Tag Archives: Education

Europe and Africa code weeks: 136,000 students learn to code

Within the next 10 to 15 years, 90 percent of all jobs in Europe will require some level of technology education, and now is the time for the future workforce to start acquiring these skills. Computer Science (CS) programs all over the world are helping prepare students for the new global economy and helping them channel their excitement and passion into real world creations.

This October, we supported Europe Code Week,a movement started by the European Commission,for the sixth consecutive year, and Africa Code Week for the fourth consecutive year. In total, Google funded 88 education organizations in 41 countries, reaching a grand total of 136,000 students. 

This is part of our commitment to help one million Europeans grow their careers by the end of 2020 and to train 10 million Africans in digital skills by 2022 as part of Grow with Google. 

As our work with Europe Code Week shows, this support is making a difference. Here are just a few stories from among the 33 organizations we funded in 23 countries and through which 21,291 students learned CS.

Europe Code Week

Africa Code Week 

In Africa, we joined forces with SAP and Africa Code Week to fund 55 organizations and grassroots groups across 18 countries. Over 115,000 students were able to explore CS through a variety of fun and interactive workshops. See some of their stories below.

We’re thrilled to help these students and teachers gain coding experience in Europe and Africa and look forward to inspiring even more students in 2020.

Blockly Summit 2019: Rendering, Accessibility, and More!


It has been over eight years since we started work on Blockly, an open source library for building drag-and-drop block coding apps. In that time, the team has grown from a single developer to a small team and a large community. Blockly is now a standard in the CS education space, used by Scratch, MakeCode, AppInventor, and hundreds of other developers to enable tens of millions of kids around the world to create and express themselves with code.

But Blockly isn't only used for education. The library provides everything an app developer needs to create rich block coding languages and is highly customizable and extensible. This means Blockly is also used by hobbyists and commercial companies alike for business logic, computer games, virtual reality, robotics, and just about anything else you can do with code.


The work we do on Blockly wouldn't be possible without the many folks who contribute back with code, suggestions, and support on the forums. As such, we were very excited to welcome around 30 members of the Blockly open source community to our second annual Blockly User Summit and to be able to make all of the talks available online!

The summit spanned two days in October and included 16 talks, over half of which were given by external contributors, and a Q&A with the Blockly team. The talks covered everything from Blockly's brand new rendering framework and building custom fields to explorations in performance and debugging block code. Check out the full playlist.

We also held a hackathon on the second day of the summit, with quick start guides for using our new rendering and accessibility APIs. If you're new to Blockly and you'd like a good starting point, take a look at our CodeLab and if you build your own cool demo let us know on our forums.



By Erik Pasternak, Kids Coding Team

Google Code-in 2019 Contest for Teenagers

Today is the start of the 10th consecutive year of the Google Code-in (GCI) contest for teens. We anticipate this being the biggest contest yet!

The Basics

What is Google Code-in?
Our global, online contest introducing students to open source development. The contest runs for seven weeks until January 23, 2020.

Who can register?
Pre-university students ages 13-17 that have their parent or guardian’s permission to register for the contest.

How do students register and participate?
Students can register for the contest beginning today at g.co/gci. Once students have registered, and the parental consent form has been submitted and approved by Program Administrators, students can choose which “task” they want to work on first. Students choose the task they find interesting from a list of thousands of available tasks created by 29 participating open source organizations. Tasks take an average of 3-5 hours to complete. There are even beginner tasks that are a wonderful way for students to get started in the contest.

The task categories are:
  • Coding
  • Design
  • Documentation/Training
  • Outreach/Research
  • Quality Assurance
Why should students participate?
Students not only have the opportunity to work on a real open source software project, thus gaining invaluable skills and experience, but they also have the opportunity to be a part of the open source community. Mentors are readily available to help answer their questions while they work through the tasks.

Google Code-in is a contest so there are prizes*! Complete one task and receive a digital certificate, three completed tasks and you’ll also get a fun Google t-shirt. Finalists earn a jacket, runners-up earn backpacks, and grand prize winners (two from each organization) will receive a trip to Google headquarters in California in 2020!

