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Ali Abu-El-Magd, BEng '05, MASc '11

Electrical Engineering | The Drive for a Smarter Car

As a student, Ali Abu-El-Magd particularly enjoyed the type of interdisciplinary work that brought together hardware, software, and mechanical design in the creation of useful products.

Today, he brings that enthusiasm to his job as chief embedded software engineer at Valeo, a French first-tier automotive supplier that designs and manufactures a range of automotive products from car keys and access systems, to transmission and lighting systems.

“My role is to support the software teams working on climate control panels and review their work, as well as support quotation activities by sizing new projects and estimating hours required to design and implement the customer requirements,” he explains.

The position in Egypt is his latest in a career that has also seen him work in Canada, the United States, Spain, Germany, France, China, and Egypt.

In 2016, working for the telecommunications firm Orange, he was chosen as a member of the software experts committee. Only 100 software engineers are recognized as experts in the corporation, which employs more than 200,000 around the world.

After completing his BEng in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2005, Abu-El-Magd went on to earn his Masters degree at McMaster in 2011, specializing in the area of tunable lasers using MEMS technology.

He credits his studies for giving him the solid foundation that allowed him to excel in his later technical work.

“I think McMaster's Electrical and Computer Engineering department is very good at sticking to fundamentals and not blindly following the latest fads,” says Abu-El-Magd.  “That also keeps the student’s options open for employment opportunities.

“I started out doing systems engineering in industrial automation, and then was able to shift to embedded software in the automotive and Internet of Things domains.”

He urges today’s students to focus on internships and similar opportunities to gain work experience and to take class projects seriously, as they provide very precious practical experience.

“A last point of advice would be to take it easy, have a balanced life and find peace within,” he says.