The Meet The Aptoiders series rolls on, as we continue to feature members of the international Aptoide team who are leading change in their respective fields, and helping shape the future of Android and mobile technology.
Today we say hi to Paula Chen, a promising, young software engineer at Aptoide who always steps up to any challenge that is put in front of her - - including relocating all the way to Aptoide's Office in Shenzhen, China - and makes it look easy to accomplish. Read on to learn more about Paula and how she overcomes the challenges an Engineer faces on a daily basis and all the exciting things she gets to work on.
1. Hi Paula! Tell us about yourself. What’s your background and what brought you to Aptoide?
你好！Or the literal translation for Hello: You Good!
I’m a Lisbon born young lady and daughter of China born parents. Growing up I was always really into drawing and writing, and I even almost published a book once! Nowadays, I'm more into coding and numbers, and music - nothing beats the beat of music (pun intended).
I’m also a Telecommunications and Computer Science Engineering graduate, and I ended up in Aptoide by the hand of the one and only Paulo Trezentos, who was one of my Professors and the CEO and co-founder of Aptoide. I joined the team 2 years ago as an Android TV Developer, until I got the challenge to relocate to the Aptoide office in Shenzhen, China and take on another role as an engineer for Aptoide.
2. How was it like taking the plunge and moving all the way from Lisbon to Shenzhen?
I was already pretty well integrated within the Aptoide China team, as we had been working together for a while before, so I think it really helped with knowing that I'd find familiar faces in the other side of the world. I had time to prepare mentally to leave Portugal and do a reset in my life.
The moment I stepped foot in the Chinese Silicon Valley of Hardware, I found myself in the middle of skyscrapers. It was also very exciting and motivating to see Aptoide’s partners name on the top of some of the skyscrapers.
There was quite the adjustment for the first few weeks. There was so much information to take in. Thankfully, all the yummy food here made me energetic and, of course, the precious help I received from my current team mates Manuel and Lynn was super helpful. Thank you, guys, you rock!
3. What are some of the challenges you face by working away from the central office? Do you feel it’s a bit like working remotely?
The biggest challenge for me is the timezone difference. The fact that the Head Quarter office starts working around 4pm in Chinese time zone, it means that we may not be able to solve an issue in a timely manner.
Another challenge is data traffic speed. The back office on this side of the world can be compared to when you use Internet Explorer. You get the picture, right? Downloading an APK takes patience. Thankful for VPNs that act as a nice workaround in these situations.
So yes, to answer your question, sometimes it gives you the feeling that you are working remotely. On the other hand, as some issues are more technical, I try to provide help by solving technical tasks as much as possible so that our team can be more independent from the central office.
4. Aptoide works with some really big partners in China such as Xiaomi. What sort of technological challenges do you face when working with them?
Every partner collaboration goes thought two main dimensions: the business side and the technical side. Having this free solution in which we offer our partners a completely customisable app store based on a revenue share model can be quite challenging for us, as different partners have different needs.
On the technical side, I would say dealing with different types of hardware – that is, different android versions, different screen resolutions, density, CPU, Leanback and GMS in the case of TVs - could be some of the biggest challenges.
5. You were involved in volunteer work while you were still in Portugal. Do you feel volunteer work was an important part of your personal development? Do you plan to engage with volunteer associations in Shenzhen?
Developing professional skills is of course important, but to be able to pass on a good vibe, making people to be keen on you is also essential. I think spending free time with a volunteer association can only add value. There are a lot of opportunities and everyone should try at least once, either linked to a real issue such as poverty or just to help organize an event.
In my case, I have done both - the associations were CASA (“Casa de Associação de Sem Abrigos”) and “Marginal Voluntariado” - and I can say that these experiences helped me become more social, open, humble, and richer.
My plan is to try to do this at least once a year, and now that I'm in China and I learned that you can work with pandas as a volunteer...well, count me in.