While the IT industry is still quite male-dominated, more and more women choose to pursue a career in that field, and at Goodgame Studios, we now have a workforce that is over 30% female – which is well above industry standards. One of our female IT experts is Lamis, who started coding as a hobby when she was still a teenager living in Syria. Today, more than 13 years later, she is working as a backend developer at Goodgame Studios in Hamburg. We asked her what brought her here and what she is doing in her current role.
1) What do you do in your job?
I am part of Team 42 within the web development department. Our task is to support other teams by developing applications that make their daily work easier and more efficient. Our tools automate complex workflows and also simplify the management of data.
For example, we have created a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, through which the customer operation team can access the data of our users. If a player has lost some troops and sends a ticket to our support team, for instance, our colleagues use the tool to access all the required information, get an understanding of the player’s situation, and troubleshoot them. The tool is completely customized to the specific needs of Goodgame Studios and works for all of our games, which is especially notable as our titles use different technologies and database structures, specifically the ones that are yet to launch. Lately, we have also been developing new features for the CRM tool because our studios are producing new games which again use different technologies. We work very closely with the teams to make sure that we meet all requirements, and we also provide documentation for all our tools so that everyone can easily understand how they work.
Another application that we have developed is our language management tool. Our games are available in 26 languages, which are all coordinated by the localization team, and the tool helps them manage and organize the translations as well as feed them into each game.
My daily job, along with my team, is to maintain our tools, which involves checking if the software is healthy and running, and of course solving any issues that might be reported – a workflow might be broken, for example. On top of that, we create new features for existing tools as well as completely new applications, when required.
2) What makes working at Goodgame Studios special for you?
Having worked at Goodgame Studios for almost 2.5 years now, and with many more years of experience in the industry, I can say that this company really stands out with its openness towards new technologies and willingness to experiment and test to find out what works best for its specific needs. In the web development department, we are always encouraged to explore new technologies and trends, and decide within the team if it benefits our work and that of other departments.
Personally, I also very much like that the company enables me to grow and develop my skills, even in areas that are not directly related to my current tasks. If I want to learn something and have a reason to do so, this is always supported by my superiors. We also learn immensely from each other within the teams: normally, we work in teams of four to five developers, most of which are very experienced programmers, and if someone has a question, someone else will always step in and support. We also have reviews at the end of every feature, where another developer looks at your work and we discuss what could be done differently. On top of that, we have brown bag sessions in our café or a meeting room, where someone from the web development team tells the rest of us about a new technology over lunch.
3) What did you do before Goodgame Studios?
I am from Damascus in Syria, where I spent most of my life until now. I started programming at a very young age and did my first internship as a Flash game developer before even starting university. My degree in Information Technology followed a few years later, and back then I mostly worked as a freelancer for companies in Europe as well as the US. In 2008, I started working for the first online game publisher in the Middle East, but sadly, the conflict in Syria started around that time and I had to move to Turkey with my husband. It was a big step because we did not speak the language and the whole country was like a mystery to me. I was lucky though and got the chance to work for a global gaming company in Istanbul, where I learned from top notch engineers. Then I heard about Goodgame, which seemed to be a very promising company and I had always wanted to work in Germany because it is one of the most technologically advanced countries and has a very stable economy. It is a great opportunity to be able to work here and in this industry. I also very much liked the culture in general and that the country facilitates the integration of foreigners through the EU Blue Card. Now that I’m here, I find it even better than I had expected.
4) Which project holds a special place in your heart?
The most exciting project was the language management tool which I already mentioned. It is special to me because I worked on it from scratch and with a really great team. Throughout the process, we had to develop various concepts and continuously align with the localization team to make sure we would create the best possible tool for them. There was so much to learn during this project, and it felt like a child to all of us. I personally enjoyed every single moment of that project, and I even refused to take any holidays at that time because it was so exciting – no kidding!
5) What do you do in your free time?
One of the things I enjoy most besides programming is teaching. A while back, I worked as a teacher for young kids for a short time, and since I found out that it makes me extremely happy, I have kept it up in my free time. Now, I am mostly helping my friends in Syria, though. I teach them the technologies that I was lucky to learn so that they also have the chance to work abroad. That way I feel that I can fulfill my duty towards the people in my country. At the moment, I do all that teaching via Skype, but I am planning to have an Arabic teaching platform where not only my friends but also a lot of other people can learn.