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Mahmoud Harmouch
Mahmoud Harmouch

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The Ultimate Guide To Software Engineering.

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This article will discuss the skills needed to become an excellent software engineer and how you can learn them. By the end of this article, you will walk away with a fundamental understanding of software engineering, different types of software engineering roles, and much more.

πŸ‘‰ Table Of Contents (TOC).

Introduction.

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Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko.

Software engineers are the backbone of any software/tech company. They are responsible for designing, developing, and testing software. They work in various industries, including but not limited to research and development, healthcare, finance, and retail.

A great software engineer is someone who can think critically about a problem and come up with an innovative solution. They have to be able to work well in teams and communicate effectively with their colleagues. They have to understand the needs of a business and how those needs align with their skill set and knowledge.

Writing about numbers, software engineers make, on average, a base salary of $126,262 per year in the United States, according to Indeed [0], $118,547 according to Glassdoor [1], $119,430 according to Salary [2], and $87,000 according to payscale [3]. It is pretty important to mention that the average salary depends on numerous factors such as experience, skillset, level of education, region of residence of the company, position in the company hierarchy, the type of company they work for, etc.

Software Engineers Vs Software Developers.

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Software engineers are responsible for the design and implementation of software. They are also responsible for designing the system architecture, including selecting and developing hardware and software components. On the other hand, software developers are responsible for coding and testing software.

Software engineers need to have a basic understanding of computer science concepts such as data structures, algorithms, programming languages, operating systems, complexity analysis, etc. Software developers need to have a strong understanding of programming languages such as Java or C++ to write code for a specific product.

Now, you might be wondering about the steps to be taken to become a software engineer or developer. And that's what we are trying to find out in the next section.

How To Become A Software Engineer/Developer.

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The process of becoming a software engineer is not an easy one. It takes blood, sweat, and tears to get there. No kidding. But it is worth it in the end.

There are many different paths that you can take to become a software engineer. Still, they all have one thing in common: they require you to be passionate about programming, technology, and computer science. If you're not passionate about it, then don't even bother trying. Programming is hard. It's really, really hard. If someone told you other than that, then they are not experienced enough. But if you can deal with that, you'll be rewarded tenfold by the end of it all. For another perspective on "why is programming difficult", I highly recommend watching this youtube video [4].

The first path to becoming a software engineer is typically by pursuing a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in computer science, engineering, or mathematics. Many also earn a master’s degree or doctorate, which can vary depending on their chosen specialty.

It is worth mentioning that most software engineers working at F/MAANG companies have a degree in either computer science or engineering. However, it is also possible to get hired as a software engineer at such companies without an engineering or computer science background (say a bachelor's degree in philosophy).

The second path is learning coding through a coding Bootcamp. Coding bootcamps are a great way to learn how to code. They provide a structured and intensive learning environment that is designed to teach you the skills you need to become a professional developer.

The path to learning coding through a coding Bootcamp is not an easy one. It requires dedication, hard work, and determination. Coding bootcamps are often more expensive than traditional schools, but can be worth the investment. It will be worth it in the end when you have the skills needed to land your dream job as a software developer.

According to the "Coding Bootcamp Alumni Outcomes & Demographics Study" survey, the percentage of bootcamp graduates that got employed in the field after graduating is around 73% [5], Which is pretty close to the percentage of students that graduated from a college and found a job 78% and higher than those who had completed high school, 69% [6]. Although this comparison is not genuinely valid since the data are obtained from different surveys and timelines, it does give you a rough idea.

Learning to code is a skill that is in high demand. It is also a skill that can be learned by oneself, without the need for formal education, which brings us to the third path: coding by yourself, aka self-taught.

The path to learning coding by oneself can be challenging and time-consuming. But it can also be rewarding and fulfilling. If you have always been interested in coding and want to learn, here are a few resources to help get you started. The most popular ones are W3schools, Treehouse, Codecademy, and freecodecamp. These sites offer interactive lessons and exercises that teach the basics of programming languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Ruby on Rails, and more.

In essence, there are three primary paths you can choose from to become a software engineer:

  • College: The standard way to break into the industry.
  • Coding bootcamp: There is a program you have to go through. You can refer to the referenced youtube video by Samuel Lee for more information about Coding bootcamps [7].
  • Self-taught: This path requires a lot of dedication since there is no schedule prepared, no course... You have to figure out what you need to learn and how to learn it. These are real-life testimonies of a self-taught UI engineer by Jenefer Licet [8], a self-taught Backend engineer by Amigoscode [9], and a self-taught engineer by Jeremiah [10].

