Ana Couto

February 19, 2018

“She is pure gold here in the company.”

Family fun

Want to give your best to your work? Would you be encouraged by someone who is willing to share, who is open to discussion and suggestions, who fixes those frustrating issues for you with a big, beautiful smile?

Let’s meet Ana Couto from Odivelas a municipality northwest of Lisbon, Portugal. Ana and her partner and 2 young daughters are outdoor people. They love jogging, spending time at the beach and sport climbing. Not surprising since the people of Portugal are renowned for their adventurous spirit. In the Middle Ages, the mariner and explorer Vasco da Gama set sail from Lisbon, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and reached Calicut (today’s Kozhikode) in India and Pedro Alvares Cabral set sail across the Atlantic and eventually discovered Brazil. Interestingly, today OTGS has valued employees both in Kozhikode and Brazil.

Ana, when you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was growing up one my dreams was to become a space explorer or a detective ;) I must say sometimes I feel that I have accomplished the latter one, as some of the problems I am faced with could actually benefit from a detective’s scrutiny. Often, just like a detective, I need to find and investigate all kinds of clues to discover what exactly is causing that nasty bug and expose the culprit that hampers a user from seeing a particular feature or functionality.

Footprints in the sand

What memories does your childhood hold for you?

I must say that camping with my family at the beach (before the days of authorized camping grounds) and spending those summer vacations with my grandparents, is one of my fondest childhood memories. I clearly remember walking along the beach hand in hand with my grandfather and collecting seashells to decorate a sand castle or for my grandmother to fashion them into necklaces.

You love an adventure. Is there something you always wanted to try but haven’t done yet?

One of the plans we have as a family is to take a trip to a mountain shelter at an altitude higher than 3000 meters and spend the full week together, just mountain hiking up there with our backpacks. For now, the plans have been laid out – let’s see if we will be able to make it a reality.

Before working at OTGS what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

This seems like such a long time ago! I would have to say that considering what I’m currently doing, one of the most unusual jobs I had was when I was doing an internship as a geologist in a copper/zinc mine. The job involved studying the relationship between the geology and the ore formation of the region in order to locate new mineral resources so that they could be mapped and extracted.

What drew you to OTGS originally?

It was when I was working as a freelancer back in the days when Flash was just emerging and I was creating animated games for children. At around this time, I had started with Web development, developing sites and maintaining them for a non-profit organization. This was when I came across Types and Views and replied to a job application from OTGS. That was when my journey with OTGS took off…

… and how has OTGS changed since?

Looking back, OTGS has changed a lot! From a relatively small company with 30 persons, it has grown and evolved to the 85 we are now. It has been a thrill and a pleasure to see the company go forward and to be a part of its growth.

Enjoying an 8km walk

How has OTGS helped you in your career development?

From developing, games for children with Flash to Systems Development is a pretty big leap and OTGS has played a major role in my personal development. It has encouraged me to learn more and expand my knowledge almost on a daily basis, while at the same time giving me increased responsibilities and the tools to deal with them.

Tell us about the teams you work closely

I can’t say that I work with everyone in the company, but in the end, the work I do impacts on all as the ultimate responsibility of our image and presence depends on our sites and all the functionalities we have on them running smoothly.

What has been your favorite project?

I can’t pinpoint a particular favorite project but here are a few of the outstanding ones for me:

  • from our early beginnings, the Classified reference site
  • followed by tackling custom development for Toolset clients (this was later ditched)
  • then I would say the redesigning of the Support forums workflow and programming API integration for distinct 3rd party services such as MailChimp and ActiveTrail.

What is your proudest moment at OTGS?

I must say that one of my proudest moments is when we manage to do an update on our sites that is not felt by either our clients or other members of the company. They only realise that something has changed for the better and there are no reports coming in of pages not loading or other difficulties.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

I would say that I would like to be a mountain shelter guide…

Mama, that’s sooo high!

What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?

I think that one of the biggest challenges was and still is to balance family life and our personal needs with my work responsibilities. It’s not easy and sometimes the work clashes a bit with the family. But they are very understanding and one of the things that I try hard to do is when it’s family time then I’m 100% committed and do my best not to be looking at the computer every 5 minutes.

What is an ability you wish you had?

To be able to make the days longer to have time to do everything that I want, to tick off one by one everything in my to-do lists and to be able to dedicate my time to a given task. One of the things that I strive to accomplish is to fully appreciate the present moment and dedicate to it all my attention and energy.

What brings you the greatest happiness?

I’m happiest when I’m among family and friends when there is no pressure related to time or responsibilities and I can simply enjoy the moment and relax.