Amr Salem, the bright engineer from Egypt! | Combine

Amr Salem, the bright engineer from Egypt!

Meet our new adventurous engineer from Cairo and learn about his journey from Cairo to Gothenburg. In this post he also describes his current assignment and where he sees himself in the future.

Who are you?

My name is Amr Salem, and I’m 26 years old. I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. I have for as long as I can remember been an adventurous person. I dream of piloting an aircraft, which I think is one of the reasons I became an engineer: to explore new technical areas, push the limits, create something new, and bring innovations to life that will help people.

I also love to explore and connect with other countries and cultures, so travel is a big part of my life. When I do travel, I try to do it like one of the locals, as the cultural experience is so much bigger that way, and I get to meet new exciting people. In my spare time I like to learn new stuff, play soccer, or hang out with my friends. Another interest of mine that I have been able to exercise here in Gothenburg is horseback riding. I’m blessed with a landlady who also owns a stable, in which I’m lucky to be able to help out sometimes!

How come did you end up in Gothenburg?

I enrolled in an Italian school in Cairo, as that school was one of the prestigious engineering schools in Egypt. I did it for various reasons; one was, of course, the engineering part, another was the curiosity and longing to learn a new language. The education included both manual labor for CNCs and other types of machinery but also preparations for a continuation at a technical university.

When it was time for me to choose a university, I wanted to explore the world and experience adventure outside Egypt. Since I understood Italian from my high school, Italy was my first country of choice. I had a hard time deciding between a university in the beautiful city of Milan or the well-renowned University of Trento. In the end my better side won that battle, and I enrolled at the University of Trento.

I was excited when I traveled to Trento before my first day, since it was only my second time outside Egypt. The first time was only a short two weeks language course in Italy a couple of years before, and it was my first time traveling alone! In the end, I lived in Italy for a total of five years, and I believe I might end up in Italy again in the future!

Studying in Italy awakened a desire for more semesters abroad, and decided I wanted to study abroad during my masters as well. During my research for possibilities to study abroad, there was a university in Canada that caught my eye, the McMaster University in Hamilton. They had a thorough application process which involved both tests, interviews, and a bit of luck. The competition for the two positions was fierce, so I applied to the Erasmus program as well. But when I read the reply, I couldn’t believe my eyes at first. I was one of the two selected candidates!

An interesting thesis work was also vital to me, so I started to contact professors all around the globe.

My time in Canada was fantastic, the country is just so amazing, and the people there were so kind. I submerged myself into the books, and the semesters were passing by at a fast pace. I studied so hard that my friend caught me by surprise when he called in the middle of the night, asking if I still wanted an exchange year in Erasmus regime. So, after I had completed my exchange year in Canada, I went on to Sweden and Chalmers for a second exchange year. Here I stumbled upon one of the professors I had an interview with, the year before for a master thesis. As I approached him, I found to my surprise that he also remembered me, and my master thesis was solved.

The thesis work was performed at Volvo Group through Chalmers. The scope, limitations, and conclusions of the thesis work became a battle between the three stakeholders, who did not always agree  In all worked out in the end, even if it demanded several flights back to Trento, and now my solution is patent pending.

Currently

During my short professional carrier, I have been working in two big companies, and now I work in a smaller one (65 employees). The difference is striking. Combine is by far the best employer I had. The environment, the assignments, the people, and the flexibility it is on an entirely different level. Here I feel seen, and I’m entrusted to work on a small team working in a high paced project with hard deliveries, and they trust me to deliver according to my level, which I’m raising daily.

The project I’m working on right now is to deliver a measurement system for the train industry. It was scary in the beginning as I was moving away from my domain, mechatronics, and entered a field where I combine my skills in embedded systems with software engineering. But we have a technical lead in the project who helped set up the software architecture, and answered all questions with ease, so the project is steamrolling right now. I have never learned as much as I currently do. Everything I do, I can see how it is used in the final product, and that gives me a purpose to work even harder. It feels like I have embraced the challenged and adapted myself to it.

Next step

When the project has made a quality assured delivery to its customer, I would like to take on a new assignment. The ideal project should relate to control theory for aircrafts or autonomous drive. The idea of path planning and trajectory control are exciting topics which I find challenging and exciting. That is a rather new subject, and there is no clear path forward, and industry-standard makes the field even more appealing. I have tried to plan my future meticulously, but I have realized that it is the uncertainties and unexpected shifts in my plan that I have enjoyed the most, and thus, nowadays I try to include some margin in my plans for this sort of events.

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