Software Engineer Jan Blom

Meet Jan Blom (62), Software Engineer specialized in OHDSI. At The Hyve, Jan plays a crucial role in the Real World team, focusing on data harmonization and maintaining the ETL components of OHDSI software tools. Outside of working hours, he enjoys exploring nature and studying for a master in AI.

1. Can you tell me a bit about your background?

My educational background is in linguistics, but I have always been working as a software developer. Sometimes there was a linguistic element in my work, sometimes not. My involvement in bioinformatics began through my partner’s research around a decade ago. At first, it was more of a hobby, helping her and her students out with getting stuff running, but gradually I immersed myself in the development of pipelines to obtain preliminary data for research proposals. I soon realized that bioinformatics is a challenging, interesting, and rewarding field, so I started doing it professionally.

2. How did you get to know The Hyve?

I had The Hyve on my radar as an appealing workplace for a few years before I decided to apply. From the first interview to receiving a job offer, it took almost another year. I was in no hurry, and we were interested in finding the best fit within The Hyve.

3. What do you do at The Hyve?

I work in the Real World Data team, where our primary focus lies in data harmonization. One of my responsibilities is to maintain and extend the ETL components of the OHDSI software tools, particularly our proprietary ETL tool, Delphyne. Additionally, I offer support to data engineers where needed. I also do a bit of devops tasks when we need to set up (cloud) facilities for a project. I am also entrusted with the responsibility of the ISO qualification compliance within our team.

4. What do you like most about working here?

In essence, everything. I like working with sharp-minded colleagues, engaging in interesting projects, and interacting with kind people in an international environment. All of that is available here.

5. Can you mention an exciting development in your field?

The developments in artificial intelligence are truly exciting, especially the use of large language models. This piqued my interest due to my linguistic background and interest. While the AI-hype often leads people to believe it can and will do anything, even replacing human roles like mine, I am a bit less “optimistic”. While I do see the potential of AI assisting us in many ways, I do not yet see the potential of AI being truly Intelligent.

6. If you could offer advice to your younger self when starting your software engineering career, what would it be?

Get into bioinformatics way sooner! While I do appreciate the field of software engineering in general, I’ve found that it is so much more rewarding when you can apply your skills in a field that is both challenging and highly relevant to society like bioinformatics.

7. What do you like to do when you’re “off-duty”?

When I’m “off-duty”, I like water and nature. Sailing, taking walks along the beach or in the forest, or biking there. Despite currently being occupied with studying for a master's in AI, I make time to read whenever possible, and attend concerts to unwind.