I’m a 19-year-old Gazan female who participated in Manara last year and got internships at Google and Repl.it. I’m so excited I will spend this summer at Google in Europe! I got lots of questions about my experience when people heard about it on Facebook so I wrote this blog post to let other young engineers in Palestine and the Middle East know how they can get into amazing companies like this too.
Thank you for being awesome! The world is already a better place with you in it!
As for my question, a friend of mine from Palestine told me that if I ever make it to Palestine that I must try ice cream from Rukab's Ice Cream. I've never made it there, and I'm not sure that I ever will. Have you eaten this? How does it compare to the ice cream in Europe?
NOTE: if you work in tech and want to mentor in Palestine, check out Gaza Sky Geeks and Code for Palestine. They organize on-site travel for select volunteers (full transparency: I'm involved with both organizations)
It’s good to know when talking about Palestine whether you’re geographically talking about the West Bank or Gaza. They’re separated by not a lot of distance but a lot of different kinds of restrictions.
A lot of the rule over the West Bank vacillates between heavy lockdown and expansion of Israeli urban development. Most (not all) Gazans don’t get to experience even that flux.
There is a place in Sydney in Newtown that makes a great tasting one, and I had some from a theatrical man in a stall in Singapore once so something similar can be found around the world.
I strangely detest rose flavour unless it's also mixed with chocolate in which case I love it (and will devour a bag of chocolate coated Turkish delight).
Congrats to you, Dalia, and best wishes / good luck to your mates as well.
To all - investment in girls' education lifts the entire society .
PLAN has low overhead, too. They don't spend fortunes on marketing. A high percentage of donations (~90% IIRC) goes to the people in need.
I learned this from PLAN Canada, but I'm sure it is the same elsewhere. I have no relation, just a fan of their work.
Personally, I think this focus on girls only is sexist and I take care to never donate to charities that only want to help girls.
Those girls will become mothers, and their education will translate to providing better opportunities and a more sophisticated outlook for their children.
I agree it seems sexist to only help girls, but helping anyone is good.
Your enthusiasm is actually charming. I'm sure it has put smile on many faces. It brings this nostalgic feeling of how many actually started. Have a blast in your career!
On another note, the repl.it interview sounds awesome. It's a rare interview process where the candidate gets to do useful and interesting work (in this case, work with operational transformations) as part of the interview process. Kudos to repl.it for their awesome sounding interview process and to you for crushing it. :)
How can we help? Do you need money for housing in Europe, better computers, anything? I am quite sure a lot of us would be glad to chip in.
Super happy for you!
I'm curious: do people from Gaza primarily identify as "Gazan" versus "Palestinian"? I was confused for a moment by the title before I clicked, as I'd not seen that adjective used in that way before.
Source: lived in the UAE and have a number of Palestinian friends.
If after Google you're interested in sustainability and want to come work at a cool startup in France, let me know haha!
I was in Manara’s 4th cohort. The 5th cohort just started hunting for internships and jobs. Two of them are my friends Hend and Rula, they’re just like me, they went to RBK and then Manara. You can meet them by emailing Manara (www.manara.tech)
I hope the parent poster contacts your friends.
I wish you much success this summer!
In a previous role of mine I had the privilege of meeting and working with some Palestinian Engineers from the West Bank. It was only for a few days as it was an internal company hackathon, but it was still great and we are still in contact today.
Sure there were some differences and some interesting conversations but it also allowed us to hear each other’s perspective and to solve engineering problems together.
I hope to see more Palestinian Engineers succeeding like you are and also more Israeli and Palestinian engineers working on projects together.
Good luck and all the best!
Really happy to read about your journey, incredibly inspirational.
I have to add, your story is heartwarming and I hope other people who aren't so fortunate will be able to learn and get more opportunity and achieve like you have.
Did Google tell you that you will go physically to Europe for the internship? Last summer internships were virtual due to covid19 restrictions, and with the measures from most countries, I'd be surprised if this summer internships are held on the phyisical office, while Google still has WFH.
