Samuel Zemedkun is a young Ethiopian who started his career as a traditional fabrics weaver—which is the family business—and a former Uber driver. He’s currently working for Uber, not as a driver anymore, but as a software engineer who writes code for the company.
His father ran a family business—traditional fabrics weaving—and made a living from the business. The business was also supported by his mother who was an expert weaver as well as his younger sisters. Samuel spent his childhood helping his parents in the traditional fabrics weaving. He and his sisters were expected to learn craft and carry on with it.
The business seemed fine at first but then when the Ethiopian textile industry was in a downturn, the family business had to collapse. As a result, Samuel and his sisters had to leave school due to financial instability caused by the industry wobble.
Samuel was 15 at the time and considered as brilliant. He got helped from his teacher, having him to teach math and science after school so that he could make some extra money for the family. This continued for three years until he went through to the 10th Grade.
He was offered a scholarship to Hong Kong to complete his high school education and he accepted the opportunity delightfully. He left his homeland for the opportunity. Another fortune came over in the form of another scholarship. He won a scholarship to study Physics and Mathematics at the University of Colorado, USA.
In order to provide some financial support for his family in Ethiopia during his college period, he worked 20 hours per week as a tutor and a librarian. He tried to be as responsible as possible both in academic and in the family.
He applied for a Ph. D program in the same university while obtaining his first degree. It was when he was motivated to learn programming and machine learning. He found himself feeling more fascinated by these two concepts than Physics and Mathematics. He would spend time after regular classes to find as much information as he could about those two concepts.
As an effort to keep providing his family back home while participating in a data science bootcamp, he took a job as an Uber driver at the weekend. The weekend job was suitable for him as he had to attend the bootcamp from Monday through Friday during the program period.
Before joining Uber as a software engineer, Samuel worked for a small tech firm soon after the bootcamp program about to end. After three years working for the firm, he got the opportunity to work for Uber in 2017. Ever since, he’s been working in the Marketplace Forecasting Time at the company.