By Bob Rhubart
As a mechanical engineering student at Cairo University in Egypt in the late ’90s, Mohamed Taman was completely in the dark about coding, software engineering, and computers. But his grades were good, and that caught the attention of the dean, who suggested that Taman might like to join the school’s new computer engineering program. That turned out to be a moment of illumination.
Taman majored in electrical engineering, with a specialization in computer systems engineering. “Computer logic was one of the first things that caught my interest, then computer architecture and internal designs and programming,” Taman recalls. “Trying to see the circuits and how binary systems all worked was amazing to me.”
While at Zagazig University, in Egypt, Taman was also working at a major global biopharmaceutical company. “I made use of all the subjects I was studying and then applied those theories at work,” he recalls. Between school, work, and occasional projects for friends, Taman gathered enough knowledge and experience to attempt Java 1.2 certification. In prepping for the certification exam, Taman relied heavily on the Core Java book series by Cay Horstmann. “I studied the whole book and then went to the exam and passed the first time,” Taman explains. “I was very happy!”
After five years at the biopharma company, Taman worked at other companies as a software engineer and web developer. “I was always eager to study and to know what’s new.” That focus helped advance his career. “I had many different job offers and always chose companies that were growing and had a good reputation.”
One stop along Taman’s career path was a development engineering job with Oracle Egypt, where he worked on Metalink integrations for various Oracle acquisitions. He also put in a 10-year stint with an efinance startup, where he helped build an epayment system for the Egyptian government. All the while, he was accumulating more and more Java expertise.
In 2009 Taman discovered JavaOne, where he met James Gosling and several other luminaries. “I’d never been to a conference before,” Taman recalls. “I was like, wow, all these authors whose books I’d read!” Inspired by the experience to get more involved with the community, he joined the Java Community Process (JCP) Program and became active in local Java user groups.
Taman places a high value on the JCP as a conduit to new people, cultures, and information. He also appreciates the impressive roster of companies represented on the JCP Executive Committee. “That’s why I’m keen to keep my involvement in the community. It’s very good for your career.”
Having become a senior manager in charge of development, IT, and I/O at the efinance startup, Taman found himself at a career crossroads, and he made the most of his skills.
“In Egypt you either become business- or technology-oriented in your career. I have chosen to be in the middle. I’m an enterprise architect, and I love R&D. I understand the business, am very close to the senior management, and can translate its vision and objectives into technical language for the technology team. I am the connection between them. It’s what I love to do.”
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Given his particular skill set, Taman relocated from Egypt to Serbia. “Serbia is growing in terms of IT. There’s a lot of demand for someone like me here.”
Taman is now the senior enterprise architect for Comtrade Digital Services, based in Belgrade. Comtrade provides services for various European companies in the travel and mobility industries. “I’m trying to put current systems into the correct architecture to make use of cloud computing,” Taman explains.
In addition to working at Comtrade, Taman is founder and CEO of SiriusX Innovations, which focuses on blockchain-based applications plus training services in Java SE, Java EE, and software architecture.
A prolific writer, Taman regularly contributes articles to DZone, InfoQ, and other publications. He is the author of JavaFX Essentials (2015, Packt Publishing). His newest book, Secrets of a Java Champion, is scheduled for publication in October 2019 by Packt.
Taman often gives presentations at developer events, such as Oracle Code, DevNexus, and Devoxx. He is also active in local Java user groups (JUGs). “I love speaking; I love teaching and giving information,” he says.
Through his community involvement, Taman earned Java Champion status in 2015 and became an Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador in 2018.
Having settled into his jobs in Belgrade, Taman makes time to make the most of his new home. “I’m trying to make a lot of friends here in Serbia,” he says. “I love people. I’m exploring the country, seeing new places, and trying new foods.”
Photography by Bob Adler