My story you about to read, has started in September 2012. Many battles I’ve fought and won but also lost some of them which have shaped my career into a functional oiled apparatus. Some say that high pressure makes diamonds.

Well, the way I see it, if you succeed and pass the hard times outside your comfort zone throughout your career development, these very diamonds will keep shining until your retirement.

Throughout my career evolution, I’ve achieved many goals. Allow me to introduce some of them:

1. employed at

  • Checkpoint as a student and then a Junior engineer (~4 years)
  • IBM as a junior engineer and then promoted to the next level (2y8m)
  • Microsoft as Software engineer level 2(8 months)
  • Amazon as Software engineer level 2 (since Sep2019)

2. Switched 8 teams with different technologies

3. Wrote 4 patents (3 were filed)

4. Contributions to the community: on my free time, I’ve created more than 30 personal projects and 5 android applications (About me).

Career is about decision making. Fool around and you will find yourself serving dishes somewhere, somehow.

This post will help you make the right decision for your career with a long-term potential.

Surviving the dark ages

Computer Science wasn’t my bread and butter in the first three years of my undergraduate studies. Looking back with the clarity of hindsight, I’m not sure how much dark it was as I had a great share of poignant moments. Starting my undergraduate study at 2009, I worked on temporary jobs to buy some shoes and to taste your tender charm.

hesham dark ages

I started submitting my CV since third semester, Never heard back from any of the companies I’ve contacted. They umpes e just ike jenny did o Forrest Gump. It was frustrating until I decided to focus my laser eams on my studies and wait until finishing the courses of computer science that mattered to employers.

It takes a great deal of determination to focus on what’s important when the budget is tight.

Wake up call

Spending 3 years working hard to collect some grades, was more than enough long-overdue time-out to realize the necessity of challenge in order to grow. I’ve re-formatted my CV many times and desperately submitted them to dozens of work-places.

I’ve learnt that having a high GPU wasn’t enough if your CV looks awful and lacks projects with buzz-words.

Getting busy

Security was my passion after hitting a mileage in the digital world. How to hack my way through the network. CheckPoint was the first company who invited me to an interview which got me pretty excited. I’ve passed of course as I couldn’t afford any room for error.

Starting with CheckPoint in a student position was not a target I held my breath to aim for. Nevertheless, it came and I was real happy for it.

Out of the blue, everyone around became an expert throwing their 2 cents why I should not to sign the contract. After all, I do what’s right for me.

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Was it right not having a goal then?

It’s not exactly wise to count your chickens before they are hatched, grasshopper. I cannot set a goal in a field that I know nothing about. I wanted to deep-dive in the Tech world and getting mired in the quicksand of uncertainty and I found the factors below to reach the right decision.

Starting with Security at Checkpoint

At Checkpoint, I started my journey in the world of security and hacking. Starting with QA as a student then into a firewall(Threat Extraction) software developer.

At Checkpoint, I had a good image of the exceptional leader and the exceptional employee. I learnt how to be organised and kind. how to develop analytical thinking and properly manage a team and how to develop knowledge and investigate products I work with.

Becoming an Engineer at IBM

After having a great 4 years at CheckPoint, I moved north to IBM Research lab and started as a Junior Software Engineer in a team of Engineering gurus(Most of the engineers at IBM are exceptional to the point I could learn new stuff from someone in a 5 minutes coffee break). In short time, I mastered the cloud computing and microservices architecture in a high level and learnt the principles of creativity and innovation. My journey continues to the healthcare galaxy where I learnt how to be an engineer and leave the hacking mindset behind.

IBM core value is innovation and thinking outside the box. It is their secret since the beginning.

IBM was like home to me, I’ve met exceptional professional engineers there.

After 2.8 years I left IBM for Microsoft which somehow backfired on me. or does it?

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Learnt how to choose the right workplace at Microsoft

There was a single goal in mind when I decided to sign a contract with Microsoft. I wanted to better understand how the public cloud works in the real world.

Azure was all over the news describing the revolution it makes. Well, Life calls for risks, especially if you want to make progress. Well, I filed this goal and composed two patents and wrote more than 10 posts in the company’s portal.

I wanted to learn about the core secrets of Azure, which I did. However, there is a vital factor I learnt:

Microsoft repeatedly talked about its core values which didn’t align with its actual day-to-day practices, generating high pressure and competition among employees. It was a nesting empire for eager beavers and complainers.

At Microsoft, I understood how important the core values and company culture in order to enjoy your day-to-day work, loving your workplace and be productive.

I learnt the most valuable secrets about Azure, to the point I dived in every important service it provides. Being part of a team working on a multi-cloud platform with AWS. I grant you that AWS is highly reliable, available and resilient when compared to Azure.

I would like to put emphasis on the fact that I’ve met exceptional employees at Microsoft and enjoyed every conversation or discussion we had.

Amazon is where I belong (after declining an offer from Google and Dropbox)

After 6 years of experience, 3 companies and 8 teams I fled Microsoft and joined Amazon for its culture, Leadership principles and technology. Everyday I’m grateful for that decision and baffled on daily basis how great it’s to work with Amazon.

Amazon’s 14 leadership principles are aligned with the company’s day-to-day practices, creating a positive environment to be enthusiast, creative and productive.

Joining Amazon was a decision with long-term potential. here where I start, here where my career begins.

The factors I followed in order to make the right decision

Coffee and the people factor

Starting at checkpoint, I noticed the abundance of coffee, causing people to gather and to talk, talking a lot on useful and useless stuff. People can affect the quality of your work and the daily scale of success at work. Never take this for granted. The bar is raised depends on the workplace culture and core values – Strategy, principle and putting it into practice.

In order to serve this factor, it is important to wisely deal with the next types of characters:

Complainers: People talk a lot. more accurately, most of them complain a lot on how much they want to work less and drink more premium coffee. Never be surprised if the wind stops blowing at your sails if you have a complainer around. Complainers drain the success, money and energy of the workplace.

santa-reindeer-complainers

Eager Beavers: These are those very employees who think they know it all obsessed thinking they are better than anyone else. pretty fast they transform and become members of the complainers clan when they fiercely deny the truth.

Eager Beavers flourish when there is high competition among coworkers for attention. I found many of them at Microsoft. Every week, you can see them in brown bags talking about stuff they just read the morning before.

There are also the bullies too but this kind of lizards are easy to deal with. Seeking help at the workplace.com is one option if you don’t know how.

Culture and Core Values

I’ve learnt about the importance of culture in the workplace. I recommend reading my previous post on this.