How to Apply Customer Development and Validation Cycle in Your Startup?

Customer Development Process and Validation Cycle
Customer Development Process and Validation Cycle

The core of every business is having a product or a service to offer. For that business to thrive, it requires a base of customers willing to purchase its products. This constantly drives businesses to come up with cool products/ideas that can grant them loyal customers and widen their consumers’ base. But in the rush to present new products to the market, many businesses skip the due diligence needed to confirm the viability of these products or the needs they satisfy. This leaves them with products having no or limited markets than originally assumed.

So, instead of building products in vacuum, you should always keep in mind why you are building them and who you are building them for. One model that can help business, and specially startups, put customers and their needs first is the customer development approach.

What is customer development?
The customer development method was first introduced by Steve Blank in 1990. He defines it as “the formal process of identifying potential customers and figuring out how to meet their needs.”
Steve Blank was the first to offer that startups are not smaller versions of large companies and that new ventures are different than existing ones.

Through his book “The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win”, Steve Blank has elaborated that customer development process aims to validate 4 important steps:
First step: Customer Discovery
This stage focuses on understanding the problems for an identifiable group of users.
Second step: Customer Validation
In this stage you validate that your product can satisfy your customers’ needs.
Third step: Customer Creation
This is the beginning of the execution stage where you start building the sales and marketing roadmap.
Fourth step: Company Building
In this final stage you execute your plan and scale your project.
Customer Development Process

Now that we have a view of the overall process, let’s understand more about each step in the customer development process.

Customer Discovery

Problem exists: A strong pain/problem that you validated with prospect customers
Problem-Solution fit: Your solution solves this problem and customers buy it
Solution-Customer fit: Your solution solves a given problem for these specific customers
Sales Funnel: You build a proposed “sales and marketing roadmap,” which lays out the business activities to move prospects through the funnel.

Design Thinking

We can say that the customer discovery stage really builds on design thinking. But what is design thinking in the first place? It’s a human cantered approach to problem solving and innovation that includes the methods and tools used to make products and services economically viable, technically feasible & humanly desirable.

Customer Validation

Create empathy in your business; product, sales, marketing and customer success all need to empathies with the customer.
Validate MVP (minimum viable product): Understanding the core value that you are offering to your customers.
In this step, sales and marketing initiatives and indicators can guide your: Competitor analysis, conversion funnel, scalability assessment and Keep Customer Acquisition cost /Life Time Value low.

Customer Creation

Create end-user demand and drive that demand into the company’s sales channel. Creation comes after proof of sales.

The process of customer creation varies with the type of startup:

  • Enter existing markets, well defined by their competitors.
  • Create new markets where no product or company exists.
  • Re-segment existing markets (e.g. a low-cost entrant or creating a new niche).

Company Building

Company transitions from its informal discovery-oriented customer development team into formal departments with VPs of Sales, marketing and business development.
These executives now focus on building mission-oriented departments that can exploit the company’s early market success.

Most of startups have business models that are lacking in critical data

Here are questions asked at different stages of the product life cycle that you can ask your team:
What problem are we solving?
Who are our ideal customers? What are their needs?
What channels can be used to reach them?
What methods can we use to maintain customer growth?

And at the end, remember “Start with the problem, not the solution”!

You can watch the full webinar here.
Learn more about our Product Management Program.


Knowledge Officer launches Tech Fellowship to upskill the next tech generation in the MENA region

The fully subsidized program will upskill 2,000 professionals in Product Management, Marketing, Customer Success and Sales

Knowledge Officer is thrilled to announce the launch of the Tech Fellowship, a comprehensive and fully funded program for most in-demand specializations. During the fellowship, the first of its kind in the MENA region, the learners will be able to learn top skills and get certified in Product Management, Marketing, Sales Development and Customer Success. The program aims to gradually close the skills gap in the region and foster innovation via world-class education curated by top experts. 

We are very excited about launching the Tech Fellowship as part of our MENA Skills Initiative with a fantastic range of partners in the Middle East. There has never been a time where impactful and market-driven training is needed more than now. We promise our learners that we will do our best to help them navigate the current uncertainty due to the instability in the job market and to give them a solid opportunity not just to upskill but to have amazing job opportunities as well

Says Ahmed El-Sharkasy, the CEO and Co-Founder of the Knowledge Officer. 

The fellowship programs will be taught fully online with assistance from the Knowledge Officer’s learning experts and career advisors. The learning methods are a mix of self-paced, data-driven learning on the Knowledge Officer mobile app or on desktop, as well as live expert-led sessions and human-graded assignments. The learners will be provided full support and personalized feedback as well as interview preparation sessions to ensure they are ready for the new role in their chosen field. Upon program finish, candidates will be eligible for an industry-recognized certificate of completion from Knowledge Officer and job placement support with our partners.

The fellowship is initially open for learners based in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan with a highly competitive application process and 2,000 fully-funded seats available for the best candidates. The partners that are supporting the initiative include PwC, Mint by EG Bank, Careem and Zain among others.

The program will last 3 months with the Product Management cohort starting first – on the 14th of February. To find out more and apply, visit this page. 

About Knowledge Officer
Knowledge Officer is a training partner for individuals and organisations. By using Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing, it offers a personalised learning journey to hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide on their path to the dream career goal. Knowledge Officer helps companies to retain and grow a competitive workforce through free, Plus and Pro learning plans in careers such as Product Management, Marketing or Entrepreneurship. The startup was awarded Innovate UK grant twice and was part of Facebook Incubator.

For media enquiries contact:

Natalia Slota

Growth Marketing Specialist



How to Build a Career as a Product Manager?

Source: Unsplash

Whether you have chosen Product Management as a career or still wondering about the next role, this article will give you the complete guide on how to become an effective Product Manager with explaining the qualifications, responsibilities and tasks of a Product Manager. 

On top of taking you on a quick visit to a typical day in the life of a Product Manager, we will discuss the most asked Product Management interview questions, giving you the secret answer to each, and some tips on how to successfully pass a job interview.

As a learning specialist and a career accelerator advisor at Knowledge Officer, I have helped more than 100 learners from different backgrounds, levels of knowledge and experience to start and develop their careers as product managers during the last year only.

Let’s check out the most frequent questions learners ask when starting their journey.

What is Product Management?

A simple definition of Product Management that you can find everywhere online is that:

Product Management is the intersection of the three aspects of Business, Technology, and UX.”

To elaborate on that definition, I’d like to explain product management in a simpler way from another perspective. Let’s take a look at a typical journey of a product. Regardless of whether this product is a tech or non-tech; if it’s an app that you like or the new coffee machine that you use every morning.

For a product to be released to the market, it starts by being just an idea. This idea needs proof of need, validation, functionality, and authenticity to transform into a valuable product. When the idea is set to be solving a real problem for a specific customer segment that is clearly defined, the product is then ready for the design process. 

The design process encompasses the user experience, user interface, and whole user journey of interaction while using the product. Then, that product needs to be in a good market that attracts its target customer segment. Here comes the interaction phase with the customers when they use it, buy it, and hopefully return to use it many times.

Of course, it’s not that high-level nor simple. And the product won’t be doing this on its own. It needs someone to manage the whole process, make sure it’s smooth and aligned to the company’s vision and strategy, validate the insights, and analyze the data across the whole product delivery process. 

A Day in the Life of a Product Manager.

As a product manager, you should discover the product, manage a smooth delivery process, deliver it, align it to the business scope, and market it using the right channels to the right customers.

Some of the common tasks and responsibilities most of the Product Managers do every day are; 

  • Communication with team members: Not only communicating plans and different inputs to all teams that are working on the product, but also communicating with the management team and stakeholders. Everything needs to be clear, detailed, and consistent among all team and company members. 
  • Analyzing data, thoughts and insights: Product Managers are making decisions all the time. It’s relevant to the nature of managing different teams and caring for the product aspects. It makes much sense to be responsible for a big process with internal and external inputs with different mindsets and specializations. So, data analysis is essential. Everything you are being said, reviewed and exposed to, needs to have data reference. For your decisions to be correct and strong, they must be scientifically proved and based on data. 
  • Product post-release: The data analysis corner in the job of a Product Manager is not only specific for the process of releasing the product. It extends too far away from market release. You can’t release your product and leave. You have to analyze everything going on, make sure it’s in the right market, customers are responding positively, and moreover, what could be enhanced, what suggestions the customers have for improvement so that you consider in second product iterations. 
  • Prioritization of tasks and backlog: Having a big backlog and bank of tasks is ordinary in the lifecycle of a product. But it goes without thinking that prioritizing saves you much time, much effort, and maximizes the whole process efficiency.
    It also goes for any issues, problems, or you might be previewed at any time by anyone. When you are proved that any issue, problem or a suggestion you’ve previewed is real and worth operating on, don’t forget to manage your priorities and give the issue a suitable place in the plan/schedule in a way that matches your current situation, company scope, urgency status, team capacity, and so on. 
  • Conducting user interviews and collecting feedback: It’s not necessarily for the product that the PM is working on to be a brand new release to the market. Most of the time this is the case, but there are also existing products that need enhancements, growth, and competitive edge to the market. Both types of products require the Product Manager to collect feedback about them from using customers. But the latter requires this stage at the very beginning of the process to identify the issues that could be enhanced. This is done in many ways, but user interviews are the most interactive and effective way to get valuable feedback about your product if conducted well.
  • Ongoing Product development and iteration: This point is related to the previous one. A successful product manager works on how to transform customers’ feedback and insights about the product into new features, enhancements, and takes the product into whole new directions that satisfy the customer and meets the company’s strategy and revenue. 

