DEV Community

Cover image for From Cairo To FINN
Monica Mikhael for FINN

Posted on • Updated on

From Cairo To FINN

Hello, lovely fellows! My name is Monica, and I have lived my whole life in Cairo until I relocated to Munich this March to start my full-time job as a Frontend Engineer at FINN.

In this article, I am going to share with you my whole journey, how it all started, insights into our FINN culture, challenges, and some strategies that helped me adapt faster.

Getting the job

As a fresh graduate in computer science, my first job requirements were simple: I needed a place where I could work on a real-world project that uses cutting-edge technology, and be flexible enough to allow me to explore a variety of fields until I found my preferred expertise area.
But, you may wonder, these qualities can be easily found in most startups. So what is so special about FINN?

Job Post
I applied through LinkedIn to FINN's "Women in Tech" internship position. Their job post was transparent, stating the salary and benefits in clear terms. Also, FINN had really sensible requirements. I was really glad to find an entry-level position that focused on soft skills and didn't require 3+ years of experience. 

Besides, having a Women in Tech-program in the first place shows how FINN is working on closing the gender gap in tech (did you know that only 26% of those in the tech workforce are women?) and helping women embrace technology.

All this made me eager to apply, though I still had to upload all my certificates and transcriptions, which took some time.

Interviewers are ambassadors to the companies they work for; they give you hints of the culture before even setting foot there. I had two interviews: an HR interview with a female employee and a technical interview with the male CTO (gender diversity on interview panels too). In addition to that, I was given a coding challenge that I had a week to finish.

The thing that grabbed my attention about both interviewers was that they were always smiling. The interview felt as if you were having a chat with a friend, not an interrogation. It was about knowing who you are and how much you know, instead of what you are missing. This gives you an insight into FINN's positive mindset.

FINN's values
What is the first thing you do before accepting a job offer? You google the company online. What grabbed most of my attention was FINN's values.

  • Customer first
  • Own it
  • Be honest and open-minded
  • We grow & succeed together
  • Embrace the struggle

All FINN's values are people-oriented, focusing on the employee who is going to build the product, rather than on the product itself.

It encourages you to be yourself and speak out, rather than follow rules or strive for perfectionism.

Life as a remote intern

I got the job offer a week after the last interview. I decided to start remotely to test the waters, as I had never been outside Egypt and relocating was too risky for me at that point.

FINN ensured that everything was done legally. It assigned an external service provider to my case to complete the hire compliantly in Egypt. The process took a month, but in the end, I was working with a legal contract and paying taxes in Egypt.

I started working on the first of November in 2021. At that point, I didn't have a senior software engineer mentor, which meant I had to explore the code and learn a lot of tech stuff on my own. But I got regular support from my tech lead, who was able to manage the situation very well. Besides our weekly meetings, where I could talk about anything, we had occasional ticket refining sessions where we discussed how I could implement the user interface designs.

Although I was working for a company in Germany, I was still in Egypt, working from my parent's house, within miles of my friends. I knew I wouldn't be able to get the most out of this experience on a personal level till I get fully exposed to the office culture, which could only happen if I left my comfort zone and went to Munich—which is what I decided to do when I got my full-time offer.


FINN assigned me an agency that helped me with everything related to relocation. They followed my process step by step, from getting the visa in Egypt to getting my blue card in Munich.

When I arrived in Munich I was so happy to be able to see my teammates in person after having spent four months talking to them virtually. Also, I really enjoyed going to team events and getting to know a lot of people from different departments and widening my horizon about the work they do.

I was able to have better work-life balance and even got the chance to attend an AWS Summit in Berlin with my colleagues.

FINNies in AWS

What I really like about FINN

To begin with, everyone speaks the same language, English.

My team contains barely two people from the same country. That must be crazy, right? To the contrary, it is the best thing that ever happened. This is because if you fill a room with twenty people coming from the same background, and you ask a question, you’re likely to get the same answer. But if you have twenty different people, you get twenty different answers.

Benefits are there not just on a technical level, but also at a personal one. I mean: how can you get bored at lunchtime when you're hearing new stuff every day coming from all over the world? I can guarantee you that three months after joining, you will have a friend from every place around the world.

The second thing I really like is the culture. FINN knows how to build team spirit and keep it. We grow and succeed together, you get the feeling that you are building your own project.

If you break something, which will inevitably happen, you don’t get fired. You fix it and then work on an automated solution to prevent it from happening again.

I experienced that on a personal level. I deployed UI changes related to our order status page, without being completely sure that these changes wouldn’t affect any other page. Due to a reused component, the Thank You-page was affected because of a missing attribute. All customers that finished the checkout process during this incident couldn’t proceed with the follow-up steps to finish their purchase.

After fixing it, I had to make sure it will never be repeated, by implementing an end-to-end test that will check if the Thank You-page is rendered successfully and correctly after our checkout process.

Also really supportive is the yearly development budget that you get to spend on courses or conferences. In addition to that, you get weekly feedback from your tech lead, formal feedback every six months, and personal Objectives and Key Results to make you better.

Challenges and difficulties

Everything has pros and cons. Although working remotely can be more comfortable, you sometimes feel pressure as you get the feeling that everyone else is working 24 hours a day. Remote team events are never as fun as real ones. First, you won't be able to join the outdoor events, such as hiking, online. Moreover, you will have to arrange your own snacks and drinks for online lunches and dinners, which will give you a sense of loneliness. I also personally believe that learning is slower when you are not working from an office. Whenever you have a question, you will need to schedule a virtual meeting to get an answer, as you can't just check in on your colleagues like you can when you are in an office.
Relocation is not all roses either. You will encounter a lot of culture shocks and in order to adapt you will have to change the way you live, think and act. But it is definitely worth it, as it is all part of your change journey.

Luckily, at FINN you can freely choose everyday if you want to go to the office or work remotely.

Pearls of wisdom

  • Take it slowly, don't get overwhelmed
  • Eat healthily
  • Never give up your sleep for anything
  • Don't let your fear of making mistakes stops you from trying out new stuff
  • Never hesitate to speak your mind, share your opinions and challenge current solutions

Last but not least, if you want to be part of FINN check the free openings we have.

Top comments (0)