Monday, June 28, 2010

Innovation + Technology = AT&T

Hi, its me again. This time I am going to write about my work in AT&T.

I work as a SharePoint developer, and my task assignment is to troubleshoot the current
SharePoint server and develop new features to enhance the service. I am very happy to join my
department in AT&T, these guys are smart, well oriented, and creative.

Our AT&T center is a branch office of San Ramon,
which fulfills a huge area in the city. The building itself is amazingly big (About 2700 employees working in it), and it is consisted of 4 intersected buildings (they call them "wings"), with a very large circular cafeteria. The overall area is surrounded with water and trees except the areas of 4 car parks, this place provides a shelter for many goose birds, giving it a unique combination
between nature and civilization.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sillicon Valley

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have just landed at San Francisco International airport” that was like a dream came true, being for the first time in the united states and heading directly to the Silicon Valley where all giant companies, business expertise and technology leaders are, meeting all the IT experts, professionals and businessmen who saved no effort to transfer knowledge which hopefully will be transferred to Iraq afterwords.

Professional development day takes place on Wednesdays, where professors from UC Berkley demonstrate the different aspects of business models as well as how to understand market needs and venture goals of the finest technology companies in the Silicon Valley.

It's my point of view, that the most interesting part so far was how to deal with a startup company in terms of funds, office space, venture capital, time, staff .. etc. Entrepreneurship terminology was absolutely rich as well.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Hello every one, I am Aram from Erbil-Kurdistan-Iraq, I am the only Kurdish guy in this IT Intern program, I am Software Engineer, I graduated in 2009, and now I am teaching in the same college as Assistant Teacher, if you want to know about me more, please just click at my name in the right side menu, then you can find more info about me. and if you want to know even more, please feel free and just say: Hello!

International House, is the place where me and two other interns sleep at, it is a place which people from all around the world come to there, so I met many different kind of people, for example ( India, China, Japan, France, Germany, Finland, …etc ) so you discover many kind of new cultural, it is amazing, thats why it called: International House!

Now I am working for American company called Engine Yard, they are software developer, they work with Programs, Databases, Websites, Hosting, …etc, the people here in the company are very friendly, in the first weekend i went out with them, we went to see the iMAX movie about HUBBLE telescope, and also we went to the telescope store, and I bought one, " which was my dream " also I planed for that before I came, that day was the most amazing day since I am in US until Now!

Engine Yard, gave me a project, and I should complete it before I came back to Iraq, the project is about " Ad Server ", it is a website, which I will owen it, after I finish it, the language that I am working on it, it is Ruby on Rails, I really loved the project and the new language as well, it is all interesting. and after all when I finish here I just want to say: thanks Engine Yard!

Golden gate park trip

Hi all, at first for those who don't know me I am Mustafa Jasim Tuama computer engineer from Nassiriyah city one of the Iraqi interns working for square company in San Francisco. I want to speak today about our trip to the golden gate park. It was amazing place its just like a part from the heaven. I went to the golden gate park with my friends Ibrahim, Mahmood and Wael and Wael in the last because he used to say I am the youngest between them. And we met a lot of girls who fall in love with us , No I am just kidding it will be more fun if that happened but at all it was so amazing and we had fun over there.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mahmood greets you

My greeting to all, my name Mahmood Algburi one of the Iraqi IT interns , i'm very happy to be here with the second group. I always looked forward for an opportunity to develop my skills in the IT field , now with the help of AED and US embassy in Baghdad my dream came true.

During my first three weeks in America I learned a lot. The first week involved an orientation program and was a nice opportunity as a cultural exchange and we had a tour in San Francisco and some tourist places.

Me and Ibraheem are working with AT&T company. It's big family there, where everybody in it is friendly. We really liked to work with them as a team and everyday we get new experiences.

Each one of us has different dreams and aspirations but we all look forward to gain experience and considerable skills especially in the field of Information Technology.

At the end of my words, I want to thank AED and the US embassy in baghdad and everyone who helped me .

Friday, June 18, 2010

A very big thank you!