Your story motivated me even more to keep nurturing my niece's interest in programming :)
About racism, it is sadly alive and well in Europe also. I think the tech hubs are likely better than many other places as they are more diverse. In Stockholm, where I am, we have had to import lots of SW developers as the industry demand is much larger than the local supply (SW developer is the single most common occupation, all categories) but I still see occasional instances of under-the-table racism - e.g. a landlord might prefer to rent out an apartment to a native swede before an immigrant. And women can also find themselves isolated and sometimes have to work much harder to prove themselves in a very male-dominated segment. But I think we're heading in the right direction at least. Hopefully, my daughters will not experience these things, if they choose to work in SW development when they're adults.
Keep up the trailblazing!
Non-western immigrants in Sweden have a bad reputation, simply because integration has been handled poorly by the government (and their immigration policies have arguably been way too open), and that people come with all kinds of backgrounds, war torn countries etc.
It's a chicken and egg situation, I think the best thing Sweden can do at this point is to partly shut the doors on immigration and focus on integrating the population currently living in ghetto like suburbs.
قلب: a non-ASCII programming language written in Arabic - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21352508 - Oct 2019 (623 comments)
Ramsey Nasser's Arabic programming language artwork - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7700691 - May 2014 (108 comments)
Despite Hebrew and Arabic being right-to-left languages, all coding is done in normal left-to-right Latin (really, English) programming frameworks.
As Dalia noted, all major programming languages are left-to-right with Latin alphabet, and their frameworks/SDKs/APIs are filled with English words for functions and classes.
> $ php -r ::
> Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM
Then I realized that was much less likely than simply having flipped the image.
Excited for your new adventures - congratulations!
If you don't mind sharing with us - I am curious how educated your parents are and what their profession is currently?
The problem is that there are few jobs in Gaza due to the wars and the closed borders. Lucky us they are working but my father is earning just 50% of the actual salary. This happens a lot in Gaza nowadays. The economic situation has been getting a lot worse for the last few years.
We have a really high bar for hiring at Repl.it, Dalia and the other youngsters from Palestine performed better than at least half the experienced engineers I've interviewed in the past. We extended an offer to one Dalia's classmates and he started yesterday as an intern with high potential for full-time, as our internships usually are since we invest a lot in them.
It was such a pleasure meeting you Dalia, wish you all the best. Hope to work with you in the future (maybe when we can offer US visas).
P.S. We're still hiring
I really don't want to sound negative, but I find this difficult to believe. Sorry if I sound too harsh, but experienced engineers who don't perform better than recent graduates sure it's a thing, but 50% of the ones you have interviewed don't perform better than a recent graduate? Perhaps you were exaggerating? Or perhaps your interview process is really focused on what recent graduates know best (popular algorithms) and not in what experienced engineers know best (how to deal with real world codebases). Again, I don't mean to sound harsh, I think perhaps that "...at least half..." was just a way of saying "Dalia was really good" (which sounds more credible).
There's an adverse selection problem with interviewing, in that people who are good tend to disappear from the labor market and when they do appear on the labor market they get snapped up quickly. New grads don't have this adverse selection effect: there is a very good reason why they don't already have a job. This is why companies invest so much in internships: this will often be the only time to snap up a promising young developer before they start building a career at your competitor.
Doubtful. There is constant churn in tech, as the best way to get a raise is to switch jobs. It's well documented that junior/senior engineers (and beyond) switch jobs, on average, every 2-3 years. Longer tenures are generally favored due to vesting schedules (though I've had several friends ditch Amazon before the [iirc] 4-year cliff).
(Or alternatively, you find a fast-growing startup that's growing faster than the wealthiest companies in your industry, hop on the ground floor for stock options, and ride the stock up. Once that happens you don't need money, though.)
You switch jobs every two years, applying to four companies, getting two offers and taking the one that most closely doubles your salary, then you’re gone from the market again.
Meanwhile the other 1000 guys who applied for that gig you took are still out there looking. They'll apply for 50 jobs this week, 50 next week, and 50 more every week for the next two years. They’ll be your competition again next time you’re on the market.
Now think about how many of “you” it will take doing your four interviews every 2 years before you are anything but noise in the process from a hiring perspective.