The responsibilities of product managers can differ from one company to another taking into account different factors that impact the process entirely; such as the product nature, company regulations, company size, business strategy and growth stage, the industry itself, product type, customer development and service, and so on. But most of the previously mentioned responsibilities are done by almost every Product Manager out there. 

What does it take to be a great Product Manager?

During my experience with Knowledge Officer, I have contacted great product management mentors from the biggest companies in the world and conducted different sessions with the learners. I have also been observing the changes in their lives and characters. And I can confidently share some of the most important things that successful Product Managers do to stand out and succeed regardless of the product, company, and the team.

  1. Set objectives first or ask about them.
    Everything results in its best when you have the clear objective you’re working for. The objectives will lead you in the right direction and help you make better decisions. For example, setting a metric for a specific feature, you can set millions of metrics that will result in numbers. But those numbers won’t be insightful unless they are for relevant metrics to the objective of this feature.
  2. Be data-centric.
    As we’ve discussed earlier, PMs take decisions all the time and give opinions about different topics. An effective PM refers to data, proving things by numbers and feedback. Also, a gut feeling of a PM is a gift that great PMs entail, but science-based decisions and knowledge are intrinsic.
  3. Make your plan full and complete.
    Sufficient plans include the fair details that the team, stakeholders, and anyone relevant need to know. But full and complete plans entail the basic plan, detailed descriptions, expected scenarios that might happen, and suggested solutions.
  4. Be curious and keen on other products.
    Having curiosity towards other products in the industry helps you as a PM a lot. Not only you will get exposed to more ideas, trends, and innovations but it will also allow you to assess your product position and status in the market and to your customers. One more thing is not to limit your curiosity to other competitive products only. Products from all backgrounds, aspects, and industries can give you millions of ideas and directions to follow that you might have not thought of before.
  5. Details matter more than you think.
    Be organized and pay attention to the details. Things that you might take for granted, or consider that they are known to your team members by default can cause you damages. A complete picture of the plan and all ongoing changes and edits can do magic to your processes for having a great product. This will also save you much time, many conflicts, and delays that arise from misunderstandings, lack of communication, or flawed data.

What are the top skills of effective Product Managers? 

We can say that a Product Manager knows one thing about everything and everything about one thing. He doesn’t have to be an expert in all aspects but an excel in one major with sufficient knowledge about others. Besides this- regardless of the aspect of expertise – a Product Manager needs to entail a unique set of skills that helps him get the work done perfectly and smoothly when combined. The following list shows the most important;

  • Leadership: Product managers lead different teams to get one end-goal. Strong leadership skills with the balance between being a team player and a leader make great PMs. 
  • Cross-functionality: The teams PMs lead are from various mindsets and priorities, engineering, marketing, design, UX, and much more. A successful PM needs to know how to handle and merge all team differences into the favour of the product to guarantee fewer conflicts and smooth workflow.
  • Time management: A PM is sticking tight to timelines, roadmaps, and frameworks that need to be met. The ability to manage time to get the most out of it and leaving margins for emergencies, edits, tests and changes help to get things more effectively and efficiently. 
  • Customer-centric: At the end of the date, the product is all about the customer and for serving the customer needs and problems. So, referring everything to the customer needs and feedback is what Product Management is all about.

“Having a perfect product that doesn’t appeal to your customer is like having no product at all”

  • Prioritization: Knowing how to prioritize tasks and issues is a collection of skills. As it comes along with how to well estimate time for each product cycle phase (Time estimation), how to relate things to the big company vision and strategy in order to prioritize things correctly (Strategic-thinking), and how to consider different factors such as the team capacity in order to come up with the correct order of priority (Team management and Decision making). 

Most asked Product Management interview questions. 

During my journey with the learners I’ve helped, I have conducted more than 40 mock interviews at the end of their learning journeys. As a result, I can confidently say that you can answer all interview questions even the ones you haven’t been exposed to before as long as you can identify the objective behind the question asked. 

Product Management interview questions vary, a lot – from product, technical, analytical to behavioural or communication topics. But every question has an objective. You are asked to be assessed around a certain aspect or skill. 

The following 4 questions are an example of how to guess the question requirement, how to answer it, and how to pass the interview confidently and successfully.

    Q. When you have two important things to do but can’t do them both, how would you prioritize your resources?

    To prioritize features or tasks, there are many scientific methods and tools to help, such as Effort/Impact scale, RICE, MoSCow method, and much more. But from my experience, I can say that the most important thing about prioritization is to consider all factors that might affect your product at the end-stage. Whatever the method you’re choosing, make sure you consider your team capacity, company vision, current company goals and strategy, resources etc.

    Let that stand out in your answer, and make sure you are aware of at least one of the previously mentioned or any methods of prioritization.
    Q. How do you know if a product is well-designed?

    To answer a question about a product, feature, or any design, you have to set specific criteria and compare the product to and come up with a reasonable answer.

    According to Dieter Rams, a famous industrial designer, a good design is; innovative, makes a product useful, understandable, honest, and long-lasting.

    Choose any number of criteria, compare the product to, assess it, and give the interviewer a reasonable and science-based answer. It will be a flawless answer if you add a suggestion or improvement to the part where you find the product weak or needs an enhancement of any kind.
    Q. Choose any specific feature for Amazon.com. How would you set the metrics to assess the success of this metric?

    Metrics and KPIs are essential and vital in Product Management. You will always do that kind of task.
    Two important things here;

    – Product metrics and KPIs usually fluctuate to support one of the customers stages a company walks through, acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, and referral. Or what’s called the AARM Metric; Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Monetization. Which stage you’re targeting, to choose a relevant metric and track a corresponding KPI.
    – Before you set any success metric, you have to set a metric that is in line with the company vision, strategic goal, and product objective.
    How would you modify Amazon’s home page?

    This is a UX question with no doubt. User experience is also very important to PMs as it’s everything when the customers use your product. As a result, you have to refer to having feedback and inputs from the customers to suggest your modifications accordingly.

    The smart thing to do here is to put yourself in the customer shoes and try the product yourself. Then, get back to your PM suite. Ask more questions to narrow down the question aspects.
    Q- Considering web or mobile?
    Q- Which part of the landing page?
    Q- What category? For a specific segment or all segments? And so on.

    Then, translate the customer insights, and the interviewer inputs into ideas and suggestions to improve your feature/product, all based on user feedback, information, and some assumptions if needed.

    It’s totally fine to ask openly about the product or the App you’re to assess it instantly, especially in the case where you haven’t used the product before.

The list can go infinite. But as long as you’ve got the skills, the knowledge, and the understanding of the role and the product, you can pass beyond the boundaries.

How to prepare to the Product Management interview:

  • It’s fine to take some time to think and prepare your ideas and thoughts before getting to answer the question. Don’t rush. 
  • It’s totally fine to open an App or take a look on a website if you’re asked about and didn’t use it before. It’s better than talking about something you don’t know at all. 
  • It’s preferable to ask any needed questions to clarify the interviewer question and to help you narrow down your options to get the correct answer.
  • Don’t claim that you know a product that you don’t really know and start talking about it just to give an answer.
  • Be honest! It’s the quickest way to get you an authentic result and assessment.  

In today’s competitive market, the scope is broad, knowledge is free and skills are easily gained by the right resources, practice, and hard work. 

The any-size skillset that you have can get you different jobs in companies of different sizes from all types of industries. You just need to well-assess your skills, define the gaps, allocate the parts that need a boost, and determine what it takes to get into the career job that you dream of.

I hope that you have enjoyed this guide and that you have got all the needed knowledge to know how to build a career as a Product Manager. 

Would you like to learn more and become a certified Product Manager? In just 6 months learn from the most successful PMs from Apple, Google, Booking.com and more during the Knowledge Officer Pro Bootcamp!

We’re also currently running the MENA Tech Fellowship where you learn top skills and get connected to the best job opportunities in your region.

Dina Sabry is a career accelerator advisor working on creating and curating the content of the Knowledge Officer platform that enables learners to develop their skills and career jobs. Being a part of the learning team of Knowledge Officer as a learning specialist, she has helped more than 100 learners to kick-start and develop their career jobs as Product Managers.


