Who am I? (TL;DR version)
My name is Ali Alaa. I am a front-end web developer based in Cairo, Egypt. I have been working in the field for around 9 years. I am currently focusing on creating online learning content. I publish online courses, articles and I am planning to publish free tutorials on my youtube channel.
I also do freelance work from time to time. If you are interested in working with me, feel free to get in touch with me.
I was first introduced to web development during my time studying telecommunications engineering around 2010. During that time I discovered themeforest and I was intrigued by some of the WordPress templates that I saw there. Shortly after, I decided to start learning web development and WordPress in parallel with my university studies. I learned through online tutorials and courses. As far as I remember, tutsplus & Lynda were my two biggest sources of learning.
At the time I graduated university; I was able to get a jQuery plugin & a WordPress template published on themeforest. This of course happened after multiple rejections which looking back I consider were important for my development. This was a huge milestone for me. Although my theme didn't do well, but I knew that I have reached a good point in my career.
During that time I was looking for a job and I wasn't yet decided on which field I would like to carry on with. I was applying for jobs for both telecommunications and web development fields.
Publishing themes on themeforest also wans't a very good idea if you are an individual. To succeed on such a competitive marketplace, you have to have a team of designers, developers and customer support and that wasn't possible for me at the time. So I decided to quit themeforest and focus more on expanding my front-end development knowledge.
Working at an agency was a really beneficial step in my career. Working on real-life projects, dealing with clients and collaborating with different teams taught me a lot. But after a while I decided to take my next step and start freelancing.
After few years of having a regular job, I gained a lot of experience and worked on a lot of big projects. Nevertheless, I started getting tired of the routine. I felt like I needed a new challenge at this point. So I decided to start freelancing. When I took that decision, I had no idea what to do and how to find clients. I started applying for jobs on Upwork. And given my empty Upwork profile, It took me around 6 months to be noticed and hired by a client. It was a very difficult period in my life. I was barely getting any income and I started to doubt my decision. But during these 6 months I did a lot of things that helped me a lot later. I created a website for myself which was shared by Wes Bos, wrote some articles on medium, created a CSS grid cheat sheet which was shared by Smashing Magazine and so on. All of that gave a bit of exposure and helped me have some stuff to show the clients that I was applying for their jobs. Since I got my first job, things went a lot better for me and I was able to get clients easier. A lot of times I didn't have to search for jobs, clients started to get in touch with me either from an article I wrote or from my Upwork profile.
After about a year of freelancing; I was thinking about something new to do. One of the things that I thought of was creating online courses. I wasn't sure if I was gonna be able to do it. I haven't done anything like that before. But after some research and demos, I decided that I am gonna give it a try. And I started preparing for my first course which was about creating WordPress themes. It took me a very long time to prepare and record that course. I was very unconfident about how I was doing things and I kept re-recording and re-editing a lot. But after the first few sections I started to get used to it and I finally released the course on Udemy.
I struggled a bit at the beginning with sales, but after a while the course started getting some traction and also some good reviews. Few months later I decided to do more courses. Although it's a very stressful process to create and edit a course on your own; but I really enjoyed the outcome of it. Helping students and getting positive feedback is a really satisfying experience.
I have made 4 courses so far and I really enjoyed each one of them. When you create a course about a certain topic, you really learn a lot about this topic. When you are willing to explain something to people, you have to have a very deep understanding of it. And that makes you learn things wouldn't have learned otherwise.