We sat down with one of our own graduates from the Gearup'18 Program, Salah El-Din Khaled, who also became one of our mentors in the Levelup'18 Program to talk about his experience with Almakinah and the programming world.
Can you give us a background about you?
I am what you can call a geeky engineer, with a naturally born love for everything related to technology and computer. I can never forget my first PC “Micro Express ME 386 SX/SL” in the 90s, it was like a dream back then. But fate can be cruel sometimes. I ended up graduating from Cairo University, Oil field Department, and even though this field wasn’t my passion, I had a great journey in the oil field full of great experiences and challenges.
What created the spark that led to your career shift?
I can remember time and time again when I tried to shift my career, yet I failed a lot! The reasons varied from giving up easily, lack of proper educational institutes, or due to pressure from my working environment.
During the last couple of years, the oil field was in crisis, while the computer science field was flourishing worldwide. Various worldwide educational institutions started offering online and offline programs which was a positive motivation for me. After a lot of thinking, I finally took the leap of faith and did it.
How did you hear about Almakinah?
I was searching for the most convenient Bootcamp globally, and stumbled upon this question on Quora, and it didn't take me long after some research to decide that I hit the jackpot; awesome minds, great expertise and friendly environment.
What were your highlights from the Gear Up Program?
The passion and energy I observed from our instructors and mentors was very refreshing and taught me a lot. It taught me that this field requires a lot of self learning, which is a virtue in an ever evolving field, and to find a mentor to impersonate until you build your own coding personality. In comparison with working in the oil field, working in a field that you love is a bliss, so always capitalize on that.
What are you doing now?
I am a Front-end Engineer at Optima. We are in the business of producing and maintaining world class software and services. I am responsible for architecting and producing cross platform mobile apps. It is a very interesting and challenging field of software engineering. As of March 2017, there were 2.8 million available apps at Google Play Store and 2.2 million apps in the Apple's App Store, the two leading app stores in the world. And the market still has the demand for even more intuitive and problem-solving oriented apps.
How different is it to shift from learning to mentoring with Level Up?
This was a huge step, which brought a lot of responsibilities with it. In my opinion teaching is one of the most noble and rewarding fields, and it will always have a special place in my heart.
I still consider my journey in its early stages, and I have a lot to learn and practice. But my expertise in my previous field is helping me a lot to take the right steps and it is also guiding me to support candidates to go through a similar journey to mine.
Where do you see yourself going with programming?
Programming to me is a never ending journey, I am enjoying and loving the ride and wish it will never end. You learn and understand something new everyday, and that is one of the most fulfilling feelings; to keep growing endlessly and to have the passion and discipline push yourself forward.
How do you see the current scene in Egypt, and in the future?
In my humble opinion, the current scene in Egypt is promising. Programming is growing at a huge rate, and we are in the shifting crossroads from an immature field to a mature one. Nowadays, we have hundreds of educational institutes, native spoken online and offline tutorials and guides, in addition to events managed and presented by brilliant minds and world class software and services production. I think at this rate, Egypt will very soon be one of the leading tech countries in the world. It is a great time to be a software engineer!
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