SupaHeroes Stories – Sherif, Software Engineer

Our second SupaHero hails from our very own Tech Team. Meet Sherif! Our Software Engineer from Cairo, Egypt who has spent almost half of his life in Malaysia.   

Hi Sherif!  What do you do at Supahands? 

I’m a software engineer. My work generally involves the planning, designing, building and testing of new features and products, as well as providing maintenance and support for existing ones.

How did your Supahands journey begin?  

It all started when I saw someone wearing a Supahands T-shirt while I was getting lunch before heading back to my previous office, which was in the building next door where Supahands office was. I’d never heard of Supahands before, and I couldn’t guess what they did based on the name, so I grabbed my phone and Googled it.

I remember thinking the website is clean and well designed, and being impressed by the variety of clients Supahands had worked with, such as Rakuten, 123rf and even Uber.”

A quick look at the careers page, specifically the tech section, informed me that Supahands used a variety of programming languages, such as Ruby, Python, Java and Nodejs, along with frameworks such as React and Rails. I had previously only used PHP/Laravel professionally, and I had been looking for an opportunity to upgrade my skill set, specifically by learning Ruby.

There was an opening for a Software Engineer position, so I put in my resume. A few days later, I received an email asking me to come in for a chat. I agreed, and the rest is history.

Where are you from and what did you major in?

 I was born in Cairo, Egypt, so that’s my hometown, but I’ve lived in KL for so long (13 years next month) so I guess that makes me partially Malaysian. I studied Information Technology at the International Islamic University Malaysia in Gombak, Kuala Lumpur.

Tell us more about yourself, what do you do during your free time? 

My main hobby would have to be scuba diving. There’s nothing quite like it. I took my first dive on my birthday in 2016 in the island of Tioman, and, at the time, it was meant to be just a one-time thing to check off the ol’ bucket list. Little did I know that it would turn into a burning passion, to the point where I go diving every chance I get and plan many of my holidays around diving. I have been diving for 3 years, and last year I received my certification as an Advanced Open Water Diver. 

I’m also big on hiking. It’s a great day-trip kind of activity which is perfect for weekends, but it can also be a more substantial trip if you go somewhere that takes multiple days to hike and requires camping.

 How’s the tech culture like at Supahands? 

“I’d say it encourages innovation and collaboration, and is conducive to learning.”

To elaborate further, the AI/Computer Vision/labelling industry we’re in is still very much in its infancy stage. It’s an emerging market with constantly changing needs and demands, and no one has quite figured out a formula that solves all the problems. Combine that with our unique proposition of being the middleman between our SupaAgents and our clients, rather than us doing the labelling ourselves, and the problem becomes that much more interesting. 

“Working in this uncharted territory not only allows but also encourages us to innovate, try different approaches and do things in whatever way we think is best, because you never know when you might stumble upon something truly groundbreaking.”

There are times when we work individually, but on any given day, we are likely to sit down and have group discussions about whatever we have going on at the time. This kind of collaboration and doing things as a group is something I believe we’re genuinely good at and it is one of the core strengths of our team.

Supahands’ tech stack is a large collection of programming languages and frameworks, so, as developers and engineers, we get to work with and learn about multiple technologies and broaden our technical abilities. Aside from that, being in a startup, we often have to interact directly with members of other departments such as Operations or Marketing. This part is a favourite of mine because it helps me develop soft skills such as listening, giving and receiving feedback, and the ability to understand the needs from a non-technical perspective and then translate them into software-oriented requirements and tasks.

What’s it like working in the tech team at Supahands?

I’m surrounded by positive, smart, capable and fun-loving individuals. I get to work on new, unique problems all the time which requires me to come up with creative solutions and really challenge myself. 

“It’s often challenging, sometimes uncomfortably so, but I would still choose to do this over working on something repetitive or something that’s already been done before.”

What was the moment you knew you’d made the right decision to work here?

When I found out we had an office dog! (Bam) 

What were some of the most memorable moments (moment), if any? Or the best day at work 

There are quite a few of those moments. The first one that comes to mind is when we had a very large project nearing its deadline. It was the definition of crunch time. Every single person came together to get us through, over the span of 5 days, including the weekend a Saturday and a Sunday, everyone came online when they could to help out. We worked late into the night, using a video/voice conference call to chat, ask questions and keep each other motivated. We managed to finish the work around 1 am on Monday night, and at that point, every single person in the company joined the conference call, turned on their video and we took one of my favourite screenshots ever.

Another one is Halloween 2018. Halloween is one of my favourite holidays, so I was very happy to hear that Supahands celebrates it every year. I didn’t know whether it was an office-wide thing, or if it was something that only a handful of people did. Luckily for me, it was the former rather than the latter. Pretty much everyone in the office dressed up and we had a blast. I personally put on a miner costume, complete with the torch on the helmet and all, and I put a post-it that said “Data” on my shirt, thus becoming “Data Miner”, which is the name of one of our core products. Great day!

What do you enjoy most about working here at Supahands?

It has to be the people. Supahands has such a unique collection of individuals, and we seem to have an uncanny ability to continuously hire people that complement and mesh really well with our existing culture. 

The people I’ve met here are all a joy to work with, and our relationships go beyond work as well, since we often hang out outside of work and do activities like board games, rock climbing or scuba diving.

“Oh, and the food. Can’t forget the food. There’s always something or the other in the pantry to snack on. Huge plus.”

Lastly, if you could have any Superpower in the world, what would it be? 

I would love to have the ability to speak and understand any language. It would be so cool to be able to talk to absolutely anybody, free from the confines of language barriers. The amount of knowledge, stories and life experiences I’d be able to learn would be astounding. Major bonus points if this super power includes the ability to speak to animals too, although that could probably be a separate superpower on its own.

SupaHeroes is a series of write-ups featuring the very people behind Supahands, giving you a glimpse of each unique individual, their stories, their SupaJourney and what they do!


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