Category Archives: Student Blog

Google news and updates especially for students

Meet the winners of Google’s Pay It Forward Challenge!

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Google hosted its third annual Pay it Forward Challenge as a way to recognize students and professionals who are demonstrating a commitment to expanding access and opportunities to the Latinx community and beyond. We’re excited to share the work of our four winners!


Adan Gonzalez




Adan Gonzalez grew up in South Oak Cliff—a predominantly Mexican-American, low-income community in inner-city Dallas. Despite going to a school with high dropout and violence rates, Adan worked hard to prove to his parents that their sacrifices and hard work were worth it, and ultimately obtained a B.A. from Georgetown University and a M.Ed from Harvard.


In 2012, motivated by his family and by his community, Adan founded Puede Network, which helps transform students into scholars, and scholars into community leaders. Their Higher Education on Wheels campaign connect parents, teachers, and students to resources such as scholarships and financial aid. Puede also holds conferences with C-Suite executives to provide comprehensive college services, volunteer opportunities, and mentorship to underprivileged students in Dallas public schools.


Since 2012, Puede Network has grown beyond community events and now engages more than 100,000 students and parents in 15 states through presentations, blogs, and radio shows.


How can you help?

If you are interested in getting involved with Puede Network, you can express your interest here.


Brianna Silva




Brianna Silva is a proud Mexican-American and an active advocate for Hispanic students at her high school and within her community. During her freshman year she noticed that the ELL (English Language Learners) students in her class all sat in the back of the classroom, confused and forgotten.


In turn, Brianna began to meet with the school administration to address the issues affecting Hispanic students at her high school. As the president of the Minority Student Achievement Network at her school, she assists in planning student-teacher forums and continues to empower ELL and Hispanic students, speaking to her local civil rights committee about the unique obstacles that Latino scholars might face.


Recognizing the dire need for financial support for college, Brianna also founded The Hope Scholarship, a fund dedicated to financially assist low-income Hispanic students with their dream to attend college. Brianna hopes to continue working passionately to empower Latino students in college and beyond. Her next goal is to host a Hispanic Student Conference where students from all over the country can come together to address issues that Latino students might face.


How can you help?

If anyone is interested in collaborating with Brianna or assisting her with her projects and goals, you can reach out via email at givebackwithbrianna@gmail.com.


Brittany Amano



Brittany Amano is a sophomore at Duke University and the founder of The Future Isn’t Hungry. As someone who experienced food insecurity throughout her childhood, Brittany believes it is important to not think of hunger as something that only happens in developing countries—it might be happening in the town next to yours.


Many students rely on the free meals they receive when school is in session, but have to go home to an empty fridge on Friday night. The Future Isn’t Hungry provides healthy food bags to impoverished youth for their weekends. Every bag contains a weekend’s worth of food for 2 ½ people (containing fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein sources that can be too expensive for low-income families to afford), as well as healthy recipes using low-cost food items to help children learn how to prepare wholesome, balanced meals.


The idea for The Future Isn’t Hungry began when Brittany hosted her first food drive as a fourth grader. Since then, the initiative has been able to provide over 770,000 meals and raise over $4.6 million worth in food.


How can you help?
Get involved! Get some friends together to join the fight against childhood food insecurity — start your own healthy food bag initiative and use the #FutureisntHungry hashtag to share your work.


Brittany encourages you to submit your own big idea to LEAD360!



Katiuska Pimentel




Katiuska Pimentel migrated to the United States at a young age and struggled with economic and social stability, as her undocumented status made finding a job difficult. Despite the hardships she faced, her family taught her that education is a tool to achieve opportunities and social change. Since high school, Katiuska has been an active leader for the immigrant community. She supported state and local pro-immigrant policies and she advocated to expand the access of undocumented students to higher education. She also worked on the #health4all movement — expanding health rights to undocumented minors.

Katiuska is currently a community organizer at SIREN (Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network), where she works closely with community members on immigration advocacy and reform. She delivers "Know your rights" presentations, teaching community members how to execute their constitutional rights if they are in contact with immigration authorities.


As someone who has experienced major injustices, Katiuska wants to fight for the rights of the many people who, like her, come from underserved backgrounds. In the future, she hopes to continue advocating for undocumented, underserved communities as an immigration lawyer.


How can you help?

Katiuska would appreciate donations to SIREN, so that the organization can expand its deportation defense services.