Details
Over the past nine years, more than 11,000 students from 108 countries have successfully completed over 55,000 tasks in GCI. Curious? Learn more about GCI by checking out the Contest Rules, short videos, and FAQs. Please visit our contest site and read the Getting Started Guide.

Teachers, if you are interested in getting your students involved in Google Code-in we have resources available to help you get started.

By Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source

* There are a handful of countries we are unable to ship physical goods to, as listed in the FAQs.

My Path to Google – Steven Claunch, Associate Product Marketing Manager

Welcome to the 41st 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 Steven Claunch. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, which is where my love of Cuban food, sunshine, and underperforming professional sports team stems from. For college, I attended the University of Pennsylvania, where I studied Communications and Consumer Psychology, while grappling with the novel concepts of seasons and snow.

Outside of work (and sometimes while at work, don't tell my manager 😉), I love to watch/play basketball, listen to podcasts (highly recommend Invisibilia and Freakonomics), and travel.

Work from ball pit.
What’s your role at Google?
I'm an Associate Product Marketing Manager (APMM) within Brand Studio. We're an interesting little part of Google because we operate like an in-house creative agency. Overall, we work on a range of different brand projects, from the About site, to Year in Search, to the Helpfulness campaign

I love the wide variety of stuff we get to work on. It keeps things interesting and means that we're always getting outside of our comfort zones.

Complete the following: "I [choose one: code/create/design/build] for..." 
I create for those who need a little of their faith in humanity (and technology) restored :)

What inspires you to come in every day?
A lot of things inspire me at Google—I mean, even last month, we announced that we achieved quantum supremacy. While I'm still not totally sure I know what that actually means, it's pretty amazing to be at a place where the boundaries of what's possible are being questioned and transcended each day.
Steven giving his mom a tour of Google campus and a peek at an early Street View car.
Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
Honestly, I didn't know Google had jobs for people who weren't software engineers, so it wasn't even on my radar until junior year of college. Around then, I heard about the BOLD internship through a program for disabled folks I was a part of called Lime Connect.

At the time, I was pretty discouraged because I'd had very little luck with getting internships (SO many form letter rejection emails!), so I didn't think I had much of a chance with a place like Google. Thankfully, I applied anyway.

Editors note: We're partnering with Lime Connect to offer scholarships to students with disabilities who are pursuing university degrees in the field of computer science in the U.S. or Canada.The Google Lime Scholarship is accepting applications through Dec 5th.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
Like all other BOLD interns, I applied online. One interesting thing I like to call out is that I actually ranked Marketing as my first choice, but ended up getting matched to a People Operations (POps AKA Google HR) internship role. Although it wasn't what I had in mind, I'm so glad that I took that opportunity and got my foot in the door.

One quick story—on my first day as an intern, I got terribly lost on my way into work. Despite having practiced the bike route multiple times, I guess my nervousness got the best of me that day. Long story short, I got to Noogler orientation super late...and drenched in sweat, but thankfully, everyone was very friendly and understanding. 
Steven on his first day, post bike ride.
What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I'd known how important it is to ask follow-up questions in the interviews. Back then, I was so nervous that I'd often just jump straight into answering the interview question instead of taking some time to gather my thoughts and ask some clarifying questions.

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?
I did a lot of Google searching to see if I could find any general advice from others who'd already been through the process. One of the most helpful things I learned was the CAR method for interviews (context --> action --> result).

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Lead with data. Whether it's on your resume, in an interview, or even at school or in your current job, it's amazing how much more impact you can have when you back up your statements with tangible evidence.

On resumes, really try to think about the unique impact you made in each position and how you can prove that. Don't just list out your job descriptions or responsibilities!

In interviews, talk about the positive outcomes that you've been able to achieve, not just the actions you took. This can really help you stand out, and it shows the interviewer that you're thinking about the bigger picture.

37 students accepted to CS Research mentorship program

Computer science research addresses problems that affect all of our lives, from producing better flood forecasts to live captions and more. To ensure that CS research explores the issues that affect all communities, the researchers themselves need to be representative of those communities But in 2018, less than 25 percent of computer science PhD degrees in the United States were awarded to researchers from groups historically underrepresented in technology.