5 Steps to Landing Your Dream Job Interview

“I have been applying for jobs for the past 3 months and no replies” – how often have you encountered this situation in your life or heard this from a friend or a colleague? Probably a lot!

Over the past few years, I have been trying to analyse the changing behaviours of both job seekers and employers/recruiters to try and understand how I can get better at recruiting people for my startup as well as advising Knowledge Officer program graduates and my friends. This article is the result of my experience in the tech world over the past 10 years, reviewing over 1000 job applications and helping over 100 people preparing for their next career move.

To make this short, I will focus this piece on the job seeker angle and cover the employer/recruiter angle in the next one. I will also focus more on junior and mid-level job seekers as I believe those are the ones facing the biggest challenges at the moment.

Thinking about applying for a job in your country or abroad? Doing a career transition? No response or feedback? Here are 5 pointers that might move you faster in the process and land a job interview.

Step 1: Invest in your digital presence

One mistake that many candidates do is that they miss investing in their resume and/or LinkedIn profile. A massive mistake! And by “investing” here, I am not talking about buying a template or updating your profile with the latest experience, focusing on your achievements/impact and not just listing your responsibilities, etc. These things are definitely a no-brainer. I am talking about real investment in terms of showcasing your portfolio in the past years and most importantly, what you can bring to the table.

Get to the point! How can I do that?

  1. Pick the title that you are applying for, e.g. “Junior Account Manager.”
  2. Search for 10 job posts hiring for this role in your country (or the country of your choice) from 10 different companies
  3. Study the responsibilities and qualification sections for each job post and come up with patterns and trends.
  4. Go back to your LinkedIn and Resume and make sure to use a similar language, titles, keywords, and highlight your achievements in the areas relevant to the patterns you have seen. I have to be clear here that you should not fake anything as you might win an interview, but you will lose big time in the screening!
  5. Seek recommendations from experienced people holding this title now and ask them to share it on LinkedIn. Try to let them write within the scope of the role you are applying for and not a general endorsement.
  6. For every different title you are applying for (in case you are applying for multiple titles), do the same process. Yes, this means you will have a resume that you use for each new title that you are applying for, e.g. one for Account Manager and another one for Customer Success Manager.

Step 2: Think like an employer / recruiter

This is a crucial step as it can save you months of rejections or no replies. You need to really study the companies you are applying for and put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself, why are they hiring for this role? What’s unique about their company? How can I stand out and present myself with a profile as equal if not better than their existing team members holding the same title? You will need to think outside the box!

Get to the point! How can I do that?

  1. Come up with a list of companies you wish to apply for, and they have current openings that match your desired title.
  2. For each company, study their industry dynamics, how they talk about their employee’s DNA and culture from their website, and look at 5+ profiles of employees within the same title on LinkedIn.
  3. Come up with a list of 3-5 points that are common between those profiles and how the company describes their work environment.
  4. Revisit your objective in the resume and/or LinkedIn profile and your cover letter (if requested) to make sure those points are highlighted in your application among the role-specific points we discussed in Step 1 even if that means having 3-5 different versions of your resume based on the industry and the company.
  5. Focus on your domain knowledge and skills within their industry and company’s focus and not just your technical and role-specific competencies. Companies do appreciate domain experience and knowledge A LOT! e.g. Are you applying to an EdTech company and you have previous experience in this industry? Talk about that!

Step 3: Search like a Pro

It takes a lot of good research skills to be able to spot the right opportunities that are currently available on the market at the right time. You need to be a quick detective that can find the right opportunities within a week of them getting posted and it takes more than just hitting the job links you receive from some newsletters or a quick search on LinkedIn. You need to have an effective search strategy and find a process that’s repeatable and efficient.

Get to the point! How can I do that?

  1. Based on your country, find a top local platform (excluding Google and LinkedIn) that is famous for having most of the job posts in this market. You can ask your 2-3 senior friends in your network to quickly pick one. This could be Hired in the US or Indeed, in the UK, for example. Create job alerts for the relevant search queries on this platform to receive daily relevant jobs on your email. If your search query is returning more than 100 results, your search is probably too broad.
  2. Familiarise yourself with Google job search by typing the title you are applying for e.g “Account Manager jobs in the UK” and then hitting the jobs widget to view all jobs using the right search operators to increase the relevance of the search results and use the filters available. Create job alerts to receive daily relevant jobs on your email.
  3. Familiarise yourself with the LinkedIn job search. Use Boolean Modifiers to get the best results and use every search filter possible to target the most relevant jobs to you (Hit “All Filters” to view all the filters available and don’t rely on the default ones only). Create job alerts to receive daily relevant jobs on your email.
  4. If you do Steps 1-3 really well and optimised your search effectively, you don’t need to do anything now but read your daily 3 newsletters and start applying.

Step 4: Apply for jobs like a Pro

Do you think that applying for jobs means that you do the previous 3 steps and hit the apply button on those jobs with the best application given the tips mentioned so far? That will get you probably a conversion from application to replies of probably 5-10%! In order to double this conversion rate and get more replies (and hopefully interviews), you need to go beyond the standard application process and apply through different means in parallel using your network.

Get to the point! How can I do that?

  1. For each application you submit, send LinkedIn request to connect with at least 5-10 people of the same company. Pick those within HR, Talent, People departments and those having the same title you are applying for. Don’t send requests to management or very senior people as your chance of getting accepted or having a conversation will be lower compared to junior or mid-level.
  2. Wait for 2-3 days till they accept your connection request.
  3. For each accepted connection, start to have a conversation on LinkedIn messaging asking them more about the company’s culture, more details about the role, what they are looking for, their selection process, their timeline, etc. Don’t talk to more than 1 person from the same department, i.e. talking to only one person within HR, one person within Talent Acquisition, etc.
  4. After you finish the conversation (whether on messaging or via a call if they accepted) and depending on how friendly this person was, ask them if they can endorse your application or get you some feedback.

Step 5: Invest in quantity with acceptable quality

Have you closed enterprise-level B2B sales before? You start with an average lead list of 20-30 accounts (aka companies) that you want to target, research them really (I mean “really”) well, build a lead list of 3-5 for each company (think of people who work for those 20-30 companies) and start messaging/calling those people within a considerably high personalised approach. This is what you want to be doing when you are applying if you want to land a job interview! You are a B2B sales manager trying to close a deal worth £50K+ and investing heavily in your application quality while at the same time having a target of applying to anywhere between 60-100 applications in your journey to landing a job.

Get to the point! How can I do that?

  1. Come up with a list of 20 companies you wish to apply for jobs at based on your interest and the currently available openings (check Step 3).
  2. Build a simple excel sheet to track your applications adding these columns: company name, the title you applied for, job application link, the date of applying, and application status (rejected or accepted for screening)
  3. For each job application, follow steps 3 and 4 but make sure you don’t apply to more than 10 per day. Your quality will deteriorate after that, and you will start “mass-applying” which is easy to spot by recruiters.
  4. Every 3-5 days, study the excel sheet and measure:
    • Your application rate: How many applications you submit per day. If you are making less than 5 applications per day, you should know that your process will probably take more than a month to secure a job.
    • Your conversion rate: The percentage of your applications that received a rejection or acceptance. Try to segment this by Job Title in case you are applying for multiple titles at the same time. If your conversion rate is below 15%, you should revisit Steps 1 and 2

Landing a job interview in today’s market and especially during a pandemic is understandably hard. Still, those tips are meant to help you stand against the crowd and optimise for a higher probability of moving into an interviewing or screening stage. Finally, I have to say that to succeed; you need to “enjoy” the process and not just do it. Believe me, employers and recruiters can easily spot the mass-application-style job seekers in a few seconds, and you should not be among those.

Do you have any other tips to share or want to share with me your experience after applying those tips? Would love to hear from you so that everyone can benefit! Please leave a comment and I will be updating this post every week based on your comments and feedback.

Do you want to increase your chances to get hired? Start learning today with Knowledge Officer and talk to our career advisors who will help you land your dream job interview. Explore the Knowledge Officer plans here.

About the author:

Ahmed El-Sharkasy is currently a Co-Founder of Knowledge Officer with more than 10 years of experience working in world-class startups in the Middle East and Europe. He was also the first engineer at Onfido, the leading identity verification service in the UK and Europe. After going through one of the top accelerator programs in Europe (Entrepreneur First), Ahmed is currently the CEO and Co-founder of Knowledge Officer, a London-based EdTech startup with a mission to build the shortest and most efficient path to employment and career progression. He has also been included in the list of top 100 influencers in Edtech by the EdTech Digest. 


Knowledge Officer partners with GIZ to launch Fintech Academy

The fellowship program will equip professionals in Egypt with key skills in financial technologies and entrepreneurship.

Knowledge Officer is thrilled to announce a landmark collaboration with the Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) to launch the Fintech Academy, first of this kind initiative in Egypt. The Academy will cover most important topics in the intersection of finance, technology and entrepreneurship. The mission is to prepare future founders for the changing landscape of finance and equip them with key skills in order to lead the Fintech transformation in the region. 

