Just weeks after graduating from TAP, Abdullah Soufan secured himself a remote job as a backend engineer for the German MedTech company, Floy. Floy develops AI to help with the early detection of diseases and Abdullah is part of the integration team that works to ensure their medical product will effectively support radiologists in detecting lesions in medical images. He spoke to us at TAP about his exciting experiences over the last few months and painted a cheerful picture of how his tech journey began.
Playing Prince of Persia Sparked My Passion for Computers
“I was a young gamer who loved adventure genre games like Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia. I honestly thought computer engineering was similar to the games I played as a child and it’s where my passion for computers came from. Software engineering turned out to be nothing like what I thought! You have to learn coding and some really weird languages. It’s challenging but I find it so exciting! And then realizing how important technology is for the whole world, that with the click of a button you can be connected to someone else in another part of the world – it’s incredible!”
Abdullah’s passion for computers, the accelerating importance of tech in a globalized world, and the support from his family who considered him “a hero since he was young” all solidified his goal to study software engineering. His tech career journey hasn’t been smooth sailing though. There have been many challenges that he has had to overcome.
Turning Challenges into Chances
Unemployment is a threat to peace and development everywhere but in the MENA region alone, job seekers are expected to top 39 million over the next decade. “Here in Palestine, we have a lack of opportunities and there are limited job opportunities even after you’ve graduated from university. I’m going to tell you about the first interview I had. I prepared for data structured questions and problem-solving questions, but I was asked things that I had never heard about! I realized that university didn’t equip me with the technical experience and interpersonal skills that I needed to enter the job market so I started searching for training programs that would set me apart from other university graduates. That’s when I found TAP! The program improved my hard technical skills and made me familiar with the marketplace. I interned as an outsource with an American company in an agile scrum environment, developing my strengths in a real simulation for the marketplace!”
Why hire a TAPer?’ That’s easy! Someone who grew up in Palestine under such difficult circumstances and managed to successfully finish a software engineering degree will succeed anywhere!"
The other major part of the program is the focus on interpersonal skills which includes mentorship, daily meetings, English language classes and practice sessions, mock interviews, and what Abdullah considered to be the most important topic for himself: turning challenges into chances. “It’s about having a growth mindset and having the mentality that in any new job, or any new task, any new challenge, or any new part of life, you’re going to face some challenges but facing them with a growth mindset means you’re not going to surrender. So, if I was asked ‘Why hire a TAPer?’ That’s easy! Someone who grew up in Palestine under such difficult circumstances and managed to successfully finish a software engineering degree will succeed anywhere!"
Abdullah exuded confidence throughout our call with him and when we asked him where this confidence came from, he enthusiastically shared: “my time with TAP was the most exciting three months I’ve had…from networking, having a training in hard skills like coding, and interpersonal skills, to how to interview and how to be self-confident. And the main reason for being that confident is that you realize that you’re not the same person you were before TAP. After graduating from TAP, I’m so confident… I’m powerful now! And on top of all that, I’ve landed a job with the perfect company that matches me in person.”
3x Salary Increase with Remote Work
“I have the best colleagues at Floy! They’re so open minded and helpful. As long as you finish your tasks, there’s a lot of flexibility around when you work especially since it’s remote. I don’t really like very hierarchical environments, so Floy’s flat environment is a working culture that really gives me the freedom to be creative. Overall, remote work is a great option for job seekers, especially in Palestine. Firstly, the general average wage here is around $600 to $800 but when you’re working remotely for an international company the salary is 3 to 4 times higher so there’s a significant salary difference between being employed locally in Palestine versus being employed remotely. Remote work is so important for development in Palestine because our freedom of movement is limited but remote work means Palestinians can access great job opportunities with international companies.”
This is Just the Beginning for Abdullah
“I still have many dreams I want to accomplish like buying a house one day, having a good marriage, and after gaining as much experience as I can in the field, I want to open a business that will provide necessary products and services for Palestinians via online markets.”
This commitment to helping his community and his desire to make a social impact with business is one of the reasons he is happy about the Income Share Agreement with TAP. “Thinking about how much TAP paid for it, how much they prepared for it, and how much they put into it, it’s deserving of the ISA. The outcomes of TAP are magnificent, and I would recommend TAP big time because I’m a real example of a TAPer that got a job out of TAP…I would be so proud if I saw the success of TAP getting bigger every year. And I’m paying this ISA contribution so that other people and other students can also benefit from TAP and find their dream jobs.”
With over 500 applicants per cohort, over 50 graduates annually, and an 80% placement rate, the Talent Acceleration Program ensures a tech on tap approach to redressing unemployment in MENA. Like Abdullah, we at TAP are incredibly proud to be on a mission to fight unemployment and we want to encourage companies to make a social impact by hiring in MENA and supporting TAP in its vision to create a tech ecosystem in Palestine.