Riham Mohamed

PhD in Computer Science (2019)

  1. What field of work are you in, and what duties are required in your position?

I graduated from a PhD program in Computer Science. My research was focused on human-computer interaction, usable security & privacy, and privacy in social media. I now teach at Carleton and also work for the Government of Canada.  My position in the Government mainly involves conducting usability testing with users/clients. In the department, we are interested in testing both digital-facing services and other public-facing services.

This is a list of my main duties, which can also be collaboratively completed with my team members: I prepare testing meterials and run testing sessions with clients. I prepare testing reports that identify the testing outcome and provide general recommendation/next steps. I communicate with other team members who test their services through our team. I explore the problem they are trying to solve and identify their testing objectives. I provide training for others in other department on how to conduct usability testing.

  1. What challenges did you face when looking for work after graduating?

Choosing my next career path; should it be academia, industry, or the government? Also, having enough connections and exposure to find a job.

  1. How did you arrive at your current position?

I’m grateful that the collaborative learning program in my department offers internships. During the four years of my PhD, I could complete two full-time internships (4 months each). I did one internship in industry and one in the government. I could see where I want to continue my career. My current job role is with the same department I did my second internship with. I was very clear when I started with them about what I wanted to do and polish as specific skills. They gave me the chance to actually do what I wanted and it was a need for them at the time. The internships gave me enough experience and exposure in my field. I could learn how to map academic education and research to the practical world.

  1. What advice would you give to a graduate student looking to follow a career path similar to yours?

Choose a program that provides internships/co-ops. Even if it doesn’t, talk to your supervisor or academic advisor/mentor and discuss your options with them. If you do an internship, be clear about your objectives and goals and why you want to do it. Be specific about what you want and do your best to work on it. Get in touch with Career Services at Carleton. The services and resources they offer are very useful. Be proactive and do not be shy. If you see an opportunity that you might fit, reach out and do your best to demonstrate your qualifications. Even if you don’t think you are not good enough to do the job, you probably are!