The participants will learn through the mix of self-paced learning, online sessions and hands-on projects. They will eventually launch their own Fintech startup by the end of the program and get connected with investment opportunities. The whole process will be overseen by 35 expert mentors from the UK and Egypt. 

The initiative aligns with the Knowledge Officer’s mission to empower the Fintech ecosystem with education. The program partners who support that vision include Mint, Fintech Galaxy or Global Ventures.

Ahmed El-Sharkasy, the co-founder of Knowledge Officer, says: “We are very proud to be working alongside GIZ to deliver this project. Financial technologies are growing rapidly in Egypt supported by a powerful infrastructure that consists of Fintech startups, banks, financial institutes, Investors and regulators. Despite the obvious growth that Egypt has witnessed in the past couple of years, the industry is still facing big challenges and we need more and more capable entrepreneurs who are equipped with the right knowledge, skills, tools and network to be able to elevate the state of Fintech in Egypt. We are hoping that this initiative will fuel the growth of the Fintech industry in Egypt with more entrepreneurs building innovative solutions for the mass“.

This 4-month program will commence on November 15th with applications closing on 19 October 2020. The seats are fully subsidised by GIZ and will be offered to the best candidates who fulfil the entry criteria. Visit the Fintech Academy website to find out more and apply.

About Knowledge Officer
Knowledge Officer is a training partner for individuals and organisations. By using Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing, it offers a personalised learning journey to hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide on their path to the dream career goal. Knowledge Officer helps companies to retain and grow a competitive workforce through free, Plus and Pro learning plans in careers such as Product Management, Marketing or Entrepreneurship. The startup was awarded Innovate UK grant twice and was part of Facebook Incubator.

About GIZ

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is Germany’s leading provider of international cooperation services. As a federal enterprise, GIZ supports the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. GIZ is engaged in international education work around the globe.

GIZ is fully owned by the Federal Republic of Germany, represented as the shareholder by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF).


Types of Product Manager Interview Questions you must know

Product Management interviewing can be quite daunting. If you are preparing for your first-ever Product Management interview, we completely understand what you are going through. This article will help you understand the PM interview process and the specific kinds of questions you will face during your interview. 

Product management is one of the few organizational roles that is extremely important and that has been around for quite some time without a formal educational training available for it. Hence, it is really important for applicants to learn how to position themselves, prepare for interviews, and ace them.

“Every interview is a different interview. But you can prepare for the best outcome by understanding what is required of you and by proving how you can overcome all the challenges in order to succeed.”

Product Managers are responsible for a lot of things, from doing thorough market research for the product to conducting user interviews to understand their requirements better. Product managers are also responsible for creating product strategy and roadmaps and communicating them effectively across the teams responsible for building the product.

In short, Product Managers require quite a lot of skills to be great at their job. This should make it pretty obvious that the interview for the product manager job role will encompass questions that can gauge all the skills required for the job role.

Here are some of the important question categories every aspirant should be aware of and prepare for before their PM job interview

Estimation Questions

Estimation questions are quite common in product manager interviews. These questions might seem incredibly ridiculous when you first hear it. It is important to understand that it is not the right answer that the interviewer is looking for but how you approach it. 

Some of the examples of Estimations Questions are:

  • How many designs get created in Canva on any given day?
  • How many cars would Uber need to satisfy all of the demand in London?
  • How much is Google’s annual revenue? 

There are a lot of different strategies available to answer such questions. We recommend you start by breaking down the problem into a digestible chunk. If you need some clarifications, feel free to ask some clarifying questions. This shows the interviewer where you are trying to reach. You should use the basic facts around the problem situation and use it to your advantage in estimating the answer. Remember that the interviewer isn’t really looking for the right answer but how you approach it. After you have given your answer, you can also provide some details on how and what you have considered if you had more time to answer.

Analytical Questions

As a Product Manager, you will be responsible for making some important decisions every day. Some of those decisions would be very critical, the results of which can’t be reversed, and would require serious consideration and analysis. That’s why analytical questions are one of the most important and common kinds of questions in a Product Manager interview

Some of the examples of Analytical Questions are:

  • What metrics would you look at to measure the success of the product Y?
  • How would you experiment with Netflix’s homepage to drive sign-up rates?
  • What’s the most important metric for Uber?

Analytical questions mostly test your ability to work with metrics and data. These questions help the interviewers understand your problem-solving capabilities and critical thinking skills to uncover hidden yet important data that could affect the final outcome of the product.

Product Questions

Product Managers are responsible for building products that customers need and creating a strategy to build them efficiently. Product Managers drive the product vision and keep all the teams linked to it throughout the product lifecycle. Hence, it is important for a Product Manager to have a deep understanding of the concepts that relate to product design and development. That’s where Product questions come into play. They can be further divided into Product design and product strategy questions.

Some of the examples of Product Questions are:

  • What is your favorite product by Google? How would you make it better?
  • How would you design a new money management app, and how would you differentiate it from other products in the market?
  • How would you redesign a high-tech refrigerator? 

Product questions usually test the product related abilities of the interviewee such as product vision, product strategy, and passion for solving real user problems through the product. It also tests how familiar the individual is with the user-centric design and how it can be used effectively in achieving business goals through the product.

These are some of the most common question categories in a product manager interview. It is really important to understand that there are no right or wrong answers for most of the questions. It all boils down to how you approach the questions, simplify it, dig deeper into the real problem, and come up with a solution. 

We hope you find this article helpful and you are better prepared to face such questions. On that note, I do want to stress the importance of practicing these question categories many times. It is really important to get familiar with all these question categories and create a strategy for answering these. We hope you nail your job interview, future product managers.

At Knowledge Officer, we offer a Structured Product Management Boot Camp that helps candidates pursuing product management to hone their skills to the utmost perfection and excel in their field.


Knowledge Officer launches People Insights to analyse talent of top companies

In a world where quality tech skills are scarce and the demand for them is constantly increasing, decision makers need to look closely at the competition in terms of their hiring decisions. Which departments do they invest in? Where are employees coming from? And what are their skills? At Knowledge Officer we thought that by gaining insights into what talent decisions work for the most successful companies, those in charge can get an edge in their own strategy or investment choices, all backed by numbers.

We decided to dive deep into data to find out what talent mix makes the high performing companies so successful. Our team of skilful engineers worked hard for the past 6 months to analyse over 100,000,000 data points and today we are very excited to announce:

Knowledge Officer is launching a new product: People Insights! 

People Insights is a tool which equips you with in-depth talent data analytics to make better decisions. The data focuses on the organisational structure, employee skills, and their career development. We know well that today’s talent decisions need to be backed by data and we believe that the future lies in talent intelligence. With People Insights, you are empowered to make more informed talent development decisions that will place you in a strategic point within the organisation. 

“Knowledge Officer employs a data-driven approach in all its products. With People Insights, we wanted to fuel people with data that empower them to be the Knowledge Officers within their organizations and businesses”, says Ahmed Sharkasy, the Co-Founder of Knowledge Officer.

People Insights by Knowledge Officer

“People Insights are the result of our search for the DNA of successful companies. This search, informed by more 100,000,000 data points, has led us to a conclusion that the valuation of companies can be, to great extent, predicted by insights about their People. People Insights will give our clients a closer insider look into what it takes to join the league of extraordinary companies by having extraordinary people” – he adds.

The technology behind People Insights

Our scalable engines now extract 500,000 jobs per day according to our needs: by country, job title, company, you name it. We also analyse the skills of millions of LinkedIn users that we harvest from their public profiles and our ever growing user database. Our algorithms constantly mine through this massive collection of data to automatically identify and learn about new job titles.

By aggregating across job posts we can quickly understand the skills that go into each job title, the top related titles and classify the job titles into departmental groups. This is a delicate optimisation problem between balancing the needs of the market (job posts) versus the real-time current skills of the professionals (LinkedIn and our userbase).

We analyse the co-occurrence of skills and the classes of job titles to better contextualise skills into categories and types. By building contextual embeddings and analysing skill names, we can even identify synonyms and new skills. We can also understand how skills required for a job title evolve as the seniority level increases. In the future, we will be able to differentiate how skills and experience vary across different locales and industries.

What’s in it for you?

We selected some high-growth tech companies for the initial launch to showcase how they structure their workforce and where they source it from. Just select which one you want to focus on and we’ll present you with the data. 

1. Get to know how top companies are structured and which departments they mostly invest in.

We believe that you need to have the right balance in terms of departments if you want to execute effectively. This mix varies though, depending on the strategic priorities. Let’s take a look at Transferwise resources: they have a very strong capability in Software Engineering and Product Management but they seem to not invest much in marketing or sales. 

People Insights: Company Structure

2. Understand what are the strongest skills and least common skills within a company and build your L&D strategy around it.

