Dr. Mohamed Elbabiby moved from Egypt to Canada to pursue his Ph. D in Engineering and thought his career path was on a straight trajectory to a life in research. However, a phone call from the project manager of the Bow Building changed all of that. The problem/opportunity – how to build a structure as tall and deep as the Bow without having the surrounding construction or CTrain transportation collapse? Elhabiby resolved the problem by developing a monitoring system that detects damage to structures within millimetres of movement. For his work, he won the 2015 ASTech Outstanding Achievement in Applied Technology And Innovation Award.
From there he and his wife, also an engineer, founded Micro Engineering Technology Inc. (METI) out of their 2-bedroom apartment.
Ten years later, Mohamed Elhabiby’s technology has allowed more than 12 landmark Calgary structures, and numerous international projects. METI currently has a staff of 18 employees and several million in revenues.
Then another problem/opportunity presented itself. Surrounded by the best of the best engineers at METI, Elhabiby realized they needed programming to demonstrate projects to clients. Once his engineers were able to work with coding and engineering, Silicon Valley came knocking. Losing employees got his mind working on a bigger issue.
Elhabiby realized coding skills are a critical component of current and future education and should be taught sooner than university. So, he founded RoboGarden.ca. RoboGarden.ca is a learn-by-doing, cloud-based game-style environment. It gives students from ages 6 - 17 a fun, step-by-step way to learn the building blocks of programming from the basics to advanced concepts. Upon completion students can post their work on GitHub and be part of the world-wide programming community. It’s a “learn to earn” approach to education and teaches the computer languages that professionals use to author software, smart phone apps and robotic control systems. RoboGarden.ca can be taught inside or outside the classroom. But the real beauty of RoboGarden.ca is that teachers can "teach" and monitor this program without any proficiency in coding.
Recently, RoboGarden.ca was nominated at Global Educational Supplies and Solutions World Class Education conference 2018 in the most innovative product award category and is listed with StartupGrind 2018 as one of the top 50 start-ups by google entrepreneurs.
Mohamed’s advice to youth?
“A lot of people are focusing on the new digital revolution trends and are trying to connect themselves to long term degrees in AI, IoT, Nanotechnology, Autonomous vehicles, etc. Although I agree with that, what I see as more important are the soft skills needed to sustain a future career which include; advanced problem solving, critical thinking, adaptivity to technological changes, cross functional collaboration, emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility”.