Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Second Year @ Vodafone Egypt's Internship Program

I was re-accepted for Vodafone's internship program for my great performance last year. This time I wasn't going to be a help desk engineer, rather a software engineer. I was given the task of developing an improvised monitoring tool for the CRM infrastructure.

The mess I have to go through :D
As far as I understand, internships at places like Google and Microsoft do give you development guidelines and tips on how to make good documentation. In my case, I didn't get any of these, rather the platform API reference (One of the weirdest APIs I've ever seen) and an internet which only opens Facebook and Google (Only results)... Oh! And a 10 year-old laptop. It was a challenge of understanding the platform API, performance tuning, documentation, and coping with a slow device (The mouse used to fly around the screen with no response from the mouse pad)... Without any assistance. In other words, I single handedly implemented the software development life cycle. I'm proud I reached the finish line!

In fact, I was deeply recommended for my work, which turned out to be actually rather important for another team within the Vodafone premises, that I got a part-time opportunity with that team. This internship made me learn a lot! I've never done a project that was carefully engineered to perform quick, nor did I ever made a documentation for people who will actually read and make use of the tool. It was also a delight impressing directors with my work.

The advice I would like to give on how I got to this level is that it takes time and hard work to reach high; you can't simply reach perfection without building a solid foundation for your knowledge and skills. There also steps that should be taken, even if they weren't necessarily related to your field of study. I started small as a participant at Better World NGO (Nothing related to engineering), then got to Vodafone last year as a result (As a help desk engineer, still not much related to my field). Later, I got myself into satellite systems engineering with Cairo University's Space Systems Technology Lab.

I must thank my awesome manager for giving me an opportunity for a trainee to develop a rather important and challenging tool, and for recommending my work to directors and other teams.

I must thank that person who got me into "getting outside the classroom" and start my life with Better World NGO.

I must thank those who have supported me and helped me learn more.

And El7amdle Allah for this gift of knowledge and status :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Amusing TED talks I've seen lately

For those who don't know, TED (Short for Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a conference that takes place around the world with the main mission of spreading important ideologies. I've been a fan for quite sometime now, and here are some of the latest ones that inspired me most, in high hopes they'll inspire you too for a better life. Enjoy!

Rory Sutherland: Perspective is everything


Susan Cain: The power of introverts

 

Ayah Bdeir:  Building blocks that blink, beep and teach


Frank Warren: Half a million secrets


Renny Gleeson: 404, the story of a page not found



David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence




Shereen El-Feki: HIV, how to fight an epidemic


John Hockenberry: We are all designers



LZ Granderson: The myth of the gay agenda


JR: One year of turning the world inside out




Thursday, May 10, 2012

Better World NGO @ Civic Engagement Day - AUC

Society isn't free of errors that haunt us till this very moment. They range from social, environmental to economic reasons, and are rather not easy to address. This is where Civic Engagement comes in.

Better World's Booth
In short, it is the act of identifying a public problem and addressing it, and thus serving our society. the Civic Engagement Day at the American University in Cairo (AUC) is an event designed to provide awareness to the possibility of helping  the society through means that are not limited to donations. The event was organized by the Gerhart Youth Leadership Program and involved 19 participating NGOs, including the one I work at, Better World.

This is an organization that started on 2006 with the idea of closing the gap between skilled graduates and those unfortunate not to receive education. Founded and run by students of different nationalities, it focuses on four aspects:
  1. Delivering the required knowledge for today's job markets at minimal prices. (That cover the cost of the semester-long course)
  2. Analyzing today's social matters and formulating a solution.
  3. Researching environmental issues and also formulating a solution.
  4. Providing entrepreurial training and consultancy.
Banners to attract attention
We were there to aware students of our cause and recruit them, or even form partnerships with other participating NGOs. I came up with an idea of writing small banners with "Volunteering opportunities" and "Support for entrepreneurial ideas" (Pictured), which I believe attracted attention and helped contribute in the 35 contacts we obtained for recruiting! We all did a great job when talking to people and conducting interviews. I believe we were the most successful organization there as we were the last to leave and I think the most interacted with as well.

There was actually a session that introduced two things: A masters degree in Community Psychology and a beta website (http://www.ngotoolbox.org/) which gives NGOs the resources they need to better understand the local communities. Believe it or not, the big news for me here is not the latter, I'm actually hooked by the idea of community psychology. You have to think about it, imagine contributing to society with the help of engineering knowledge? In other words, wouldn't it be great if we initiated an NGO that builds cheaper electronics for education in rural areas? Wouldn't it be great if we made development easier to understand for everyone to learn and make use of? It's about REAL technological advancement in society.

Last but not least, I would love to thank my team for their hard work, deeply thank our director H. Amin; Better World has been the true starting point of my success, and what it's given me is priceless! I'd also like to thank the AUC for inviting us over. Let this be a true starting point for true engineering!

Allow me to add that the AUC campus is phenomenal!