Thanks to all our winners! Keep up with us on social to hear more about our initiatives.

Hash Code 2018 registration is now live — are you up for the challenge?

Are you up for a coding challenge? Team up to solve an engineering problem from Google — registration for Hash Code 2018 is now open at g.co/hashcode!

Last year’s Final Round competitors celebrating a job well done


Hash Code is our flagship team programming competition for students and professionals in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The 2018 contest will kick off with an Online Qualification Round on Thursday, March 1st. During this virtual round, teams can participate from wherever they’d like, but we’d recommend joining a Hash Code hub (more info below). Top scoring teams from the Online Qualification Round will be invited to Google Dublin in April to go head-to-head for the title of Hash Code 2018 Champion.


Last year, more than 26,000 developers from 100+ countries participated in Hash Code. In the end, it was AIM Tech from Russia who took home the coveted Hash Code trophy during the Final Round at Google Paris.

First place team, AIM Tech, celebrates onstage at the Final Round after being announced the winners of Hash Code 2017


Want to take part in Hash Code? Here’s what you need to know:

The problems are modeled after Google engineering challenges

We want participants to experience what software engineering is like at Google, so we model Hash Code problems after challenges faced by Google engineering teams. Past problems have included optimizing video serving on YouTube, routing Streetview cars through a busy city, and optimizing the layout of a Google data center.


And just like software engineering at Google, there is no one correct solution to Hash Code problems. Instead, each round of the competition is designed as a battle of heuristics: participants work together to develop approximate solutions and then launch and iterate to progressively improve their score. Ingrid von Glehn, a Software Engineer at Google London, adds: “We design the problems to be challenging, but not intimidating. It’s important to us that everyone has fun while taking part.”


Participants work in teams

To compete in Hash Code, you need to form a team of 2 to 4 people. This means it’s not just about what you know individually, but about how you and your team can work together to find better approaches and approximations as you advance through the problem.


Damien, a Software Engineer at Google Zurich, has been a part of Hash Code since the beginning, first as a competitor and now as a volunteer. He advises participants to form well-rounded teams in order to succeed at Hash Code. “Combining different insights and skills can be the key to climbing the scoreboard,” Damien says. “The more diverse your team is, the better off you'll be!”


Want to compete, but don’t have a team yet? Don’t worry! Once you’ve registered for the competition, you can use our Facebook Event and Google+ community to find a great mix of members for your team.


Hubs add extra fun to the Online Qualification Round

Hubs are meetups where teams in the same area can come together to compete in the Online Qualification Round. Hubs add extra excitement to the competition and are a great opportunity for you to connect with other developers in your community.


So far, more than 250 hubs have been registered by universities, Google Developer Groups, coworking spaces, and other organizations across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.


Don’t see a hub registered near you? It’s not too late to sign up to host a hub in your local area - find out more here!


Ready to accept the challenge? Sign up today!

Registration will stay open until February 26, 2018.



Teams hard at work tackling our wireless router placement problem during 2017’s Final Round in Paris.

Hash Code 2018 registration is now live — are you up for the challenge?

Are you up for a coding challenge? Team up to solve an engineering problem from Google — registration for Hash Code 2018 is now open at g.co/hashcode!

Last year’s Final Round competitors celebrating a job well done


Hash Code is our flagship team programming competition for students and professionals in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The 2018 contest will kick off with an Online Qualification Round on Thursday, March 1st. During this virtual round, teams can participate from wherever they’d like, but we’d recommend joining a Hash Code hub (more info below). Top scoring teams from the Online Qualification Round will be invited to Google Dublin in April to go head-to-head for the title of Hash Code 2018 Champion.


Last year, more than 26,000 developers from 100+ countries participated in Hash Code. In the end, it was AIM Tech from Russia who took home the coveted Hash Code trophy during the Final Round at Google Paris.

First place team, AIM Tech, celebrates onstage at the Final Round after being announced the winners of Hash Code 2017


Want to take part in Hash Code? Here’s what you need to know:

The problems are modeled after Google engineering challenges

We want participants to experience what software engineering is like at Google, so we model Hash Code problems after challenges faced by Google engineering teams. Past problems have included optimizing video serving on YouTube, routing Streetview cars through a busy city, and optimizing the layout of a Google data center.


