I‘ve got a job in Berlin!

Meet Mahmoud, Software Engineer at FinCompare Egypt → Berlin, Germany

Mahmoud, Imagine Fellow #14

Last week I woke up to this email:

Hi Johann, I have got an offer to work in Berlin with FinCompare. I want to thank you & Imagine. You have been of great help to me!

Wow. I knew Mahmoud quite well. He’s a software engineer from Egypt who had joined our Imagine boot camp just a few weeks prior. Still in bed, I replied:

Wow, congrats. This is absolutely amazing! :) So happy for you! Tell me when to pick u up at the airport in Berlin!!

A couple of hours later, we talked. But let’s back up for a moment. Who is Mahmoud?

  • Bachelor in Engineering (Systems & Computer Sciences), Mansoura University.
  • Not an all-star student. But a few interesting side projects, e.g. as a graduation project, he built a morphological search engine using Python, Django, and scrapy.
  • Worked for 5 years in a startup and in a software house in Egypt, mainly with Python and a bit with Go.
  • Also, he did remote work for startups in Spain and Germany, learning cloud-based services (AWS) and microservice architectures (Docker).

Mahmoud is a great engineer, but he’s not the next Elon Musk (good for him!). You don’t need to be Elon if you want to work and live in Europe. Instead, be like Mahmoud.

At Imagine, we see many people like Mahmoud.

  • A Bachelor's from one of the big schools in Egypt — not the best grades.
  • A couple of side projects, mainly during studies.
  • 3–9 years of full-time work experience, often with leading software houses like eSpace, Cube, Inova in Egypt, or places like Ejada in Saudi.
  • Some experience working with people from outside of Egypt, may it be Saudi, or India, or Europe, or US/Canada
  • Conversational English, but by no means perfect. Just enough to have a good conversation.
  • Above all, a curiosity to learn and the drive to invest the time needed to get results — at work and in life.

Let’s get back to my chat with Mahmoud. That’s what he said:

I was trying to find a job in Germany for over a year. I got rejected in all stages of the process.

You helped me a lot with marketing myself, and improving my CV and Linkedin. I just fixed them, and then companies pretty much immediately started contacting me and inviting me to interviews!

Note: This was quite surprising. Just when he entered our program we asked him: Is there one thing you want to learn from us? Back then, he said: I want to get better prepared for the technical interviews. Sounds reasonable. But it’s a common bias among engineers to overly focus on technical skills.

Like every student, we gave Mahmoud our full 360° readiness assessment (example). There he learned that his English and his engineering skills were fine: Instead, we told him to dramatically improve his CV and Linkedin. So he did. Here is his new CV.

Becoming an Imagine Fellow

When it was graduation time, we invited Mahmoud to join our cohort of Imagine Fellows. We put his profile in front of our network of German recruiters, and we also gave him a personal letter of recommendation. And more. Did this make a difference? Here is his take:

A lot! I was now more trusted and more respected than before. People said “you are an experienced engineer, you’ll figure this out” when I didn’t know the answer to a tricky question. Before that, they would’ve just kicked me out. Now I have a job in Berlin!!

That’s it. Where is Mahmoud now? He’s currently preparing his visa applicationHe will arrive in Berlin in the next weeks. We will greet him at the airport and give him a lift into his soon-to-be new hometown: Berlin.

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

→ Explore more stories

© 2018-2022 Imagine Foundation e.V. Made with 🤍 in Berlin.