The power of continuous learning in an ever-changing world
There are times when the options set before you are limited. Amjad tells the story of how he created his own options through continuous learning and moving forward.
min read //
July 10, 2023
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Growing up in Aleppo, Syria, Amjad enjoyed a comfortable childhood. However, when war broke out in Syria, instability paired with a lack of local education options left Amjad with few choices when it came to taking a step out into the world on his own.
"We were forced to leave Aleppo to live in less-dangerous places such as Idlib suburbs. At that moment, I noticed something and started to educate myself." Amjad recalls, "I said like, okay, there are people in my age who are having a proper education right now while I have nothing. I have to fill this gap somehow."
Amjad used the internet to learn four languages, which proved very useful when he left Syria and moved to Türkiye. His language skills helped him to a degree in landing jobs that allowed him to support himself and his family upon arrival. “Life was not easy, and I had to do many jobs that are irrelevant to my language skills, like many refugees,” Amjad says.
Amjad considered going to university, but the thought of juggling class and a job was a lot. That was until one of his relatives told him about an online university.
Amjad applied to Computer Science at the University of the People and was accepted in the bachelor’s program just over a month later.
Like many Re:Coded students, Amjad found that the university curriculum for computer science was more theoretical. "We started with the foundations. It was like non-related courses for programming, like we're having general courses like history... We didn't learn programming directly. Programming classes were dry to a degree as well"
During his studies, Amjad came across an advertisement for a Re:Coded Frontend Bootcamp.
"I said, okay, I will apply, I will lose nothing," Amjad remembers. By applying, Amjad took his online learning experience to the next level.
After two months, he was accepted into the Frontend Bootcamp cohort. “It was a great moment when I received the acceptance email because, with a low acceptance rate, the competitiveness was high among applicants,” Amjad says.
Soon everything will change
While participating in the bootcamp, Amjad was still working and finishing up his online degree. Many Re:Coded students juggle personal and professional commitments while attending bootcamps and courses, which can challenge them even further.
"There were three big things at the same time," Amjad explains, recalling how he would watch coding videos on the bus to work and even at his lunchtime. Sometimes, he had to stay up until two or three in the morning to finish the university’s assignments.
"But I was able to handle all of them. And then we came across Ramadan. It had a huge impact on me, a huge pressure, you know. No food or water each day from sunrise to sunset, classes in the boot camp, assignments from the university, and work…" Amjad recounts, "I passed it, but it was a really hard period in my life. "
"One day everything will change, you just have to keep moving forward," Amjad said, thinking of his mantra during that tough period, "I kept moving forward and working for that day."
"What kept me motivated was that something will happen by the end of this road and this is what helped me wake up every day."
Ready for anything
As a computer science student, Amjad recalls being intimidated by complicated code, "I would stay away."
But after a few months in the Frontend Bootcamp, Amjad has learned to navigate tough technologies and complicated codes the same way he learned how to get ahead when he first moved to Türkiye: learning.
I gained the ability of continuous learning, like implementing new technologies in web development or software engineering in general.
During his time in the bootcamp, he realized that continuous learning is at the heart of his future career: "Software engineering is not about learning code. It is about the ability to accommodate or adapt to new technologies as fast as possible… The ability to continue learning is very important in this industry. Learn how to learn."
Amjad says, "You’re always learning, you can’t just stop learning. Some people learn English for instance, which is a stable thing to learn and will not change maybe in 100 years. But in software engineering, every single day new technologies evolve."
For Amjad, on top of a continuous learning mentality, the bootcamp has helped him see the bigger picture. "I noticed that all of these things [technologies, programming languages] are connected. You need time and maybe a good instructor just to help you figure out things. Now, I have confidence in any programming-related issue."
Now, eight months post-graduation, Amjad has founded his own company: SYRology Development, which offers software solutions, web development services, and freelance services as well. He is eager to explore new technologies and expand his skill set, recognizing that adaptability and continuous learning are vital in the ever-changing field of software engineering.
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