When Zaid Abdalkarim was 12 years old, he wrote a piece of code that broke his mother’s computer. Of course, this story is funnier now than it was then, but Abdalkarim also points to that moment as the beginning of his desire to study computer science and software development.
Fast forward several years, and he has joined the Broadvoice engineering team as its newest intern. Earlier this year, the company onboarded its first engineering intern, Amelia Aboujawdah.
Abdalkarim is working under Senior Software Engineer Mario Sanchez on the team that manages Broadvoice’s portal, which gives administrators and users control over the features and functionality of the Broadvoice b-hive unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platform.
With new portal features in development and several complex ongoing projects on the roadmap, Sanchez needed more developers. The team decided this was the perfect opportunity to onboard an aspiring software engineer to assist with ongoing Broadvoice projects and to nurture the career of an up-and-coming technology practitioner.
A student at California State University, Northridge, Abdalkarim applied to Broadvoice at a CSUN career fair. He then interviewed with both Sanchez and Jerry Fernholz, our Vice President of Software Engineering, and went through a couple of interview phases, including a coding challenge.
In the interview process, Sanchez and Abdalkarim discussed conceptual approaches to software development.
“Academics like Zaid might not have as much practical experience, but academic courses teach foundational principles that will help him determine the best approach to build what’s needed,” said Sanchez. “He is using this foundation at Broadvoice to work on improving technology to provide the best customer experience.”
At Broadvoice, Abdalkarim is being introduced to multiple types of software engineering, including:
- Object-oriented programming (OOP), which is software designed around data or objects, as opposed to functions or logic
- Development Operations (DevOps), which includes configuration and deployment of software architecture
- Data layer, which is related to databases
- User interfaces
- Telephony backend for telecommunications and signaling.
As a member of Broadvoice’s software engineering staff, Abdalkarim will practice with:
- Software coding languages like Ruby and its web framework Ruby on Rails
- Software debugging tools like Pry to test and correct the Ruby code
- Computer-domain specific language testing tool RSpec to test Ruby code
- Implementing bug fixes and security updates
“The first job is always the most challenging one because a practical environment is business-oriented and less academic,” said Sanchez. “At Broadvoice, Zaid will learn how to troubleshoot and problem-solve in various situations.”
Abdalkarim plans to stay in the intern role until he graduates in December, and then is hoping to work toward a full-time position as a web developer, performing similar duties to the portal coding he’s working on with Broadvoice.
To be doing something like that inside a business to help them succeed is exactly where Abdalkarim wants to be right now. “Isn’t that everybody’s goal? I really want to end up in a position I can enjoy and continue to learn from for the long term,” said Abdalkarim.
“I’m a computer science major at heart, and I’ve always loved making things, even at a young age,” said Abdulkarim. “It’s been a great experience continuing to learn at Broadvoice. Everyone on the team has been so helpful, and I’ve already learned so much.”
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