Lana: When people ask what brought me to arabot and to a career in tech, I have a simple answer: it was meant to be.
I was in my third year at University when I first met Dr Kais Hassan, our Chief Data Scientist and Co-Founder. At the time, I was attending a course that he was teaching at Princess Sumaya University for Technology. Since then, I moved to Canada to pursue my master’s studies. When I moved back to Jordan after my studies, I knew I wanted to work in the tech field but there were no available jobs in the industry at the time.
Toward the end of 2015, I connected with arabot through a mutual contact who informed me that arabot has a new vacancy. It turned out arabot was looking for someone with exactly my experience and skill set. The Bot Architect vacancy at arabot perfectly matched my expertise and skills. I came to the company in 2016 after a Skype interview with Dr Kais Hassan. Later, I was asked to come in for a second interview where I talked about my qualifications and answered some difficult and challenging questions. Dr Kais Hassan saw a potential in me. When he offered me the job after the interview, I jumped at the chance. I took the job with arabot in October 2016. It was just four of us, including myself, Dr Kais Hassan, our Co-Founder and CEO Abdallah Faza and former colleague Abdulrahman Hasan.
Ever since I took the job with arabot, I never looked back. When I started with arabot, I wore many hats, from learning the different use cases and providing the best user experience to assisting with different projects and seeing them through to completion. It was an opportunity that gave me the chance to prove myself and build trust and rapport with the rest of the arabot team. From the diversity of the projects to the new learning experiences I had at every turn, arabot made me love coming to work each day.
Lana: Well, I have to say that juggling being a mother and a job is a constant struggle. However, one thing that helps a lot is having an extremely supportive family. I’m so grateful that my husband is very considerate and supportive of my career progression.
One of the things that also keeps me going is the fact that arabot is very supportive. When I found out that I'm pregnant with twins, I took 4 months maternity leave before returning to work. Like many new moms returning to work from a maternity leave, I felt torn between my seemingly conflicting roles. The team really understood the struggles of juggling motherhood with a demanding career and supported me when I decided to work part time after my maternity leave. Currently, I work 3 hours a day, but this varies from day to day. Sometimes, I work for a longer time, and other times I work during the night.
I really didn’t want to leave my profession and quit my career to be a stay-at-home mom, so I decided to make my career and motherhood work together. I am more of an indoor person, so I also enjoy working from home and being there for my family.
Sometimes, being a working mother is challenging, especially when I have a meeting with a client. Since many babies aren't sleeping during the day, I might be interrupted during meetings with a baby’s cries and screams. It’s really exhausting, and I can't control it. However, I try to put my babies on a flexible schedule where I set approximate times for feeding and sleep. It helps me stay organised and works better for my work and the family.
Lana: There are currently many obstacles facing working mothers, from inflexible work schedules to stigmas attached to taking time off, that make it challenging for mothers to advance in their careers after a break.
Crucially for me, the work-life balance with arabot is fantastic and has enabled me to be more present for my family. The people I work with at arabot are what makes the company great. We’re all part of a team. arabot is an extremely flexible company, and it’s always a given that if someone has a family emergency and needs to take some time off unexpectedly, the management team seems to be understanding of it.
I am not afraid to ask for anything that I need. Recently, I have decided to move to Qatar and arabot continued to offer me my job there. At first, we decided to see if it works for a month. Thanks to advances in video conferencing tools and arabot systems, I can have my business meetings and do my work from the comfort of my home.
Lana: Well, there’s always a schedule when working from an office. Your alarm goes off at the same time every day, you have your breakfast, grab your morning coffee at 7:00 am, and you’re at your desk by 9 am ready to work.
When it comes to working from home, it’s a little different. Although I have the flexibility to wake up when I choose and tailor my day to my needs, I find it more stressful. Sometimes, we have too many projects and competitions and we need to work around the clock. Working from the office provides more structure to the day. I would work from 9-6, and then I can be free to do other things. Since shifting towards home working, I found it difficult to know when to switch off from work.
Working from home can get really stressful. I need to answer emails all the time. Currently, I am the owner of one of the major projects which feels like having 4 minor projects, and I also work with other teams to create a strong solution and help with new use cases.
I prefer the routine and structure that working in an office environment provides. I also prefer personal interaction with colleagues and find them extremely beneficial to complete tasks and achieve my goals.
