Behind The Scenes: From GoodNotes User to Developer Intern

Behind The Scenes: From GoodNotes User to Developer Intern

Over the years, GoodNotes has grown to become one of the most loved digital note-taking apps in the world, and a lot of these happy users are students. There is nothing we love more than our users, and we wouldn’t have been where we are today without you. When we launched our first-ever internship program this past summer, we connected with so many student users who wanted the chance to intern with us. One of them was Zepto, a computer science student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. We caught up with them to hear more about their experience as a Software Engineer Intern at GoodNotes.

Hello Zepto! Tell us more about your journey from a GoodNotes user to interning with GoodNotes?

My journey with GoodNotes started as a user. I've always been a fan of this digital note-taking app, despite my eventual switch from the Apple ecosystem several years ago. Upon discovering that GoodNotes was branching out to other platforms and launching a new marketplace, I leapt at the chance to join them as an intern - I cannot wait to pick up GoodNotes again on my new tablet (which is not an iPad :p) when I'm back in school this fall.

The interview process was quite smooth and focused not just on a particular language, but on how I handle different problems and projects. The coding challenge was more about expressing ideas than solving the problem per se, which I found refreshing. There was also quite a lot of sharing of experiences on personal works as well - open source contributions or passion projects, so get ready to be the best story-teller in town if you are handing out your resume.

For me, coding is as natural as breathing, a skill honed over years of participation in Olympiad in Informatics during high school and competitive programming in university. My fascinating voyage from a contestant in college laboratories to a Software Engineering Intern at GoodNotes has been nothing short of exhilarating.

What have you been working on during your internship with GoodNotes?

During my time at GoodNotes, my work was divided into two main parts. Initially, I worked on internal tools to run the content store and support the operations team. Later, I got the chance to work on introducing AI-powered features like text recognition to our cross-platform applications. This venture was particularly stimulating as it allowed me to bring cutting-edge machine-learning tools to Android or Windows users.

A typical day for me commenced late, around 11 or 12. I'd peruse any messages on Slack, sync up with the team's progress, address comments, or carry on with my projects. We also had laid-back afternoon tea sessions for relaxation and camaraderie. GoodNotes places a high priority on work-life balance. Employees are encouraged to draw healthy professional boundaries, bolstered by a vibrant office filled with amenities and policies that deter overtime.

What valuable experience will you bring with you into your future career from your time with us?

This experience taught me the importance of effective communication, especially given the diverse geographical locations of our team members. We worked across different time zones, which required us to communicate asynchronously. I learned to write clear, concise updates and queries, ensuring that my messages were easily understood even without immediate back-and-forth discussion.

Transitioning from a GoodNotes user to a contributor behind the scenes was truly enlightening. We carried out extensive user research, interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds to comprehend their needs and experiences. This broadened my understanding of product development and user needs, transcending my personal user experience.

What would you say was your favourite part of your internship here?

The work culture at GoodNotes was a highlight of my internship. One standout aspect was our vibrant office environment, complete with a well-stocked kitchen, coffee bar, and whisky bars! Our culinary team's offerings were top-notch, and we even had latte-making masterclasses, courtesy of our talented colleague, James.

Any advice to students out there who are tempted to join GoodNotes as an Intern?

If GoodNotes internship is on your radar, don't second guess - just dive in! Embrace every opportunity to experiment with new things, and you'll gain immense knowledge, just as I did. This internship was not just a learning curve, but a wholesome journey. I'm thrilled to apply the skills and insights I've garnered in my future pursuits.