Now, you might be wondering: What is the best way to become a software engineer?

It is difficult to answer this question as there are so many paths to becoming a software engineer. However, the most common route is to get a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering according to a stackoverflow survey.


Developer Profile, Education [11].

A bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering can provide the necessary skills for people looking to become software engineers.

The quickest way to become a software engineer is to take the proper steps. It's essential to understand what you're trying to accomplish and know how you want the process to go. It can be overwhelming, but many online resources can help guide you through the process.

The Skills Needed To Become A Great Software Engineer.

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Software engineering requires a wide range of soft and hard skills. It is not just about coding. There are many other skills that you need to learn in order to be successful in this field.

A software engineer must know about computer systems and programming in the grand scheme of things. You will have to understand how the computer works, and you will also need to know how to write computer programs. Knowledge of coding is essential to be able to write programs that work. But, if you are not a coder from the beginning, you can start learning coding through a coding bootcamp and get trained in person or take computer science classes. You can use many resources for free, such as freecodecamp, which will teach you how to code from the ground up. You can also take online courses or learn from books and tutorials. Arguably, the best way to learn how to code is by doing it.

Software engineers help design and build software for computers and mobile devices. They often work on projects as part of a team to produce software that many people use. Software engineers often need to stay up-to-date on the latest techniques, tools, and technologies. This can include learning about new coding languages and visualization software. Other skills a software engineer might need are understanding user needs, working in an agile development environment, and collaborating with others.

In order to be a successful software engineer, it is crucial that you learn to code from scratch because most programming languages require a good understanding of how computers work and how data is stored and accessed on them. There are also many different programming languages that you can learn, such as C++, Java, Python, and Javascript. Arguably, the best place to start is with a documentation/book, although many online tutorials are also available. You should note that most programming languages use a similar teaching method, so you'll be able to pick up other languages relatively easily after learning one. For example, there is a lot of crossover between Java and C#(e.g., class-based object-oriented, garbage collection, statically-typed, curly brace languages.) since C++ heavily influences both [12]. If you're not familiar with any of these programming languages, try to pick up a language similar to one that you already know; you'll be able to learn the difference more easily this way. JavaScript is the most widely used language for web development [13].


Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages [13].

So, JavaScript is a good one if you want to learn programming from scratch. However, it doesn't imply that JavaScript is the top paying technology, as the StackOverflow survey shows.


It is time to learn Clojure ;-).

Qualities Of An Awesome Software Engineer.

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Photo by MART PRODUCTION.

A superb software engineer is someone who has a deep understanding of the fundamentals of computer science and engineering. They are also able to work with a team to solve complex problems.

Here what I think about the ultimate qualities of an excellent software engineer are:

  • They have strong problem-solving skills.
  • They have a passion for technology and innovation.
  • They value reliability, efficiency, and effectiveness.
  • They have excellent analytical, programming, and technical skills.
  • They have a strong work ethic in order to get things done on time.
  • They can work in high-pressure environments with minimal supervision.
  • They can think creatively and develop innovative solutions to complex problems.
  • They are competitive. (they are willing to learn and excel in a competitive environment).
  • They have an excellent track record for working with others of different experience levels.
  • They can communicate effectively in both written and oral form, both technical and non-technical audiences.

As a matter of fact, the demand for software engineers is increasing, and it is computationally expensive to find the perfect candidate who possesses all the previous skills. However, you don't need to have all the skills mentioned above to be good at software engineering.

The success of software engineers might depend not only on their skills but also on the company they are joining. This might not be true for all software engineers because many of them have the skills that the companies need, but the demand for their skills depends on the projects in their respective companies.

With that noted, you might be wondering: What is the most critical skill in software engineering. And as you guessed it, it is to google it when you get stuck.


What do you do when you get stuck [14].

In the following section, we will go over an exhaustive list of different software engineering roles.

Types of Software Engineers/Developers: Roles & Responsibilities.

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There are many different types of software engineers. Some specialize in a specific area like mobile app development or web development, while others work on various projects. The most common type of software engineer is a full-stack engineer who designs and develops websites and web applications.