As part of our efforts to broaden participation in CS research careers and make them more accessible to everyone, we accepted 37 outstanding undergraduates to Google’s CS Research Mentorship Program (CSRMP) this fall. The program encourages students to pursue graduate and doctorate-level CS studies by matching them with Google mentors. As the students work toward their goals, they attend a CS research conference and travel to Mountain View as guests for the PhD Fellowship Summit.

We caught up with Sam Steinberg, a junior in Information Science at Cornell University, to learn about her journey to the program and what she wants to accomplish with CS research. 

What led you to CS?

At six years old, I walked into my room and threw the family laptop onto the ceramic floor. I wanted to  see its insides, and there they were: circuits, capacitors, resistors and motors scattered like cookie crumbs across the ground. While my parents were certainly upset about the mess I made (sorry mom and dad!), I was in awe, and that’s how my love affair with technology began.

What were some defining moments in your CS journey?

In high school, I was the only girl in my CS classes. After a Girls Who Code summer program, I started a club at my school. I found that so much of learning difficulty doesn’t have to do with the content, but the environment in which you absorb material. In the Girls Who Code club, I felt undaunted to ask questions, work alongside my peers, and help teach other girls. 

One of the most humbling moments was being named the inaugural winner of The Society of Women Engineers SWENext Award. As a young Latina aspiring to work in tech, it was eye-opening to learn about the discrepancies in retention for minorities in STEM. SWE has helped further instill my passion for advocating about the importance of gender and ethinic diversity in STEM fields.

Why are you interested in CS research?

I'm a 5 foot 2 Puerto Rican Jew with a lisp, and the career aspirations of Shuri, the female engineer from Black Panther. Like any Marvel hero, I want to change the world, but not by shooting laser beams to defeat the bad guys. I’ve always been fascinated with how technology can be used as a tool to help others, especially how those with cognitive and learning disabilities can maintain focus and relaxation in school and daily life.

What do you hope to accomplish during the CS Research Mentorship Program? 

My latest project is called illuMATE, a bracelet designed for children with autism and other developmental disabilities that monitors heart rate via an Arduino pulse sensor. When it detects a spike in heart rate, it sends a series of customizable vibrations down the child’s wrist to help them relax. Touch-pressure and vibration technology has been clinically proven to help those with autism de-stress. My goal with CSRMP is to work with my mentor Rachel to further develop my project and framework with supporting research, and learn more about how product management works at Google.

We are humbled to support such exceptional students as they pursue CS research careers. Look for these 37 names in future headlines as they confront our greatest challenges (and solve them).

Stadia and Women Techmakers partner on new scholarship for gaming — apply today

Stadia and the Women Techmakers Scholarship Program are proud to announce a new partnership to promote gender equality in the tech industry. Students are encouraged to apply for the Women Techmakers Scholarship for gaming for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The Women Techmakers Scholars Program works to further Dr. Anita Borg’s vision of encouraging women to excel as active participants and leaders in tech. The new expansion of the Scholars Program, created in collaboration with Stadia, broadens the scope of the award to include students studying video game programming, game engineering, game design and development, games user research, or a closely related field in gaming.

Stadia offices
“We’re excited at the possibilities this program presents for women, Stadia, and the game industry as a whole,” said Jade Raymond, Head of Stadia Games and Entertainment. “We want to open more doors for women to make their voices and ideas part of the gaming landscape.”

The expansion of the Women Techmakers Scholarship Program into gaming comes at a time when Google as a whole is taking new steps into the video games space. Stadia is a new gaming platform created by Google that allows people to play their favorite hit video games across screens without the need for a dedicated gaming console.

Stadia gaming platform
"Almost half of all gamers are women, and we need to continue to grow that number,” said Michelle Vuckovich, a senior producer on the Stadia Games & Entertainment team. “Our perspectives lead to innovation and contribute to creating more enriching games for everyone. I encourage aspiring game makers to apply and keep the momentum going!"