It’s the reason guys like you get offered nearly every job you apply for. Because the person in charge of hiring is amazed to have found somebody capable of programming computers at all.
As a result, my interviewing skills have deteriorated significantly. I wouldn’t be surprised if a talented programmer straight out of college could out-interview me even though I have much more experience.
I put problem in quotations because it is very hard to complain about being paid too much :(
In developing countries your story is a bit more common but even there you can accelerate things by switching companies once every few years (somewhere between 3-5). After a while you probably want to stay put to get promotions.
1. You have to solve a problem immediately (whiteboard or now in a webbrowser)
2. It's often frowned upon to research via google search something, although in real life most people do it all the time.
3. you have only an hour to solve a problem, and what if you don't see the 'right and easy way' to do it? In real life things aren't so simple.
4. Don't forget it's a performance! You have to be on your best, sharpest most intelligent and witty behavior, think through things, it can be exhausting.
These are just a few of the ways that interviewing is artificial.
I was looking last year, I flunked my few interviews. Then I paused and spent a few weeks working through CtCI. After that I was easily getting offers. Was I a better programmer than before? No, of course not, I had just learned how to put on a show, and I forgot it all the moment I had an offer I was happy with.
We're in our early 40s. About half have been at their current place of employment for close to 10 years now. The other half seem to change jobs every couple of years, although some of those had a long tenure before the recent bought of job swapping (they haven't found a new place they like).
What a shitty thing to do.
Companies sure as shit don't care about you, and you caring about them gives them a leg up, not you.
I don't see a big problem with it. While it may 'waste' some time on the company's part, it also sends a signal of, "hey, you could get some of these really high quality engineers if you were willing to [pay more/offer more vacation/offer remote work/etc.]".
Now, if you're unwilling to accept an offer from a particular company even if their terms blow you away, then yeah, that's a dick move.
I think it's a smart strategy to pick 1 or 2 companies you'd never want to work out, including for low pay, and do your practice there. You should tell them if you pass why you don't want to come there, including for the low pay.
1) someone coming from a big corporate job where they were undervalued/underutilized
2) someone coming from a different region, different country, where they have no local network
Only inside a community, not coming from outside.
I’ve had it happen to me and done it for others.
My favorite is businesses and colleges that don't take applicants from PO Boxes.
We need better proof and better data than a 2006 blog post.
She cleared interviews at both Repl.it and Google. She implemented an assignment based on operational transformations and having studied this myself it’s far from trivial. If you folks ever retire this question Id love to have a crack at it.
She also cleared the Google interview which goes deep into algorithmic aspects and system design. Which means that she’s brilliant at both abstract design and execution.
To be able to do both while graduating does place someone in the upper brackets of engineering skill. Some don’t fulfill it because of other reasons but that’s another matter.
It’s not like the bar is being lowered. They’re held to the same bar as Stanford and MIT grads who apply and they come from a third world country with only a bit of remedial coaching. It’s what top school grads already know from their campus coaching and tips from their seniors.
People who say this is akin to gaming the process you too can easily get the same by dropping a trivial amount of money on CTCI, EPI and Pramp for mock interviews.
I wrote this a little bit too much in frustration but I’m tired of these assumptions that people from the third world cannot show incredible potential sometimes exceeding their first world peers and are only held back by bad systems and politics.
There are untold depths of genius all over the planet. We haven’t even come CLOSE to most people on earth realizing even a fraction of their potential.
“ I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.”
- Stephen Jay Gould
> taking away from an incredible achievement here
> held to the same bar as Stanford and MIT grad
> you too can easily get the same
> assumptions that people from the third world cannot
These have nothing to do with the discussion, which is that it’s disingenuous to call a new grad better than an experienced engineer in that the interview process is obviously biased towards new grads.
No one is complaining that she got the job. We all know how to “game the system.” Whether from Stanford or community college, anyone with Leetcode and a few weeks can easily pass these interviews. So I am not sure why you are implying that people are bitter about some perceived inability to get such a position.