And just like software engineering at Google, there is no one correct solution to Hash Code problems. Instead, each round of the competition is designed as a battle of heuristics: participants work together to develop approximate solutions and then launch and iterate to progressively improve their score. Ingrid von Glehn, a Software Engineer at Google London, adds: “We design the problems to be challenging, but not intimidating. It’s important to us that everyone has fun while taking part.”


Participants work in teams

To compete in Hash Code, you need to form a team of 2 to 4 people. This means it’s not just about what you know individually, but about how you and your team can work together to find better approaches and approximations as you advance through the problem.


Damien, a Software Engineer at Google Zurich, has been a part of Hash Code since the beginning, first as a competitor and now as a volunteer. He advises participants to form well-rounded teams in order to succeed at Hash Code. “Combining different insights and skills can be the key to climbing the scoreboard,” Damien says. “The more diverse your team is, the better off you'll be!”


Want to compete, but don’t have a team yet? Don’t worry! Once you’ve registered for the competition, you can use our Facebook Event and Google+ community to find a great mix of members for your team.


Hubs add extra fun to the Online Qualification Round

Hubs are meetups where teams in the same area can come together to compete in the Online Qualification Round. Hubs add extra excitement to the competition and are a great opportunity for you to connect with other developers in your community.


So far, more than 250 hubs have been registered by universities, Google Developer Groups, coworking spaces, and other organizations across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.


Don’t see a hub registered near you? It’s not too late to sign up to host a hub in your local area - find out more here!


Ready to accept the challenge? Sign up today!

Registration will stay open until February 26, 2018.



Teams hard at work tackling our wireless router placement problem during 2017’s Final Round in Paris.

Showing Students they Can: Apply for CSSI 2018!



Applications for the 2018 Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) and the Generation Google Scholarship (both available to students in the US or Canada) open on January 9th. Learn more about both programs below and apply!






What

The Computer Science Summer Institute is a three-week introduction to computer science (CS) for graduating high school seniors who’ve displayed excellent leadership and have a passion for technology. Students will spend three weeks at a Google office, where they’ll learn programming fundamentals directly from Google engineers. In their final week, groups of students will design and develop their very own application (with mentorship from Google engineers). 



The Generation Google Scholarship helps aspiring computer scientists from underrepresented groups excel in technology and become leaders in the field. Selected students will receive 10,000 USD (for those studying in the US) or 5,000 CAD (for those studying in Canada) for the 2018-2019 school year. As part of the scholarship, current high school seniors who are entering their first year of university in Fall 2018 will be required to attend CSSI in the summer of 2018.



Where & When

We offer two types of sessions at CSSI: commuter and residential. At our residential sites, students will live in a dorm for the duration of the three weeks. The residential site is reserved for students who do not have a local Google office nearby. At the residential sites, housing, meals, and transportation will be provided and costs will be covered by Google. Residential sites for 2018 include:



Seattle, WA: July 8th - July 28th 

Pittsburgh, PA: July 8th - July 28th

Cambridge, MA: July 8th - July 28th

Kirkland, WA: July 15th - August 4th 



At the commuter sites, students will be provided a travel stipend and expected to commute to/from the respective Google office for each day of CSSI. Lunch will be provided and covered by Google each day. Students within a specified mileage distance from the respective day-camp offices will automatically be considered for those sites. Commuter sites for 2018 include:



Atlanta, GA: July 9th - July 27th

Austin, TX: July 16th - August 3rd

Chicago, IL: July 9th - July 27th

Los Angeles, CA: July 16th - August 3rd

Mountain View, CA: July 16th - August 3rd

New York City, NY: July 9th - July 27th



There will also be two Saturday activities planned at both the residential and commuter sites that will be covered by Google. This is an excellent opportunity to explore (or further explore if you’re in a commuter site!) the city and to get to know your fellow participants better. 





Who

We are looking for students eager to spend a few weeks immersed in life at Google — tackling interesting technical problems, working collaboratively, and having fun. The program is committed to addressing diversity in the field of computer science and is open to all qualified high school seniors who intend to major in computer science at a four year university in the US (excluding territories) or Canada.



Why

Google is committed to increasing the enrollment and retention of students in the field of computer science. CSSI offers an intensive, interactive, and fun experience that seeks to inspire the tech leaders and innovators of tomorrow. We want students to leave empowered, heading into their first year of college armed with technical skills and a unique learning experience that can only be found at Google. We aim to expose selected students to key programming concepts while enabling them to tackle the challenging problems in CS by creating a safe, comfortable environment to learn, play, break, and build.