In addition to the cash award, all scholarship recipients will be invited to the Google Scholars Retreat in the summer of 2020 to connect with fellow Scholars, network with Googlers, and participate in development workshops.

Google Scholars Retreat

To learn more about who is eligible and how to apply for the Women Techmakers Scholarship Program, visit our website.

Hispanic Heritage Month Pay It Forward Challenge 2019: Recognizing students making a difference (Part 2 of 3)

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Google hosted a Pay It Forward Challenge to recognize Hispanic and Latinx student leaders who are advancing opportunities for their local communities. After receiving many submissions we’re excited to share the work of the students below and hope you’ll be inspired by their stories. Stay tuned for more features over the next few weeks!

Gerardo Gamiño
Gerardo is a student at Brigham Young University. Last year he founded a non-profit called Puente with the mission, “to teach Latino parents how to help their children access higher education.” Puente members host workshops on several topics including: getting ready for college, the application process, financial aid, and transitioning to college. They also provide a mentoring program where each individual family is paired up with a mentor who guides them through the college readiness process according to their specific needs. They are currently working with eight high schools in Utah.

Gerardo’s advice to others:
“Start today! The difference between where you are now with your idea and where you could be, is that first leap of faith and confidence. When you have a desire to help your community, you will quickly recognize that there are many around you who feel the same. Your courageous first step to make an impact will inspire others to take their first steps. ¡Vamos Adelante!”

On Gerardo’s mind during Hispanic Heritage Month:
“My mind is focused on the struggles of those who came before me. The Hispanic community is vibrant, beautiful, and full of life. This is thanks to those who didn’t have many opportunities available, but were determined to fight for me to have them now. Although we must continue to work toward the dreams of our parents, I am filled with deep gratitude for their sacrifice. The long hours in the picking fields, the countless tears in response to prejudice, the selfless work to provide for a needy family all fill my heart with gratitude.”

Veronica Alvarez 
Veronica is an officer for the Hispanic Business Student Association at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston.  The HBSA’s mission is to empower Hispanic and Latinx students through events and workshops that encompass their five pillars: academics, leadership, service, professionalism, and familia. As an officer, Veronica establishes relationships and secures sponsorships from STEM based companies — empowering members in believing they can pursue careers in STEM. She is  also actively mentoring another HBSA chapter with their professional development and exposure to the STEM industry.

Veronica’s advice to others:
“Start where you are now — no matter how big or small. You never know whose lives you’ll be impacting and how important your actions are to them as you advocate for change. Always remember why you started and let it be your fuel. There will be ups and downs and moments of self-reflection, but ask yourself, ‘if not now, when?,’ and, ‘If not me, who?’”

On Veronica’s mind during Hispanic Heritage Month:
“I think of my parents, and their sacrifice everyday. It’s what fuels me to keep going during this time we are in. This is our time, our time to learn, advocate and empower one another. Learn about our communities’ contributions, like Latina trailblazers that have paved the way, and how we can continuously improve ourselves and be more inclusive of others. We need to unify as a Latinx/Hispanic community and look less upon our differences but rather more on what brings us together.”

Calvin Duran 
Calvin is a student at Harvard University. After noticing the lack of a professional platform for Harvard’s Latinx community, Calvin began conversations with alumni and students, and identified a need for a space where Latinx students could motivate and empower one another. As a result, he founded Latinxs in Finance & Technology (LiFT), Harvard’s first pre-professional network driven to prepare and support Latinx students. In less than a year, LiFT amassed over 120 members, and has partnered with multiple companies to promote diversity in the workplace.

Calvin’s advice to others:
“Once you have identified a potential problem, don’t be afraid to take initiative and step up to the plate to solve it. Although embarking on a new initiative may be daunting at first, the opportunity to positively impact a community outweighs this cost. One way to mitigate feelings of fear is to mobilize peers who support your mission.”

On Calvin’s mind during Hispanic Heritage Month:
“I try to be mindful of the complexities behind the Hispanic/Latinx identity. Instead of focusing on distinctions, I view this month as a celebration of our community's differences and highlighting the diversity of the Latinx experience as a collective strength.”

