From “School doesn’t do anything for you” to “I want to learn more of this stuff!”
Abdelrahman Alallaqi, originally from Libya, delivers his words in a thick English accent. You might wonder, just as I did, why? Well, life isn’t a straight line for any of us and Abdelrahman is no exception. He was born in Libya but was forced to leave for England together with his family. He was, therefore, a refugee at the age of 3. This was, however, only the first time he would need to adjust to new surroundings in such a drastic way. Years later, in 2017, he was again a refugee, this time arriving first in Switzerland and without his family members. That’s because his father went back to Libya in 2011. In 2012, after their mother had passed away, the kids joined him back in Libya because the five of them faced being separated by foster care in England. This is how Abdelrahman got to spend his main teenage years in Libya. He then decided he needed to get out because in Libya, school and life-long learning just weren’t on the table at the time - understandably so, with the war going on. The general mindset was “School doesn’t do anything for you, anyway”. But Abdelrahman didn’t agree with that; he wanted to put his intelligence to good use.
Abdelrahman steadily worked his way to his current position at adobe, Junior Software Developer and now lives in the Bernese countryside. The way there wasn’t easy. First, adjusting to the Swiss life was a challenge because he found it socially much less open-minded. Then, being a refugee makes almost everything complicated. He had to learn German to get anywhere but all he really wanted, was to get an apprenticeship in IT. The passion for IT is something that was probably implanted by his father, who had worked in that line of business. Way back, Abdelrahman found it nothing short of boring, most probably because of all the very thick books on everything IT in the home. Still, the seed kept growing to become a huge passion.
And he got his chance when he applied for the Powercoders program in 2018. The program in early 2019 was a success for him as it resulted in an apprenticeship at Adobe. To Abdelrahman, this was like a dream come true. Everything about the company seemed exciting. Still, especially the first 6 months of the internship were hard. So much learning by himself and trying to soak up as much information in little time as possible. His breakthrough moment was when he was finally ready to be part of team meetings and handle his own projects. He even came up with a way on how to automate screenshot testing! From there, it was a lot of more learning and being patient. His internship was extended until he finally signed the contract for a full-time job beginning of this year. Abdelrahman is so full of creative ideas he wants to bring to life that he can’t even imagine that this line or the company could ever get old. Congratulations, Abdelrahman!