People are just pointing out how disingenuous of a statement it is for the OP to say “better than an experienced engineer” when they have literally no metric to judge this. And no, system design interviews don’t really count. A few days with the System Design Primer will solve that.
>These have nothing to do with the discussion, which is that it’s disingenuous to call a new grad better than an experienced engineer in that the interview process is obviously biased towards new grads.
From root comment: “Dalia and the other youngsters from Palestine performed better than at least half the experienced engineers I've interviewed in the past.”. There’s nothing disingenuous about the interviewer’s belief.
From Dalia’s article: “repl.it’s interviews were really different. First they gave me an operational transformation homework assignment.”, “For my second interview, about two weeks later, I had to prepare a presentation with ideas to improve the product.”.
You are making stuff up about Leetcode and whatever - the article itself has facts that show your assumptions to be wildly incorrect.
That is, of course, if your resume doesn't get tossed out for not being diverse enough .
That anyone reasonably clever which spends months studying CTCI, EPI and Pramp and whatever else and doing mock interviews will pass the interview, while an experienced programmer will not just by virtue of their skills and knowledge.
Spoken like someone who has never interviewed at Google.
I have 6 years experience, a M.S. in CS, have worked at SV unicorns, and studied for 2 months for my Google interview and still failed. Am I an idiot? Possibly, but more likely that the interviews are hard and there is a lot of randomness.
Until you actually study and try yourself, don't talk about how easy it is for anyone "reasonably clever".
I have performed a lot of coding interviews (probably 400+), I'm painfully aware of how limited the signal is that I can reliably read from 45 minutes with a candidate
I deliberately ask a question that has no algorithmic or data structure component to it (and tell candidates that) it's just a simple problem solving coding question which allows some insight into general coding and engineering chops
I still see experienced engineers struggle. It is hard to pinpoint exactly why, but lack of preparation/practice definitely seems to be a problem
Covid appears (at least for me) to have killed off the whiteboard
I've seen experienced engineers who I know for a fact can code and solve problems decently completely freeze and blank out during easy live coding challenges.
I think interviewing is a stressful situation. It's hard for reasons outside an applicant's knowledge or intelligence. Interviewing seems to be a skill in itself. I know I hate it... :(
I don't know if that's still a problem at Google, but it could explain why some people don't pass the interview process even though they are reasonably clever.
I did it a little while ago, this is the question: https://otcatchup.util.repl.co/
Read the post if you haven’t because it touched on our process. And watch this video to learn more: https://youtu.be/kABh44IVWMo
I do a lot of hiring at a "big n" company and I'd agree with this
My experience lines up exactly with what the GP said. The overwhelming majority of experienced engineers that are interviewing simply can't write useable code. I understand it's hard to believe, but it is the reality whether you believe it or not.
Interview processes are significantly biased towards seeing large numbers of non-hire-able people over hire-able people. It's not surprising that someone with few connections and just starting their career could perform well against the biased view of an unfiltered interview pipeline.
oh, nostrademons beat me to the punch.
A real on-site interview should be:
1) give vague instructions on a fixing/modifying a moderately complex piece of software
2) have them ask good questions until they get to the heart of what they are supposed to do.
3) work with someone to accomplish this task. Use google or whatever else you need to finish it.
This interview should be 5 hours long including lunch. This is your best indicator of success.
My wife just interviewed and got a new job in the past week, for a proposal writing job at a decent-sized tech consulting firm (300 employees) where she'll be making six figures.
To get this job, she spent about two hours of preparation learning about the company and hunting down samples of past proposals (this is her standard process for preparing for an interview, by the way), then had one 30 minute interview with her would-be boss, and one 30 minute interview with three would-be coworkers (at the same time). She had a job offer a few hours after the second interview.
Now she's had several years of prior experience for some pretty large companies and worked on very large proposals in the past, but the difference seems to be in her industry they trust past experience, whereas in tech it has almost zero value, they just care about whether you can past their coding exercises.
The programmer/software engineer interview process is just so broken. I have to grind toy algorithm coding problems and rewatch algorithm lectures for weeks just to psyche myself up to go through the interview gauntlet again.
