DSS Alumni Stories – Meet Lama Ahmed
We present the alumni Lama, a digital designer during the day and a writer in development at night. Discover her career and professional journey!
Where are you from?
Where are you now?
Where do you work?
At a design studio called Ntsal as a UI/UX designer.
Tell us about your career path
I started as an architecture student and after 2 years I realized it wasn’t for me so I switched majors to graphic design. During the second half of my last year in university, I was working at an adventure travel agency as a graphic designer. However, after graduation, I wanted to explore design in different fields.
Unfortunately, what I had been taught at university didn’t always match what I expected to find in the real world. I tried branding, social media, working as a teacher’s assistant, freelancing—but nothing really worked for me. By the end of 2018, I heard about DSS from a friend and decided to apply. The experience itself was very unique and enriching in so many ways. But most importantly, it shifted my interest towards everything digital.
After finishing DSS, I was looking to find something similar in Cairo. I started working as a teacher’s assistant again at my previous university and then found the opportunity at Ntsal. Although I never saw myself working a 9 to 5 job, somehow, after getting introduced to the world of UI and UX, I noticed that it satisfied my need for structure in my day; and it offered the balance I needed between systematic and aesthetics. 3 years later, I’m still there!
What are your sources of inspiration?
I get inspired by very small details or even my own writing. I surprise myself from what can come from within. I like to stare at my surrounding environment and something such as a hand movement or the shape of a cushion after one sits on it tickles my brain and inspires me. I like to imagine how I can apply these details within different contexts.
How would you describe your time at DSS?
It was a full experience! It wasn’t just about the people I met or the spirit of every coach or person I have worked with or the research we have started, it also had to do with the feeling of interconnectedness that came with it all. Everything was feeding into everything. It was overwhelming in a nice way, very unique and enriching. I came out a different person, definitely something new grew in me.
I was part of the Data Driven Transformation track working on Security in the Data Era partnering with the Dutch Police.
Is there something in particular that impacted you?
I would say it was the bond I had with my teammates and our coach. Mick felt more like a friend than a coach and each one on the team had a personality that complimented our needs. Also Zlatina, who was one of the main reasons why I remained excited about the project–and life in general–throughout the whole program.
What does digital transformation mean to you?
I’m aware that what digital transformation meant at DSS was a bit different from my current context. Right now, I feel that I link it to what is happening in my country at the moment as a lot of governmental operations are deciding to go digital. I am surrounded by the situation of the country digitizing manual tasks and it’s a bit tricky especially within the Egyptian population. For me, it represents moving away from nature and not relying on it anymore. It has a structure just as nature but it’s a parallel version of what already exists.
Any advice to share?
When I was graduating I wrote a speech I never performed. At the end of it, I was trying to give some advice–probably more to myself than my audience now that I think about it…part of it goes like this:
“…The world can wait for you.
What you think, you attract.
And when you’re ready, you’ll attract the right things your way.
As long as you’re moving, you’re fine.”
What’s next for you?
Right now, I know the things I don’t want but I’m not sure about what I do want yet. I know that I don’t want to stay where I am for too long, be it the same company or the same country. I know that
I like creating small comfort zones across the planet and I want to keep doing this. I did it first during my time at DSS, so my first one was in Amsterdam and then some of the people I met there live in other countries and a new comfort zone is created whenever I visit them.
I think this is my plan: no matter what job or money I have, I just want to continue to keep creating comfort zones across the world.