Faheem Abbas – Senior Software Engineer
Posted September 20, 2017, by Jenny Sakr
Faheem is a passionate software developer and for over 10 years he has worked across all layers of software development (from backend algorithm development to front-end web page designs).
He has experience leading software development teams and strives to keep himself updated with latest tools and technologies. Studying "fulfils [his] thirst of knowledge and love for data science". Faheem is also a part-time researcher and currently undertaking his RnD in fields of Data Science, Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning.
What did you study to become a web developer?
I received Bachelors (HONS) degree in Computer Science in 2006. Later, in 2015, I upgraded my education with a MPhil in Computer Science.
Where are you currently working?
COS (Complete Office Supplies) - One of Australia's largest office supplies companies.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I have always been passionate about computers. When I was younger, I was more attracted towards hardware but later I found my way in programming.
What was your first job?
I started my career as a software developer with a company offering Industrial Automation solutions. I worked as a C++ developer to program Plant Automation Software. The system was mission critical in nature as a small bug in software can take the whole plant down which means a big loss to the company. Because of nature of work, I learnt best practices and processes involved in software development industry.
When did you first know you wanted to pursue this career path?
I started taking interest in computers during my school days and as I completed my 10th grade, I decided to go for a degree in Computer Science.
Tell us about a typical day in the COS office
The COS Development team follows SCRUM methodology. We use Atlassian tools to run sprints. A sprint at COS is two weeks long. Having said that, I know ahead of time which tasks I will be working on during next two weeks. I usually break them down into smaller tasks.
My day starts with the planning of daily task and setting goals on what and how to be achieved today. We have a daily stand-up meeting in the morning to discuss progress on tasks and potential show stoppers.
As the day progresses, I move forward with my daily task along with other periodic meetings to plan future tasks, show a demo of what we have done or brainstorm on the architecture of our software modules.
Name the best and worst parts of your job
The best part of my job is I really enjoy what I do as I am passionate about programming.
The worst part is continuous learning, I had to keep myself up-to-date with all new tools, libraries and technologies and frequency of change in IT is crazy.
What’s the most important career tip someone has given you?
Never stop learning.
What do you wish someone had told you before starting in this career?
They say, “Haste makes waste”. What I have learnt over time through my experience is a good programmer/developer needs to have a lot of patience. One should not get panic to any situation. Sometimes it gets frustrating when a small error spoils your whole day or a small urgent issue in production leads to even worse problems when you take steps under pressure to fix it. I wish, somebody had told me that I had to patient and calm in every situation.
Where do people have to start to work as a web developer and what is a standard salary package for this role?
It depends on the path you are following. If somebody is starting their career after an honours degree, then he/she must look for a software development company to start his career with. But if somebody is just getting into web development after a diploma then he/she might look for a company where no strict processes are followed or the company which does not demand deep knowledge of whole software development stack. Usually, a company who does not have software business rather a small department to fulfil their IT needs. In my opinion, average salary package for this job is 90-120K per annum.
Name a career highlight
2017 has been a year of achievements. My research paper was published in IEEE on an Automated Question Answering System.
Three years ago, I along with my ex-employer filed a patent on an innovative way of analysing text data in a structured way through series of visualization. After many, reviews and updates, it has been granted!
What's next for you?
Data science is a new and emerging field. I have been learning it for the past three years and achievements mentioned in career highlights are results of this effort. I am looking forward to getting into data science as this is something really exciting and going to impact business decisions and methodologies at large scale in near future.
Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.