Life @ Aspire Series – Leen Shehadeh
Leen Shehadeh, Senior Software Engineer and UX Designer.
Why did you choose IT?
I never imagined I would work in IT. I wanted to do Design initially, however, I had to decide what to choose for university. My parents told me about the IT industry and the career paths that I could follow and this interested me a lot. I ended up studying Computer Information Systems at university, I graduated in 2016 and surprisingly enough, I really enjoyed my course.
Right after I graduated, I was hired by another company, however, I didn’t enjoy their corporate culture and decided to leave soon after joining. I then applied to Aspire and joined their Fresh Grads Program, I have been here ever since. Aspire has a great environment and the process for delivery of services works seamlessly. I like that I have the chance to work with many clients and projects so I always learn a lot. You end up learning how to multitask, how to deal with other cultures, personality types and how to use different technologies based on client requirements. This has helped me improve my experience tremendously and to always stay up to date with the latest technology releases. For example, back in 2016, I started using AngularJS on my first project, I then moved on to React Native and now I am working on Business Intelligence (BI) projects.
What does your typical day look like?
Every morning, I have breakfast with my family and then I come to work. When I arrive in the office, I check my emails, have coffee with my colleagues and decide how we are going to tackle the day’s tasks. My team is mixed: some of us work the day shift and others work the night shift, so we usually all gather together to have lunch and discuss things. In the afternoons, we have meetings and calls with our clients. I go home after work, have dinner and hang out with my family.
What are you particularly passionate about within your industry?
As a Software Engineer, I work in a team. Working in a team always allows room for knowledge sharing. We share our thoughts, experiences, solutions and we help each other in order to grow together. I absolutely love this – on a day-to-day you can work on a task independently, but ask your team for feedback, helping you to improve your tasks in the future.
What do you value the most about the company?
I like that we have many different teams using different technologies and we can all learn from each other. I also love that we are pushed to be creative and can even create internal applications that can make our lives easier. I created a Mobile Tracking System (MTS) using AngularJS a few years ago. Before I created this app, the employees tracked this on Excel spreadsheets. Now, employees use the MTS app in order to register and use a device. It turned out to be a very useful app where you can track everything on the device: book a device, see the time of use, who used it, which devices were used the most and the admins/managers can even get reports on all of this. I am very proud that I created this app, that it has been active now for two and a half years and that most teams use it on a daily basis.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I LOVE tennis, so on Saturdays, I usually play tennis. I also always watch tennis matches with my father. My favorite players are Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. In my spare time, I enjoy reading about new technologies (I am currently reading and trying to stay up-to-date with AWS) and hanging out with friends and family.
Leen playing tennis on weekends.
If you had to choose one programming language to use for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
What is something that will surprise your colleagues?
I have an identical twin sister called Lama. A while back, she came to the office and people were talking to her, calling her Leen because they thought she was me. They were very surprised when they found out, especially because we are completely different in terms of personality, even though we are identical. I work in IT and she is a coach in a gym.
Leen and her twin sister, Lama.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
An eagle because it represents freedom and strength. It is also one of the most ancient symbols of humanity, a solar symbol linked to all sky gods.
What is one thing you want to do before it is too late?
My biggest dream is to watch a live tennis match with my favorite players, maybe attend Wimbledon if I get the chance.
What, in your opinion, are the most important issues in the IT industry?
If you are a Software Engineer, you always have to stay updated with the latest technologies. To be a specialist in one thing simply isn’t enough, as there are always new technologies and tools being released, so you need to keep up to speed with the changes that happen constantly within the industry. I am constantly learning and I think the biggest issue really is the speed of change. When you become certified in a certain technology, it changes and you have to move on to the next certification. However, one thing that has really helped me recently and that I have applied to my work daily is my diploma in UX design. A better user experience (UX) and usability testing, leads to better user interface (UI) reviews for the designers, allowing us to make changes based on user feedback. Recently, I started working BI Projects and creating dashboards, so sometimes when we have a new feature to add or a Proof of Concept (POC) for a client I make use of the UI/UX principles to make sure things are consistent, useful and valuable. I also love searching for new templates that represent a good UI and UX in my spare time. I also taught my team that UX helps BI because good UX means better dashboards, which means better decision making that leads to a better return on investment (ROI) and more business.
What’s your life philosophy?
Everything happens for a reason, even if you don’t understand why at that time.
Most memorable moment at Aspire?
The most memorable moment for me at Aspire was when I won the employee of the month. This was a very special moment for me. I still have it pinned to my office wall.
Leen’s employee of the month certificate
Any tips for new graduates?
Keep learning! That is the most important thing. You will always have to keep learning, updating yourself and improving your skills, even once you finish university. It’s better to learn from trustworthy resources. I learn from doing courses on Udemy and reading blogs on Medium and UXCollective.
We are hiring! If you want to work with amazing people like Leen and become an Aspirer yourself, have a look at our careers page.