Calibrate is exactly the opposite. Here you find deeply rooted norms and values that every employee actually puts into practice. There is no empty talk here.

There is a culture of collaboration and progress. If you want to, there is always someone there to talk to. We are given the freedom to explore new ideas and take well-considered risks. As a result, we are constantly learning from each other. This way of working builds my confidence, creates responsibility and is very satisfying.

I also think that our communication is very honest and open. Everything is negotiable. Whether it is a difficult project, a bad day or something more personal: we are and remain human beings. I notice this respect not only between colleagues, but also with clients. At the end of the day, we all have a common goal: to create many beautiful projects together.

Calibrate has a diverse mix of knowledge and people with different technical backgrounds. This creates a welcoming environment where I feel respected and valued.


Can you share one or more success stories or projects you are proud of that you have had the opportunity to work on?

One component that really stands out for me is the menu button on the website of the city of Ghent. My job was to translate the UX designs into front-end code. It was also important to make the navigation accessible. In this case, this meant that everything could be operated by both keyboard and screen reader.

The button may look deceptively simple, but it is actually very complex. My knowledge of accessibility, ARIA and JavaScript came in handy. The fact that the new menu is widely used by the people of Ghent makes me proud. Since then, I have had the opportunity to create a similar navigation for Crelan, and there will be more to come.

How does the company support the professional development of its employees? For example, do you have training programmes?

We get an annual budget that we can spend on training or conferences ourselves. As long as the training is related to our job, we control everything ourselves. We are also regularly encouraged to use this budget and to learn.

This year, for example, I wanted to learn more about web accessibility. A few posts on Slack later, accessibility training was scheduled for the whole team, and I was also able to sign up for an additional web accessibility course of my choice.

Can you describe a typical working day and what makes working at Calibrate so special?

Depending on the project you are working on, there is a short stand-up with the development team in the morning. Usually the day starts with planning. We discuss the content of the tasks in advance.

Then it's time for the most fun part of the day: writing code and turning designs or user stories into usable interfaces. I feel at home with HTML, Sass, Twig and JavaScript. But PHP is also thrown in here and there. Meanwhile, I keep in constant contact with colleagues via Slack. When tasks are completed, I contact the client or project manager. Towards the end of the day, I finish my work and plan the next day's tasks.

What I like is that at the end of a working day I have created something that will be used effectively later. There is something magical about seeing a component grow from a blank screen to part of a web application. I feel that my work has such an impact.


What kind of team building activities does Calibrate organise? What has stuck with you?

When I joined two years ago, we were still jumping from one lockdown to another and it was difficult to get to know colleagues. I recognised familiar faces here and there from previous jobs or conferences, but I still lacked a sense of 'we'.


When we went on our first weekend trip to the Ardennes with all the Calibrate colleagues, this sense of togetherness took shape. You get to know the people you work with every day in a casual and relaxed way. In addition to this annual weekend, numerous activities are organised. Whether in Ghent, Antwerp or Leuven, we regularly go out for dinner together or organise excursions, sports activities or board game evenings.

How does Calibrate ensure a good work-life balance for its employees?

Finding the right work-life balance has sometimes been difficult for me in the past. Working from home also made that line thinner and thinner.

At Calibrate I find that there are clear expectations and deadlines for each project. Each task is carefully evaluated, resulting in a realistic schedule. Good planning reduces the chance of unexpected tasks and therefore overtime.

You can monitor progress on each project and make adjustments if necessary. Most importantly, clear expectations mean that tasks actually get done. I no longer take these tasks home with me in the evening.

We also have flexible working hours with core working hours. This gives us the freedom to set our own start and end times. It allows you to prioritise your tasks and manage your workload. It also eliminates the stress of being late for the office in the morning due to traffic jams. Combine this with the ability to communicate asynchronously on Slack and stress levels drop even further.

Are you totally inspired by Thomas' account and itching to get started with Calibrate? Don't hesitate to drop us a line.