The interviews made me a better engineer!

Meet Enas, Senior Software Engineer at Templafy.

Enas came from Egypt in April 2021 - during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic -  after landing a job in Berlin. What stood out to me after listening to her story, was her positive attitude and motivation to succeed.

She faced many challenges until she reached her goal, but she never gave up and kept on chasing her dream. Her journey shows that opportunities don’t fall out of thin air, you have to fully dedicate yourself to it to create them.

Want to find out how she did it?

Dive in!

Enas in Berlin

Eleni: Tell us a bit more about you and your background. What made you decide to pursue a career in software engineering?

Enas: I don’t really remember the first time I used a computer. I was exposed to computers from a very young age since my father worked in a computer-related field. I always found computers fascinating! Growing up, I decided to study computer science and pursue my passion for technology. After my graduation, I decided to enroll in ITI, a 9-months post-Bachelor program where I got up to date with the latest technologies by participating in various projects. What I really love about software engineering is the problem-solving aspect of it. Finding solutions to challenging problems and enhancing peoples’ lives for the better is one of the best feelings! 

Eleni: Fast forward to today where do I find you?

Enas: I am currently a Senior Software developer in Templafy. I mainly work on the backend but I am also actively trying to develop myself on the frontend. The company in general is very open about development but we mainly use Microsoft stack: AZure, .Net Core, React, Kubernetes, and SQL server. We also use a software architecture approach called self-contained systems. We work in a team-based agile environment and we all collaborate to create and maintain the product of Templafy.

Eleni: What led you to embark on an international career?

Enas: It wasn't always a dream of mine until I started traveling. There is this prevailing idea that women can't do things alone, like travel alone or work abroad. But it all changed when together with a friend, we booked tickets and traveled to Turkey. This experience changed my mindset completely, even though Turkey isn't so culturally different from Egypt, it made me realize how gratifying it is to extend your horizons, live outside of your comfort zone, and experience different cultures, traditions, and lifestyles. It was only then that I realized that I wanted to pursue a career abroad!

Eleni: And then you made it! How did you accomplish that? Did you find any obstacles on the way?

Enas: Sure, it wasn't easy and I can’t even count how many rejections I received until I found this amazing opportunity at Templafy in Berlin. I was applying daily and I only got rejections, which was, of course, demoralizing but I didn’t give up, I was focused on my goal. What helped me significantly was the advice I got from Imagine and then also the one from a friend that works as a developer in the UK and has experience in the European job market. We discussed my application strategy, my CV, and LinkedIn profile and then I realized where I got it all wrong. The issue was that my CV was tasks-oriented whereas it should have been achievements-oriented. 

Updating my CV wasn’t an easy task, since many of my projects and contributions were private due to companies' policies, so I included achievements of my daily work routine. If a recruiter has a pile of CVs with the same information, how do you expect to stand out and pass the screening? After changing bits and pieces of my CV and LinkedIn profile I started receiving calls from Google and Amazon; I was impressed!! I am thankful to my friend for the advice he offered and I wish I knew back then about Imagine and the help it provides to developers that want to find a job in Europe.

Eleni: That's incredible! Was the interviewing process different from what you were used to? What did you learn from the overall experience?

Enas: I must say that the interview process was more clear-cut and definitely more detailed than what I was used to, other than that it needed a lot of preparation beforehand. During the interview preparation process, I challenged myself and acquired new skills. 

In general, all the Tech Giants share the same foundation and structure, which is basically a heavy focus on the fundamentals: algorithms, data structures, how to write clean code, design patterns, common problems and how to solve them, what the best practices are and so on. 

I believe the whole interview process made me a better engineer and I gained a lot of knowledge during the time that I was preparing for the interviews.

I used LeetCode mainly for the problem-solving in algorithms and data structures part. I also liked the explanation for algorithms in HackerEarth as well. For scaling and system architecture I watched several videos online and read various articles.

Eleni: Any tips for people who are applying for jobs in Europe?

Enas: There is no magic recipe for success, only persistence, and perseverance. You have to be persistent in order to succeed. Apply to jobs several times per day and most importantly send tailored applications. It will save you time and energy. Besides that, don't let rejections get in the way of your dreams, it will take time to find the ideal opportunity as it requires a lot of hard work, but it’s rewarding. Eventually, you will find the right fit for you. Don't let fear block your ambitions. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. 

Especially for female developers, who many times question their skills and talent in this male-dominated industry, they shouldn’t listen to people who tell them that it’s just too difficult or that they are not going to make it. 

Eleni: Do you also have any specific advice for people working with .Net? What should they focus on or learn?

Enas: The best advice I could give to people with a .Net background would be to learn the language itself, keep track of the new features that come out, and learn how to utilize them. Try to understand the specifics of the language, where and how to use them; it's a very powerful language but you need to know how to use it. Because if you don’t know how to use it, it’s going to be meaningless, complex, hard to read, and you are not going to get the performance you want. You have to dive deep into the fundamentals, and learn about design patterns, algorithms, and data structures, as well as the collections that are available in .Net, and the features and frameworks of the language itself whether it’s .Net or .Net Core. In the end, that’s all that matters: understanding how to write clean code in order to deliver the most functional, readable, and maintainable version of the product. There are a lot of videos, blogs, tutorials online, or just articles that Microsoft provides. I don’t have a specific routine when it comes to learning, it might be a youtube video, an article, or a discussion with a colleague. I would also recommend researching the market about the companies that are using .Net and apply to these positions.

Eleni: How is your life now in Berlin?

Enas: I really enjoy it! I love how international and diverse it is! Before coming here, I had this fear that I wouldn't be able to get by since I didn’t know the language. However, Berlin is a mixture of cultures that makes it easy for you to adjust and integrate. You have access to a lot of different events, cuisines, and cultures. Whatever you are craving, you can easily find. Other than that, another interesting aspect of Berlin is that there are many beautiful places to visit. Parks, lakes, rivers, and at the same time big, fancy buildings or well-preserved historic ones. One other important aspect of living in Berlin is the work-life balance it provides in contrast to other countries.

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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