Greeting to the dear readers,
I am Ibraheem AlSheikh Ahmed and I would like express a bit about my feelings here as one of the 7 Iraqi IT interns. This is my first trip to the United States and I enjoyed the experience of living and working with nice people. Starting from the minute I landed in Detroit airport, I witnessed how people are kind in this country. Later When I and my friend Mahmood joined AT&T (the giant telecommunication company) I enjoyed being a part of a very big family. The high morality and the hard work are the two important aspects of life here, and I think I am going to learn from people here, and increase my skills and experince whether in the IT field or in the life field. All of the above could not become true without the strong efforts from the AED and the US embassy in Baghdad. So, a very big thank you for the AED, the embassy, and for AT&T for this opportunity.
Kindly keep up with this blog as my next post will be about my internship in the amazing empire of AT&T.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hello World!

Authors often prefer a step-by-step style to write about programming languages, and they usually start by a "Hello World!" example, so I decided to make it the title of my first blog post in America, because I indeed am experiencing this world for the first time!.

I should start by introducing myself, I am Wael Wajeeh Al-Sallami, a 22 years old guy with a BS in Computer Science, I'm the youngest intern in the Iraq IT interns program and I work with Square, a young company that was started last year by Jack Dorsey, a brilliant entrepreneur who has also started the well known "twitter" four years ago.

Since my arrival here to the US, I've experienced a lot of things, many of which I liked very much and felt lucky to be a part of, the orientation week was wonderful and our supervisor Ms. Meredith Gavilan was nothing but kind and helpful to us, providing guidance to me and the other interns so we can get the best out of the experience, and Ms. Julia De Souza was of great value as well.

After the orientation week, four of us had to leave UC Berkeley's International House where we all used to live together, and there were only three of us left living in the i-House, however I felt lucky to be one of those three due to the wonderful cultural experience one could get from living with people from all around the world.

We - me and Mustafa - started working for Square and it turned out to be one of the best things I have experienced here, it is a small company with a limited number of employees, many of which are now good friends of mine.
Everyone in Square is friendly, in fact so friendly that they invited us to a party before we even started working for them.
I feel so privileged to be a part of this company, to be working with such brilliant minds and great characters, and to be in a "start up" company, which gives me the opportunity to closely observe how new companies evolve, what difficulties they face, and how amazing solutions are constructed, both on the technical and the business scales, which is pretty much what this program is about.

Now After roughly two weeks of working for Square, I feel more confident that this experience is going to be one of the most joyful yet educational ones in my life, and I owe the credit to AED and the US Embassy in Baghdad.

I feel I have said enough for today, but I will be updating this blog on regular bases, so please keep visiting this blog to get the latest updates from me and all the other six interns.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hello from Mozilla

Hi, I'm Hayder one of the second group of the Iraq IT interns. I'm very happy to be here working with one of the leading IT companies in the US. I think this program will help me increase my work experience and learn how the American people think and work. Taking this experience to my country will help me develop the IT sector there.
Thanks to the AED for choosing these great companies, I'm happy to find every one here willing to help and advice at any time.
The first week was the orientation week, I found it very useful and learned many things about the American culture and we had a tour in San-Francisco city. The second week we went to our companies and our accommodations accompanied by Ms. Gavilan our program officer. Now I'm working with the infrastructure team in Mozilla corporation as a part of my internship.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ahlan Wa Sahlan!

Hello and welcome to the Iraq IT Internship blog!  We have now begun our Summer 2010 program, and our newest interns will begin posting soon.

The Iraq IT Internship Program brings 6-12 young Iraqi IT professionals to the United States for 12-week internships at leading U.S. IT companies. We are very excited about the summer 2010 program, and our newest group of interns. These seven talented young professionals will be posting to this blog regularly, to talk about their experiences in their internship and in the United States.

Please meet our Summer 2010 interns:

Ammar, Aram, Hayder, Ibraheem, Mahmood, Mustafa, and Wael!

They will be working this summer at Mozilla, AT&T, Engine Yard and Square, all in the San Francisco Bay area.

Welcome to their blog!