Apply

Visit our Google for Education website for more information and to apply. The application deadline is March 2, 2018. Final decisions will be announced in early May.



Questions?

Give us a shout at cssi@google.com or generationgoogle@google.com.


My Path to Google: Jordan LaCroix, Software Engineer



Welcome to the 17th installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.




Today’s post is all about Jordan LaCroix. Read on!









Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in the south end of New Bedford, Massachusetts, also called “The Whaling City.” I went to Bristol Community College downtown, and then to the next town over to finish up my bachelors in Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.




When I’m not at work, I’m outside the house—backpacking, mountaineering, biking, kayaking, rock climbing, walking the dog, or anything that gives me a reason to get some sunshine.




What’s your role at Google?
I'm a Software Engineer on DoubleClick Bid Manager. Before you see an ad, there's bidding that goes on between a bunch of other ads that want to be seen. We automate that bidding process for advertisers, so they get the best bang for their buck! It takes a lot of manpower to fuel the process, and I love all the coordinating and collaboration.




What inspires you to come in every day?
I always joke and say it’s the free food, but it's really a place I'm proud to work at! I really believe Google will make for a better future.




Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
I was ready to throw on my Google onesie long before applying. I went to a no-name school, had no internships, and I thought it wouldn't work out, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to apply.




How did the recruitment process go for you?
I applied on the careers page thinking I wouldn’t hear back. Then I went through the interviews thinking I wouldn't hear back. The day came when I DID hear back, and I recall Jarrod (my recruiter) saying in a sad voice "Jordan, remember I said you should be okay at this point...(dramatic pause), well I'm sorry, but...(a longer dramatic pause) you have nothing to worry about! Congrats."




What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
It takes time — just relax!




Can you tell us more about the resources you used to prep?
There's a good subreddit (‘cscareerquestions’) which has loads of prep material.




To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
When you get here, remember that the food isn't going anywhere!





Want to learn more about the Engineering Residency? Watch our video, or head over to g.co/EngResidency. Ready to apply to the residency? We're currently accepting applications at https://goo.gl/rhBmj1.

My Path to Google: Ashley Shields, Inside Sales Representative

Welcome to the 16th installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Ashley Shields. Read on!




Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in San Diego, California, and I’ve called Austin, Texas, my home for the past four years. I attended Northern Arizona University and studied Business with an emphasis in Hotel and Restaurant Management. After graduation (before coming over to Google), I was on the sales team that opened the largest JW Marriott in North America.
I love staying active in my free time. Austin is a great place to be active, as it has endless trails and a bounty of entertainment. I’m an avid tennis player and participate in local fitness competitions in Austin. I’m also a huge fan of stand-up comedy and concerts. Austin has a ton of unique venues for both, which makes it the ideal city to live in.
Fun facts: I love going to the dentist. I once bought Nick Jonas dinner. I have been featured on two billboards.

What’s your role at Google?
I am currently an Inside Sales Representative for the Google Cloud team covering the Central Florida region. I help identify business needs within a company, and work with our team to create custom IT solutions using the Google Cloud Platform—I’m very passionate about helping customers develop ideas that will grow their businesses and save them money to reinvest in their company and spur customer growth.
My team is based in the Austin office, but I work virtually with my Central Florida teammates (based out of Florida and Atlanta). We use our collaboration toolset, G Suite, to ensure a great customer experience as if we are all sitting together in one office!
Being here is great because Google allows their employees to work on a lot of cool projects; one that I’m passionate about is the culture committee for our Cloud Team in Austin. My favorite project was the Google Gives week, where different types of charities are highlighted every day for a week—it’s an awesome way to give back to such an incredible city. We even raised $4,000 in one day to support a local Austin charity!
Another great project I was able to work on was event planning for the Google Cloud team. I loved being able to work cross-functionally with the marketing team to put on local Cloud events, helping educate current and future customers on the power of Google Cloud. It’s an amazing feeling to see my ideas come to life, as I was able to create and execute events to drive new and current customer business.

What inspires you to come in every day?

