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Interning in the fast lane

Everything at TamTam (part of Dept) is intense and fast. The project pace is literally killing me; the quality is high and the parties are loud. As an intern you’ve gotta stay on your toes to make it in this fast paced digital industry. But once you’re on board of the success train you better buckle up because it’ll only get faster. The only thing moving faster is probably Daphne, more on that later.

As a communications and design student, I was lucky enough to land a spot on the talent program from the DDA (Dutch Digital Agencies). The program spanned 14 weeks and enabled me to visit a top ranked Dutch digital agency every two weeks. The companies would hold a lecture on a subject relevant to their working field and close the evening with dinner. TamTam was the first in line and they blew me away. We had a lecture from Dimi and Joep about customer journeys and finding touchpoints with your clients. The atmosphere in the Amsterdam office and enthusiasm of the presenters had me hooked… Half a year later after a lot of hard work and persistence, I’m in as a front-end developer intern at TamTam.

The first day during the ’Mamo’ (Monday morning meeting) you get your baptism with vodka and a sweet company branded baseball cap (which no one ever wears at the office btw.) Personally, I like to use it as a ‘wet hair, don’t care’ cap.

Simon says

During my internship Simon is my supervisor and he takes care of everything. He places me on projects, helps me get introduced to new coding techniques and watches the clock to see if I come in on time. Simon owns more shoes that you ever will and they’re nicer than the ones you have. I think I’ve seen more packages arrive than pairs he owns, but I guess he needs that many because he’s always running from meeting to meeting so they must wear out real quick. Simon is always there when I need him though, even though you’d sometimes think someone else is my supervisor .. Enter Daphne

At the speed of Daphne

.. We’re basically a combo package; she moves faster than the human eye and more often than not runs through the office.

Daphne

If you have Daphne working on a project, I eventually end up working on it as well. Daphne is one of the best people you can learn from if you can handle:“Holy shit this sucks, why did you do this, again!”, kind of feedback. I love it. It’s the kind of brutal honesty you need to get better, and I got better because of her. Together with her and another front-end developer called Adrian I worked on Oxxio, my first TamTam project, and it’s scary if you have to compare what you know to what they know. But both of them will try and teach you to make yourself better. That’s a common thing amongst all the Tammo’s, they’re always eager to help you out.

A great place to work

TamTam takes really good care of their employees. The brand spanking new Amsterdam office is a great place to work, it looks like hipster heaven. There’s an all you can eat lunch as well as a well stocked fridge with healthy snacks and various options for breakfast. And an indulgent snack draw (one of Daphne’s ‘sprint’ targets: peanut M&M’s!). All desks have an external monitor, plenty of plugs for your power cords and most of them have an external apple keyboard to hit the code even harder. The office feels like a second home because your colleagues are more like your family. And everyone treats you that way as well, there isn’t an enforced hierarchy of authoritative roles. Project managers and competence leads will treat you all the same. Because we work hard but play even harder. If you’re at the TamTam parties, you know it’s true. We’re all well provided for with Friday afternoon drinks and the infamous office parties. There’s usually a simple reason to throw a little get together at TamTam, mainly because they just want to.

You think you know stuff, but then you don’t

Over the past few months I’ve learned an incredible amount and grown as a developer. TamTam allows you to work on large scale projects like you’re a full time developer, this pushes the boundaries of your learning capabilities. You have to pick up the new techniques fast if you want to prove yourself of use. The learning curve is relatively steep, especially if you think you’ve learned a lot in school, you haven’t. You know nothing.

The current curriculums are outdated the moment they are introduced because the digital landscape keeps rapidly evolving. The lack of knowledge you have compared to some of the top level developers is intimidating, but if you’re driven and want to put some extra work in learning you’ll catch up to a respectable level of coding.

The role as front-end developer has evolved within TamTam in a way that now schools have to adjust to the market. It’s not just HTML, CSS and JavaScript anymore where a back-end developer ties it all together. There an equal part of the user experience design that starts in the development process, not to mention all the different libraries, frameworks and plugins that you have to master. There’s so much to learn still and too little time to learn it all in.

But luckily I’m getting that time as I’m going to start as a work student after my internship ends! And hopefully I’ll also be able to do my graduation internship at TamTam. Because I really don’t want to leave yet.