Fatima Alhamed | Product Development Experience

After completing all of the required courses at university as a Computer Science major, it was time to start looking for the right co-op opportunity. I knew I liked a course about the interaction between humans and computers, and I came across a Product Development Intern position at Sabbar which was doing just that! I applied, and after the interview, I noticed that the overall process at Sabbar was smooth, and the team asked about the areas I want to grow in, which showed me that they were looking for someone that would fit their culture not only technically but also personally. Also, the use of emojis in their emails was appreciated 🙏🏻 All of these factors made me accept the offer and start working right away.

First day at Sabbar, Afnan, the head of Product, and I talked about the gig economy and she walked me through the processes for product development, and my tasks, which involved UX/UI design, user stories documentation, and usability testing. But I was too excited/nervous to fully grasp everything. Then I was set with a Mac laptop (I’m a Windows user 😿) and had a lovely lunch (pizza!) with the team and got to know them better. After the first day, I knew it will be a challenging role, but I was reassured that I am in a good place and will have an awesome experience. 

The first task came along and that was writing the test cases for the user stories that I just read to prepare for the product testing process. The following week I met Abdul Rahman Al-Mudaiheem. At that point, I only heard stories about him and his iconic LOUD keyboard. Meeting him was such a pleasure. His passion and excitement are contagious and made me even more excited to work with him. We started the process of testing where he showed me how to test, document bugs, and report them back to engineers.

At first, I was nervous and not sure of my ability to test the products and felt some pressure especially that the testing was for the first launch of two products, but I was reassured by the team and they made me feel comfortable to ask about anything. By testing the product I saw the difference in how small mistakes could affect our system greatly. That made me extra analytical when viewing the product and looking for bugs. 

As I mentioned before, I was a Windows user before joining Sabbar, but I was too eager to learn Sketch on Mac. Getting used to Mac was not easy but I had the amazing Sara Alshimemri next to me, and I bugged her with random questions from how to turn Mac off to how to switch keyboard languages, but she always answered with a smile on her face. She always welcomed my strange questions. I started learning Sketch with the help of Udemy’s Sketch from A to Z (2019): Become an app designer online course, which I completed in a week. Then I was ready to start designing.

At first, I was working with UX wireframes to make some enhancements or add new screens. Then I moved to UI designing. In the beginning, I was intimidated to work directly on designers’ work, but little by little I started editing on their designs and creating UI designs. This journey from not knowing how to turn Mac on to learning how to effectively use Sketch inspired me to teach others. After working on Sketch for a couple of months, I gave a Sketch workshop to teammates in University. This proved to me that technical skills could be learned if you have determination and passion for it but the tricky part is learning how to apply this knowledge effectively. It took me some trial and error and great help from my supervisor Afnan to get me to where I am. 

As we were a small team at the time, I was exposed to the work of all departments where I’d hear how they are operating and what challenges they are facing, and how they are dealing with it. While working with them, I saw that we could all have different points of view on the same problem. Seeing these different views helped me a lot in my work where it made it easier to think about and consider how our solutions will affect the other teams and what different users may think of it.

While working with other departments, I’ve learned to adjust jargons and terms that I use around each team. At first, I was using the same language with everyone but soon I realized that not everyone knew what “APIs” or “User Stories” meant, which made me pay attention to my audience and to whom I am presenting our solutions. Adjusting that made a huge difference in getting my point across and explaining how the solution works and what problems it’s solving. Working with the teams taught me a lot about team collaboration, team management, and support. all of which are skills hard to learn without a great team.

Having my internship with Sabbar was an awesome opportunity and I am very thankful for having it. This experience has helped me grow both personally and professionally. It challenged me enough to get out of my comfort zone and express my thoughts and ideas and not fear judgment. It taught me that it is okay to be wrong sometimes because, in the end, we are all on a learning journey discovering new ways to improve our work and achieve our goals. I’m very proud to be a part of this team and excited to continue my journey with them as a full-time employee holding the Product Associate position!

Fatima Alhamed 
Computer Science Graduate 
Prince Sultan University