Lana: When I was interviewed by other companies at the start of my career, I didn't feel the passion and drive of the founders, and so I knew there wasn’t any future for their startups. I saw how both Abdallah and Kais are passionate about the company and developing the team. When I started working with arabot, I didn't know much about chatbots back then, but with time I developed my knowledge and experience of this new technology and learned technology and architecture concepts. I like the concept of arabot. It’s a very innovative company with a compelling business value. Of course, chatbots are still a new technology, but it will continue to evolve, and perform a central role in customer service for all different types of companies in the future.
My Data Scientist & Bot Architect job paved the way for what has been my career since at arabot, which is a Professional Services Manager for data science and Machine Learning related-projects. It developed me professionally. All told, I’ve made a home at arabot over the years, building strong relationships with my clients and friendships with my colleagues that I cherish. After spending four years here, I can’t picture working anywhere else. It just feels like the place I was meant to land.
As a Professional Services Manager, I get to see so many facets of what we do here at arabot. I study the business requirements, design the chat flow to insure the best user experience, prepare required content, build the chatbot skills on our Bot Builder platform, and do big-picture planning for projects, but I also get to spend a lot of time helping my team members with use cases. It’s the perfect job for me, because it challenges me, and gives me the opportunity to build relationships with so many arabot employees, clients and partners.
Lana: I wouldn't want to switch jobs. My job is the best job that I can have. I have a little bit of everything. From the very beginning, my team was willing to work with me to tailor a position that played to my strengths and emphasized the type of work I wanted to do. Data Scientist is one of the most prominent job roles in the AI industry today. I work with customers, learn their needs, and figure out how arabot can meet those needs. At the beginning, I wore many hats which helped me develop many transferable skills, broaden my experience, build my capability, solve challenges and know which team to go to if I need help.
Taking a job with arabot has been the most fantastic career move of my life. I was able to apply my knowledge in data science and machine learning, and have learned new skills in programming and coding. My job has an enjoyable amount of variety, utilizing all of the abilities that I have developed since coming to arabot. It also helps me to stay informed of tech innovations.
Lana: You don't have to know much when you start but you must have a positive attitude and be persistent and tenacious and driven to reach your goals. You should treat each project as a new adventure. A Chat Bot Architect is still a new job focused on enhancing the customer journey and delivering best in class customer service using conversational flows, customer dialogues and chatbot technology. Abdallah Faza always says that I’m the first Chat Bot Architect in the world.
Chatbots are still a new technology that is developing quickly and transforming industries across the board, and the arabot Bot Builder platform is a new system with so many exciting features. Over the years, we had many employees staying for a couple of weeks, and then eventually giving up and leaving. My advice to those starting is to always be patient and use this job as an opportunity to learn something new and keep an open mind if you want to join an exciting technology company with big ambitions, a great culture and talented team.
Lana: I’m super organized. I like to set and meet project deadlines, and I don't like surprises or unplanned events.
I’m very focused on what I do. I prefer to focus on one thing at a time to boost productivity, get more done and be fully engaged in the activity. Although women are known for being multitaskers, I don’t multitask and often avoid working on two complicated tasks at the same time.
Strong work ethic: Commitment to completing tasks and striving for excellence in everything I do.
Lana: There are so many projects that I enjoyed completing, but my favorite has to be when we participated in a competition organised by Etihad Airways and won. Although the deadline was a bit tight, we managed to finalise and submit our project in one week. I built the chatbot on arabot Bot Builder, and although it wasn't complete, we had to work with what we had at the time to make the chatbot successful.
Lana: There are a lot of reasons that I’ve felt at home at arabot for four years. One is that they’ve supported me. They recognized my drive to learn and grow, and trusted me with those big responsibilities earlier in my career.
When we were a team of 5, we worked in a small building that was close to where I live. Shortly after, we had to move somewhere far from my home. It was really difficult for me to use public transportation everyday to get to the new office. Seeing that, the management decided to open another branch of the company in the same old building. Perhaps more than anything else, I am constantly amazed at the family-first atmosphere at this company.
Lana: With the people, the professionalism, and the teamwork that exists at arabot, I don’t think I’ll ever stop growing here. That’s a wonderful feeling to have.
Lana: I was always drawn to tech. From a very young age, I thought that a career in tech is an excellent choice and offers great opportunities for personal and professional development.
Many people assume that women aren't committed to their jobs and careers. However, when I was at university, women were always smarterer and more committed to their education than men. Women have to work a lot to prove themselves. Women may still be in the minority in tech, but more and more women are breaking into the industry. Nowadays, women are encouraged to enter the tech workforce, and they are proving how committed they are. Many of my friends are entrepreneurs and have successful companies.