Christian Porras 
As an undergraduate at The University of Chicago, Christian founded a chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in STEM (SACNAS). In his  three years as president, he and his leadership team have worked to serve their Midwest community of scientific leaders. They’ve led three research conferences that collectively supported more than 500 students from 30 different schools. He also founded a computational STEM lab to get Chicago public school students excited about pursuing computational science in college. 

Christian’s advice to others:
“Dream big, but know it’s okay to start small. I’ve learned that I’m more successful when I’ve tried running a new program as a pilot before expanding beyond my neighborhood.” 

On Christian’s mind during Hispanic Heritage Month:
“I’m proud of the many Hispanic families, including my own, that have often sacrificed so much to come to America and provide opportunities to their children. As a first-generation college student from an immigrant household, I value the courage and determination of my parents and grandparents.” 

Uribe Valverde 
Uribe is a student at Georgia State University. He is the President/Co-founder of the PrimX Mentor Program — a mentorship program for the Latinx community at Georgia State. He also takes part in organizations to unite the Latinx community on campus. He is the head of events and PR for the Latin American Student Association (and the only freshman on the executive board). In his spare time he is the head fundraiser for Avanzando Un Sueño, a student led organization dedicated to giving scholarships to DACA students in Atlanta.

Uribe’s advice to others:
“Don’t be afraid to change your community or the world around you. Speak up and share your ideas with others — the people around you could have the resources, background, or experiences you need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and give help to others. Nothing is too little in the spirit of giving.” 

On Uribe’s mind during Hispanic Heritage Month:
“It is the time for my organizations and I to speak to the diversity, culture, memories, and traditions of the community. This year I want to make sure there is an emphasis on the different identities present all across continents, small towns, and the larger society. I want to make sure underrepresented voices are heard because diversity is what keeps us together.”

Jennifer Garcia 
Jennifer is a student from the University of Texas at Dallas. She recently launched an initiative to start a scholarship program, En Mi Barrio, to help Latinx high school seniors in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) reach their full potential through post-secondary education. 

Jennifer’s advice to others:
“Be devoted.”

On Jennifer’s mind during Hispanic Heritage Month:
“It is essential to create opportunities that allow members of the Hispanic/Latinx community to enter into industries where we are underrepresented. It is vital to support one another in various ways and most importantly make sure the youth grow with the support of everyone else to make their dreams come true. Now more than ever we need to be represented.” 

Jefferson Betancourt 
Jefferson is a student at Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management. Jefferson has experienced first hand the difficulty of navigating the education system with the burden of debt and lack of career guidance. As a result he co-founded the Betancourt scholarship fund, a non-profit corporation that assists first generation college students succeed in their first semester with financial support and mentorship.

Jefferson’s advice to others:
“Get started! Everyone will always be busy and it's easy to get caught up in your own life and forget to help others. Always remember that with great opportunity and success comes great responsibility to elevate other.” 

On Jefferson's mind during Hispanic Heritage Month:
“I will forever be appreciative for my parents sacrifice of starting a new life in a foreign land to give opportunities to my brother and I. Moreover, I am a proud American and look forward to leaving a lasting positive impact on my Latin community.” 

Daniela Beck

Daniela is a student at Chatham University and a leader in the Blooming Lasting Careers (BLC) movement. BLC was formed out of a need to give students from around the world access to opportunities to help them reach the next level of their career. Daniela manages information distribution to over 5,000 students in addition to acting as a one-on-one mentor. 

Daniela’s advice to others:
“I would advise anyone who is looking to make an impact in their local community to look internally and recognize where you can help the most. Think about your talents, ambitions, and passions and see where that intersects with a need in your local area. Additionally, I suggest having a group of advisors (whether that involves peers, friends, or others) that can act as a support system to encourage and help you during the process.”

On Daniela’s mind during Hispanic Heritage Month:
“How we as a community can help to strengthen those in our circles that have made sacrifices so that their families can have better lives. My own mother immigrated to the United States from Colombia over 25 years ago while leaving her home and family behind. This is something that I've always admired and looked up to.”

