The Brilliance of a Borderless Engineer: Remote Heroes Egypt Recap
The Remote Heroes event in Cairo, Egypt was held on Saturday the 22nd of February 2020 at the Greek Campus. The event was themed “The Brilliance of a Borderless Engineer”; fully inspired by the fact that, at Andela, brilliance is evenly distributed and that we are not bound by borders. Our guests started arriving at 5:00 p.m while our evening full of interesting talks kicked off at 6:00 p.m. with an introduction about Andela and a quick walk through the agenda.The first talk of the evening was from our country Director, Rama ElSafty whose main message was to highlight what it means to be a borderless engineer, the brilliance of it highlighting the concept from an Andela EVP (Employee Value Proposition) perspective, with a special focus on the Engineering Framework deployed at Andela & how it ensures our hired engineers are benchmarked against global standards.
Randa Fahmy, a Senior Software Engineer talked about her experience as an Andelan working remotely with her partner WEAVE. This session was very interesting to the audience because it was an honest experience that an engineer like them went through, they connected with her initial worries on how to remotely integrate with a customer from a culturally different background. Randa explained how the culture & process at Andela facilitated this integration and the support she received from the team. She also spoke about how this role has allowed her to develop her own skills, where initially she was only an Andriod developer, and how she was constantly encouraged to learn & become an IOS developer as well, till she finally nailed it. One must also mention that leveraging a video which was brilliantly directed & executed showcasing Randa’s daily lifestyle and how she manages her work-life balance through the flexibility she enjoys at Andela, had a great impact in establishing the connection with the audience.
Sherif Olama, who leads Talent Partnerships, introduced the Andela Learning Community, highlighting how the program is designed to help engineers at different levels develop their skills and how the program opens up the market for those engineers; whereupon finishing it they could choose to apply to join Andela or any other employer of their choice.
The panel discussion was focused on exploring the different faces of Remote work. Along our Country Director, Rama El Safty we had two external Panelists: Tarek Zidan, who is the Chairman & CEO of Athear Marketing Services, and Ahmed Tolba, who is a Principal Engineering Manager at Microsoft and currently heads Bing Cairo, a remote Bing team and one of the main constituents of Microsoft's Cairo Advanced Technology Lab.Tarek, with his long experience, took us back to the origins, highlighting that back then “video conferencing was the crystal ball of the future” and right now there are more and more tools available to facilitate remote work.“...the new generation is faster, smarter, more exposed to technologies we never had, you can basically google anything, nowadays data is on the cloud, we don't have to meet face to face, as a business owner, we need remote work. For example, in order to reserve a seat for a single employee it costs at least 3K EGP per month, remote work is beneficial for everyone; it is a win-win as long as you are well connected. And It will allow us to get access to better calibers/diversity."Echoing what Tarek mentioned about how things worked back then & now, Ahmed also highlighted the importance of finding the right talent. "When I started my career, I didn't have the same resources that the current generation has. Tooling isn't an issue, finding the right person who can share knowledge & work with you is more important."Ahmed’s point on the higher importance of the person where he believes that the tools would just be a means to an end, resonated with Tarek’s strong opinion that it takes a highly disciplined person to work remotely. For engineers, specifically, Tarek mentioned that “The benefit of remote work is getting the experience and pay of an international engineer but with the local cost of being in Egypt and the added flexibility of being with your family.”
The panel session was followed by a Q&A session, with the audience fielding questions to the panelists. A crucial question was raised around the concept of job stability in a remote work model. Our panelists were all aligned in their answer that in today’s evolving world, people create their own opportunities. As Tarek stated: "We need to change the definition of job stability; if you are good, you are stable.” Despite the fact that at Andela there are teams ensuring our engineers are placed, Rama highlighted that it holds true that one has to always work on developing their skills to cope with the fast pace of change.