Developer profile, developer roles [15].

Software engineers can be found in every industry, and they have a wide range of responsibilities. They may be responsible for designing the user interface, writing code, or testing the product to make it bug-free. They may work on developing electronic games, web applications, and mobile apps. They also have knowledge about how the application will work and how others can use it.

Typically, there are twelve types of software engineers:

Front-End Engineer.

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Photo by Markus Spiske.

Average salary per year: $92,698 on Indeed [16], $101,982 on Glassdoor [17].

A front-end engineer is a person who specializes in the design and development of the user interface, or UI, of a website or web application. They are responsible for ensuring that the site is responsive and looks good on all devices.

A front-end engineer is also responsible for ensuring that the site loads quickly and works well with search engines. They are also in charge of designing graphics, animations, and other visual elements that make up the site’s interface.

Skills: AJAX, APIs, AWS, Agile, Angular, Azure, Bootstrap, CSS, Communication skills, Design patterns, Front-end development, Git.

Back-End Engineer.

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Photo by Christina Morillo.

Average salary per year: $95,318 on Indeed [18], $130,298 on Glassdoor [19].

A back-end engineer is a software engineer who specializes in the design and development of the back-end of an application or system.

The back-end is the part of an application that handles all the data processing, storage, and retrieval. It typically consists of two parts: a database to store information and web servers to handle requests and provide information to users.

A back-end engineer's job is to design and develop these components. They are responsible for ensuring that data can be stored reliably, retrieved quickly, and processed efficiently.

Skills: APIs, AWS, Agile, Azure, Back-end development, CI/CD, Communication skills, Databases, Distributed systems, Docker, Git, Go.

Full-Stack Engineer.

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Average salary per year: $101,017 on Indeed [20], $117,731 on Glassdoor [21].

A Full-Stack Engineer is a person who has the skills to work on both the front-end and back-end of a website. They are responsible for the entire process of developing a website from start to finish.

Full-stack engineers are in high demand in the tech industry because they can do everything that is needed to build a website. They have knowledge of both front-end and back-end development, which makes them more valuable than other engineers.

Skills: APIs, AWS, Agile, Angular, Azure, C#, CI/CD, CSS, Communication skills, DevOps, Docker, Full-stack development.

Quality Assurance(QA) Engineer.

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Average salary per year: $67,227 on Indeed [22], $55,127 - $60,710 on Glassdoor [23].

A QA engineer is responsible for ensuring that the product is bug-free and meets the standards. They make sure that the product created by developers meets quality standards.

Skills: APIs, Agile, Analysis skills, C, C++, CI/CD, Communication skills, Debugging, Java, JavaScript, Jira, Linux.

DevOps Engineer.

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Photo by Mikhail Fesenko.

Average salary per year: $115,435 on Indeed [24], $123,115 on Glassdoor [25].

A DevOps engineer's job is to make sure that the company's code is always up to date and running smoothly. They are often responsible for implementing and monitoring the software in production.

A DevOps engineer is someone who has an understanding of more than one programming language and can work with a variety of tools. They can also be called system administrators, application developers, or release engineers. The most important thing about a DevOps engineers is that they are comfortable with both development and operations.

In the past, system administrators were responsible for creating and maintaining their company's systems. Many development teams would have a separate group of system administrators that would work with them to implement new features and maintain systems in production. However, this division between developers and system administrators has been blurred due to the introduction of DevOps practices.

Skills: AWS, Agile, Ansible, Azure, Bash, CI/CD, Chef, Cloud infrastructure, Communication skills, Continuous integration, DevOps, Docker.

Security Engineer.

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Average salary per year: $75,732 on Indeed [26], $113,236 on Glassdoor [27].

Security Engineers are responsible for the security of a company's network and data. They are in charge of designing, implementing, and maintaining the security of an organization's IT infrastructure.

Security engineers work to protect their company’s information from unauthorized access or use by outsiders. They do this by developing policies that govern how employees can access sensitive information on their computers or mobile devices and monitor networks to detect unauthorized activity such as hacking attempts or malware infections.

Skills: AWS, Active Directory, Analysis skills, Azure, C++, Communication skills, Computer networking, Encryption, Firewall, Google Cloud Platform, IDS, Identity & access management.

Game Designer.

