I am passionate about providing excellent service to clients. My role allows me to interact with our client partners and work with our highly skilled engineers from around the world.
I recently hosted a webinar where I asked Karim Hosny, Olla Ashour, and Mayowa Egbewunmi about a typical day in the life of a Works engineer.
Karim has been a member of the Works team in Cairo, Egypt, for over a year and is presently a Senior Software Developer at GitHub. Olla has worked with Works for two years from Alexandria, Egypt, and is now employed at a startup company specializing in educational technology. Mayowa has been with Works since February 2022 and is now based in Singapore. He has been with Premise for a period of time.
Can you describe a normal day in your life?
Mayowa: As an employee of Premise, located in the Bay Area of California, I make my home in Nigeria with a time difference of between 7 and 8 hours, depending on the season. To ensure optimal interaction with the client team, I strive to make the most efficient use of my time between work and personal life. My morning is usually dedicated to attending to my team’s priority tasks and assessing my schedule. In the afternoons, between 2 and 5, I take on the bulk of my coding work, allowing for the evenings to be dedicated to additional sessions or discussions about how to improve teamwork and participation.
Olla: Having dedicated time slots in my calendar for my to-dos has been a great help. With a 9-10 hour time difference, my client team is based in San Francisco. I have timetabled my working hours from 2 to 6 in the afternoon, with the rest of the day devoted to meetings and other activities related to the partnership. By keeping a structured diary, I have been able to increase my productivity, both in business and in my personal life. It is important to understand the expectations of your partner, ensure that the right tasks are being undertaken and ensure that the relationship is given the right priority. It’s also essential to collaborate with team members, even if not all partners have a daily standup.
Karim: It is clear that not all customers utilize stand-up meetings, however, daily updates are essential for keeping the customer informed on progress and future plans. With current remote working conditions, neither the customer nor other employees are able to see the work being done. Therefore, it is important to make yourself visible in whatever way works best for you, whether that be through stand-ups, asynchronous messaging or something else.
During the course of your current client engagement, what do you feel is your biggest achievement?
Karim: A significant collaborative effort was invested in producing a plan to provide unlimited free private repositories. This was a ground up initiative, and by 2022 it had become one of GitHub’s most prominent projects. We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this project.
Mayowa: I ensured that Premise were aware of the capabilities of Works and the growth in core engineering team from two to fifteen personnel. This has been made possible through the commitment of all involved.
Olla: As a Works engineer working on the EdTech platform, I am delighted with the progress we have made towards achieving universal accessibility. This is particularly pertinent for a learning software, and we are committed to making it as accessible as possible for everyone. This has been an area of focus for me for some time now given the apparent lack of attention it has received in many circumstances. What I have learned is that accessibility must always be considered when writing code.
Tell me about a difficult situation that you resolved with this customer or one of their previous ones.
Mayowa: I am acutely aware of the need to have reliable access to utilities such as the internet. I ensure that any issues I have do not affect the quality of my work or the perception of my availability. I have subscribed to three online services and I am now linked to one, with the ability to switch to a backup if necessary. Having a steady income from my work has also enabled me to maintain my authority.
Olla: The nine-to-ten-hour time change was the most challenging aspect of my stay in Egypt. As Friday is a national holiday, family members will likely be off work while I am at work. To ensure that I meet the expectations of my employer, I had a discussion with my boss in advance. If I have family commitments or am affected by the time difference, I make sure to inform my partner well in advance so that they can plan accordingly. It is also beneficial to understand one’s peak productivity hours. If I am not a night owl, for instance, I should not push myself to work late. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of one’s own needs and how to meet them. Preparation is key in this regard.
Karim: It is important to ensure any questions or concerns you may have are addressed during the onboarding process. If this does not happen, ensure you raise your hand and ask for help. Communication with the customer is paramount and any issues should be addressed as soon as possible.
Do you want to add anything to this discussion as a conclusion?
Mayowa: As an engineer, it is important to demonstrate to directors how you can provide information in a way that sets you apart from other candidates. Consider how you can leverage any unique capabilities or expertise, such as developing a continuous integration pipeline, automating the release process, or managing and coordinating a team effectively. It can also be beneficial to demonstrate any softer skills, such as communication and problem-solving, which will help to further distinguish you from other applicants.
Olla: You must be able to adapt to different processes, as some groups work in an agile way whereas others do not. Additionally, daily standups may vary across different teams. To ensure you are successful in providing solutions and improvements, you must first build trust with the partner by understanding how their process works and then adapting to it.
Karim: Having good social skills is essential in a variety of professions. It is not just about going to work and coming home; it is also about networking and forming meaningful connections. Scheduling regular meetings with your manager is a great way to do this and it is important to use this time for more than just discussing work matters. Most colleagues will appreciate and value you as a part of the team, so it is important to make an effort to get to know them and integrate into the organization.