I've even neglected getting back to pings from recruiters just because I wasn't feeling up for going through the whole process at that point in my life and/or I knew I wouldn't have enough time to prepare myself for the interview to even have a chance to make it through it and I'd be wasting my time.
I get that employers are getting inundated with people that they at least feel they couldn't code (I bet they'd think that about me as well if they brought me in to interview today, even though I've been basically a one man dev team for startups before and currently developing and supporting software that services millions of customers) so they feel the need to verify the skills.
I just find verifying skills in the midst of the interview very difficult, especially if it's testing knowledge I haven't used very recently, since my brain is constantly context switching out technical details and platforms and apis based on my current work needs.
There needs to be a good way I can prove "Hey, I really can code" outside of an interview, once, that's somehow trusted. I thought that's what a degree in Computer Science was supposed to prove, but apparently that was a waste of money.
Some people say this is what fizzbuzz is supposed to do. Others, particularly people outside the USA, say the solution is engineering licensure. A lot of people in hiring think that's not enough. But what is definitely lacking is institutional trust between companies outside the FAANG bubble, and perhaps blue chip companies like IBM.
The problem of low institutional trust means that working for Company A as a programmer for years means nothing to Company B, and you have to prove yourself all over again if you have to interview for Company B even if your GitHub is loaded with open source side projects. So the problem is not proprietary code or not being able to show your work to a new employer, it's trust.
Anyway, the developer interview culture is severely broken, and it's been discussed a lot elsewhere on HN, yet nobody has been able to solve the problem. We have smart thermostats, can order books with our voice from the couch, and 3D print a house, but we can't solve hiring and just have to accept the status quo if we work in tech.
I'm of two thoughts.
One, the hazing ritual (reversion to mean) is because we forgot how to interview properly and can't think of any other strategies. For this, I mostly blame corporate HR wankery and failings.
Two, some Mensa style geeks do a weird bully flex, probably out of insecurity. And per our common negative attribution bias, these few "bad apples" are the ones we remember.
I once interviewed at a place that was almost two solid days of 30 minute interviews, one after another. By the end of the second day I completely didn't care about anything they wanted to ask about or what they thought about my responses. I think this stamina crushing test was actually part of the evaluation. Not kidding about that.
It was just merely stating a fact that Dalia and her acquaintance perform better in the hiring process than at least half the experienced engineers he has ever interview.
If anyone is jumping to conclusion its you guys
I don't know who "you guys" is.
* Experienced engineers will perform better than graduates in general
* The distribution of experienced engineers who are poor performers won't over represent application to one particular company unless they are an outlier (Repl.it is not Google)
This makes me wonder what Repl.it's hiring process is and why it is not doing well at attracting good people.
In my experience there are a lot of experienced engineers that are very low quality, and it isn’t uncommon to have experienced engineers that have negative productivity (working with them costs more than they produce). See https://thedailywtf.com/ . Starting with recent grads (filtered for potential) can easily be more productive over time, because you can teach them good habits.
> The distribution of experienced engineers who are poor performers won't over represent application
Hiring being inundated with poor quality candidates is a common problem due to adverse selection: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26254114
"other youngsters from Palestine performed better than at least half the experienced engineers I've interviewed in the past."
This comment caught me a little off guard. You are saying that these young people with no experience perform better than half of the experienced engineers you interview.
My question is what is wrong with your hiring process? It sounds broken.. What part of the process are the experienced developers failing in? What are you asking for
in candidates that these experienced developers lack but can be found in this group of inexperienced engineers? Curious about salary, would you say Dalia friends makes the same as an experienced developer?
The talent in the Middle East & North Africa is very strong. We believe it's the next Eastern Europe, which used to export refugees and is now a hub of world-class talent.
The quality of folks coming from a very selective program in a different country, however, has selection bias in the opposite direction; nearly everyone from there is going to be better, on average, than the 'average' interviewer, because as mentioned elsewhere, roughly half (likely a bit more) of people we interviewed could not pass FizzBuzz, despite having stellar resumes.
We saw the same thing with MEET, which I helped teach a decade ago too.
