A Q&A with Mohamed Ali: The Risk-Taking Fellowship Ambassador
- 10 Aug 2023
- 7 min read
In this conversation with Egypt-born web developer and ALX SE graduate Mohamed Ali, we gain some insight into why he’s such a rising star. His exemplary leadership in The ROOM Fellowship led to his selection as an ambassador for this impactful tech community, where he’s coaching, mentoring and collaborating with other Fellows in Egypt and across the community.
As part of the #FindYourPlace series, find out how ALX and The ROOM Fellowship provided Mohamed with the confidence and skills to pursue a career in tech.
Tell us a bit about your background and early life. How did it influence your journey to tech?
I’ve loved games since I was a child. Funny side note – my father bought me a computer when I was much younger, and a neighbour used to sell me games that were actually free! Anyway, one day I was exploring the computer’s settings, and I accidentally deleted the Windows file. It was eventually fixed by a computer engineer, but this made me even more interested in computers, and I was eager to understand how he solved the problem. As I continued to use the computer, I kept making ‘mistakes’ that required fixing, until one day when I found out the engineer was reinstalling the Windows programmes via a CD. He explained to me how it worked, and this piqued my interest in computers at the age of 9.
Five years later, we got internet access at home, and I began to use search engines to explore the wonderful world of technology. I was eventually able to troubleshoot and fix computer issues by myself. These experiences formed the foundation for my love of technology, and what prompted me to become a Software Engineer.
What do you do currently?
I am a front-end member of the Google Developer Students Club (GDSC) at Fayoum University in Egypt, and I am currently working on a website development project for a local community organisation. My role is to design and develop the website's front-end, which is the part of the website that users see and interact with. I am also responsible for ensuring that the website is user-friendly and accessible to everyone.
Additionally, I recently became a Fellowship Ambassador for The ROOM Fellowship, a role I’m really excited about.
How will this opportunity help you achieve your purpose, and add value to the world?
It will allow me to use my skills and knowledge to help others succeed. As a Fellowship Ambassador of The ROOM, I get to coach, mentor, and collaborate with other talented Fellows from across the continent, helping them develop their skills and achieve their goals. It also provides me with a platform to advocate for change. I believe that it is important to speak out about the challenges I and other tech professionals face, and to call for action towards a more inclusive and equitable tech industry in Africa.
What does the phrase "I Found My Place" mean to you?
To me, it means a combination of different things. It means finding a career that I am passionate about and that I am good at, while also finding a community of people who accept and support me. It also means finding a sense of purpose that drives me to make a difference in the world.
I believe that everyone has unique talents and gifts, and when we finally find our place, we can use our gifts to make the world better.
What was the one thing you did that set you on this transformative journey to finding your place, and how do you think you’ve changed since then?
What helped me was summoning the courage to take risks. I was always a good student, and I was always told that I would be successful in whatever I did, but I never really felt passionate about anything. I just did what I thought I was supposed to do. Finding my place in the tech industry has now completely transformed my outlook on life.
On a personal level, I am now more confident and self-assured. I know that I am capable of achieving my goals, and I am not afraid to take risks. I am also more passionate about my work, and I am excited to see what the future holds.
On a professional level, I am more focused and driven. I have a clear sense of purpose, and I am committed to making a difference in the world through my work. I am also more collaborative and team-oriented, and I am always looking for ways to learn and grow.
It’s definitely a journey that I’m still on, but I'm so grateful for how far I’ve come.
What role did ALX and The ROOM Fellowship play in helping you find your place?
ALX and The ROOM Fellowship provided me with an opportunity to learn from experienced tech professionals and mentors within those programmes. This experience has significantly contributed to the development of my skills and deepened my understanding of the tech industry. Within these communities, I've also had the privilege to work with other talented people who share similar interests and a passion for tech.
Before I joined ALX and The ROOM Fellowship, I didn't think that I was qualified to work in the tech industry. But these programmes helped me to build my skills and gain the confidence that I needed to pursue a career in tech.
You have your whole career ahead of you, and are sure to experience more wins. Why do you think it is important to share your story now and celebrate your career milestones?
For a number of reasons:
- To inspire others to pursue their own dreams and goals: When people see that you have achieved success, it can give them the motivation to do the same.
- To build a network: Sharing my story has been a great way to connect with other people in my field. You never know who you might meet and what avenues might open up for collaboration and mutual growth.
- To boost my confidence: When you take the time to celebrate your accomplishments, it can help you to feel more confident in your abilities. This has been especially helpful for me, especially when I am facing challenges or setbacks.
- So I never forget my journey: As you continue on your career path, it can be easy to forget all of the hard work and sacrifices that you have made. Sharing my story helps me remember my journey and all of the lessons that I have learned along the way.
What advice would you give to a Fellow trying to find their place?
If you are still searching for your place in the world, don't give up. Keep exploring and learning, and eventually you will find it. And when you do, you will know it. You will feel a sense of peace and satisfaction that you have never felt before.
Other tips I'll share are:
- Explore different options. Don't be afraid to try new things and step outside of your comfort zone. The more you explore, the more likely you are to find something that you are passionate about.
- Talk to people who are already doing what you want to do. Ask them about their experiences and what advice they would give. They can give you valuable insights that can help you on your journey.
- Don't be afraid to fail. Failure is a part of life, and it's important to learn from your mistakes. Don't let fear of failure hold you back from pursuing your dreams.
- Be patient. Finding your place takes time. Don't expect to find it overnight. Just keep exploring and learning, and eventually, you will find something that you are passionate about.
- Celebrate your successes. When you achieve a goal, take some time to celebrate. This helps you stay motivated and pushes you to keep moving forward.
ALX offers access to a community for lifelong learning experiences, peer support, and career development opportunities through The ROOM Fellowship.
Enrol today in any of our tech programmes to become part of a network of passionate individuals dedicated to helping you #FindYourPlace.