Here you can see what are the most relevant organisational skills and how they are distributed within the company. You can also explore what is the skills gap – the missing skills as compared to the industry. In Transferwise, we can see that soft skills such as Customer Service, Management or Teamwork are very common. On the other hand, Transferwise’s employees lack expertise in Scrum, DevOps or Python, which may put them at a disadvantage.

People Insights: Skills

3. Learn how experienced the employees are and which company they came from.

The right balance of employee seniority and experience is crucial for a healthy workforce. It makes more junior team members learn from their more experienced colleagues, making the knowledge transfer much more seamless. On the other hand, juniors have the energy and innovative mindset that are also vital for success.

In Transferwise’s example, we can see that the employees are quite evenly distributed in terms of their working experience length, with the finance department having the most experienced employees. We can also see that they source their talent from Google, Morgan Stanley or Paypal – important data for recruiters and headhunters.

People Insights: Experience

4. Understand the educational background of the employees

Here you can check what education levels and fields employees have and how they are distributed within the company. You can also find out which Universities the organisation mostly sources from. Transferwise’s employees have mostly at least a bachelor degree and many of them are graduates from Estonian Universities such as Tallinna Tehnikaülikool or Tallinn University. If you want to follow Transferwise sourcing strategy then, you may want to visit those universities to advertise graduate programmes or internships.

People Insights: Education

5. Learn where the employees are located and which countries they previously worked in.

By looking at which locations the organisation has its employee hubs in, you can find out what the company’s geographical focus and how it’s aligned with their strategic priorities. Here we can see that employees are currently based in Estonia and in the UK mostly. Their previous location was mostly the UK which shows that quite a few employees migrated from the UK to Estonia. We can also see that Transferwise develops its operations in Hungary and Singapore.

People Insights: Location

Don’t stay behind and make more informed decisions with the People Insights tool 

People Insights are currently in beta stage and available free of charge for anyone interested. For starters, you can analyze workforce data of companies such as Monzo, Transferwise, or Zopa. In further stages, we will mine and analyse data from thousands of companies as well as provide more features to answer talent questions.  

We really encourage you to try out the People Insights – feel free to give us feedback on how you like the product and what other data would you find useful!

Knowledge Officer provides personalised learning to thousands of professionals worldwide. Explore our individual learning paths and business plans.


Verbal Reasoning Tests: Guide for Beginners

Guest Post by Francis Dimaano

© Knowledge Officer

Has your prospective employer asked you to take a verbal reasoning test? Perhaps things have changed since your last job hunt and you’re hearing a lot more about verbal reasoning tests than ever before.

In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about verbal reasoning tests, including how to make sure you pass with flying colors!

What exactly is a verbal reasoning test?

A verbal reasoning test is a form of psychometric test, designed to assess your close-reading skills and how well you can extract the key information from a particular text. 

They’re designed to showcase not just how well you can read, but also your level of comprehension and understanding.

Why are they Important?

As communication is one of the most important skills for functioning in today’s workplace, how you score on verbal reasoning tests can make a huge difference in your chances of getting hired, so you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of verbal reasoning tests. 

Verbal reasoning is more complex than basic comprehension and assesses a range of skills like your attention to detail, data interpretation, and general intelligence level.

Which job roles may warrant a verbal reasoning test?

Think of it this way, in the age of the internet, we have access to more information than ever before. This means that comprehension- and being able to filter the crucial information from the rest- is in higher demand than ever before.

You may work in journalism, publishing, or academia– in which case you’ll probably expect to have to prove your comprehension skills in one way or another, but it doesn’t stop there. Think contracts, terms and conditions, long-winded emails; these things are found in a whole host of industries, so being able to navigate your way around long, weighted, often highly complex documents is definitely a transferable skill!

Why do employers use them?

As with any psychometric test, using verbal reasoning tests makes a company’s recruitment process far more efficient.

Once upon a time, employers would select the candidates they’d like to interview based on CVs and application forms alone. Now, with the addition of verbal reasoning tests, they’re able to find out a lot more about candidates’ particular skill sets– meaning they have a far better idea of how suited they are when deciding who to invite for an interview.

Some employers may ask you to take a verbal reasoning test after your interview, but the same logic applies. It helps them get a better idea of your skills so they can make better-informed decisions about who to hire. 

What does a verbal reasoning test involve?

All verbal reasoning tests follow the same or, at least, a very similar format. You’ll be given a number of passages to read and you’ll demonstrate how well you’ve understood each passage by answering multiple-choice questions. 

Read some Verbal Reasoning Test Questions & Answers here to help you prepare. 

Do I need to have an understanding of the subject matter?

Not at all. You’ll make your decisions based on the information in the text(s) provided. In fact, not being familiar with the topic may even help you out– that way, you won’t be distracted by your inner expert. 

How can I make sure I pass my verbal reasoning test?

As with most tests or exams, you’ll need to read the questions carefully, make sure you stay focused throughout, and, most importantly, get plenty of practice!

With most of the questions, you’ll choose between ‘Yes’, ‘No’, and ‘Cannot Say’– don’t be scared to go for the latter, especially if the information provided isn’t 100% conclusive.

Read more Tips and Tricks on How to Pass Your Verbal Reasoning Test.

About the Author

This article has been written by guest writer, Francis Dimaano.

Francis is a freelance writer and an Info-Tech graduate student. He works at the Practice Aptitude Tests in the comfort of his home. When he’s not writing, Francis spends time reading books, traveling around his country, volunteering, and feeding street children.

About Us

Knowledge Officer is a learning platform for professionals. Our mission is to empower a generation of lifelong learners and to help people, however busy, learn something new and relevant every day and achieve their career goals.

If you want to progress in your career and learn from the best people and the best resources on the internet, then try our mobile and website and support our campaign on ProductHunt.

And we’d love to hear your thoughts! So send us at team@knowledgeofficer.com


What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur First (EF) Startup?

An Analysis of the Skill Sets of the Top 15 Startups Incubated by Entrepreneur First (EF)

© Knowledge Officer

‘It matters what the most ambitious people do with their lives,’ thus reads the home page of Entrepreneur First’s website, Europe’s top startup incubator. So far, Entrepreneur First has helped 2,000+ people create 300+ companies, worth a combined $2bn. Among the rising stars of Entrepreneur First are Tractable, Kheiron Medical, Chattermill, Mavryx, and many more.

In this report, we attempt to investigate in more depth what the Entrepreneur First’s most successful startups have in common to know ‘what the most ambitious people actually do’ to build these startups. We ask the question, ‘What kind of knowledge and experience does EF look for in the startup founders it supports?’ and ‘What knowledge and skills do they look for when building their startup teams?’

To that purpose, we have employed our Talent & People Insights in Knowledge Officer to select the top 15 startups that have been incubated by Entrepreneur First since their founding in 2011. The selection has been made according to the total amount of funding these startups have succeeded to secure since their graduation from the EF program. Then, we have put our Talent & People Insights at work to analyze the knowledge, skills, and work experiences of these startups’ founders and teams to develop a better understanding of the DNA of the successful startups that EF backs.

The Products of the Top EF Startups

Artificial Intelligence Takes the Lead

[bctt tweet=” ‘73% of the top EF startups have artificial intelligence at the base of their solutions.’ “]

There is no one domain that is specifically driving the interest of Entrepreneur First. In fact, the 15 startups analyzed offer solutions in a wide array of domains such as real estate, healthcare, education, communications, marketing insights, personal finance, manufacturing, gaming, disaster recovery, geographical positioning, and agriculture. However, the common pattern of the data shows that 73% of them employ some level of artificial intelligence to deliver their solutions.

The Stats:

  • 73% of the top EF startups leverage artificial intelligence versus 27% that do not use AI.
  • 13% of the top EF startups focus on offering solutions to enhance the use of AI technologies helping artificial intelligence engineers worldwide.
  • 13% of the top EF startups are focused on employing AI to reach more accurate customer insights.

The Founders of the Top EF Startups

Two Heads are Almost Always Better than One

[bctt tweet=” ‘87% of the top EF startups have more than one founder.’ “]

The majority of the top EF startups have been founded by more than one entrepreneur, with (2) being the most common number of founders for the startups. The data suggests that, as conventional startup wisdom has it, it’s always a good idea to find a co-founder to help you with your startup and it seems that this is what EF believes too. The data also suggests that ‘too many founders’ is not ideal.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 53% of the top EF startups have been built by 2 founders, followed by 20% by 3 founders, and 13% by only one founder.
  • The least common number is 4 and 5 founders, each representing only 7% of the top startups.

It’s All About the Tech Edge

[bctt tweet=” 44% of the top EF startups’ founders have a university degree in computer science or computer engineering.’ “]

The academic disciplines of the founders of the top EF startups vary with computer sciences and computer engineering leading the way, followed by degrees in the social and behavioral sciences, primarily economics. This can be attributed to the fact that, according to Entrepreneur First, almost 80% of its cohorts members are selected based on a tech ‘edge’.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • Computer engineering and computer science lead the way with 44% of the top EF startups’ founders holding an academic degree in it, followed by 22% in the social and behavioral sciences, primarily economics.
  • Non-Computer engineering comes in as the third most common academic discipline among the startups’ founders, being studied by 17% of them.
  • Business administration comes at 8%, law at 6%, humanities at 3%, and surprisingly mathematics & statistics at 3%. 

