Mahmoud Magdy, Senior Application Architect at MEEZA, a Qatar Foundation venture, interviews with Qatar IT Forum about his professional life and his secret to success as an IT professional. Here is the full transcript of our interview.
How did you start your professional career? And, why did you choose IT as a career?
I started my career when I was 17 years old, I joined as a trainee in a company where my father work, that was way back in 2000 at the wide Libyan deserts where I was with my family since 1991. I joined as a trainee working between electrical engineering team and the IT team, but I was so interested in IT because I was inspired by an Engineer who was called Ahmed Tarek who installed my first PC (x 486) PC running Windows 95, so I loved learning about it and this is how I was hooked in.
I then moved back to Egypt after my graduation where I wanted to pursue bigger dreams because I felt that I won’t learn and achieve what I want to achieve if I stayed longer, so after 4 years working during my college I moved to Egypt, it was interesting because I was fresh graduate but applying for 3-5 years old jobs because I have been working for 4 years already, until I got accepted in one job where they were amazed to find a fresh grad possessing all that knowledge, and i kept moving from there.
How do you see growth of IT industry in Qatar?
Qatar is one of the most promising and booming economies in the region and also in IT, I can see a huge investment done everywhere to enhance the IT infrastructure, system and usage along with great initiatives to use IT to enhance peoples’ life quality including modern researches in health/genes, Internet of things integration and startups push, it is a great to be here in such an environment
And, what steps Government should take to improve the IT industry?
If I would say something I would say to continue doing what the Government is doing, there are great initiatives at the government and private sectors for both Qataris and residents, and I can say that the model and implementation is very successful. Last year I witnesses imagine cup for example and I have seen great ideas coming from local universities, and this year I joined Arab Mobile Challenge and it was great to see all these bright minds working in Qatar to create and implement new ideas all of this will bring expertise and benefits to Qatar.
What are your three most important recommendations to Qatar IT Industry?
This is a tough question, but I would urge everyone to consider the changing environment around us including financial, political and societal changes around us in the region and in the world, and how can we use IT in smarter and better way to help Qatar and our region to accommodate for those changes.
What’s your feedback about our forum?
I can see that it is a great initiative, it needs more work and determination but it will pay off at the end.
And, anything you would like us to improve?
Yup, engage with local experts and make the forum a place to bring local experience on board as well.
What IT projects are you currently working on?
It is classified due to its nature, but I have to say that I am so proud being part of it.
Who are your inspirations?
Everyone I meet inspires me, because I built this passion to learn from everyone I meet, but 2 particular persons in my life affected me, Sherif Tawfik, He is the GM of Microsoft Oman and Bahrain, Sherif represents everything you can think of in a leader and a role model, from being determined to success, hard worker, great learner and seeing the best in people, and moreover, replicating his success through other people.
I knew him almost 10 years ago, I took a course with him and I failed to pass, he told me that I am eager to learn and I have a great passion, so he pushed me to the next level with a promise from me to do better, I don’t know if I did better or not, but it changed my life and career, he kept pushing me to the next level until I reached what I am now.
The second is my father in law, I have never seen such an optimistic, kind and determined person in my life, he has great passion to his work and keeps trying new things and launching new initiatives, some of them fails but that never stops him, he is an amazing person.
What’s the secret of your success as an IT Professional?
I believe that there is no secret recipe to success, the equation is very simple, it is effort + determination, and the rest goes into the hands of Allah.
You have to push yourself hard to reach your next milestone whether it is personal, career or education milestone
And you have to be determined to reach there, how fast you reach is another question that doesn’t fall within your hands, but you will reach as long as you spend the effort and have the determination.
The only skill that I found handy in this journey is to be eager to learn, normally you don’t own all the skills to help you during your journey and the knowledge to overcome the next challenge. Now your eagerness and willingness to learn the required skills will make the difference.
Where do you spend most of your free time?
Home with my family, during the weekend we like to go to open places specially now days in the perfect weather. Any special hobbies/interests?
Chess, I am addicted to it, it mentally challenges you to think tactically and strategically, I won through a lot of tornaments during my college and now I play online for fun.
What’s the side of you that your friends, family and colleagues never see?
That I am religious, I am funny person and love the laughter, and I found that people built an impression that I am not to religious, however all this fun and laughs comes because I trust god and I don’t bother about how life goes, because I know that he planned the best for me, I wish if I can reverse this image.
If you could go back to the start of your career and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would tell myself to do the same things again, people wish to go back and change themselves, they don’t accept themselves now and thing that going back will change them now or improve them, but they forget that this will change who they are now as well, so I accpeted myself now and I prefer to do the same mistakes and learn the same lessons, because that builds your character now and it is part of the fun.