Episode 70 Transcript

Okay well welcome to episode 70 of the
Business of Morocco Podcast excited to
introduce you to our guest for today
Naoufal El Hassnaoui, he's coming to us
from Tangier and he's going to be
sharing a little bit about his his
career he's a young guy he's 23 years
old but he's already had some exciting
experiences and there's a lot we can
learn from his journey so thank you so
much for being here with us thank you so
much Ryan for inviting me in your
podcast and your partner Ryan also it's
it's a great honor to be with you today
so can you introduce yourself and tell
us a little bit about your your
background your education and the early
days of your career of course
so my name's my name is Naoufal El Hassnaoui I am 23 years old now and I am
working I am a software developer
engineer graduated from Institute OG I
work with a company here in Tangier the
company is based in France and we have
another small team here in Tangier I
work for now I started working as as a
manager it's it's my my new role in the
in the company butts in the first the
first time I was just an intern in this
company and then I became a software
developer and then I turn it in the
internship into a great role yeah that's
exciting so that there's a lot in there
so you and I first met and when you were
a student yeah
and you were one of the organizers of a
large forum that the university does
every year and how did you actually how
did you as a student land this
internship at the University organize
that for you or how did you connect with
this company so about the the internship
it's it's my last my last internship in
my career
it was in my last year as my thesis or
my final projects of the year to
graduate from as an engineer we need to
do this project in some company for a
duration of three to two to six months
so I started searching first in in
Belgium in Europe in France a lot e of
the internships were in France I applied
to hundreds of of internship more than
200 exactly and a lot of other
internship here in Morocco - OH
basically the problem was a lot of these
internships in Europe required the visas
and a lot of papers - too many companies
didn't didn't want to go to the process
of recruiting someone outside of Europe
so I substitute focusing in the
beginning of 2020 I started focusing
more in in Morocco I turn it some emails
to interviews but all of them were knows
so and then came an email from from from
the the manager of of this company here
in change here the basically he sends
the internship offer to two universities
in in Tangier chitwan region all the
universities and colleges the the guy
responsible for for the email address of
inside the town she received this email
and we shared with with us students of
the in last year academic year so I
asked him is this internship six months
duration what is the subject of the
internship because I have to do the
final year projects base it on some
subjects and I asked it for technologies
because I
I am interested in a specific kind of
technologies in web development because
there is some old technologies I really
don't want to waste my time developing
with these technologies because then
after the internship I won't find many
jobs yeah so he replied and said we
don't use the technologies you have
experience with but we use Ruby on Rails
a web framework not really known but
actually not known at all in Morocco the
users in France in USA in Canada but
here in Morocco we don't find there is
actually no jobs for these specific
tickles so have you ever you'd never
learned Ruby on Rails than during your
time as a student no I never even use it
the languish behind the framework Ruby I
never use it
what did you say yeah I said yeah I was
like I don't have any internship for now
so I need to to get the interview at
least to discuss with the guy what they
are doing so I said okay but that's not
a big deal for me I searched about the
framework
I thought that is a few opportunities
about the miroku so I thought maybe I
can do something or I can convince him
to give me the job after the internship
so he said send me a piece of code you
write new rods and I sent him some lines
of code I did in another language and he
replied then we can do an interview in
two during this interview when he said
we work in digital Health's digital
field industry then I was interested I
said this is something Muraki needs and
one day I need to get I need to have
that experience
to create opportunities in this field in
Morocco yeah but it works you weren't
you familiar with the company before you
did the interview you didn't look into
the company at all you just showed up
call and not really I look at their
websites there was an old websites and
there wasn't any new content on it so
basically the website was like four
years old it was like projects they did
back in there in their first days in
France and the the team in Morocco don't
have doesn't have a website I see yeah
because it's the same company so during
the interview process did they find out
that you didn't know Ruby yet I actually
said that in in my reply in the email
okay so you were honest you said exactly
I said yeah I said that I can learn any
framework any technology as fast as I
can
doing just less than a month and that
was it I mean I started the the they
were they have really a good a good
process to to give you time to learn
before these starts giving you tasks
yeah and the and the substitute giving
me these little projects that has
nothing to do with the company or the
clients and I finish it most of the
projects during the first months yeah
what you want yeah exactly a training
program to see how we are going to react
to these new framework
I see now I've seen you you have a post
on on LinkedIn really discouraging
Moroccans from accepting unpaid
internships yeah I this was dissipated
internship this first one yeah this was