A Postgraduate Degree is an Asset

[bctt tweet=” ‘69% of the top EF startups’ founders hold a postgraduate degree in their fields.’ “]

The data reveals that 69% of the top EF startups’ founders hold postgraduate degrees. It appears that, contrary to common business adages, holding a postgraduate degree, in fact, boosts an individual’s ‘edge’ in their fields. A postgraduate degree makes it much easier for startups to validate the ‘why me’ and ‘why now’ questions that EF asks as it selects which startups to move forward with. 

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 53% of the top EF startups’ founders hold master’s degrees, followed by 17% holding PhDs.
  • Only 17% of the top EF startups’ founders hold only a Bachelor’s degree, with the highest academic degrees of the other 14% remaining unknown.

Experience Counts

[bctt tweet=” ‘44% of the top EF startups’ founders have had at least 10 years of work experience before attempting to launch their startups.’ “]

Despite the commonly-propagated image of startup founders being fresh, young Ivy-League-college dropouts, the data reveals that the top EF startups have founders grounded in previous work experience. In fact, most of the top EF startups’ founders, on average, have at least 10 years of work experience prior to launching their startups. This blends well with EF’s thesis that having a ‘domain’ edge puts aspiring founders at a strong position that enables them to propose innovative solutions that have not been put forward before.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 28% of the top EF startups’ founders have at least 10-15 years of prior work experience, followed by 25% having at least 7-10 years of work experience.
  • 17% of the top EF startups’ founders have more than 15 years of experience prior to their startups’ launch, followed by 11% with 5-7 years of experience.
  • The least common experience ranges are the 0-3 year experience range and the 3-5 year experience range ranking at 6% and 3% respectively.

The Domain Edge Counts Too!

[bctt tweet=” ‘10 out of the 15 top EF startups have at least one of their founders with significant domain experience.’ “]

Although the data may seem to point otherwise at first glance, a deeper look makes it clear that 10 out of the 15 top EF startups have at least one of their founders with significant ‘edge’ in the target domain. This implies that although 61% of the startups’ founders have a ‘technical edge’ in total, a ‘domain edge’ is still an important asset to have, although not at a 1:1 ratio.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 42% of the top EF startups’ founders have significant domain experience, as opposed to 47% with no domain experience at all, suggesting that domain experience does not matter.
  • A deeper look reveals that 10 out of the 15 startups have at least one of their founders with significant ‘edge’ in the target domain, implying that as founders come together to build a startup, the shortage of ‘domain edge’ in some of the founders is offset by the significant ‘domain edge’ of at least one of them.
  • The domain edges vary to cover different areas such as real estate, healthcare, education, communications, marketing insights, personal finance, manufacturing, and gaming.

The Teams of the Top EF Startups

Engineering at the Center

[bctt tweet=” ‘Engineering appears to be the most important function in all of the top EF startups, comprising on average 32% of their teams.’ “]

As 80% of all Entrepreneur First’s cohort members join with a ‘tech edge’, it comes at no surprise that the startups these founders build are highly engineering-focused. The data also reveals a promising interest in building up research, operations, and customer support functions.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • Engineers comprise the biggest group of the startups’ teams as they represent 32% of the top EF startups’ teams, on average.
  • Next, comes the group of founders and advisors, representing, on average, 12% of the top EF startups’ teams.
  • Almost equal attention is paid to research, operations, and customer support, representing an average of 9%, 8%, and 7% of the top EF startups’ teams respectively.

A Clear Inclusion of Global Talent

[bctt tweet=” ‘27% of the top EF startups’ teams come from 40 different countries around the world.’ “]

Although 93% of the top EF startups are headquartered in the UK and 73% of their teams are located in the UK, the data shows that the remaining 27% are located in 40 different countries around the world. This suggests that global diversity is built in the DNA of the top EF startups as they give priority to acquiring and maintaining a ‘tech edge’ in their domains. 

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • The top two countries for global tech talent are the UK and the USA, with 73% and 12% of the top EF startups’ teams being located in them.
  • Excluding the UK and the USA, the top EF startups’ teams are mainly distributed across Europe, Asia, and Africa at 5.7%, 3.7%, and 2.6% respectively. 
  • 27% of the top 15 startups’ teams are located in 40 different countries across all continents covering countries such as Germany, Somalia, China, Japan, and Russia.

Experience Still Counts

[bctt tweet=” ‘31% of the top EF startups’ teams have more than 10 years of work experience before joining the startups, versus 14% in the 0-3 year work experience range.’ “]

The data is almost equally distributed across all work experience ranges, except for the 7-10 year work experience range. This suggests that seasoned professionals are the most sought after talent group in the top EF startups and that they are necessary to build a successful startup that EF would support.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 24% of the top EF startups’ teams have 7-10 years of work experience before joining the startups.
  • This is followed by 17% in the 3-5 year work experience range and 16% in the 10-15 year work experience range.
  • The 5-7 and the 15+ years of work experience ranges are both equally popular, comprising 15% of the teams each.
  • The least attractive talent group for the top EF startups is the 0-3 year work experience group, comprising only 14% of their teams, indicating that freshers are the least favorable group for the top EF startups.

A Team with an Edge

[bctt tweet=” ‘69% of the top EF startups’ teams have 1-2 postgraduate degrees.’ “]

The coincidence is worth mentioning– 69% of the top EF startups’ founders hold postgraduate degrees; similarly, 69% of the teams they build hold at least one postgraduate degree. This finding suggests that from an EF perspective, a Master’s or Ph.D. is a great way of attaining a ‘technical edge’ and that this edge is as necessary for the teams as it is for the founders.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 57% of the top EF startups’ team members hold Master’s degrees in their fields.
  • In addition to Master’s degrees, 12% of the startups’ team members hold PhDs.
  • Only 31% of the startups’ team members do not hold any postgraduate degree, suggesting an overall preference for talents with research experience.

A Clear Preference to the Technical Edge

[bctt tweet=” ‘41% of the top EF startups’ team members have a degree in computer engineering; 29% in business administration.’ “]

The data reveals that when it comes to building teams, the top EF startups are built around high computer engineering skills with other skills being complementary. There is a clear preference, according to the academic backgrounds of the top EF startups’ teams, to calibers with a ‘technical edge’ as they comprise a significantly higher proportion of the teams, in comparison to calibers with a ‘domain edge’.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • Degrees in computer engineering are the most common degrees held by 41% of the team members in the top EF startups.
  • The second most common degrees are degrees in business administration, being held by 29% of the startups’ team members.
  • Degrees in social & behavioral sciences, primarily economics, come in third at 20%, followed by degrees in non-computer engineering at 18%.
  • Degrees in humanities, life sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics and statistics are less common, being held by 12%, 11%, 11%, and 10% of the startups’ team members respectively.

This preference to the ‘technical edge’ is evident even in the startups operating in the most domain-heavy industries such as Mavrx and Kheiron Medical, where computing and engineering degrees significantly surpass the number of degrees in the life and physical sciences by 31% and 40% respectively.  

A Diversity of Work Experiences

[bctt tweet=” ‘Experience in tech companies comprises 31% of the total work experience of the top EF startups’ team members, followed by experience in the financial and investment services companies at 11%.’ “]

No specific domain dominates the work experience of the top EF startups’ team members, as a combination of 98 different domains appears in their background experiences. Some domains appear more often than others, though, such as tech, finance and investment, and marketing and advertising. This supports the thesis that currently EF shows no specific interest in any particular domain when it makes its investment decisions.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • Experience in IT services companies, internet companies, and computer software companies comprises 31% of the total experience of the top EF startups’ team members, further supporting the preference to the ‘tech edge’.
  • Prior work experience in financial services and investment companies comprises 11% of the total work experience of the top EF startups’ team members, indicating this domain to be the second most important domain that needs to exist in the DNA of an EF startup team.
  • Experience in the marketing and advertising industry comes in third as it comprises 5% of the top EF startups’ team members’ backgrounds, indicating its less, yet essential, importance as a domain edge to have in an EF startup.