These kind of programs select developers with much higher code fluency, which is usually the result of a deeper dedication to coding, either in a previous work experience, in their free time or taking part in additional training.
You've interviewed hundreds of experienced engineers who are bad at coding during interviews and under the problems you're asking.
There's a person on the other end of that table. They haven't had the time to think about the problem that you have had.
But you said I shouldn't assume your process is broken. If those are your results the process is broken.
Either your pipeline of experienced engineers needs to be fixed.
Or your ability to judge either who is experienced
Or your ability to judge who can't code for the life of them.
Your comment made it sound like 51% of experienced ngineers looking for a job can't code when the truth is 51% of your experienced candidates can't. It is broken..
1. Base technical skills - typing (yes, typing), ability to recognize and solve standard problems, and ability to process information quickly.
2. Familiarity with specific technologies (.NET, Angular, SQL, whatever you are working with). This is vastly underrated for line of business applications.
3. Architectural patterns - DRY, SRP, dependency injection, inversion of control, queue/msg based patterns, etc.
4. Domain knowledge, perhaps company specific
5. Social skills, etc
A lot of senior devs ride out their career on number 4. For a new hire, especially for a junior position, #1 is critical, because there is no #4 to speak of and #3 and #2 are handled by other devs.
From that perspective, it makes perfect sense.
Experienced engineers can help unfuck a massive complex system. They might not nail your napsack problem right out the gate.
But if you want someone who can nail napsack for you, look no further than fresh grads.
I'm sure many people's anecdata agrees :)
Hard(er) to fudge your knowledge when your standing (even virtually) in front of someone.
Second - this definitely, to me, proves that Manara has a good business model. I actually don't think the fact that the Manara students are from MENA is all that important though. However, I do think that their extremely hands-on, and intensive "bootcamp for FAANG interviewing" model is clearly an advantage for early career technical candidates.
Thinking back to my college days (in the US, mid 2010s) - we were not given any sort of class that focused on professional interviewing. The college career center was also very general, and not knowledgeable about the specifics of passing the coding interviews. The best advice I got was a recommendation from a guest lecturer to read "cracking the coding interview" (which to be fair, was better than nothing).
As a result, the people from my school who did the best right out of the gate, were largely people who already knew people already in a FAANG roles and who could rely on that person for a referral, interview advice and practice feedback. Our school was not in SV (or anywhere close), so realistically, that was not an option for most of us. Additionally, I always applied for internships at FAANG companies while I was still a student - but never even got called in to interview - so it wasn't like I could practice that way either. I ended up doing fine for myself by accumulating a good base of practical experience from local non-FAANG companies before graduating, but I really believe my peers, and aspirational novice engineers of all backgrounds would have benefited greatly from having a hands-on course like Dalia described. I especially would love to see efforts like that extending out to under-served communities here in the US as well (native american reservations, appalachians, rust belt cities).
We chose to focus on MENA for a few reasons. First, it's the region that we know best and can therefore be competitive in.
Second, it truly is a large, exceptional pool of diverse STEM talent - it will soon be as many STEM grads as Eastern Europe (and more than half of them are women!)
Third, we can scale our impact by building a brand for this talent pool & referral networks. Similar to what happened in Eastern Europe.
Finally, our focus helps to attract precisely the resource we need to fulfill our mission: highly talented engineers from top tech companies around the world. Some are alumni, most are currently volunteers who care about MENA. They volunteer to do mock interviews, mentor the participants, etc. We could never do this without them.
My co-founder Laila (who is from Gaza, and like Dalia, made it to Silicon Valley... but back in 2016) and I are both passionate about untapping human potential. While we can't tackle all underserved communities at once, we are actively sharing lessons learned with organizations doing similar things in other regions. :)
Rather, I think everyone who cares about those communities I mentioned should be paying very close attention the work you're doing, and the exceptional results you're seeing. The fact that you are already sharing those lessons with other regions - well, that just gives me another reason to keep cheering you on. Wishing you all the best!