a paid internship okay all right yeah
and about the the posts in LinkedIn I
really think that some
some companies not all of them they are
exploding and using students to get work
done with work of clients projects of
millions of their hands without Spain at
least the minimum wage to these students
it's it's a big it's a big problem or
issue here in Morocco because we don't
have a regulation for in legal documents
who don't have something called
internship right like there is no
minimum wage for it maybe one day we
will have that but for now it's it's the
current situation yeah but as I said in
the comment section of these posts I do
I do encourage student to not access in
plate offers but if they have good
profiles when you have something the
company needs you need to negotiate the
the the salary of this internship you
are just something yes okay continue
well I think you demonstrate in your
story that you're seeing this internship
as connected to your career and so
you're thinking what will be the benefit
for me so you were looking at
technologies that you saw we're going to
be powerful in the future not in the
past and so you were looking at
opportunities where you would be
learning languages and and different
softwares that would continue to be to
be valuable in your career going forward
oh yeah if this had been unpaid you
would have learned Ruby on Rails and you
could have left after a few months and
then you know leverage that knowledge
into a into a potential in the future so
I think it really depends on what you
were gonna gain from the company whether
it's really great connections references
and knowledge experience but if they're
just giving you basic work just to get
stuff done and yeah you're right you got
a really and the problem is most of the
cases
is what you said in the last sentence
yeah there's a few companies that offer
value when you are a trainee inside the
company or connections because like I
taught a course in university that was
for students to gain work experience and
they had to do an internship and then
write a report on it afterwards and I I
made a video on it in my on my youtube
channel about internships in Morocco and
there was a huge range some students
basically were just filing and doing
busy work that you know a student could
do when they're 12 years old and others
are doing incredible things the company
entrusted them to build software to run
marketing campaigns to go and meet
clients they made sales they gained
immediate experience exactly exactly in
some cases yeah in some cases do is a
huge opportunity for for the students so
if that's the case you are getting paid
we devalue not the money I'm not saying
a student should think about money but
sometimes just some students I know
especially in this in the software
industry some students can can do
freelancing and gain millions I'm really
sure about what I'm saying because they
are really some of them started
programming when they were like 12 16 15
so they have really great experience and
Mindy go to college and start searching
for internships some of them don't even
find the internships I mean deep find
internships they find only in paid
internships yeah so it's a it's a big
issue yeah and that's why we're that's
why we're losing a lot of great talented
developers yeah here's to other
countries just because we're not going
to pay for the talent and so they leave
yeah exactly every month yeah so how did
you turn your internship into a job
because if the company was already
having you work there and paying you at
an intern level and then they offered
you a full-time position yeah obviously
you did something to make that
really need you okay so the first thing
I did is to learn quickly the framework
and what's they are using and to adapt
the to the environments of work they are
we are working on yeah so it's it means
learning about the industry so in my
case it was learning about digital
health learning about how doctors use
software how how hospital agents use
software how they can help they can make
how we can make as software engineers
their life easier and this was part of
the learning in the first few weeks I
wanted to get this knowledge and to to
have to know the words they are using in
the in the field this the second part
was was after learning the framework now
they are giving you tasks they are
giving you real work clients clients
issues you are going to as a software
engineer are going to start fixing bugs
writing new functionalities in some
software so when you are doing these
talks it's not just about doing the
tasks it's about doing the tasks and
doing other things within it doing other
things during your time programming this
functionality for example so for example
you you see some code old code you go
there and suggest a modification until
your projects manager that do is some
some issue hiding in there someday we
will have a burglar so you fix that
before it happens you test the software
not just the functionality of your tasks
so you you test all the software and you
try to find things they are not seen so
we try try improving in your during your
tasks other things and providing more
value
so you're you're completing the tasks
that your your boss is assigning you and
more your yes we say going the extra
mile yeah exactly
yeah yeah so then over time your your
directors can see no fell he does what
we need him to do and even things we
didn't ask him to do yes that was the
the the thing they they they like it
about my work it was and another points
your work should in software you work
should be she should look clean so you
you really have to to document your code
you have to leave some comments so
that's when someone else is going to
rewrite the functionality or this piece
of code they can read it any and there
and and understand it yeah not just
about doing the the functionality it's
more like doing it and leaving good
