Look inside IrisGuard with Rawan Malhas

This week we caught up with Rawan Malhas, Programming Manager in our Amman office

I’ve been working with IrisGuard on software development for 16 years now and I’ve been involved in many components including the back-end Iris Farm Architecture (IFA) server side and client-side API's and web services. One of my main tasks has been working on the IFA_API - first application programming interface in the company - which has been used in many of our deployments including our work with the UNHCR and Cairo Amman Bank for example.

Currently, I am working on the development of the new EyePay® Network, using Microsoft ASP.NET Core Blazor technologies. Alongside that, and I also provide support to our technical team with the server-side system back-end.


IrisGuard will be celebrating a huge milestone this year, it’s 20th anniversary and you have been a key part of that journey. What would you say have been its biggest achievements?

The day-to-day work requires you to stay completely focused, but also to dream and to believe in what you do. For me, the biggest achievement is being part of IrisGuard’s journey from a biometric company to a financial gateway. I am hugely proud to have been part of that success.


The current pandemic has resulted in more vulnerable people around the world who need assistance. With that comes the pressure of delivering that assistance to the right people. How have you adapted our technology to meet new requirements of social distancing and increased safety in the field?

Our hardware has always been is contact-free, because all we need is the iris. It isn’t affected by protective face masks or gloves, enables social distancing rules to be maintained and the whole process takes just seconds. Our technology was already serving this purpose before the Covid-19 hit. Having said that, its usage has been extended since the pandemic started to enable cash and food deliveries within the refugee camps settings for those in quarantine and outside of camps in locations restricted by lockdown.


Have you come across any challenges as a woman in a technical role and in a culture which is predominantly male-orientated?

If we talk about the culture then yes, there was pressure because most of my friends at university chose to go down the IT route rather than computer science and I was the only girl in the class who took this direction. I like computer science because it is logic, what you write is what you get, there are no politics… its art really.

At IrisGuard, I have never felt any kind of discrimination, we are all treated equally. Programmers at IrisGuard are not evaluated on the basis of how many codes they write or how many bugs they produce, we are objectives orientated. Whilst I have been given the tools to constantly try to develop further and improve, I’ve achieved a good balance between my work and my family. I’ve been able to prove to myself and others that women can not only be developers, they can excel at it.


What drives you to keep innovating, how do you make sure that you stay in the lead in this growing sector with biometrics clearly becoming a bigger part of our lives?

As Imad says, “The future is there for those who invent it”. We innovate every day, we come across challenges and obstacles we need to overcome every day. It makes you feel alive and it’s very fulfilling knowing that what I do helps millions of people who stand in front of an ATM, collecting their assistance with dignity, which is driven by the API that I wrote. It still gives me goosebumps. It is an important cause I believe in, so working in an organisation with the same values makes me want to wake up every morning and stay focused, because one way or another, I can help people live a better life.