Guest Blog: Interning at Tamatem Games by Kareem Nasereddin
One of the best ways for any student to gain knowledge and skills, and to develop a better understanding of their real-life abilities within a professional work environment is to undertake an internship. An internship is also one of the key experiences recommended as part of the rigorous high school diploma program I am undertaking. Work experience is valued and is seen to increase chances of acceptance into a good university, especially so if the internship is related to your field of interest. That’s why, in the summer of 11th grade, I chose to intern at Tamatem. Their line of business, game development, and publishing, is one I am really interested in, and in all honesty, how could I turn down the opportunity to be part of one of the foremost, fastest-growing, and most exciting teams in the region?
Heading into the experience, I was aware that not all companies are created equal, and not all internships ultimately meet the goals of the intern and the team they are a part of. My involvement with Tamatem began with me reading about the company and further familiarizing myself with its products and services. Tamatem is one of the leading game publishers in the MENA region, also specializing in game Arabization and localization. Excited at the prospect of interning, I eagerly took to their blog and read their latest posts, impressed at the quality of the writing. My first proper interaction with the company began with my meeting the founder and CEO, Hussam Hammo. Although the meeting was intended to be informal and relaxed, I was intimidated and nervous, having read about his accomplishments and seen the immense success of Tamatem. I shook his hand, feeling apprehensive, and sat down. Once we began speaking, though, I felt my worries wash away. We discussed our favorite video games and spoke about my interests. I dropped my formal tone, quickly became acquainted with him, and left feeling more confident than I had been when I entered. His passion for the industry and his business was evident in his tone, his demeanor, and in the way he spoke about his “family,” and I was all the more excited to be embarking on this challenging journey!
What Makes a Good Internship Program
On the first day of my internship program, and as we drove up to the business park, I began to sweat. Big buildings with even bigger names, I was wondering what it is I could contribute to such an organization as Tamatem. Did they really want me there? How could a high schooler like me, used only to working on the user-end of mobile games, add any value or be taken seriously by such an experienced and advanced team? We walked into their offices where I was greeted by the woman who was to be my manager and mentor, Elena. Professionally, and as if speaking to a peer, she saw me to my desk and asked me to install Slack, a business communication platform. Promptly, and as though I were a proper employee, I was given my first task, which was to work on summarizing industry-related articles and blogs. I was then asked to create a comprehensive list of industry terminology and summarize and describe the company’s departments. Writing this, I realize now how easy it is for me to speak as a member of the team even so early on into the journey.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the physical environment of the company. I remember several years back, visiting the Google headquarters in New York and feeling awe mixed with some innocent 13-year-old jealousy at the setup of their office spaces. The social spaces availed to employees, all the fun and engaging corners on each floor, the relaxed atmosphere… I felt like a kid in a candy store – and yet these people created the best programs and applications across the global industry! Never did I imagine that I would relive this feeling in another organization, let alone one so close to home. Going into Tamatem offices is nowhere near the daunting experience I thought it would be and I am much more comfortable in the office than I had expected. The work environment is one of camaraderie; one that is easygoing yet focused and very engaging. There is great chemistry between employees, who schedule regular social meetings into their weekly routines to catch up and are as such tuned to each other’s professional as well as personal endeavors.
I consider my experience at Tamatem my first step into real life; I have learned as much about myself as I have about the industry and have begun building a network of colleagues and mentors. I have seen the real value in working as one team, one big family whose members look out for one another and for their organization. Very early on in my internship program, I am happy to say that I have gained a new sense of professionalism and a better view of what it means to work in a professional environment of passionate, talented individuals. I would advise everyone if given the opportunity, to undertake an internship, as there is so much to gain on both the professional and personal levels.