Keep up with us on social (TwitterInstagramFacebook, and YouTube) to hear more about our initiatives.

My Path to Google: Callen Therrien, Cloud Technical Resident

Welcome to the 40th 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 Callen Therrien. Read on!

Callen at the Trail of Lights maze in Austin.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Jiangxi, China and adopted as a baby. I then moved to Cleveland, OH where my mother raised me as a single parent until she passed away when I was six. I was fortunate enough that her aunt and uncle took guardianship of me and have raised me as their own ever since. They provided me with all the love and support I needed to get where I am today.

I attended John Carroll University in Cleveland and majored in computer science and minored in mathematics and statistics. Outside of work, you can find me kayaking down the Colorado River, at the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, or trying out new breweries and food in Austin! 

What’s your role at Google?
I am currently a Cloud Technical Resident, part of a new grad rotational program aimed to provide recent graduates with technical and client facing skills. The program is 12 months long, with 3 months of training and rotations in 3 separate Google Cloud organizations. 

Throughout the past year, I have been able to build crucial business and technical skills that I never would have with a typical software engineering job. Within my rotations I increased my technical knowledge of Google Cloud products as a Technical Solutions Engineer, learned what it was like to sell products to customers as a Customer Engineer, and how to manage enterprise customers as a Technical Account Manager.

What I love most about this program is the incredible network I've been able to build. I've met so many diverse individuals within each rotation and within our cohort of 25 Residents as well. I didn't really know what I wanted to do after college, and being able to start a role with 24 other people in the same situation was the best way I could have started my post grad life.

Editor's note: The Google Cloud Technical Residency program in Austin, Texas is currently hiring!
Callen and fellow Residents at the Cloud Technical Residency 2018 Cohort Graduation.
Complete the following: "I [code/create/design/build] for..." 
I build for a better future for others.

What inspires you to come in every day?
I am excited to be a part of Cloud's ever expanding and rapidly scaling business. The organization moves quickly and changes day to day, but there is always something new to work on and projects to make a huge impact on. 

Taking my experience from the Cloud Technical Residency (CTR) program, I'm excited to see how Cloud grows as a whole. I'm grateful to have seen how deals get done from start to finish and I look forward to how we can improve these processes.
Callen and Doogler in the office.
Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
Google was always the “top dog” of companies for me, especially in the eyes of a computer science major. It blew my mind that a company could have such global impact. Billions of people use their products and the extent of their customer reach was beyond me.

I've always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and Google was just that. In all honesty, I had never applied before because I didn't think I'd get the job. I didn't think I could compete with all the other talented individuals out there, which all changed senior year of college.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
During the last semester of my senior year of college, I received an email one day from a Google recruiter, informing me about a new grad program they had just opened up. At first I thought it was spam or a cruel joke email. However, it was obviously not and I continued through the hiring process and never looked back. 

The entire process was very exciting and also nerve racking. On one hand, I couldn't believe I was talking to “Google people” and that I was getting closer and closer to landing a job at Google. On the other hand, I really really wanted the job and knew I would have been sad if I didn't get it. 

I'll never forget the day I found out I got the position. I had woken up to an email from my recruiter. She said she had some good news and to call her immediately. I remember my heart beating so fast and being overcome with so much emotion. I had never felt so proud of myself and was the happiest I'd ever been. I always think back to that moment when job/life gets tough as a reminder to why I'm here.
Callen and other Noogers on their first day at orientation.
What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I would have known how easy going and friendly the Google team would be throughout the process. Every recruiter and interviewer I came across was incredibly kind and very down-to-earth. They all made the process so much smoother than the scary interview process I had in my mind. They're all more than happy to help, so don't be afraid to ask questions as well.

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?
I studied and reviewed over and over again the materials the recruiters provided us. I did my own research about web technologies and Google Cloud Platform‎ (GCP) products as well. I also made a list of past internship and project experiences to apply to situational interview questions.
Callen at the Google sign.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Do not underestimate yourself. I never thought in a million years I'd be working at Google and I wish I gave myself more credit to begin with. Don't be intimidated to apply and put yourself out there. 


