When I was a kid in Cairo, I was a quiet person who liked to listen more than talk. I was more inclined to learn and consume knowledge than to share it.
Public school was never particularly interesting for me, consisting of little but rote indoctrination, leaving no room for creative or reflective thought.
I studied Computer Science in college, and even though I was a video game nerd, and computers were what interested me the most, I never really found my niche in college.
I knew I wanted to travel and hopefully find a place that was a better fit for me.
My last year of school coincided with the Arab Spring and Egypt’s revolution. It was very scary and thrilling at the same time. I joined three million people protesting in Tahrir Square where I learned that unity can be a very powerful tool for change.
After college I worked in technical support for ESRI’s GIS software. A few months later I was required to join the military – a minumum commitment of 14 months; it was a completely different world, I was constantly resisting the way they were dictating how I should think. I had one goal: I didn't want to be programmed. And I succeeded.
After finishing my military service, I realized a keen interest in mobile app development, and succeeded in getting a job as an iOS developer. My first project was an iPhone app called Keep It Clean, which manages contact lists. I also worked on an iPad game about Christmas called Tree Topper.
That summer, I decided that San Francisco was where I wanted to be. It wasn't an easy decision, but I took a huge leap of faith, canceled my flight back to Cairo, and trusted that things would work out all right.
I spent several months adapting to my new life in San Francisco, trying to figure out what really mattered to me. I read lots of books about writing, design, psychology, biography, and human development. I met a lot of people and made many new friends, many of whom indulged my incessant explorations of my psyche.
During this time, I learned that I could shed the dull limits imposed by my school programming, and begin to experience my full creative potential. In less than a year, I became a completely different person.
Today, I am a Designer and Front-end Engineer, and I love what I do.