Congratulations for being recognised as a capable engineer by two organisations that you hold in high regard. In addition to your engineering aptitude, it sounds like you know how to direct yourself and to connect with your poise in professional circumstances that some other talented engineers might find trying. These capabilities are rare and valued, because they distinguish you as someone who can join a group and move it forward.
Please keep posting here at HN from time to time. I wish you happiness and satisfaction, and look forward to hearing how you get on with whatever you choose to work at and discover.
I want you to know that I’m not the only one. I worked hard but so did lots of other people and some of them are even smarter than me. 4 people from Manara in Palestine got into Google this year and I think there will be more (I was in Manara’s 4th cohort and the 5th cohort is just applying to jobs now. I think at least 6 people are interviewing at Google from both West Bank and Gaza).
I’ll keep you updated and if you want I can tell them to share their stories here too :)
What I can say from my time in Gaza is that there are many very driven, talented software engineers there. Some of the best engineers I ever worked with were Palestinians (and I don't say this lightly).
But the bigger issue is the willingness to hire Palestinians(and legal issues as well), and afterwards to work with them as well, as there is animosity on both sides, especially with people who currently live in Israel/Palestine as opposed to ones that live in Europe.
> Repl.it is my best friend as a developer. I use it every day. I didn’t realize I could work there!
This reminded me of when I first came to the US from India and started realizing that all the software I used (Windows, Gmail etc) and videogames I played were made by ordinary people like me.
They can come to the USA for an internship quite easily on a J-1 visa, but they won't be able to stay easily once you want to hire them full-time.
Have you considered remote work or opening an office in Europe? Feel free to contact us at www.manara.tech/hire-engineers and we can set up a call.
Note, I don't want to discourage anyone, I hope Dalia and people in the similar situation have a great career in front of here. I'm curios about the outside perspective and why you've indicated Poland as a potential destination to relocate to the EU.
Like Dalia, I thought it would be almost impossible to get a good job on a developed country if you didn't do well in the birth lottery until Google figured out I was good at programming and gave me a nice internship project.
I bombed that first internship, but with the extra experience and the knowledge that I had more open doors than I thought allowed me to get a nice job in the UK after the second one.
When I got accepted for my second internship years later I decided to get a real job 3 months prior to learn how to work in teams in the industry. I think this gave me the correct context to do well later.
If I were to give an advice to other third worlders with FAANG internships: work like you've never worked before and like you'll never work afterwards. This will change your life if you do it right.
To me this is important to know how to get younger people interested in programming. The application approach seems better than the "cool, trendy online class" approach.
I also think Dalia is an exception and not the norm. I also want to know about those that didn't succeed and what obstacles they faced, and as an instructor what can we do differently?
Sorry if I use this bit to rant but I'm still mad at a teacher from high school decades later. As a child I was mad at the injustice done to me. Thinking back as an adult I'm mad at all the potential she probably squandered in others.
She taught the electronics classes and was put in charge of the cube satellite project. It was an extracurricular activity where students work with volunteers to design and build a small cube satellite that would launch into space.
It wasn't announced to the school and I only caught word of it from a friend. I rushed to get an application filled out and turned in but the teacher said that I missed the cut off by one day (a date arbitrarily set by her). I was devastated. A few weeks later I was told by a volunteer I could still join in and help, so I did. I put in some serious work and at some point I find out I missed a big meeting. I asked the teacher about it and she refused to believe I was a participant and would not add me to the mailing list.
All my passion and love for wanted to building something and send it into space was converted into vengeful teenage angst and by that young logic I wanted to see her name plastered all over the failure. The best way to accomplish that was to stop showing up and helping. Times goes by and right after all the college applications are submitted I find out that most of the students immediately stopped working on it. Went from something like 100 students down to 3. The satellite was never finished and didn't get launched into space.
I'm probably the exception with the after story: taught myself some rudimentary things from a RadioShack book, got into college and graduated with a BS in EE. Now a days I see all these cool youtube videos and how easily it is for kids to discover things but have may not necessarily have the resources or guidance to get going.
It's not that easy. Teachers are evaluated on the competency of the entire class, not just the ones who want to be there to learn.
