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Muslims and Tech with Ahmed AlMansari, BI Consultant at Athir Technology

Ahmed AlMansari is a Business Intelligence Consultant at Athir. Athir is a Saudi company that strives to accelerate business transformation by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and cloud services.

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background (how you got to where you are) and current role?

I graduated with a Bachelors of Computer Science from Monash University. My friend was working in a streaming company in Malaysia called iflix and said there was an internship for a Data Analyst so I thought I'd try my luck. I ended up getting it and quickly found it to be extremely exciting since I got to see and make charts and graphs of real people's behaviour like what kind of people watched what sort of content and trying to predict what they'd watch next. I also got into analysing a bunch of other things for different departments like finance and marketing. My manager ended up offering me a job and I quickly grew in skill and ambition. I'd say he helped a lot in my career as he saw and appreciated my potential. So he gave me room to contribute with my own projects and ideas, and not just ideas for deliverables but suggestions on how to improve things in the team and how we work as well.

A few years later I ended up working for a company called Carsome in the classifieds industry and I used everything I learned to help build a data platform from scratch. It really helps when you have people that trust your capabilities and suggestions and I think I was lucky in that regard.

I currently work in Saudi Arabia for a company called Athir. We provide Health Information Systems Software that help hospitals run more smoothly and I was brought in to help provide Analytical solutions to the clients to make data driven solutions to provide the best care possible. Saudi Arabia is growing fast in almost every sector, especially in Tech so it's a good place to be right now.

I will say that rizq plays a part in how I managed to be where I am today. I wasn't even looking for an internship when I started my career and even the job I have now I ended up hearing about from an old friend I haven't met in years that told me they started looking for someone just 2 weeks before I met him. Of Course It helps to be prepared and try your best to build a career but you can't control the job market or the world around you. That's where faith and Allah's plan for you come into play

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Recently I had to meet with one of our clients to discuss the goals he had for his clinic and how can try to improve them. After that I did some research to think about what kind of analysis or KPI's he would need on automated on regular basis so it's easier for them to make decisions to help reach those goals and even talked with our software team to see if it's possible to add some features to our Hospital Informations System to collect some extra info. It helps that we have glass walls to scribble all over with a marker. Our walls are filled with ideas and even drawings and a few games of tic-tac-toe with the guys on the other side of the glass wall in the office lol

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I try not to take my work home. I achieve that by being hyper focused to make sure I get as much done as I can at work, Email and document a lot since clear, concise, and constant communication means you're less likely to be contacted after working hours since all the information is provided and readily available for reference. If you work well you're less likely to feel guilty feeling like you need to do more after working hours, like I know many people tend to do. However I'd be lying if I said I didn't do some work at home sometimes, but in those instances they aren't because I need to, but because I want to because I'd have an idea I'm obsessed with and cant get out of my head.

I do this because I love to spend my free time doing whatever I want and what I love which includes spending time with family, friends, catching up with TV shows or learning new skills

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I used to spend time alone sometimes after work when I needed to focus on reading, personal projects or self improvement. However I did regret not spending time with loved ones when I did these things for long stints. So I started doing those things at a cafe at the mall. That way I'd feel the life of the people around me and join in on conversations with the people I care about at the same time. The time spent doesn't feel like work, I get stuff done, and I'm still present with the people I love most.

5) What brings you peace during stressful times?

Remembering that I have no control over the world around me and that I don't need to think about everything all at once. All I need to do is think about the next step.

I really do believe in rizq so whatever happens happens as long as I know I honestly tried my best. The only disappointment I could have is knowing that I let myself down by not trying. Besides that the results are up to Allah and I can accept whatever happens

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you are consuming and like to recommend?

Mindset is an amazing book. However, regardless of what you consume make sure you do a lot of self reflecting and ingest what you just read to realise what it means to you. I believe knowing yourself well enough is the first step to good growth. Second is empathy, different perspectives are good for both critical thinking and the imagination. Finally Determination, because knowing what to do isn't enough, you need implement.

7) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Donald Glover. He's a polymath in the entertainment business. He's a writer, comedian, producer, director, DJ and actor. It's pretty admirable

8) What’s the one piece of advice you would give our readers for managing stress and creating a healthy mental state?

Do not procrastinate. It's proven to cause anxiety and depression because even if you end up doing something else to have fun your responsibilities will always be there in the corner of your mind. My trick is to just stop thinking about everything and focus on one immediate simple step. Even if it's just making a list. when your 5 minutes in you'll start feeling the momentum and it'll be easier to keep going

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