AUC Library at night

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

MIC - A chance to think outside of the planet

Finally I managed to blog about this! On 9/4/2012, the IEEE MSA Student Branch hosted an introductory session about an international contest called MIC. The session was given by me and my friend and colleague, Murtaza. So, what is MIC?

Before we get to that, we must first define a nano-satellite. As most of you reading might have guessed, it's a smaller version of a normal satellite. But in reality, the definition goes beyond that; it's a satellite that is not only smaller, but impressively lighter (50 Kg or less) and much cheaper to build and deploy. The use of nano-satellites is becoming a new trend among space engineering firms around the globe due to their merits. It is worth mentioning that owing to their small size, their scope of functionality is limited and thus they are used for specific mission objectives.

Now back to our original talk, MIC is short for Mission Idea Contest and it is a global contest in which you propose an idea for a nano-satellite mission. If you are generally interested in space engineering and want to put your ideas in space, this is a chance for you to pitch your thoughts and compete against institutions and organizations worldwide, all for the sake of improving life and taking space engineering to a whole new level. There are many reasons why to take up the challenge:



  • Improving brain-storming and team-work skills.
  • Engaging in the field of space engineering.
  • Competing internationally with other universities and entities worldwide.
  • Free tickets to Japan for finalists.
  • Student award.
  • Possibility of presenting your ideas at the 4th Nano-Satellite Symposium in Japan.
  • It does not cost anything!
  • CV
  • Most importantly, contributing to your country with your knowledge and hard work.

The session had a great impact on those who attended; they learned about nano-satellites and became aware of an opportunity for space engineering. Feeling the urge to think outside of the planet? Check out www.spacemic.net for more information about the contest and submission. The deadline is 11/5/2012!

Me and Murtaza
I would like to thank Murtaza, my colleague and friend, for partnering with me during the session, S. Gafar for her enormous efforts in organizing this session, Professor Hennawey, our head of department, for giving us the permission to make the session, and those who attended not to see their friends speak, but to get a step closer to fulfilling their passion for engineering.

Me and Murtaza are available for help if needed ;)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CanSat... The Future of Satellite Industry & Design in Egypt

It all started as a vision of satellite industry and design in Egypt. CanSat isn't simply a functional satellite in the size of a soda can (Pictured), but it's also a program aimed at encouraging and educating people about the manufacturing and operations of satellites. CanSat is a part of Cairo University, Faculty of Engineering, Aerospace department.


As a small satellite, it takes its readings through MEMS (Micro Electro-Mechanical Sesnors) like pressure, temperature, position and much more, then transmits them to a computer through a wireless module. All of that in nearly the size of a soda can and was done in only 10 days. Isn't that GREAT?


I had the honor of designing the poster and flyers for the team participating at the Egyptian Engineering Day (EED). I was even more honored when they considered me as a fellow member even though that was not something I asked for. I'd like to sincerely thank Samy, Mustafa, Rabie, Hassan, Omar Magdy, Omar Sadek, Shalaby and Mahmoud for such an opportunity! You guys rock!


As a result of the team's hard work in design, learning new things and dedicating their efforts for the sake of knowledge and advancement in the field of aerospace, The 2011 IEEE award for best mechanical engineering project at the EED was the prize.


Congratulations and thank you!



Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Vodafone "Ana Trainee" Experience

It has been a month now at Vodafone Egypt and things don't seem to be that bad at all. I was hired as a first-line trainee technical support engineer at the technology deparment but to be honest, I wasn't quite sure what job I'd be doing since given the fact I'm a computer engineering student + this is mainly a telecom company. Getting accepted was a sort of an achievement as I had to go through 4 stages of selection. Go to Nourane's blogpost to know more about the selection phases. I agree a lot with her point of view.



Now off to what goes on here!



Basically, I'm working as a technical support engineer at the service desk department. It's like a call center but for Vodafone employees; whenever someone has an IT problem, we get the call and solve their problems remotely. The troubles we solve include account management, internet access issues, Outlook, storage management... etc. We usually use remote access methods to take control of their computers and running scripts to fix the problem.


So obviously, this has nothing to do with C++ or Java, or even hardware stuff. But let's face it, I have finally understood how IT works in a large international corporation; I've dealt with a database in it's actual form, learned more about access methods (Because of that, I now use RDP on my Android device!), understood what an "account" technically is within a database, learned more about web applications and the professional use of Outlook. I also came across troubleshooting techniques for various problems.

Even though this isn't THE MOST interesting job in the world, it's still never a bad personal experience here at Vodafone. The people here are "exceptionally" great and friendly, made new connections and the environment is welcoming. There's even a hot drinks machine with free vends! Not to mention the free Audi A5 Sportback test drive... YES a 570,000 EGP car!


I must say I'm enjoying this to the max. I was once told that it's nearly impossible to get accepted there and if you were, it's easier to get a job there. I'm very greatful for this experience and even more greatful to my efforts that took me there!



So Vodafone...