International Experience: Silexicans talk about studying & working in Europe
The Silexica team comes from 20 countries from around the world. Xiao Han and Chi Li from Xi’an and Tianjin respectively, represent China and talk about their experiences of studying and working in Europe.
Since May 2017, Xiao Han has worked on the SLX user interface development. Before that, he studied mechanical and electrical integration at the Hamburg University of Technology.
Chi Li from Tianjin, obtained a master’s degree in computer science from the School of Computer Science in Paris. He has been an intern in Silexica’s SLX.cloud development department. Their work is to improve the SLX tools so that it can run efficiently in any browser and operating system. Here we find out what it’s like for them both to work and live a long way from home.
Q: Can you talk about your learning experiences? How did you decide to study in Europe?
Xiao Han: During college I was planning to study new technologies abroad. I chose Germany as it is a leader in construction machinery and automobiles, as well as high-quality educational resources. I was interested in software development, especially in industrial automation and automotive applications, and then I learned programming by myself.
Chi Li: I came to Europe at the end of 2015 to study. The reason for coming here is actually very simple. I want to exercise my independent living ability and improve my communication skills.
Q: Many overseas students are looking for internships or positions. How did you find this job at Silexica?
Xiao Han: After I graduated, it took me seven months to find a position. As a student, I had similar projects and internships, but the previous projects were mainly for scientific research. I also lacked experience in engineering. Luckily my (now) boss suggested an internship here, and then I was offered my position as a software engineer one year later.
Chi Li: I found it on LinkedIn, it was very efficient, and the recruitment process was very smooth.
Q: Compared with other companies, what do you think is the biggest difference working at a technology start-up?
Xiao Han: I really like the flat management levels, discussion is encouraged, the fast-pace, high efficiency, high degree of collaboration, strong technical strength, and multiculturalism.
Chi Li: A technology start-up provides employees with a very good platform. As long as you have ideas, you will get the resources and support to make it happen. A positive technical atmosphere is everywhere, everyone has to learn very quickly. On the other side is that the working atmosphere is good fun with lots of social activities and events.
Q: If you explain the SLX cloud in one sentence…
Xiao Han: The quickest way to perform a full range of tests, trials, and demonstrations of SLX product features.
Chi Li: It is the application of Silexica’s core technology on a SaaS platform, which is simple, efficient and stable.
Q: What is your job role in the SLX department?
Xiao Han: Development and optimization of existing SLX desktop editions, development of customer projects and new features, bug fixes, and partial cloud development.
Chi Li: I am responsible for cloud plug-in development (data visualization/autopilot), bug debugging, and testing.
Q: What part of this job are the most attractive to you?
Xiao Han: Expert teams are making great solutions. There is a lot of space for learning and improving your skills.
Chi Li: We have the opportunity to communicate with people from different countries in different parts of the world to understand their culture. We also have access to a wide range of topics such as embedded vision and autonomous driving and the latest technologies like D3.JS, Ui-Grid, and Docker.
Q: What leisure activities do you have during your leisure time?
Xiao Han: Basketball, football, hiking, reading.
Chi Li: I travel a lot to other European countries, and sometimes I go to the bar with the landlord.
Q: What do you miss about China?
Xiao Han: I stay in contact with my friends, classmates, and family members in my hometown to learn about the developments back home. I miss my hometown cuisine and the convenience of life.
Chi Li: Of course, I miss my home, miss my family and friends, and my hometown food!
Q: What advice would you give to those looking to study or work overseas, especially those who study engineering and technology?
Xiao Han: During your studies, do internships, develop your self-learning abilities, pay attention to the most popular technologies, continue learning, consult with experts. The opportunity to get an offer from a company depends on the individual’s technical reserves. Job interviews are a good way to learn technology and get a better understanding about industries.
Chi Li: Firstly, we must grasp the language. If you find out that you are not able to communicate the basics, it destroys self-confidence. Secondly, be sure to ask questions and be brave enough to communicate, because you are surrounded by people more experienced than you. From them you can learn a lot of things that cannot be learned from books.
Update: Chi Li completed his internship and got a software engineer position at a leading financial company in China. He told us that the internship experience at Silexica was an important reason for him to take the step up to this position. We wish him all the best back home in China!