Djamel Ouikene is the Director of Information Systems and Operation Service Readiness for the APAC Region of the Cloud Communications division of NTT (formerly known as Arkadin). He’s been with our company since 2015. Before he assumed his present position, his multi-cultural career took him from software engineering to business analysis to functional architecture, and has led him to work with teams in Paris, India, Montpellier, and Schaumburg. The fact that Djamel speaks four languages (Arabic, French, English, and Kabyle) is a huge advantage.
We asked Djamel to tell us in his own words about the changes and challenges he’s met along his career path. Here are his responses.
You mention in your video that you have to work more quickly in your new position than your last one. Can you elaborate?
In my last position, as a functional architect, I worked on design projects that could be discussed and reviewed over time before being delivered. In my new position, however, I’m overseeing things, so sometimes I have to make decisions very quickly, and this has been a bit challenging. I’ve been learning how to decide when an immediate decision is justified and when I can give myself more time to understand and analyze a situation first. Learning how to delegate tasks has helped me in my new role, but the best support has come from my colleagues’ feedback.
Tell us what it was like for you to move from Paris to Singapore. Did you experience culture shock?
In the past, I had already had to move from Algeria to France, then from France to South Africa, and again back to France. So I was thinking, ‘Oh, this will be like the other times’, but in fact APAC is quite different. It’s a huge region with multi-cultural aspects for each country that need to be taken into account. The language is also part of what I call culture shock: we tend to think that English is sufficient but it’s not. When you want to have the real Asian experience, I believe you have to get it through one of the local languages. So I decided to start learning Chinese and set myself a goal of two years to be able to understand the basic things like how to order my own food.
What is the most pleasant or exciting part of your new position?
Just being in Asia is exciting by itself, I’m always curious to learn and discover new countries, and this new position provided me with this great opportunity. In addition to that, the new challenge of becoming a manger gave me the opportunity to be a real business partner that allows me to contribute to the company’s success by bringing IS back to its central place as a business facilitator rather than a bottleneck.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to follow a career path in Information Systems today?
One of the great things about information systems is that no matter what industry you’re interested in, you’ll always find a need for IS. If you’re passionate about data, information, and software, a career in information technology is the ideal pathway for you to choose.