Internship

Abdelrahman Babiker | Business Analyst Internship Experience

To me, I feel like I have been forever a part of Sabbar. It never occurred to me that this week marks the end of my summer training with them. These two months might not seem like a lot at first glance. However, this internship has certainly proved to be an instrumental step in my career and has brought me closer to achieving my professional goals.

Sabbar is an HR Tech startup that focuses on employing people for short term shifts that are paid on an hourly basis called “gigs” with the employees who work on gigs being called “Giggers”. My brother had worked at Sabbar for a year and told me about an Business Analyst opening they had for their Operations Department. I applied there and on the same weekend got a reply from Sabbar’s CEO Mohamed T. Ibrahim who gave me a challenge and wanted me to present it in office. I presented it and he was impressed with me. He offered me the opportunity to work on a special new project that he had planned for the company. He had wanted someone with a computer background to work on the technical aspect of the project, and he believed that my background as a software engineering student would certainly be of good value. I accepted the offer hesitantly, not sure where it’ll lead me. 

The special project was a chatbot that can educate everyone on COVID-19 and all necessary preventative measures. We started Just a couple of weeks before re-opening after the lockdown in Saudi because we knew that our giggers will be eager to work, but we were concerned about their safety. Hence, the idea of the special projects was incepted. I paired up with Rimah who had a background in Health to do all the necessary scientific research and be the educational content creator for the Bot. Initially, I was tasked with researching and developing the bot. I was somewhat surprised by this level of autonomy. I was expecting very specific deliverables that I was going to perform. Instead, I was given freedom in how to tackle this. This enlightened me to a new point of view that I haven’t looked at before. It wasn’t my grades on the line anymore, it was the company’s resources that were going to get wasted. It gave me a bigger sense of responsibility that pushed me to work harder and achieve better results 🚀

Working with Rimah was definitely a unique experience. In university, I was surrounded by people of my peer. We’re all tech geeks who loved computers and spoke using the same terms. However, with Rimah I had to keep in mind that she doesn’t share the same background as me. It taught me that not everyone’s an engineer who will be able to understand everything you say. It’s important to be able to explain everything you know to everyone regardless of their background knowledge. Rimah and I were able to develop a very impressive Chatbot that was able to quiz people on their knowledge of COVID-19 and educate them well about how to keep themselves and others safe. Unfortunately, the company was facing other challenges and had to re-prioritize their resources elsewhere. 

After the Chatbot project, I was thrown into the depth of the operations department. They handle all the logistics and arrangements between giggers and business clients. A very hectic department, sometimes they would have to keep track of hundreds of shifts each day! For a small department, this was a very demanding task. I was asked to work on a spreadsheet that could semi-automate and help facilitate the operation team’s activities. At that point, I had near zero knowledge of spreadsheets. Anything beyond adding and finding the average seemed like Egyptian Hieroglyphics. 

However, with the guidance from Mohamed and Ahmed (Operations Director), I was able to build and enhance my skills in spreadsheets. I even found an opportunity to use some of my coding skills to write a script that made the sheet better. The end product was a very beautiful thing to behold. The spreadsheet was capable of conducting heavy queries and filters in a matter of seconds. It was also capable of generating slides that could be shared instantly. It was a very satisfying feeling 💪 

In university, solving a difficult problem can be satisfying but it stops there, best case scenario you’ll get a good grade. However, with this spreadsheet, I had felt like I actually helped my co-workers and contributed to the company as a whole. Truly a very happy moment of my training. At that moment I just wanted to do more and more spreadsheets. Mohamed recognized that want and gave me more spreadsheets to do. I had recognized what I liked and enjoyed and to a certain degree, I was quite competent at it.  

💡 “Abdelrahman is a genius, a hacker and a true pirate who always find a way to almost any problem we face. He helped us scale our operations and hit all time new records on so many KPIs”
– Ahmed Abuazza, Operations Director

Other than working on spreadsheets I also worked on launching this company’s website and working on customer relationship solutions. Both were very insightful and meaningful journeys that gave me a lot of exposure to different processes. 

At this point it’s hard for me to tell everything in a story mode so I’ll just give a rundown of the different things I picked up:

  • Directors and executives are busy. They just have a LOT to do and making the most of their time will help both you and them. Even if there is a moment where you need their input to finish your task, try to research all possible options. You’re saving them the hassle of having to look up things for you, which also helps you be more resourceful.
  • Google is a ridiculously powerful tool. If you ever face a problem and you can’t find the solution, 80% of the time, you’re looking up the problem wrong. If I had a penny for every time I went to Mohamed with a question that he would google in front of me. I’d be able to buy a nice meal from Shawerma House 🌯
  • Startups are really cool! While it might not be the same as working in a big-name firm, the feel and environment are very amazing. Having all departments within an arm’s length from your working desk is very valuable. Everyone at Sabbar is ready to answer your question regarding anything you want. Having a direct relationship with the company’s CEO is very refreshing, you can feel the company’s vision and mission spewing from within him. One of the most motivating aspects of working at Sabbar. 
  • Have lunch with everyone! If I had one regret in my training period, it is that I didn’t socialize enough with everyone. Even if you’re not hungry you should force yourself to eat. Food is a very good social facilitator. Everyone around you is a unique individual with a cool backstory behind how they got to where they are today. Share your own stories and goals with them. They might have had similar journeys to you and are able to give you good advice. 
  • Free time is inevitable. You will be met with a lot of instances where you’re waiting for hours on end for your boss to finish his “30-minute” call. Try to make the most of that time in other areas. Read a book, do an online course, read an article, etc. Just don’t waste that time. 
  • Having a zero inbox is a very useful habit that enhances productivity and helps direct your focus and attention to where it matters the most 💆‍♂️
  • Presentation arguably might be more important than the solution itself. While that doesn’t mean you should propose bad solutions. It means that even when you have the right answer to an issue try to work hard on presenting it well. It’s what puts you ahead of others and allows you to shine.

In essence, my time at Sabbar was truly unique. To put things into perspective all of these amazing experiences occurred in the span of only 2 months, I can only imagine what I would have gone through if I spent more time here. Something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. The nights where I would stay up with the team till late night were some of my most memorable moments. I can say with 100% certainty that I have greatly benefited from this training and learned more about who I am as a person and what I want in my life. If you’re reading this as a new intern, I wish you the best of luck in your adventure! If you’re reading this as someone who wants to try something new in their life and doesn’t know where to go, I’m sure Sabbar can direct your energy and potential in the right path! 🌵

Abdelrahman Babiker
2nd Year Software Engineering Student
Prince Sultan University