traces in in the software yeah yeah even
if you were to leave the company someone
else could come and fix anything that
you left behind yeah you've explained
yeah and another parts of of the the
point I I got to get the the job was
that's I was always searching in things
like inside this framework in the
community around this framework I
searched about things that can help us
to improve our software so I I suggest
new tools we can use I suggest many
other stuff
I just remembered now the most important
part was that I wasn't only a programmer
I wasn't only a software engineer I will
tell you a story so during the
internship we wanted to recruit someone
we wanted we were searching for another
engineer and for a full-time job
so this was
almost before I got my contracts so I'm
still an intern and they are searching
for a first for a software engineer so I
need to to do one thing is to push to
get the job they asked yeah yeah yeah
but what I did instead is I suggested
some friends I called this job good so
you would know know so I suggested some
really good software engineers I know
some old friends and they started
applying for for this job so I helped it
recruiting new new engineers yeah
and that was something the manager
really liked it and and really it was a
good point for me in to gets the job
Wow see that's it's counterintuitive
because you're hoping to earn this
position yeah and so some people would
say I'm not gonna help them find a
person it should be me and they would
walk away out of it
but you really demonstrated a royalty
and a commitment to the company and the
company's objectives yeah I helped at
the company yeah and you ended up
getting rewarded for that so you were
hired and then tell us what's happened
recently you mentioned that a very good
position tell us what yeah so after
months like now I think I have one year
and almost half a year of experience
with within this company goodbye
counting also the internship of course
so one year of experience and the six
months of the internship so recently
like just one month before now in last
month the the monitor wanted to chat
with me privately and we went to a place
and we he said I am leaving
leaving the company no one knows yet
it's only you the first person who who
is going to to know this and he wanted
to to share with me this his move
because he is suggesting me or
recommending me as the one who is going
to take his place
so it's clear from your story that you
know you're you're ambitious you've
worked you've worked very hard you've
been loyal to the company you added a
lot of value you've gone from being an
intern to being a on contract as an
engineer as a developer and then now
you're moving into a management position
and this happened Zota right your 20
years yeah it's very quick for me it was
really really fast so why do you think
like do you why do you think that you
are driven like this what what what sort
of sets you apart from from others what
are some lessons we can learn from you
and apply in our lives I think we should
always have in mind the first thing I
think we should have in mind is helping
others you shouldn't like focus
ourselves more should focus on others
help others and help will come to you
good things will happen to you always
spread positive vibes
it means Benny gets if you shouldn't say
Morocco is a were the worst country in
Morocco there is no jobs there is no
internships life is difficult life is
complicated everywhere everywhere in the
world so it's not that simple you should
always be happy should always do what
you are happy what's going to make you
happy doing it so in my case it was
going to software engineering so I
always focus it on this and then I was
oh I I am and currently trying to help
many of my friends trying to push others
to do better some some friends can't
find a job I try to
them links to offers when just recently
someone sends me an offer here incentive
some some co-founder of a company I just
suggested to of my friends to to to to
his offer and said I am currently not
searching for a change here is to good
software engineers I can I can say that
they are good I recommend them it's out
to them and I went to of course because
he may be not going to to talk with them
directly so why I sent them I sent them
the links the link to his profile and
said I recommended you but you need you
to talk to him privately send him an
invitation in LinkedIn and so to it yeah
so it's more about helping others to
find your passion and focus on your
passion and always do what makes you
happy yeah yeah when you were sharing
how you you got the internship
it sounded like challenges you you you
know applied you said to over 200 you
had used with visas and in different
countries where there are internships
being offered and you did some
interviews and didn't get didn't get
hired so you face some some knows some
rejection there but you you continue you
can continue yeah and now you've reached
a great position because you didn't give
up
yeah exactly I in France I applied to
many internships there I pass up many
good technical tests but I always failed
in this technical take tests but the the
weird thing is everyone I have worked
with is saying that I'm a really good
software engineer so I'm very good
that's that's programming but in the
same time I failed during technical
interviews because technical interviews
is not what really happens in the in the
process of software development
it just said test it just some question
and this answer it's it's an exam it's
like school yeah if you get if you get a
bad grade in school
doesn't mean you are a bad person
doesn't mean you are a bet that's this
thing yeah yeah and one of the things
that strikes me in your story too is
you're you're committed learner I don't
know if you can remember when I was was
speaking it at your school I said never
graduate so your dad anymore you've
graduated but you're continuing learning