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Average salary per year: $94,763 on Indeed [28], $95,894 on Glassdoor [29].

Video game designers are responsible for the design and development of video games. They are responsible for designing the game's levels, characters, gameplay, story, and graphics.

Game designers must have knowledge of many different software applications, such as 3D modeling tools, animation software, engineering tools, and audio production software. However, their primary skill is in the art or science of creating interactive games that are fun and appealing to players. They also use their expertise in other areas such as game development, programming, literature, film, and psychology to find new insights into the design process.

Skills: Communication skills.

Mobile Developer.

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Photo by Skylar Kang.

Average salary per year: $92,974 on Indeed [30], $112,702 on Glassdoor [31].

Mobile developers are responsible for developing mobile applications. They are the ones who design and develop the software that runs on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. They develop native applications for their platforms (android, ios.). Native apps are created specifically for the platform they're running on, which is usually the device's operating system (OS).

Mobile developers need to be skilled in various programming languages like Java, Swift, Objective-C, C++, etc. They also need to know about multiple operating systems like iOS, Android, etc.

Skills: APIs, AWS, Agile, Analysis skills, Android, Android development, Application development, C#, C++, CSS, Communication skills, Design patterns.

Software Integration Engineer.

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Photo by Alexander Dummer.

Average salary per year: $108,209 on Indeed [32], $109,965 on Glassdoor [33].

Software Integration Engineers(embedded systems developers) are responsible for integrating software components and modules with hardware like security alert systems. They are also responsible for designing and developing the interfaces for these components.

Skills: .NET, APIs, AWS, Agile, C, C#, C++, Communication skills, Debugging, Docker, Git, Java.

Data scientist.

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Photo by Lukas.

Average salary per year: $102,247 on Indeed [34], $123,357 on Glassdoor [35].

A data scientist is someone who analyzes data and extracts insights from it. Data scientists use various tools, including programming languages, statistical software, and machine learning algorithms. Data scientists are in high demand in the current job market and can work in a variety of industries such as healthcare, finance, retail, or marketing.

Skills: AI, AWS, Analysis skills, Analytics, Apache Hive, Azure, C++, Communication skills, Data analysis skills, Data mining, Data science, Data visualization.

Big Data Engineer.

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Photo by Olya Kobruseva.

Average salary per year: $115,737 on Indeed [36], $103,470 on Glassdoor [37].

A Big Data Engineer is a person who has the skills to work with large data sets and extract insights from them. They are responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining the systems that store and process data.

Skills: APIs, AWS, Agile, Apache Hive, Azure, Big data, Cassandra, Communication skills, Data modeling, Data warehouse, ETL, Full-stack development.

Site Reliability Engineer.

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Photo by Format.

Average salary per year: $129,032 on Indeed [38], $121,142 on Glassdoor [39].

Site Reliability Engineers are responsible for the reliability of a company's website. They make sure that the site is up and running at all times and that it can handle any traffic spikes.

Skills: APIs, AWS, Ansible, Azure, Bash, CI/CD, Chef, Cloud infrastructure, Communication skills, Computer networking, DevOps, Distributed systems.

In the following section, we will list the top tech companies that are always looking for software engineers to help them build their next generation of products.

Top Companies Hiring Software Engineers.

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Software engineers are in high demand, and many companies are hiring for these positions. You never know when you might find your dream job. It's always a good idea to keep your eyes open for opportunities. Here are some of the top companies hiring software engineers:

  • Meta(formerly known as Facebook): They have been top as one of the most popular social media platforms globally since its inception in 2004 [40].

  • Amazon: They've been around for over 25 years , and they're always looking for new ways to make things easier for their customers [41].

  • Apple: They have been on top as one of the most popular companies producing high-quality products with incredibly loyal consumers since its inception in 1976 [42].

  • Netflix: They have been around for over 20 years and has grown to be one of the most popular streaming services in the world [43].

  • Google: They have a long history of success, have a vast array of products, and hire the best talent.

  • Microsoft: They have been on top as one of the best software providers in the world since its inception in 1975 [44].

These companies hire thousands of software engineers every year, and they also provide challenging projects to work on. You can refer to Glassdoor for an exhaustive list of top companies hiring software engineers [45].

Conclusion.