There are two important aspects of Google that inspire me to come to work everyday: 1) the people, and 2) the passion. As you can imagine, the people at Google are some of the most brilliant I’ve worked with, and partnering with these individuals every day is a dream! The ideas and teamwork produced in the office are incredible.
Because people are happy to be working here, you are able to thrive off of the positive energy of others. Every day brings something different and exciting, whether it’s a morning meeting, a trip to the micro kitchen or a coffee break at the cafe, you really never tire of the environment. I also get to work with people from all around the world, and I think we really come together when we work towards the common goal of “organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful.”
Right now, I am working on a training program for the new Enterprise Customer Development (ECD) role. The Googlers in this role will be focused on growing and expanding the enterprise business of Google Cloud. Field Sales reps, like myself, will partner with ECDs to research business leads, open up new opportunities for the Google Cloud platform, schedule client meetings, and identify prospects for potential Cloud engagement. Having this brand new role on our team is really exciting, and I’m glad I get to be a part of building out the training curriculum.


Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
Google always seemed to be the most incredible place to work — I remember reading articles on Google’s innovative approach to all the different businesses they were looking to enhance. Needless to say I was a bit intimidated when applying because I was so new to the workforce (I only had about a year of experience post graduation).


How did the recruitment process go for you?
The recruitment process was smooth!
My path to Google was a little unique, as I was referred into the company by a former coworker. When I first started with Google, I worked as a contractor for Google Fiber in the early stages as we were beginning to build out the Fiber business. After a year of being a contractor, I was lucky enough to be converted into a full-time position, leading the inside sales team for the Atlanta region.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
My advice to anyone going through the recruitment process is be patient and don’t overthink. Google has come up with a great workflow for hiring the best candidates. The recruiters are working with various teams and candidates, so if they don’t get back to you the second after you send a follow-up email, don’t stress. Once you’ve completed the interview process, just relax and be proud of your accomplishment thus far.
One key thing that I didn’t know at first was that Google is always changing — we have to; that’s what makes us the best at what we do.

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?
Since I was already in previous sales roles, product knowledge and technical preparation was where I focused for my new role on Cloud. Current market research was key—Gartner was a great resource to learn about how the market and our customers viewed Google Cloud, as well as the competition within the Cloud world. For this new Enterprise Customer Development role, technical knowledge of Cloud isn’t required (but is recommended!).
YouTube was also a great resource, from NEXT presentations to quick videos on teams learning “how do I spin up a VM in the cloud.”
My advice for someone new coming to technical sales is to be confident. You’ve most likely been selling your whole life, you just might not be aware of it. The technical aspect of the sales position will come with exposure to different solutions and use cases.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Always bring your best self to the workplace: be present, be engaging, and have fun! If you get a job at Google, they hired you because you displayed great ability to make a difference. This means the possibilities for growth, education, and impact are endless. Be proud of all the accomplishments that brought you to becoming a Googler, and continue to make an impact with all the opportunities that will come your way.



Interested in the Enterprise Customer Development role? Apply now!

My Path to Google: Hee Jung Ryu, Senior Software Engineer, Google Research



Welcome to the 16th installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.


Today’s post is all about Hee Jung Ryu. Read on!



Can you tell us a bit about yourself?


I grew up in South Korea, in a district called Ilsan at the Northeast corner of Seoul. I also lived in a town called Vienna, Virginia, in the U.S. for one year when I was thirteen years old, basically to learn English.


I started college at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, but transferred to Cornell University in the U.S. in my sophomore year. I graduated from Cornell with a Bachelor’s specializing in artificial intelligence and Master’s degrees in computer science focused on computer vision and distributed computing, with minors in mechanical engineering concentrating in robotics. I also worked at a robotics lab—albeit briefly—as an undergrad.


I think of myself as a collector of new experiences: scuba diving and surfing (despite my fear of deep water), skydiving, airplane piloting, ziplining, snowboarding, and more! New experiences get me excited and keep me awed and humble, because I realize that there is so much in this world that I want to learn about.



What’s your role at Google?


My official title at work is senior software engineer, and I’m on the Google Research team. I research artificial intelligence (A.I.), specifically at the intersection of Deep Learning and Computer Vision. I also explore the topic of “fairness” in machine learning.



What inspires you to come in every day?


My past five-and-a-half years at Google flew by so quickly because every day at work has been full of exciting projects and conversations. For me, the best part of working at Google is the respect and freedom given to engineers and research scientists. We are always empowered to choose or create our own projects. For example, in my role, I’ve been able to research the topic of building more inclusive machine learning systems (see my research Improving Smiling Detection with Gender and Race Diversity). What could be more exciting than working on something that you are passionate about?


