Advice for Juniors: How Bassem made it

Hi, meet Bassem Ibrahim. Bassem graduated with a Bachelor in Software Engineering in 2017 and then finished the Imagine Bootcamp as a Fellow in 2019. Two months later, he landed a job in Berlin. Bassem is now a Frontend Developer at Byrd

One of the first things he told me when we met was this:

“I like biking to work. You get to feel the breeze and enjoy your commute much more than Cairo’s traffic jams. I also like europe’s ease of travel. Tons of places to visit on the weekend. Tons of options to choose from. trains, busses, shared cars, e-scooters...”

Bassem and I sat down and discussed the key aspects of his journey from Egypt to Germany, and how it feels to start not only a new job but also a new life.

This is his story.

In January 2020, Bassem signed a contract with BYRD in Germany, applied for a Visa at the German Embassy in Egypt, and got his Visa less than two weeks later.

Then COVID-19 hit.

Of course, COVID-19 made things hard, but not impossible. Bassem told us he had to wait until being allowed to fly outside Egypt. Having a Visa and permission to fly, he moved to Berlin in August. As he waited for the clearance to fly over, he already got started with BYRD, getting onboarded remotely.

How it all came to be:

Before joining Imagine, Bassem had been applying to jobs in Germany, but often struggled with passing the initial CV screen. Then he met Sarah, one of Imagine’s Career Coaches. Sarah shared with him a few tried & true strategies that according to Bassem “turned the table” for him. He told us these 5 really made a difference:

  1. Specialize in *one* job role. Although Bassem had been working as a full-stack developer, he knew his skills and true passion lay in Frontend. He then focused on Frontend Javascript, really dove into the frameworks, and became an expert in ReactJS and Redux.
  2. Sharpen your focus. Advised by Sarah, Bassem made clear on his LinkedIn profile and CV his role as a frontend developer instead of a software developer, or software engineer. This also helped to narrow down his job search and started to apply exclusively to front-end positions.
  3. Apply only for *fresh* jobs. Never apply to jobs older than 2 weeks. Instead, Bassem used a filter available on many job boards that allowed him to select only jobs posted within the past 3 days. He made it part of his routine to search for new jobs, every 2 days and applied more regularly. Important when you do that: Put some care into each application (e.g. into a short cover email), otherwise you will only get rejects.
  4. Don’t let the rejections knock you down. Of course, Bassem still received an uncountable number of rejection emails… But despite all odds, he stayed strong, confident, and improved himself. Some rejections came right after the application, especially when he had applied too late to not-so-fresh jobs. Some other rejections happened after the interviews. But he learned. He took notes of the interview questions he had been asked and worked on his answers until passing this phase.
  5. Trust your instincts. In the end, Bassem actually received offers from two companies in Germany. The other one was with a very well-known, fast-growing tech company in Berlin as well. I asked him what determined his final decision and he said that it was the interview chemistry with his future manager and the connection between them.
“For me, comparing salaries between Egypt and Germany doesn’t make much sense. There is a huge difference in culture and lifestyle. One needs to choose either this or that. Before even thinking about salary.”

Now, Bassem is giving back. He’s one of our Technical Coaches at Imagine.

That’s it. We hope you enjoyed the read. Now it’s time for action. As always, we are rooting for you. Keep us posted.

— Your friends at Imagine

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