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Borderless Careers

Date: 11/26/2012

Meet Ahmed, Software Engineer

Location: Norway
Degree: Master’s degree, computer science
Institute: Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Start Date: 2010

“In short, my career with Schlumberger has been explosive! I’ve been exposed to so much in so little time.”

Ahmed began developing software at an early age and has always been especially interested in graphics and imaging. He completed an internship with Schlumberger in the Research, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Sustaining (REMS) group in 2009, then earned his master’s degree and joined the company as a Software Engineer in 2010. In this short time, Ahmed has been involved in the creation of new technologies and the development of technical solutions, and his name is on the associated patents. He’s enjoying the opportunity to teach and mentor others within the company.

What initially attracted you to work for Schlumberger?
Both my parents are geologists and have always spoken highly of the company. During my university years I attended a Schlumberger recruiting session, where I learned the company is one of the few in Norway that actually address complicated, technically heavy solutions. I was drawn to this type of work because I like challenges and want to use all my engineering skills. I got to know the company as a summer intern, and I did my thesis here as well. I really enjoy the atmosphere.

    Ahmed

What does a Software Engineer do?
My daily job involves developing new features for a software package that Schlumberger sells to our clients. This is done in multidisciplinary teams, with each assigned a set of features requested by clients or required for system needs. The everyday work involves coding, understanding new technology, implementing features, and fixing any bugs that show up. Everything must meet high standards for quality, and there’s a lot of communication and activity within the teams to achieve this goal. We follow a lean, agile approach to software development: This means we’re constantly trying to achieve smaller goals and minimize waste—this makes the work good fun because we feel everything we do adds value to the end product.

Has the training you’ve received at Schlumberger met your expectations?
The training program here has exceeded my expectations. I’ve attended many domain and geosciences courses that were really helpful, and I’ve also been trained through practical venues and mentoring opportunities, such as client interpretation projects and teaching. There’s always been a follow-up to make sure I’m developing the technical skills I need within my field of computer science and the knowledge I need in the domain sciences. I’ve put all these skills to use in various projects.

What has been the highlight of your career with Schlumberger so far, and what do you enjoy most about your job?
The highlight is that I’m trusted and given the confidence to try out various tasks. I feel I’m a valued employee and that my opinion counts. The fact that I’m not always sitting behind the desk—that I get to travel a lot—makes my workday even more enjoyable. Most important are the people around me who deliver constant support and help me grow through mentoring and opportunities.

What are the biggest challenges in your job?
I have such a varied work day, and I’m constantly traveling and teaching one day a week at the local university, so I have to manage my time and task load. I must stay really on top of things or the tasks and responsibilities will pile up.

What opportunities does Schlumberger provide for career development?
I’ve been told the opportunities are endless in my case. That’s because I’ve taken several fixed-step training program modules in portfolio, commercialization, support, and engineering and have excelled in all of them. If I choose to stay in computer science, I’ll likely move toward an architect position. But since my training shows I have talent and skills in other areas, I’ve many opportunities for career development: I’ve been trying out management, in the sense that I often have students to delegate to and mentor during their internships or thesis work. I’m also interested in an international career. In short, the company’s statement about borderless careers is very true.

What advice do you have for someone considering a Schlumberger career as a Software Engineer?
Go for it. Unlike some software companies, Schlumberger gives you a lot of training and you won’t be limited to working on only one thing. It’s a big company and the options are many. One unique aspect is that you’ll be able to work in any phase of software engineering: development, architecture, visualization, imaging, algorithms, or hardware. I advise potential employees to voice their interests and take the initiative to form their future.

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