Most of you are used to our Life @ Aspire series, however, today we decided to do something different and we interviewed Ahmad Younis for our first ever Life Post Aspire blog series.
Meet Ahmad Younis, ex-Aspirer, QA Engineer, fitness and travel fanatic, now living out of California.
Tell me a bit about yourself?
Currently, I am a QA Engineer for Roblox. I have been with Roblox for the past 2 years now, living in the Bay Area, San Francisco, California. Before that, I was also working in the Bay Area for another company (Kyocera), where I stayed for almost 3 years. Prior to moving to the US, I was in Poland for a little over a year, working for another IT company (Astrafox) as a QA Tester. Before Poland, I was at Aspire for 5 years, where I started as a Fresh Graduate.
Ahmad, at the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA
Why did you choose IT?
I graduated in Software Engineering from Al Rafidain University College in Iraq back in 2004. I chose IT because I always knew that I wanted to work in this field and that I would have many opportunities to grow. Right after graduation, I moved to Jordan where I started as a Fresh Graduate at Aspire as a QA Trainee. The company was still relatively small when I joined, we had about 40 people in 2004. My English skills weren’t great, so I started learning English, how to write emails and working on my communication skills. After work, some of my Aspire colleagues helped me practice English which made me feel highly motivated. I did this in order to advance in my career and to understand our client’s culture as I was working with an American client at the time. All of my hard work paid off and after a few years, I became a QA Supervisor and began leading projects. After 5 years at Aspire, I decided to move to Poland for my next career opportunity.
What are you particularly passionate about within your industry?
I love QA! It is a very big field. There is QA Networking for testing, coding for testing, manual testing and many more. All of this requires you to think outside of the box, to think of possible scenarios and imagine how the end user would think, keep working to find bugs and test everything. I am also fascinated by automation now and how this might tie into QA. The most important thing is to be passionate about learning, as things keep changing really fast.
Why did you join Aspire?
I joined Aspire to get an internship opportunity. Luckily, I got a full-time job after my internship. I developed a love for QA and for the Aspire family throughout my time there. I left after 5 years of working at Aspire back in 2009 and believe it or not, after 11 years I still keep in contact with my Aspire colleagues until today. Every time that I come to Jordan, I go back to the office for a quick visit to remember the good old days.
Ahmad during one of his visits to the Aspire offices, Jordan
What does your typical day currently look like?
I start every morning with yoga. I go to work, grab a coffee and get started. During lunchtime, I usually go to the gym. We have a gym at the office and after my workout and a quick bite, I feel ready and energized for my afternoon meetings ahead. We have an open plan office, similar to Aspire’s layout which is a really friendly and nice environment. After work, I usually go out with my coworkers or friends for a drink or dinner. Now during COVID-19 times, I have been mainly staying in as much as possible.
How has it been moving around so much?
When I moved from Iraq to Jordan, I noticed some differences even though both are Arab countries. We also have a huge cultural mix of people in Jordan and especially at Aspire where people are really friendly. The move from Jordan to Poland was a big one, the work climate in Europe was very different to Jordan and it helped me to understand different cultures and especially how to explain things in a very brief way, how to get “straight to the point”. When I moved from Poland to the US, it was a whole different experience, and a more fast-paced environment. We have a lot of working-meetings where we agree and make changes that are needed during the actual presentations/meetings.
What did you value the most about Aspire?
The quality that we give to clients and the quality of the employees are very high.
What is your favorite movie/series?
Mr. and Mrs. Smith is my favorite movie and Friends is definitely my favorite TV series.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to go out and meet new people, make new friends through social networking and I like to travel, especially around California. I love watching the sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge, I also go to Yosemite National Park quite a lot.
Ahmad, going for a walk with his friend’s dog in San Francisco, USA
What is one thing you want to do before it is too late?
Travel as much as I can.
Ahmad exploring Page in Arizona, USA
Ahmad in Sydney, Australia
What, in your opinion, are the most important issues in the IT industry?
Too many languages and way too many devices which complicates things a lot, especially when it comes to testing.
What’s your biggest personal achievement?
To always stay healthy, I really focus on this a lot.
Ahmad cycling in Vail, Colorado, USA
What’s your biggest professional accomplishment?
Where I am now, how far I got. I am super happy and proud of what I have achieved. Back in Iraq, I didn’t even have an internet connection at home and I have built so much from where I started.
What superpower would you like to have?
I would love to be able to time-travel. Within 2 minutes I could be in another country, imagine how cool that would be.
If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pasta. I LOVE pasta! All types of pasta.
What’s your life philosophy?
You are not special because of who you are but because of what you do and the most important thing is to be happy, to enjoy what you are doing and be mentally well.
Ahmad going on an adventurous helicopter ride in Maui, Hawaii, USA
Most memorable moment at Aspire?
I felt very special when I moved from an intern to becoming a full-time employee. I felt valuable. We also had so many fun times. I remember when the whole company went on a field trip to Wadi Rum, we took a bus out there and everyone was singing along the way. It was great!
If you could choose one technology to use for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I would like to have a self-driving car. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic and could get more things done during that time.
Were you affected by COVID-19?
The US was one of the most affected countries. Everybody had to work from home and for quite a while. In the beginning, things were hard, especially because we didn’t know for how long the pandemic would be. A lot of people died, luckily nobody that I know personally, but a lot of people got affected mentally and from a work perspective, I really missed my social life and face-to-face interactions with people.
How do you think life will be post-pandemic?
Working from home is going to be the new model, especially for tech companies. We know this is where we are headed but we are still waiting to see if this will be optional or if it will be hybrid. A hybrid model in my opinion would be the best combination, socializing is very important for me.
Any tips for new graduates?
From my experience, the most important thing is to think about the skill sets and what you need to improve. I felt that my english skills were lacking and I really worked hard to improve this to get to where I am today. It is also important to think strategically and not just on a job title, think about communication skills, technical capabilities, and what you can learn from the opportunities you are given.