TBH, when I read the title, I was expecting this to be one of those posts that exposes the industry and the process as some kind of abusive fraud. I was really happy to see it be pure joy and positive affirmation.
I have more than a few qualms about the way things are, but it's still an awesome field to be in. I am glad to see you do well, and get acclimated to the engineering culture at these corporations. I suspect that you will have many opportunities, and wish you, and your classmates, well.
In my graduating class (at a top engineering/cs school) the smartest person with the most consistent high grades was a palestinian immigrant (who would always whisper the correct pronunciations when the professors were butchering the pronunciation of a TA's names). I don't think I fully understood the life he had come from, but this is a reminder that we should stop saddling the youth with the battles of their parents.
Glad to hear you're getting some freedom.
A bit of our story in case it's interesting: I was working at Upwork with an engineering team that could hire talent from anywhere in the world... and still our engineers were almost all men from Eastern Europe. I loved them but also missed having a more diverse team and worried that our company wasn't going to be competitive... diverse teams usually outperform non-diverse was, and for a company like Upwork, being familiar with users around the world is critical.
I had met Laila in Gaza. Like Dalia, she studied computer engineering there. She moved to Silicon Valley in 2016.
In 2017 (or was it 2018? hard to remember now) we started working nights and weekends on what we thought would be an all-volunteer side project to connect the talent we knew from Palestine to employers in Silicon Valley. Already in our 2nd cohort someone got into Google. That's when we realized we had created something that worked. Last October we couldn't keep up with helping Cohort #4 search for internships & jobs (that's the one Dalia was in) and training Cohort #5 so I took the plunge and started working on Manara full-time. :)
Can you point to reasons why IT is not as male-dominated in those countries?
As far as I know Asia is generally better on this front I suspect it has a lot to do with women being more interested in things that give them economic opportunities.
This is something driven by women themselves. IMHO women are actually also part of the problem in the west. There seems to be a dynamic where women self select out of career paths long before they would even be in a position to be subjected to the type of workplace abuse that is often blamed for this. Don't get me wrong, that abuse needs to be fought and challenged and rooted out. But it's not going to be enough.
You see similar dynamics across many developing nations where women empower themselves by taking on anything that earns money. Many of these countries are otherwise pretty conservative/unremarkable when it comes to women rights and arguably a lot worse than most of the west. But that doesn't seem to stop women being successful doing all sorts of things for which many high-school girls would pull up their noses.
Isn't it well known that there are way more male IT people in all western countries?
I'm surprised this hasn't become the main point of discussion here yet.
Edit: I mean Google's interview technique, and how people prepare for it
By the way the CTO of Manara is from Gaza too. She often tells me I remind her of her a few years ago. :))) She lives in Silicon Valley now and started Manara because she knew how many smart people there are in Palestine.
> We will meet for the first time in Europe this summer! The other 3 classmates (Muath, Mohammed, and Hamza) live in the West Bank. I live in Gaza. It’s not far away but I can’t go to the West Bank and they can’t come here. I can’t wait to take a selfie in front of the Google office together and share it with everyone at Manara. :-)
This is so surreal to me that it sounds like something from a book or an odd dream. Super happy for you!
I wonder whether people have really examined the utility of repeating this claim.
The huge obstacle in the author’s story was country of birth.
OTOH race and gender can have pluses and minuses. There is casual and subconscious bias on one side, but on the other side we have explicit corporate hiring policies that seek to counteract this. It is possible that the net balance is in favor of the author because of this.
Members of underrepresented groups could benefit greatly from knowing how many programs are in place to encourage, nurture, and welcome them into this industry. This could make it seem more achievable and encourage people to try.
Members of underrepresented groups do not benefit from being told how hard it will be in tech, and I think it isn’t in even in evidence when all factors are included. Saying ‘you are going to face tons of discrimination’ is a form of keeping people out. It may seem like it is empathy, but it can just have the effect of discouraging people.
If we want more diversity in tech, we should be saying things like ‘This is great! And you will find many people will be very welcoming. Please join us.’
At least much more so than gender or race will be going forward :)