Vick is a digital platform aimed at guiding recently graduated students looking for a first job experience. Most are somewhere during the transition from student to young professional.
The main focus of the project is to provide experimental new products, offering a range of tools and information from existing VDAB data to help them kickstart their career.
VDAB is the Flemish government agency in charge of helping citizens find a job. The VDAB has formed a lab called LND (Labo Nieuwe Dienstverlening) to do innovative research in order to improve the services that VDAB provides, and Vick is the result of one of their research programs. For this project, we are working together with a team of VDAB consultants, product designers, marketing professionals and Leuven university and business school partners.
The goal is to answer questions like; how do I find my dream job? What are my chances of finding a job with this master’s degree? Can I find ex-student job-market experiences? We want to provide realistic job market information tailored to someone’s profile, and up to date with regard to current job availability data and economic circumstances.
This is a great project for us as we are given the opportunity to research, build and test a range of apps and conduct several experiments in an innovative environment. The basis for these apps is the strong market intelligence of VDAB’s internal consultants, as well as target group research results and statistics from VDAB data.
Madewithlove teamed up with MONO to form a solid team with regard to both product design and software techniques for the project. Both the connecting platform and a number of apps were designed by MONO and developed by madewithlove.
During the first phase in 2014 a few apps were developed and user tested in collaboration with schools and universities. This was done under a different name, OTTO. After some early iterations and user tests, the need for a centralized platform became clear. We continued to focus on a platform where the technical architecture made it easier to launch smaller experiments.
Examples are an app to simplify necessary administrative processes for job hunting, for tips on best practices and tools for writing a resumé, current job market chances with my education profile and so forth. The Vick platform allows LND to work with a single identity and provides a single easy and clear entrance point.
Vick consists of both a web application and an API. The web application acts as a portal to the connecting apps, and the API as the identity provider.
The first use case for the API was Mentor, a proof of concept application made by students via a VDAB and IBM contest. The features from the prototype version were improved and integrated into Vick as small applications. This allowed for an easy iteration process.
Another feature we created was a login system that doesn’t use passwords but a code received via email or text message instead. Users can enter this code and be logged in. Most of the applications also function without creating an account.
Various storage drivers were used to store all the data processed by Vick. MongoDB was used for storage of user profiles, Elasticsearch to provide a fast search API for various datasets such as possible jobs and studies and MySQL to store other data. We managed to make all of these work together seamlessly.