Program Officer, Iraq IT Internship Program

Monday, June 7, 2010

AT&T demonstrates the meaning of Rethink Possible for two Iraqi interns

May 24, 2010
Sarbast Rashid and Sadeq Shnaishel arrived in the U.S. on Jan. 24, but the journey for the two AT&T interns from Iraq started months before in October. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that for the very first time, the U.S. State Department would sponsor an Iraqi Information Technology Intern Exchange program. Interns would spend 12 weeks working with some of the leading technology firms in the U.S., acquiring critical IT and entrepreneurial skills to help develop the technology industry in Iraq.
This announcement would change the lives of two young Iraqi men — and it likely changed the lives of some of the AT&T colleagues they encountered.
A journey to success
After days of filling out applications and participating in interviews, weeks of waiting and months of background checks, Rashid and Shnaishel learned they were two of six interns selected to participate in the program and that they'd be headed to St. Louis to work for one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world - AT&T.
Shnaishel, 24, is a college graduate and hoped to expand his programming skills, observe competitive market practices and learn about successful business models while in the U.S.
"When I got selected for the program, I left my job because I knew it would be a big change in my life," he said. "For us, it is three months, and it is not just an internship, it's a way to start our journey to success." Shnaishel's co-intern, Rashid, is a 23-year old college student who wanted to learn the latest technologies so he could apply those skills to his future career.
But Shnaishel and Rashid were in for a surprise. While they expected to learn about new technologies and expand their programming skills, they didn't expect the life skills, business smarts and lessons of acceptance they would learn from the employees at AT&T.
One big family
During their 12 weeks at AT&T, Shnaishel and Rashid worked on different projects related to AT&T's IT operations. Shnaishel worked as a program developer; Rashid focused more on project management, contributing to a project that will increase the efficiency of interactions between AT&T and its customers.
"We were all very impressed by their willingness to learn and participate," said Sarah Gateley, senior technical team lead, who supervised Shnaishel and Rashid. "They arrived and enthusiastically jumped into work and began building relationships with their AT&T co-workers. The program proved to be a good opportunity for all involved."
And it was the willingness of AT&T's employees to answer those questions and address new ideas that made Shnaishel and Rashid realize that AT&T is not just one of the biggest companies in the world, but also one of the most nurturing and diverse. Both interns took notice of AT&T's family-like work environment. They were greeted with smiles, they were asked for their opinions and they were introduced to other employees from neighboring countries to Iraq. "If you asked me what makes AT&T unique, I would say it's their vision and diversity, and the way they treat their employees. Sometimes, I feel like I am home," Shnaishel said.
AT&T External Affairs and other employees arranged several outings for the interns to show them life outside of AT&T and expose them to American culture. From meeting Missouri's former governor to spending time on an employee's farm to visiting area schools, Shnaishel and Rashid truly got a unique and robust view of American life. "We're not just learning what it's like in business here," Rashid said. "We have the chance to study the entire country."
Shnaishel and Rashid took notice of the cultural differences, and the advantages of living in a society that's open to new ideas. "It's really difficult for anyone to understand a new culture immediately. Some things people might find weird or not that ordinary, because of the difference in culture," Shnaishel said. "I am so happy that AT&T understands that issue."
But to AT&T, a different culture, and a different way of thinking, wasn't an issue, it was an advantage. " Sadeq and Sarbast brought fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to our business. They were open to experience all AT&T and St. Louis had to offer," said Debra Hollingsworth, AT&T, director, External Affairs. "The cultural exchange was a win-win for the Interns and AT&T employees."
A bright future
Rashid and Shnaishel returned to Iraq in late April, leaving behind their new AT&T colleagues, but taking countless memories and lessons back home with them. "I think this has shifted the way I think. Now I can look for ideas and promote them. I now have the confidence for work; I have the experience and the knowledge," Rashid said.
Rashid plans to finish his education, and then take the ideas he's formed and the lessons he learned from the internship to start an e-commerce business in Iraq. Shnaishel has plans to start building a GPS application for the iPad.
Just a few weeks ago we launched the Rethink Possiblesm brand, but as Rashid and Shnaishel learned, in reality our employees have been living and breathing the idea for years. Shnaishel remembered one conversation he had with an AT&T colleague. "He said it takes only one man, only one with a vision to make a change. Then all the problems I saw just disappeared, because I know that where the focus is; energy flows. It's that easy."
It's these types of lessons that will affect Sarbast Rashid and Sadeq Shnaishel for years to come. During their last day in St. Louis, Rashid continued to thank AT&T employees. "I may not remember your name, but I will always remember the experiences, your care and the time you spent with us."
Both men have hopes that AT&T will one day expand to Iraq. Because as Shnaishel simply stated, "AT&T is the kind of organization that you want to exist in your country and make you proud."