Re:Coded wouldn’t be what it is today without an amazing team behind it. To celebrate the diverse faces in our team, we wanted to kick start an interview series so that you can get to know Re:Coded’s new faces a little better. We couldn’t think of a better person to start this series with than Mujtaba Al-Tameemi who has been a supporter of Re:Coded from our early days. Mujtaba recently joined the team as an instructor for our bootcamp in Gaziantep!
Name: Mujtaba Al-Tameemi
City: Currently Vancouver/Istanbul but originally from Baghdad
Job Title: Instructor @ Re:Coded & Software Engineer @ Thinkific
Educational Background: Self-taught
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO
I'm primarily a software engineer at Thinkific where I help develop an online education platform. Recently, I joined Re:Coded as an instructor at the web development bootcamp in Gaziantep, Turkey. I believe that the key to solving a lot of the world problems is by democratizing access to information and education, and that is where my focus is at. Given the great power of the internet and technology and my background in the subject, I like to work on solutions that mix technology, community, and education.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? BRIEFLY WALK US THROUGH FROM COLLEGE TO NOW?
I never graduated from college, so I'll modify the question a little bit in order to provide a meaningful answer by starting the story from when I started thinking seriously about working professionally in tech. At that time, I was living in Amman, Jordan and had some experience in building Android apps on the side for my personal projects. My brother introduced me to a friend of his who was building WordPress websites and was looking for someone to offload some work to. That was my entry into the world of freelancing.
While working as a freelance web developer, I hated the inconsistent frequency of work and having to deal with clients directly, so I decided to start looking for employment. I worked at a startup, which got bought a few months after I got hired and the new buyer decided to shut it down, then I worked at another, but I also had to leave a few months later because I got the opportunity to relocate to Vancouver, Canada.
Less than a month after I landed in Canada, I found work as a QA engineer at a startup of about 20 employees for a couple of weeks, after which I was offered a software engineering position at the same company. 1 year after that, the company declared bankruptcy and I was without a job again. This is when I came across this company in Vancouver that was building a platform for online course creation, marketing, and sales, and they were hiring for full-stack software engineers. At first, I thought it must be too good to be true because it combined all the things that I love and want to work on. I applied to Thinkific and 2 other places as backup in case Thinkific didn't accept me. After some back and forth between me and Thinkific, I got the job offer and I've been working there for 2 years now.
Some of the things I learned from this journey is that it's always better to apply for a few job postings that I believe in, instead of sending a resume to every job posting out there and wait for one to send me an offer. I also learned that it's really easy to get work if I learn the right skills. Before I got into the industry, I was under the misconception that companies are super picky and they ask for unrealistic standards from their candidates. However, I found that actually companies struggle in finding people to hire more than developers struggle in getting offers.
BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
Building a product that I believe in with a team that I trust.
The people I work with treat me respectfully and fairly.
The flexible work environment, which allows for remote work, unlimited vacation policy, and flexible work hours.
The constant challenges I go through and the learnings I get out of them on a daily basis.
Facing problems that have a big impact on the customers, such as issues that cause the site to go down or become unresponsive. On the flip side, it is also often challenging to innovate with the solutions I need to implement. This is what makes it a lot of fun though!
ANYTHING EXCITING YOU’VE GOT PLANNED FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE?
Still working on solidifying those plans, but recently, Meena (my wife) and I rented a 3 bedroom apartment with a large living room. We are planning to host people and create and exchange program for entrepreneurs, engineers, and artists (Meena is an artist) and host them in our apartment. We're very excited about this project. I'm also planning on offering an internship opportunity for young developers who need that step in between the learning phase and the junior role job phase.
QUICK AND RANDOM
When I'm not working, I love to go camping and exploring nature. If it were up to me, I would be sleeping under the stars every night! Unfortunately, Meena thinks that's crazy and doesn't want to do that with me.
Fave Social Media Channel? TED
Fave book or podcast? The Alchemist
Fave show to binge watch? F.R.I.E.N.D.S
Fave food? Spinach
Best Career Advice You’ve Received?
Learn a lot of things superficially. Then when asked if you can do one of them, say yes, then go learn it in depth and do it.
Why do you care if you have "senior" in your job title or not? What matters is what you know and how quickly/well you can learn.