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In conclusion, the future of the tech industry is bright. Engineering is not just about the technical skills one possesses; it is also about how one thinks, approaches problems, and communicates their ideas. It is crucial to have a good understanding of what makes someone an incredible engineer.

As always, this article is a gift to you, and you can share it with whomever you like or use it in any way that would be beneficial to your personal and professional development. By supporting this blog, you keep me motivated to publish high-quality content. Thank you in advance for your ultimate support!

That's all for today's article. Thank you for reading! Stay hydrated, folks; see you in the next one.

References & Resources.

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[0] Indeed. Software Engineer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[1] Glassdoor. How much does a Software Engineer make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[2] Salary. How much does the average Software Engineer make in the United States?. salary.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[3] Payscale. How much does the average Software Engineer make in the United States?. payscale.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[4] Andy Sterkowitz. Why Is Programming Difficult?. youtube.com.

[5] Liz Eggleston. 2016 Course Report Alumni Outcomes & Demographics Study. coursereport.com. Retrieved 2022-05-07.

[6] NCES. Employment rates of young adults. nces.ed.gov. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[7] Samuel Lee, 2022. MY CODING BOOTCAMP EXPERIENCE | Flatiron School | What Coding Bootcamp Is Really Like. youtube.com.

[8] Jenefer Licet, 2020. In 6 Months I became UI Software Engineer Self-Taught / No Degree / No Bootcamp. youtube.com.

[9] Amigoscode, 2020. How I Became A Software Engineer Without Computer Science Degree | Amazing Story. youtube.com.

[10] Jeremiah, 2020. How I Became a Software Engineer Without A Degree. youtube.com.

[11] Stackoverflow, 2021. Developer Profile, Education. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

[12] Wikipedia, 2016. the free encyclopedia, Comparison of C Sharp and Java. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

[13] Stackoverflow, 2021. Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

[14] Stackoverflow, 2021. What do you do when you get stuck. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

[15] Stackoverflow, 2021. Developer profile, developer roles. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

[16] Indeed. Front End Developer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[17] Glassdoor. How much does a Front End Developer make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[18] Indeed. Back End Developer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[19] Glassdoor. How much does a Back End Engineer make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[20] Indeed. Full Stack Developer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[21] Glassdoor. How much does a Fullstack Developer make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[22] Indeed. Quality Assurance Engineer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[23] Glassdoor. Quality Assurance Quality Assurance Salaries. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[24] Indeed. Quality Assurance Engineer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[25] Glassdoor. Quality Assurance Quality Assurance Salaries. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[26] Indeed. Security Engineer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[27] Glassdoor. How much does a Security Engineer make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[28] Indeed. Video Game Designer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[29] Glassdoor. How much does a Game Designer make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[30] Indeed. Mobile Developer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[31] Glassdoor. How much does a Mobile Developer make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[32] Indeed. Software Integration Engineer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[33] Glassdoor. How much does a Software Integration Engineer make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[34] Indeed. Data Scientist salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[35] Glassdoor. How much does a Data Scientist make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[36] Indeed. Data Engineer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[37] Glassdoor. How much does a Data Enginner make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[38] Indeed. Site Reliability Engineer salary in United States. Indeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[39] Glassdoor. How much does a Site Reliability Engineer make?. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-06.

[40] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. History of Facebook. wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

[41] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. History of Amazon. wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

[42] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. History of Apple Inc.. wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

[43] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Netflix. wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

[44] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. History of Microsoft. wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

[45] Glassdoor. Top Companies Hiring for Software Engineer Jobs. glassdoor.com. Retrieved 2022-05-08.

Discussion (10)

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mahmoudessam profile image
Mahmoud EL-kariouny

Thanks for your efforts πŸ‘Œ πŸ’ͺ πŸ™‚ πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ™

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wiseai profile image
Mahmoud Harmouch Author

Your acknowledgment of my efforts is appreciated. Thank you!

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mahmoudessam profile image
Mahmoud EL-kariouny

Not at all, you are welcome 😊 ☺ πŸ™‚

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bfemeng profile image
bfemeng

From a codeNewbie...Great article.

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wiseai profile image
Mahmoud Harmouch Author

cat

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Mason Marper

Good stuff

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snelson1 profile image
Sophia Nelson

Good article, thank you.

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dinerdas profile image
Diner Das

good read

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Aarav Reddy

Very helpful post

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frodolight profile image
Frodo

Really like this