Life at Goodnotes

Day in the Life of a Hybrid Data & Backend Engineer at GoodNotes

June 3, 2021

Nathan joined GoodNotes 8 months ago as one of our software engineers, after being referred by a friend. While he started out working on backend projects, he’s now migrated to the Data Platform team, where he works on a cross-functional team to build our internal analytics platform.

Here’s what he gets up to during a typical day in GoodNotes’ Hong Kong office.


I arrive between 9:50am to 10am in the morning. The first thing I do is check updates in my email, Quip, Notion and Slack.


I’m currently working on the Data Platform team, and every day at 10am we have a standup meeting. Our team is made up of colleagues that specialize in machine learning, data, and software engineering. I started out mostly doing backend engineering, but now on this team, I’m also doing data engineering.


After our standup, I’ll join the crowd that’s inevitably formed at the coffee bar. Like most other people in the Hong Kong office, every morning I make a coffee to practice latte art.

I can’t taste the difference in different coffee… but I can see it.

It’s nice to communicate with people from other teams, so I’ll usually stay to chat depending on how many people are there too. When there’s no one else making coffee, I drink pretty fast and I’ll return to my desk.

There is rarely no one else there:

From left to right: Rammy (QA), Steven (Founder), Nathan (me), Onn (my best friend), Felix (the new guy), David (Machine Learning).


This is the time I’ll spend grading take home assignments from engineering candidates, which they receive after an initial screening call.

Otherwise, I’ll go straight to coding.

I use IntelliJ IDEA when coding in Kotlin, PyCharm for Python, and Visual Code for everything else.


At a certain point midday, I’ll suddenly feel like the air is silent, and I’ll look up to see that everyone’s gone. That’s when I know it’s lunch.


As if I hadn’t already spent enough time at the coffee bar, we usually have coffee tastings after lunch, where James and Patrick make hand drip coffees for us to sample.

This is when I pretend to know how different coffee from different beans tastes.

The coffee bar is also the perfect place for stretching and maybe some exercise, which is good for the health.


Then it’s back to work.

I get to work with many others too outside of the Data Platform team. Since I’m responsible for ingesting data into the data platform, I get the data from strategic parties on different teams. So for example, if I need data from Jira, then I will find Rammy, our QA; if I need data from Zendesk, then I will find Denny, one of our customer support agents.


On Fridays, GoodKitchen (our in-house catering!) usually has some kind of dessert in the afternoon, so I’ll head over to the dining hall.

Thai milk tea ice cream!


When I need some suggestions on technical things, you’ll find me floating around nearby coworkers’ desks around this time. It’s helpful to also understand what others are working on and how I can learn from them.

From left to right: Nathan, Onn, Jessica

And that’s a wrap! Can you see yourself spending a day at work like this?

Join us on the GoodNotes team!

We have openings for iOS engineers, backend engineers and many more. Check out our open positions today.

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