The Rise of the SME Edge

[bctt tweet=” ‘Small and medium sized companies dominate the backgrounds of the top EF startups’ teams.’ “]

Most of the top EF startups’ team members have had significant experience in small and medium-sized companies that employ 11-200 employees. The second best incubator for EF startup talent seems to be huge corporations employing 10,000+ employees.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • Prior work experience in small and medium-sized companies (11-200 employees) is the most common factor among the top EF startups’ team members, comprising 41% of their total experience.
  • The second most common organizations where the top EF startups’ teams gain their experience from are the huge corporations consisting of 10,000+ employees, as they comprise 18% of the total work experience of the top EF startups’ team members.
  • Experience in companies of other sizes seems unfavorable as experience in companies that consist of 200-500 employees comprises 9% of the total work experience of the startups’ team members, companies with 500-1000 employees 6%, companies with 1000-5000 employees 11%, and companies with 5000-10000 employees 4%.
  • Experience in micro-companies, consisting of less than 10 employees, is equally unfavorable, comprising only 11% of the total work experience of the startups’ team members

The Way Forward

According to the sample analyzed in this report, it is plausible to deduce that, all in all, EF seems true to its vision. The incubator clearly shows no specific preference to innovations in any particular domain, but does give preference to startups built by teams, not individuals, making up a healthy combination of ‘tech’ and ‘domain’ edges, although clearly not at a 1:1 ratio.

It can also be deduced that postgraduate education does signify a ‘domain’ or ‘tech’ edge to EF along with a minimum of 10 years of work experience. Both are not prerequisites for entry into the program but seem as assets that increase a startup’s chances of success with EF. 

It is also clear that the DNA that EF looks for in its aspiring founders is the same DNA that the founders themselves look for in the teams they build. It is also apparent that having a significant tech edge with reasonable skill in finance, investment, and marketing are important components of a successful EF startup. 

We are not perfect! The results of this research remain inconclusive and further research across larger datasets are required to reach conclusive results. In the meanwhile, it is clear that being powered with skills data analysis enables companies to objectively investigate the skill sets of their employees and make decisions for the future.


The 15 startups analyzed for the purpose of this report are:

© Knowledge Officer
  • Atlas AI: Acquired by Facebook in 2019, Atlas AI is a startup focused on producing state-of-the-art deep learning papers.
  • Bloomsbury AI: Acquired by Facebook in 2018, Bloomsbury is a startup aiming at making natural language processing (NLP) commercially available to the average user.
  • Chattermill: With a $13.3M fund, Chattermil is a startup focused on leveraging machine learning technologies to reach more in-depth customer insights.
  • Cleo: With $13.3M in debt finance, Cleo is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence to help users manage their personal finances.
  • Cloud NC: With a $16.7M grant, Cloud NC is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence to help in creating better CNC machines for prototyping and mass manufacturing.
  • Hadean: With $11.9M in funding, Hadean is a startup focused on developing cloud engines that can better support multi-player games.
  • Hubble: With $7.6M in funding, Hubble is a real-estate startup that helps you find the best office space for your company and design its interior if needed.
  • Kheiron Medical: With $22.1M in funding, Kheiron is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence to help eliminate the need for double-reading for breast cancer diagnosis.
  • Magic Pony: Acquired by Twitter for $150M, Magic Pony is a startup that leverages machine learning to create better social media experiences.
  • Mavrx: Acquired by Taranis in 2018, Mavrx is a startup that uses satellite imaging and machine learning technologies to better assess crop health and predict potential crop problems.
  • Mobilus Labs: With $22.4M in funding, Mobilus Labs is a startup focused on developing the hardware and software needed to make hand-free ear-free communication possible in harsh industrial environments.
  • Permutive: With $11.5M in funding, Permutive is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence to gain more accurate insights about any publisher’s audience to help them better target advertisers.
  • Pi-Top: With $24.6M in funding, Pi-Top is a startup that aims at developing devices that assist in remote learning especially of engineering and coding skills.
  • Scape: Acquired by Facebook in 2020, Scape is a startup that leverages both machine learning and augmented reality technologies to develop more accurate GPS services.
  • Tractable: With $59.9M in funding, Tractable is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence to evaluate disaster damage in real-time to speed up the disaster recovery process.

Knowledge Officer provides different data analysis services that you can further explore on our business page. You can check the published data analysis reports of other companies here. And if you’re interested in analyzing your own skills, get your free skills gap report from our skills insights page. We also provide several career accelerators to help you and your company bridge the skills gap that you may have. For more information on that, please visit https://knowledgeofficer.com/learning-plans

We hope you found the report useful. If you want to progress in your career and learn from the best people and the best resources on the internet, then try our mobile and website and support our campaign on ProductHunt.

And we’d love to hear your thoughts! So send us at team@knowledgeofficer.com.


How to Land a Tech Job in Egypt

2020 First Quarter Guide

© Knowledge Officer

While some know exactly where they are going after graduation, most of fresh graduates and senior year students are faced with a stressful dilemma and wondering:

How do I connect what I learned in my studies and apply it to the current needs of the jobs market? 

And yet many more similar wonders about finding the right job like; What is the best job for me? What available jobs are there in the market? Do I have the required skills? What companies to look for and how? 

At Knowledge Officer, we have analyzed a sample of 5000 open job vacancies in Egypt across different recruitment platforms and found that 30% of the available job vacancies open in Egypt befit entry-level job seekers, fresh graduates, and students within the tech domain. And with around 600,000 graduated students from universities and high institutes in Egypt in 2019, this means a wide range of opportunities and more competition for your first job. 

[bctt tweet=” ‘30% of the available job vacancies in Egypt befit entry-level job seekers and fresh graduates within the tech domain. “]

The extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic the whole world is living are causing lots of lost jobs. This quarterly guide along with our platform will help you find the available online jobs in Egypt. In addition to the platforms to go for learning and applying for your best job with a highly supportive touchpoint.

Here is your concise guide to land your first tech job in Egypt, based on analyses of the top 10 professions needed in the market.

What’s in this guide?! 

  • The top 10 jobs in Egypt for entry-level job seekers and fresh graduates
  • The job description and required skill set of each role 
  • The known average monthly salary for each role
  • The top companies hiring for these roles and where to apply for the jobs.
  • Recommendations on how to learn and boost your skills for each role.

What if I can’t decide on the career path that best suits me?Contact us.
Just drop your email address and our career advisors can give you a hand with that too.

The top 10 tech jobs in Egypt based on the number of their open opportunities which are available for entry-level job seekers and fresh graduates:

  1. Sales Representative 
  2. Web Developer
  3. Customer Service Representative
  4. Software Engineer
  5. Technical Support Engineer
  6. Digital Marketing Specialist
  7. Front End Developer
  8. UX Designer
  9. Android Developer
  10. iOS Developer
© Knowledge Officer
© Knowledge Officer

1. Sales Representative

Sales representatives’ jobs represent around 7% of the open entry-level vacancies all over Egypt. They want to sell their companies’ products and services. They are responsible for making agreements and reaching out to clients, whether inside or outside the company, to let them know about their services and find new sales leads.

© Knowledge Officer
What is a typical Sales Representative responsible for?
  • Selling and promoting the company’s products and services
  • Scheduling sales targets and developing strategies to hit them
  • Maintaining good relationships with customers and working for their future long-term relationships and loyalty
  • Finding out customers needs and ensuring a smooth sales process with them
Based on our analysis of 291 job posts, the skill set of a good Sales Representative includes:
  • A bachelor’s degree or relevant experience in the field
  • Experience with sales and marketing skills
  • Experience with customer relationship and product management 
  • Excellent communication, negotiation, and time management skills

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Sales Representative in Egypt is around 3,000 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role:

[Medineeds Bella DonnaCisco Delux LabMCV]

Recommendations for online learning:

2. Web Developer

The job represents around 6.5% of the open entry-level vacancies all over Egypt. The web developer is the builder of websites or web applications. By using a unique programming language or a combination thereof, a web developer’s or programmer’s job is to turn a website sketched design into a live online website or application by writing complicated code that the computer understands.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Web Developer responsible for? 

  • Creating, designing, testing and debugging the codes for any needed web functional requirements.
  • Creating a smooth and simplified process of data transfer between the browser and the server.
  • Working with the web design team and gives beneficial inputs to enhance the performance and appearance of the website.

Based on our analysis of 282 job posts, the skill set of a good Web Developer includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Computer science, IT or any relevant field
  • Knowledge of Languages: C#, SQL, HTML, CSS, MySQL
  • Experience with Scripting Languages: JavaScript, PHP, etc.
  • Experience with ASP.NET, .NET, and MVC 

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Web Developer in Egypt is around 3,800 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[ Vodafone Valeo Elmnassa Innovation & DevelopmentAqarmap Henkel]

Recommendations for online learning:

3.Customer Service Representative

You know that person who answers all your questions about a product you purchased, and helps you get the most out of the product? That’s the customer service representative that mainly answers customers’ calls, receives their complaints, resolves their problems and processes refunds. The job represents around 6% of the open entry-level vacancies open all over Egypt.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Customer Service Representative responsible for? 

