Portrait of the month: Hasna Rahma, Algerian student became Software Development Engineer at LIST

Florane Giolatavatar

Published on 09/01/2023, by Florane Giolat

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Moien! We are delighted to see you at the beginning of 2023 for our monthly appointment: the portrait of the month. This year is already grandiose with even more inspiring personalities in Luxembourg.


Our first interviewee of the year is Hasna Rahma Bedla, a young woman from Algeria who is currently a Software Development Engineer at LIST. From her studies in Algeria to her university career in France and her first IT job in Luxembourg, discover her poignant story, the difficulties she encountered but above all, her way of overcoming them with panache. We hope that this portrait will inspire other people with a similar profile and wanting to start their career in Luxembourg.


Mathematics has always been a passion


Since she was a child, Hasna Rahma has been passionate about mathematics, which she sees "like a game". Already very studious and determined, she obtained her Mathematics baccalaureate with high honors, then discovered computer science and especially code, which she considers "a more concrete discipline than math".


"What I love above all is seeing the final result of my development work. The satisfaction it brings is incomparable." - Hasna Rahma.


To develop her IT skills, Hasna Rahma joined the ESI school (National School of Computer Science) - in other words, the best computer science school in Algeria - for a master's degree in Computer Engineering, specializing in Information Systems and Technology, which allows her to become a state engineer in computer science.


Once she arrives in France, she turns to Business Intelligence


After obtaining her degree in Algeria (still with high honors 😊), she began the process of moving to France for her studies. After (many) adventures, she finally managed to be accepted at the university of her choice (the University of Lorraine) and turned to a new speciality that allowed her to evolve in skills and responsibility while remaining in the field of Computer Science: Business Intelligence (BI).


For the newbies, BI allows you to analyze and exploit data in order to help decision makers make the best possible decisions.


Even if she liked her speciality, her arrival in France was not easy. She testified:


"The conditions for entering a French university are very restrictive. And that's not all! Being accepted is only the first step: once this is done, there is still the visa, the documents for the file, depositing them, then the (very long) wait before receiving a final response.


My first months in France were very difficult, the cultural shock was significant and I didn't meet only kind people. However, I was lucky because my brother lived not far from the university, I could stay with him when I arrived. It must be known that foreign students do not have many places in CROUS. Fortunately, thanks to the help of a social worker, I was able to get a room in a university residence after a few months."


The worst thing you've heard?


"At university, there was a lot of competition between students, many were pessimistic about their chances of finding a job, and some did not hesitate to put down others. One day, another foreign student told me 'With your veil you're screwed anyway.'

Despite this, the young woman did not let herself be discouraged: "In reality, hearing this gave me strength and the desire to redouble my efforts to make a place for myself and start my career."


Her experience with Luxembourg


During her second semester at the University of Lorraine, the young woman must complete an internship in a company. That’s when she comes across an ad for a Moovijob.com event.

"I thought Luxembourg was a city in France"


At that time, Hasna Rahma knew nothing about Luxembourg: "I thought it was a city in France, I didn’t know it was a country! The event organized by Moovijob.com allowed me to discover the IT market in Luxembourg, which is well above the French market on many levels. In addition to opening the doors of Luxembourg, the show allowed me to meet a lot of recruiters and collect many business cards from companies in IT.


Despite this opportunity, finding an internship was not easy. Hasna Rahma sent over 70 applications before receiving internship proposals. Unfortunately, her nationality and the complications of obtaining a visa were a hindrance for some companies.


Among the 3 internship proposals received, she chose to accept an opportunity at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), which fully corresponded to her expectations and to her background combining development and BI. Indeed, her main mission was to design Python graphics to represent the Covid-19 data set, helping biologists in their decision-making process.


"The LIST team was great. She helped me enormously to make the necessary steps for my integration, to relaunch the prefecture and especially she gave me twice the opportunity to work in Luxembourg, because I was taken on permanent contract some time after my internship"


How did your integration in the Grand Duchy go?


"From the very beginning of my professional life in Luxembourg, I immediately felt welcomed and above all, accepted as I am. The Luxembourg residents I met were very nice, and I am always impressed to see such a multicultural background in such a small country. On a daily basis, I now work with Italians, Russians, Americans, French... it's like a big family, you feel welcomed!"


What project are you currently working on?


"I am mainly involved in data processing and visualization of heterogeneous data from instruments using nanotechnology. I'm using this data to develop a web app that will allow LIST researchers to have many more useful insights for their research, to better visualize the data and to better be able to exploit it later."


Today, what message would you like to share?


"It is very difficult to study and work in France or Luxembourg when you are not a European citizen, but I would like to tell all those who have the same background as me to hang in there and never give up. It is difficult, but it is possible! The important thing is to surround yourself with the right people, but above all to avoid the wrong ones", says Hasna Rahma.


"I would like to thank the LIST team, which helped me a lot to carry out the necessary steps for my integration, to follow-up with the prefecture and especially to give me the opportunity to work twice in Luxembourg. Its anti-discrimination policy is really sincere.


I would also like to thank Moovijob.com which allowed me to get many contacts in Luxembourg, and finally the ESI (Ecole Nationale Supérieur d'Informatique), because it is an exceptional school which changed my life."


To conclude his portrait, discover his favorite proverb:


"I address this proverb to everyone, no matter their field, their experience, and especially to all those who do not have confidence in themselves or who are afraid of failure:

"It's better to fail trying to fly than sit in the nest and die" (Jentezen Franklin)"


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