Abderahmane Naidjate ’21 is one of the few individuals who realized his dream very early in life. As a youngster, he disassembled battery-operated toys to examine the inner workings of the circuits and figure out how the devices worked. “I was so passionate about computers that I actually saved up all my birthday money over the years in order to build my own first computer at the age of 13,” says the Laghouat, Algeria native who is a computer engineering student at UMass Dartmouth.
“Computers were always my escape – whether it was videogames, coding, or reading articles on technology." Now, he is pursuing his dream of becoming an engineer." His strategy is simple – gain a return on his college investment by making the most of his academic and professional experiences.
Joining a professional society for engineers
“Being involved in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is what gave me the confidence to contribute my leadership skills in these student organizations,” he says. “As President of student chapter of NSBE, I coordinate professional development workshops for members, organize and fundraise for the national convention,” he says. “NSBE has changed a big part of my life for the better. I am learning so much as a member and I’ve landed internships with The Boeing Company and Dell Technologies through networking and various skills I gained from actively serving.” While he enjoys his role as president, it comes with challenges.
“The challenges I faced ranged from delegation within our executive board to communicating and fundraising from different departments and companies," he says. “Having leadership experiences has helped me immensely,” he says. “Leaving my comfort zone has taught me to lead and effectively express my thoughts and ideas within a team."
Benefiting from real-world experience
“Having the chance to work for two Fortune 500 companies has been amazing. I learned how to network, communicate, delegate, lead, craft my resume – the list goes on and on,” he says. “And without these experiences I would not be where I am today. I urge students to find a passion within our campus and dive into uncomfortable situations with the intent of learning and developing as an individual along with that very thing you’re passionate about in the first place."
As for his future, Abderahmane plans to develop his own startup company. “My ultimate goal is to start a tech company that I can establish throughout Africa and various communities to bring new economy and light to my beloved continent.”