  • Communicating with customers through various channels 
  • Knowing the product so well in order to answer all inquiries about it
  • Recommending to customers potential products or services according to their needs, profiles, and preferences
  • Providing valuable data and feedback about the selling process and the product

Based on our analysis of 270 job posts, the skill set of a good Customer Service Representative includes:

  • Fluency in English and other languages is a great plus
  • Experience with customer service principles and practices
  • Experience with tools like Microsoft Office or Google Docs and Spreadsheets
  • Excellent communication, presentation, and multi-tasking skills

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Customer Service Representative in Egypt is around 3,600 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role:

[Majorel Vodafone Oracle Xceed Phillips Etisalat Global ServicesABB OLX Group]

Recommendations for online learning:

4. Software Engineer

Software Engineering job posts represent around 6% of the open entry-level vacancies all over Egypt. The profession is expected to grow as a profession by 21% over the next 9 years. Software engineers are professionals using computer science with the principles of engineering in order to build and create software products. The role is divided into two types; applications software developers and systems software developers. 

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Software Engineer responsible for? 

  • Building new products and participating in programming and investigating already existing Softwares/products 
  • Testing and debugging different codes and Softwares
  • Detecting faults, bugs, flaws in the system or the application in hand
  • Linking incompatible platforms together in addition to integrating current software products

Based on our analysis of 253 job posts, the skill set of a good Software Engineer includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, IT, computer engineering or any relevant field 
  • Programming languages: C, C++, C#, Java, SQL 
  • Scripting languages: JavaScript, PHP

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Software Engineer in Egypt is around 4,700 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[Dell Valeo IBM Vezeeta Sumerge]

Recommendations for online learning:

5. Technical Support Engineer

Also known as IT Support Engineers, Technical Support Engineers take responsibility for all technical issues related to computer systems components: hardware and software. Resolving customers’ reported issues and technical complaints are their daily work activities and the role is required in different types of industries. The job acquires around 6% of the open entry-level vacancies all over Egypt.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Technical Support Engineer responsible for? 

  • Installing and configuring all computer systems, hardware and software, set up in the company
  • Configuring and troubleshooting customers’ technical issues and resolving them through a smooth process
  • Reporting and documenting technical issues facing customers
  • Escalating issues to suitable teams where they could be resolved if needed

Based on our analysis of 248 job posts, the skill set of a good Sales Representative includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science, IT, or any relevant field 
  • Experience with different operating systems and web and windows servers
  • Knowledge of API, troubleshooting and Domain Name System
  • Excellent communication, reporting and time management skills 

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Technical Support Engineer in Egypt is around 4,800 EGP’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role:

[ Dell Orange FlairsTech Interact Technology SolutionsConcentrix Arabian Advanced SystemsSchneider Electric ]

Recommendations for online learning:

6. Digital Marketing Specialist 

Around 5% of the open vacancies in Egypt are required for entry-level Digital Marketing Specialists. They are responsible for marketing a company’s product online. Using different social media and marketing techniques to spread the word about the product in hand and deliver it to the most relevant audience to use it. 

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical digital marketing specialist responsible for? 

  • Developing the company’s product presence and content on all business online channels
  • Increasing brand awareness and the product’s online voice
  • Doing Customer research, monitoring and measuring the Return On Investment (ROI) maintaining the company’s KPIs 
  • Collaborate with the sales and marketing team members for delivering the company’s end goal

Based on our analysis of 223 job posts, the skill set of a good Digital Marketing Specialist includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Internet Marketing or equivalent experience in any relevant field 
  • High creativity and innovation
  • Knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google Analytics, and Content management system (CMS)

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Digital Marketing Specialist in Egypt is around 4,500 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[ Centro Global SolutionsYodawy BTC-Egypt GoldDelux LabVirgin GatesDBs Philips]

Our recommendation for online learning: 

7. Front-End Developer

The entry-level job vacancies for this role represents around 4.5% of all the open vacancies in Egypt. A front-end developer is actually a web developer that transforms the website design into a functional and user-friendly interface. By implementing the back end data and integrating different scripting languages and frameworks, they come up with the live version of webs that we interact with as users.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Front End Developer responsible for? 

  • Designing and structuring web pages
  • Developing new user-facing features and assuring their user experience efficiency
  • Maximizing the speed and scalability of applications and web pages

Based on our analysis of 193 job posts, the skill set of a good Web Developer includes:

  • Proficiency with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, TypeScript, Python 
  • Understanding of LESS, jQuery, React libraries 
  • Familiarity with libraries like Bootstrap, Foundation, Backbone, and AngularJS

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Front End Developer in Egypt is around 4,500 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role:

[Valeo Vezeeta FlairsTechSoleeklab Aqarmap.ComLink Development –  OLX GroupHenkel ]

Recommendations for online learning:

8. UX Designer

A percentage of around 4% is what entry-level UX Designer job posts represent in the whole jobs market in Egypt. A UX designer is responsible for the whole experience a user has using the product, including the satisfaction, aesthetics, and the purpose of features.

The job requires little technical coding skills but it’s mainly about creating a suitable aligned product design that most effectively engages the user.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical UX Designer responsible for? 

  • Collecting and evaluating user requirements in collaboration with product managers
  • Interpreting information into valuable and efficient feedback
  • Illustrating different design ideas using sitemaps or storyboards
  • Creating storyboards, wireframes, prototypes and user stories

Based on our analysis of 163 job posts, the skill set of a good UX Designer includes:

  • Knowledge of required tools: InVision, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Sketch
  • Strong communications, problem-solving and teamwork skills
  • Strong attention to details and time management skills
  • Knowledge of data analytics tools like Google Analytics

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level UX Designer in Egypt is around 6,300 LE.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[ Vezeeta FlairsTech Arrow ElectronicsLink Development]

Recommendations for online learning:

9. Android Developer

An Android Developer or Engineer is mainly a software engineer who specializes in creating and developing applications compatible with the devices that work with Android operating systems like smartphones and tablets. They are always updated by the recently released  Android applications and tracking their performance trying to enhance and come up with better products and applications. A job representation of around 3.4% in Egypt’s entry-level jobs market is owned by this role.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Android Developer responsible for? 

  • Designing and building compatible applications that run on all Android operating devices
  • Enhancing applications’ performance and reconfigurability
  • Testing, debugging and troubleshooting any issues on new and existing applications
  • Working with other team members like software testers and UX designers to ensure a properly operating application 

Based on our analysis of 148 job posts, the skill set of a good Android Developer includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in software development, computer science or any relevant field
  • Experience with programming languages like Java, Kotlin or C++
  • Experience with Android Studios and Android SDK
  • Excellent communication skills and orientation for details

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Android Developer in Egypt is around 5,100 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[Vezeeta Elmnassa Innovation & DevelopmentAqarmap.ComOlx GroupInova LlcDBs ]

Recommendations for online learning:

10. IOS Developer

Around 3% of the available entry-level job posts in Egypt for entry-level job seekers are for IOS Developers. iOS developer is also a software engineer responsible for developing applications compatible with Apple’s IOS operating system, like iPhones and so on.

They are also responsible for fixing bugs or issues and maintaining high performing and updated applications published on the App Store.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical IOS Developer responsible for? 

  • Developing applications for devices operating with Apple’s IOS operating system
  • Enhancing applications’ performance and reconfigurability
  • Fixing applications and debugging issues before app releases 
  • Publish applications on the App store
  • Working with other team members to ensure a perfectly operating application 

Based on our analysis of 113 job posts, the skill set of a good IOS Developer includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in software development, computer science or any relevant field
  • Familiar with IOS Software Development 
  • Experience with Objective-C or Swift frameworks
  • Knowledge of Xcode integrated development environment
  • Excellent communication skills and orientation for detail

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level IOS Developer in Egypt is around 7,000 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[ Vodafone Elmnassa Innovation & DevelopmentAqarmap.ComOlx GroupIken TechnologyDBs]

Recommendations for online learning:

Are you still undecided on which track fits you?
You can simply drop your email here and
we will offer you a free aid to help you decide.

Job Recruitment Platforms You Should Frequently Visit.

Another interesting finding our data revealed is the top two recruitment platforms posting jobs in Egypt are Wuzzuf and Naukrigulf, covering more than 70% of the active open jobs in Egypt across a variety of companies from different industries.
Make sure you pay frequent visits there. 

These are the top hiring companies in Egypt to look for through those platforms

  1. Dell
  2. Sanofi 
  3. Valeo
  4. Vodafone
  5. IBM
  6. Vezeeta
  7. Orange

Exploring 5000 entry-level open job posts in Egypt shows some useful takeaways. For example, boosting your soft skills is not optional; most of the top in-demand jobs look for good team players, communicators and creative people. So, you have to do some work on your self-efficacy first, and don’t wait till graduation to explore the market! Start early, learn what it takes to stand out, and know your strengths and weaknesses to know what to utilize and what to enhance.

We, at Knowledge Officer, provide personalised skills reports to assess your own skills through our skills insight page. Give it a try and get your free skills gap report. For businesses, we also provide different data analysis services to help grow and retain a competitive workforce on our business page . That comes in addition to our career accelerator programs that help beginners and professionals start and empower their careers in different professions. For more information, please visit https://knowledgeofficer.com/.