In partnership with Grow with Google and Pluralsight, Andela launched a program to upskill developers in Africa – The Google Africa Developer Scholarship “GADS.” GADS is an opportunity for aspiring developers who want to kick start their journey in tech and advance their knowledge and skills in Android and Google Cloud.
We are pleased to feature Nouran El Kassas, a fantastic alumna of the GADS 2020 program.
After completing this program, Nouran has gone on to establish a community design to educate children in computer science and has also successfully landed a role at the top telecommunications company in Egypt, Etisalat Misr.
Fasten your seat belts! Here is Nouran’s inspirational journey!
Interviewer: We are so happy to have you today! Please tell us more about yourself and your educational background.
Nouran: I am pleased to be here with you, and I am from Cairo, Egypt. I graduated from Helwan University Computer Science department. After graduation, I worked with Ain Shams University to develop educational games for children, which was a fantastic experience. Later, I joined one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Egypt, Vodafone Egypt, as a software developer. Currently, I work with the top telecommunication company in Egypt, Etisalat Misr, as a system analyst, and I couldn’t have done that without the GADS program. I’m also working on my master’s degree in the computer science field.
Interviewer: It is excellent how you plan your career journey, and being a lifelong learner, keep it up! So when did you start to write code?
Nouran: I started writing code when I was ten years old, and eventually, I studied computer science in college. Moreover, I was a Google cloud learner in the GADS program, volunteered as a facilitator for meetups organized in Egypt, and participated in the program twice.
Interviewer: That’s great! Please share with us how you’ve leveraged the education and experience you’ve gained by participating in the GADS program.
Nouran: I am always eager to learn and try new things that can help make work meaningful yet fun. For example, while working with the children to teach them about software engineering, I developed fun educational games that included chemical reactions.. And after I joined the Vodafone Egypt company, I initiated new ICT solutions to make work easier and accessible. Currently, I am trying to do the same and launch new initiatives in the data field.
Interviewer: We are happy to meet a successful, passionate woman like you, Nouran! That leads us to the next question. Did you always know that you wanted to be a software developer, and what inspired you to join that field?
Nouran: Web development was what opened the door for me to enter the computer science field. However, I am more interested in Data Science, which is my major for my master’s degree. I believe I can leverage my previous experiences with new knowledge in AI and Machine Learning to do meaningful work.
Interviewer: That’s inspiring! So what are the proudest moments in your career so far?
Nouran: The proudest moment in my journey was when I helped build a community to teach children about technology. The second proudest moment was when I finished developing an online course and got positive feedback on how it’s interactive and valuable. This course was for children from 5 to 16 years old, using GCP to deploy web applications, online games, and medical games as an awareness tool for the precautions of some common diseases.
Interviewer: Awesome! Is it something you still do besides your full-time job?
Please tell us more about this children’s community.
Nouran: I helped them to be able to use and interact with the web and how to get the information they need in any field, and that was a very interactive learning process with them. Yes, it is a continuous activity that I am passionate about, and learning from their curious questions. Currently, I mentor them in developing and deploying web applications.
Interviewer: Great job, Nouran! Now, back to the GADS program. Could you tell us more about your GADS experience, when you registered, how you felt when you were selected, and any challenges that you faced?
Nouran: I faced the typical challenges most developers face: lack of resources and basic college knowledge that is insufficient to pursue a career. I am proud of being selected for the GADS program twice, and if I have the opportunity to do it for the third time, I will do it without hesitation. Participating in the GADS program helped me access content and interact with people in the Andela Learning Community (ALC). Also, building a massive network of people who share the same interest as me is a great asset. Additionally, the unlimited support from mentors with access to all the needed resources. That enabled me to get the skills needed to land freelance jobs. Furthermore, the acquired business skills helped me in Vodafone Egypt company, where I created an architecture to help people learn more about the company. It also has helped me in my master’s program.
Interviewer: That’s awesome! Could you share your advice for anyone interested in the GADS program in the future?
Nouran: My advice to all junior developers is that if you are lost, you will find yourself and your way with the GADS program. You will access resources, a vast network, and great mentors to enable you to start your development journey smoothly with confidence. Therefore, I highly recommend the GADS program to all passionate developers.
Interviewer: Thanks for the encouraging words, Nouran; please tell us what your career aspirations are after those significant milestones you have achieved so far.
Nouran: I have learned a lot from my Google cloud courses in the GADS program, which was the turning point in my career path. I am more passionate about Data Science, and I hope that GADS will open doors to new opportunities in this field. I’m keen to help in this track in preparing the content or developing the courses, anything that I might be of help with the GADS team as a volunteer in the Data Science track.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time and for sharing your feedback and insights. We wish you success in your career and hope you continue to move forward. Do you have anything else that you would like to share?
Nouran: I hope to give back to the GADS community and help design the Data Science, Data Engineering, and AI tracks.
Interviewer: Thanks, Nouran, for your enthusiasm. We are proud of you and your career growth, and we wish you all the best with your career endeavors!
Nouran: Thank you for this opportunity, and it has been a pleasure talking to you!