you just talked about yeah I'm gonna be
on rails and that you you learned other
software other tools you could bring to
the company and now you're going to be
reading books on management and
leadership and how do you manage other
people yeah why not seriously learning
and yeah I know things that's making you
successful yeah thank you
and recently I to nuts I don't stop in
the Indus in software I don't stop like
my learning doesn't stop in the in the
programming process it goes beyond that
how I recently for example such as a
group in LinkedIn and in Facebook a
group called Ruby on Rails Moroccan
community so I'm trying to to to get
more workers developers to learn about
the technology and share their we then
might know my knowledge and I started
writing some posts I share privately
with some some of my friends I guide
them to to what they can learn and what
they can focus on starting from now what
technology they should start as the
first thing they learn I I do some small
zone meetings with students in answer to
help them learn new new technologies I
did a free short course of Ruby on Rails
for students in computer science in in
in so it doesn't stop just learning
you're yourself but also teaching others
even if you don't have many years
experience
you always can teach something to
someone
and with one year experience wow that's
exciting well we'll put a link to the
the Facebook or the LinkedIn ya group so
that others who are interested in
learning more about Ruby on Rails or
just connecting with other developers to
swap stories and ideas of related to to
Ruby on Rails yeah that you can join
your group and be part of that community
yeah sure everyone is welcome even
newbies even known developers can start
a career as developer they can start
with Ruby on Rails it's an easy
framework it's it's not a big deal they
think that's it's not a big step step in
in development it's the first step I
have one more question no foul yes did
like your full degree in computer
science but there's others that might
just do you know they might have a
different background or they might just
do one of these coding schools that are
starting to become popular in morocco
and around the world
what are your thoughts on that do you
think you need the the whole degree and
the whole foundation or do you think you
can just learn a programming language
and start freelancing right away I saw
some some of these coding schools online
or or physical ones I don't know if
there is like schools like like real
schools race boats so it just felt him
and the both camps are also just
starting it's it's like it's something
that can help someone quickly learn a
technology and and search for a job so
start working but for for me the five
year off of college wasn't wasn't just
it wasn't it wasn't wasted this one it
wasn't just about the last two years of
programming which was also the first two
years in in mathematics in algebra in
other in physics so if we if
small pieces of every science will give
you more knowledge and then you can
build your your building of knowledge I
see your tower of knowledge think upon
think so
for example mathematics then you you
start learning about algorithms then you
start learning some language programming
language some basic programming language
then you your top of on top of that you
you start learning some framework and
and go the problem with the coding
schools that you you are going to do in
six months or less or more the the
problem with that we we just go and
start teaching you the language or the
framework yes you can build you can
start school in stuff but are you going
to be able to have the mindset of a
software engineer where he can not just
code the product of products but also
design the products in first and we are
not talking about the user interface we
are talking about small architectural
and and the design of all of these of
these products yeah so it's the
engineering schools in my opinion are a
better option but also if you if you are
not able to get to an engineering school
you can start with this short code in
schools but also focus and start
learning about algorithms about
structure about architecture in software
development about the software
development process about original
software development processes and the
best practices in in in what you are
going to do so it's more more like these
things okay yeah that was good that's
that's a thorough answers
there's advantages to to both to both
counts and you've proven you can learn a
lot on the job so somebody who does do a
coding bootcamp or you know a program
like little waggle or 3w account yeah
they can start working right away and be
getting paid and then they can pick up
some of the framework and the
architecture that you've learned in your
degree slowly over time but then they're
not using five years with no pay so
there's yeah there's there's a benefits
to both yes there's benefits of both fit
yeah yeah thanks for your your knowledge
about that subject no file it's it's a
it's inspiring to see if the journey
that you've been on and I think a lot of
our young younger audience particularly
those who are students or are in the
kind of the internship or the early days
of their career will be inspired by you
and and will learn a lot of lessons but
even those of us who are you know
several years into our working life can
be inspired by your commitment to
continuous learning really adding so
much value to the company and mentoring
and sharing your knowledge with with
others around you and that's that's
gonna bring benefits to all of us in our
community so thanks for your great
example and thank you so much with us
thank you so much for Ryan thank you so
much for your invitation to come and
have this conversation we do in this
podcast episode yeah it's been our
pleasure to have you thanks again
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