I’ve also had the opportunity to turn one of my ideas, an electronic screen protector, into a reality, which I presented at the 2017 NIPS (Neural Information Processing Systems) conference. In addition, Google has provided me with an abundance of resources, from hardware and software to access to experts in various fields, waiting to kindly share their passion and knowledge with me because I’m part of their Google family.



Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?


More than anything, the following experience led me to choose Google over other companies and offers: A female lead recruiter from Google came to Cornell’s campus during a fall recruitment season. She had such an energy and charisma, which inspired me and convinced me that Google was the place for me.







How did the recruitment process go for you?


Through Cornell’s on-campus recruiting process, I applied for a job at Google and got an on-campus interview. At the same time, a Googler reached out to me through LinkedIn, offering to refer me to Google, which I agreed to, as well.



What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?


I would have discussed more of my extracurricular activities and interests during the interview process in order to emphasize my passion for pursuing new ideas and experiences.



Can you tell us more about the resources you used to prep?


I reviewed my university course materials on data structures and algorithms and also interviewed with other companies before doing the interview with Google, so I could practice and get more experience interviewing.



What tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?


Don’t be afraid to teach yourself something new. I think that being able to teach yourself about a new field quickly can help you succeed in the fast-paced, constantly changing world of technology, especially when you are at the forefront of a research subject, like A.I.. There’s rarely someone else who can teach you what you want to know because we’re all exploring and discovering new aspects of the technology at the same time. So you have to be the one to trailblaze and truly grow by teaching yourself and others along the way.




To learn more about Google Research, https://research.google.com/. Ready to explore roles at Google Research? Go to https://research.google.com/workatgoogle.html

My Path to Google: Julius Adebayo, Google AI Resident

Welcome to the 14th installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Julius Adebayo. Read on!



Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in Nigeria, and came to the US for college. I studied mechanical engineering in undergrad, but started to drift towards machine learning (ML) around my last year. Afterwards, I ended up pursuing a master’s degree in computer science, focused on machine learning, and another in technology policy. In general, I am interested in research that tries to provide guarantees that deployment of machine learning in the real-world will be safe and reliable. My focus has been in studying bias, interpretability, and privacy/security all within an ML context. I also enjoy thinking about the intersection of machine learning and policy, especially how current advancements will affect daily life down the line. Outside of school and work, I enjoy listening to Jazz and Nigerian music in all its glory. I like playing soccer, and watching the NBA. Lately, I have become more interested in trying to spread machine learning knowledge to places in West Africa where machine learning expertise is not abundant.



What’s your role at Google?

I am one of the current residents in the Google AI Residency Program. The goal is to collaborate with researchers and engineers on the Google Brain team to do deep learning research.  Deep learning research is new to me, and I am actually coming to it as a skeptic. There is a famous quote attributed to Von Neumann that says, "With four parameters I can fit an elephant. Give me five and I can make it wiggle its tail." The point of that quote is you typically want models that don't have too many parameters because you could make such models do anything. However, deep learning models tend to violate that requirement. Since being here, I have come to appreciate working with neural networks. There is a vibrant community here that is actively working to address several problems with the current models, especially in regards to security, potential bias, and stability of machine learning models. The work I am doing now is focused on assessing the performance of neural network explanation methods. (This link is closely related.)



What inspires you to come in every day?

The Google Brain team has several researchers and engineers who are working on really interesting projects. Talking to other residents and researchers, I find that I leave every conversation having learned something new. The breadth and depth of research on the team is incredible and it is quite fun to be in an environment like that.



Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?

I found out about the residency program through a friend. As someone working at a startup doing ML, it was impossible to not hear about deep learning on a daily basis. I figured the residency would be a way to try and get to the cutting edge of work in this area as fast as possible. The Google Brain team has several researchers doing really interesting work. I remember reading some papers from ICLR, and noticed that a few of the papers I enjoyed reading came from researchers on the team.


How did the recruitment process go for you?

The recruitment process was quite smooth. I felt like I was aware of what was required at each stage, and I found the recruiters to be accommodating to my requests or questions. I was also given an opportunity to talk to a few researchers on the team.



What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?

Google can be overwhelming, especially given the concentration of expertise on the team. I would be more open to asking questions and reaching out to people doing interesting work.


Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?

The residency interview had a coding and research portion.
I had gone through software engineering interviews before, so my preparation there was using the whiteboard type experience I already had in that context. For the research angle, I went through a few deep learning papers that I found interesting, and tried to understand them. A few of the papers were discussed extensively in some of my interviews. I also spent some time reviewing past research I had done, so I could explain it well to others.


Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Apply for the Residency Program now at g.co/airesidency/apply!

Bring Computer Science to Your Community: Volunteer with Google igniteCS

Google’s igniteCS student volunteer program is kicking off another year of computer science (CS) volunteering! For the past three years, university students around the US with a passion for computer science have gone into local K12 schools, spreading the excitement to the next generation about where computer science can take them. We’ve seen over 2,000 students share their love for computer science and this year, we’re excited to welcome the next cohort from states like Florida, Ohio, and New Mexico. We’d love for you to join the Google student volunteer community too! You can register on the website and we’ll send you everything you need to get started.

Piero Castillo, a third year CS major at the University of Central Florida, and a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), has been volunteering through the student volunteers program  at a local high school for the past year.  

He developed a love for CS early into his college career and believes “CS is always relevant…technology is part of everything.” Sharing his knowledge and passion with younger students has created a lasting impact on Piero and the students he worked with. At the end of last school year, a high school student who was motivated by his experience with the igniteCS volunteers said that he “never realized how much CS could accomplish and wanted to keep learning.”

Piero Castillo, CS major at the University of Central Florida


Over at the University of Cincinnati, Mansi Patel, a leader on her school’s ACM Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W), began volunteering with Google’s CS student volunteer program when she realized there were issues engaging undergraduate women in the CS major.




She wanted to get students involved starting in high school, showing the girls that going to college and majoring in CS were real options for them. Mansi has seen “a huge difference in the students [she’s] taught” and continues to lead the way in bringing CS to the next generation.

Mansi Patel, igniteCS volunteer at the University of Cincinnati


We invite you to join this community of over 2,000 college volunteers to bring computer science to your community. Registered university students have access to lesson plans, materials, and support from Google to implement volunteer programming. Just gather a group of students at your college and register on the website. We’ll send you lesson plans and a free kit of materials to get started.

Happy volunteering!

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To register for igniteCS, visit the website or email igniteCS@google.com for more information.




My Path to Google: Derek Pierce, Staffing Services Associate

Welcome to the thirteenth installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Derek Pierce. Read on!


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm from the suburbs of Philadelphia (specifically Doylestown, for anyone familiar). I attended James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and received degrees in Quantitative Finance and Mathematics. When I'm not working, I love to keep active, and I also enjoy a good brunch! I’ve recently gotten back into surfing, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming snowboarding season.


What’s your role at Google?

I am a Staffing Services Associate (SSA) on the College Staffing Services Team. I primarily engage with software engineers who are about to graduate from an undergraduate, masters, or PhD program. I also specialize in scheduling research scientist candidates and internal Googlers. I like working on the specialty candidates the most because they come from extremely diverse backgrounds and are usually being brought on to develop the next Google product.

Currently, I’m working on a project to grow our interviewer pool by gathering more complete information about our interviewers, so we can properly match their expertise with our candidates.


What inspires you to come in every day?

It’s very exciting to be with a company that’s motivated to make an impact on a global scale every single day. I feel very fortunate to be here and want to play my part in finding the next generation of Googlers.


Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?

I was interested in working for Google ever since I was a sophomore in high school. I kept hearing that Google was the paradise version of work, where you could change the world for the better and have fun doing it. I applied for every program that I thought I was qualified for, and was very determined to work here one day. I was ultimately given an interview during my senior year of college, and although I had a different background than most people entering the staffing industry, I was optimistic about my chances.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

I first applied to be a Data Scientist through an alumni of JMU and was redirected to interview for the Staffing Services Associate position. I instantly took them up on the offer to interview. After passing through the phone interview stage, I remember flying out the next day to interview onsite, then flying back just in time to take my fall semester finals.


Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?

I used the provided resources from the recruiter, as well as anything I could find on the internet, specifically YouTube. I reviewed the "How We Hire" page and the job posting about 20 times before the interview.


Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Talk to anyone you know who has been through the process. Use resources such as YouTube, and brainstorm possible questions based on the job posting.





See yourself at Google as a Staffing Services Associate? Apply now!