Mohamud frequented primary and secondary schools in his hometown. He later moved to Somalia's capital Mogadishu in 1978, where he studied for three years at the local Somali National University. In 1981, he earned an undergraduate diploma in Technology from the institution.
In a professional capacity, Mohamud accepted a position as an instructor and trainer at the Lafole Technical Secondary School. He later joined the Somali National University-affiliated Technical Teachers' Training College in 1984. In 1986, he became the department's head.
In 1986, Mohamud journeyed to India and began attending Bhopal University (now Barkatullah University). There, he completed a master's degree in technical education in 1988. Mohamud is also a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University's Summer Peacebuilding Institute based in Harrisonburg, Virginia. In 2001, he completed three of the SPI's intensive courses, studying mediation, trauma healing, and designing learner-centered trainings.
When the civil war broke out in the early 1990s, Mohamud remained in Somalia and acted as a consultant with various NGOs, UN bureaus, and peace and development projects. He worked as an education officer for UNICEF in the central and southern parts of the country from 1993 to 1995. In 1999, he also co-established the Somali Institute of Management and Administration (SIMAD) in the capital. The institution subsequently grew into the SIMAD University, with Mohamud acting as dean until 2010.
Upon assuming office, President Mohamud and his Cabinet resumed efforts by Somali and international stakeholders to end the 21-year UN arms embargo on Somalia, the oldest such global weapons blockade. The Security Council had imposed the prohibition in 1992, shortly after the start of the civil war and the toppling of the Siad Barre regime, in order to stop the flow of weapons to feuding militia groups. An eventual repeal of the embargo had been among the Future objectives of the signatories in the transitional Roadmap political process of 2011–2012. Mohamud's government, Somali security analysts and military experts argued that lifting the ban on the procurement of arms would facilitate the Somali authorities' attempts at strengthening the Somali Armed Forces, and would more effectively equip the military to quash the remnants of the Islamist insurgency. The United States, African Union, Arab League, and IGAD all backed the proposal. In March 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon likewise urged Security Council members to vote to remove the sanctions so as to help the Somali authorities fortify their security apparatus and consolidate military gains.
Mohamud entered Somali politics the following year, when he established the independent Peace and Development Party (PDP). PDP members unanimously elected him as the party's chairman in April 2011, with a mandate to serve as leader for the next three years.
On 12 September 2012, while President Mohamud was meeting with foreign delegates in Mogadishu, two suicide bombers and two gunmen dressed in government uniforms attempted an attack on the Jazeera Hotel where the dignitaries had convened. There were reportedly around 10 casualties, among which were three Somali security detail, one AU peacekeeper, and the assailants themselves. None of the assembled statesmen, including Kenyan Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri, were harmed. Seemingly unfazed by the incidents, President Mohamud continued his speech before the gathered press and foreign officials, stating that "things like what's happening now outside will continue for some time, but I'm sure and I'm confident it's the last things that's taking place here in Somalia[...] We have been hearing such events frequently, but this is a special case. We didn't hear it for the last couple of months even." He added that "first and foremost we will address the security issue. Priority number one is security and priority number two and priority number three." The Al-Shabaab militant group later claimed responsibility for the attacks. According to Somali government officials, AU forces have assumed responsibility for President Mohamud's security while investigations are launched into the incidents.
In April 2013, Mohamud was named to the Time 100, TIME magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. His efforts at advancing national reconciliation, anti-corruption measures, and socio-economic and security sector reforms in Somalia were cited as reasons for the selection.
In December 2014, President Mohamud and a Somali federal government delegation including Foreign Minister Abdirahman Duale Beyle and the acting ministers for Finance, Justice, Interior, and Higher Education traveled to Cairo to confer with the Egyptian authorities. The trip was prompted by an official invitation from the new President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The visiting officials were received at the Cairo International Airport by the Egyptian Minister of Education Mahmoud Mohamed Mahmoud Abo El Nasr and Somalia's Ambassador to Egypt Abdullahi Hassan Mohamud. Mohamud subsequently met with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby. According to Ambassador Hassan, the Leaders touched on various matters pertaining to the Federal Government of Somalia, including facilitating development and financial support by other Arab states for the Somalian government's ongoing reconstruction initiatives. Additionally, Mohamud and delegates from both administrations conferred with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, Ahmed el-Tayeb. The officials discussed bilateral cooperation in the education, Medicine and justice sectors, among others, with the rector emphasizing his preparedness to assist in these fields and urging stronger commitment toward the reconstruction process in Somalia. Mohamud in turn highlighted Al-Azhar's historic Muslim and educational work in Somalia, and underlined the institution's continued potential to provide accurate guidance on Islamic tenets. Mohamud and the other visiting delegates finally held a closed door meeting with President El-Sisi, wherein the officials touched on strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries. The gathering concluded with pledges to collaborate in the economic, educational and military sectors, including training of Somali forces by Egyptian security personnel.
In May 2015, President Mohamud, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke and Foreign Affairs Minister Abdisalam Omer met in Villa Somalia in Mogadishu with a visiting Qatari government delegation led by the Foreign Affairs Minister of Qatar, Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah. The officials touched on various bilateral matters, including the security and educational sectors as well as the Houthi insurgency in Yemen. Additionally, Al Attiyah reaffirmed his administration's support for the Somali government's reconstruction efforts. He also indicated that Qatari government would invest in Somalia given the nation's natural resources and other investment opportunities. Omer in turn commended the Qatari leadership for its support of security and stabilization initiatives in Somalia.
On 24 November, Prime Minister Ahmed released a statement indicating that he made the Cabinet reshuffle to ameliorate the performance of the Council of Ministers and resolve internal wrangles. He likewise indicated that the directive was in line with Article 100 (a) and (b) of the Provisional Constitution, and that the Office of the President's decree attempting to nullify the reshuffle contravened those constitutional clauses. Additionally, Ahmed asserted that the ensuing motion of no confidence was motivated by displeasure over the transfer of one particular Cabinet minister to another portfolio. He also suggested that the motion was regarded by most legislators and the general public as having been driven by graft, that the attempts to table it bypassed the rules and procedures of the parliament, and that it ultimately was an obstacle toward fulfilling the goals enshrined in Vision 2016. Ahmed also commended lawmakers for countering the motion, and applauded the House of the People's leadership for acknowledging that the motion was an impediment on the legislature's functions and instead calling for reconciliatory dialogue to resolve the impasse.