My Path to Google: Callen Therrien, Cloud Technical Resident

Welcome to the 40th 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 Callen Therrien. Read on!

Callen at the Trail of Lights maze in Austin.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Jiangxi, China and adopted as a baby. I then moved to Cleveland, OH where my mother raised me as a single parent until she passed away when I was six. I was fortunate enough that her aunt and uncle took guardianship of me and have raised me as their own ever since. They provided me with all the love and support I needed to get where I am today.

I attended John Carroll University in Cleveland and majored in computer science and minored in mathematics and statistics. Outside of work, you can find me kayaking down the Colorado River, at the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, or trying out new breweries and food in Austin! 

What’s your role at Google?
I am currently a Cloud Technical Resident, part of a new grad rotational program aimed to provide recent graduates with technical and client facing skills. The program is 12 months long, with 3 months of training and rotations in 3 separate Google Cloud organizations. 

Throughout the past year, I have been able to build crucial business and technical skills that I never would have with a typical software engineering job. Within my rotations I increased my technical knowledge of Google Cloud products as a Technical Solutions Engineer, learned what it was like to sell products to customers as a Customer Engineer, and how to manage enterprise customers as a Technical Account Manager.

What I love most about this program is the incredible network I've been able to build. I've met so many diverse individuals within each rotation and within our cohort of 25 Residents as well. I didn't really know what I wanted to do after college, and being able to start a role with 24 other people in the same situation was the best way I could have started my post grad life.

Editor's note: The Google Cloud Technical Residency program in Austin, Texas is currently hiring!
Callen and fellow Residents at the Cloud Technical Residency 2018 Cohort Graduation.
Complete the following: "I [code/create/design/build] for..." 
I build for a better future for others.

What inspires you to come in every day?
I am excited to be a part of Cloud's ever expanding and rapidly scaling business. The organization moves quickly and changes day to day, but there is always something new to work on and projects to make a huge impact on. 

Taking my experience from the Cloud Technical Residency (CTR) program, I'm excited to see how Cloud grows as a whole. I'm grateful to have seen how deals get done from start to finish and I look forward to how we can improve these processes.
Callen and Doogler in the office.
Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
Google was always the “top dog” of companies for me, especially in the eyes of a computer science major. It blew my mind that a company could have such global impact. Billions of people use their products and the extent of their customer reach was beyond me.

I've always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and Google was just that. In all honesty, I had never applied before because I didn't think I'd get the job. I didn't think I could compete with all the other talented individuals out there, which all changed senior year of college.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
During the last semester of my senior year of college, I received an email one day from a Google recruiter, informing me about a new grad program they had just opened up. At first I thought it was spam or a cruel joke email. However, it was obviously not and I continued through the hiring process and never looked back. 

The entire process was very exciting and also nerve racking. On one hand, I couldn't believe I was talking to “Google people” and that I was getting closer and closer to landing a job at Google. On the other hand, I really really wanted the job and knew I would have been sad if I didn't get it. 

I'll never forget the day I found out I got the position. I had woken up to an email from my recruiter. She said she had some good news and to call her immediately. I remember my heart beating so fast and being overcome with so much emotion. I had never felt so proud of myself and was the happiest I'd ever been. I always think back to that moment when job/life gets tough as a reminder to why I'm here.
Callen and other Noogers on their first day at orientation.
What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I would have known how easy going and friendly the Google team would be throughout the process. Every recruiter and interviewer I came across was incredibly kind and very down-to-earth. They all made the process so much smoother than the scary interview process I had in my mind. They're all more than happy to help, so don't be afraid to ask questions as well.

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?
I studied and reviewed over and over again the materials the recruiters provided us. I did my own research about web technologies and Google Cloud Platform‎ (GCP) products as well. I also made a list of past internship and project experiences to apply to situational interview questions.
Callen at the Google sign.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Do not underestimate yourself. I never thought in a million years I'd be working at Google and I wish I gave myself more credit to begin with. Don't be intimidated to apply and put yourself out there. 


My Path to Google – Sandro León, IT Resident

Welcome to the 39th 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 Sandro León. Read on!
Sandro posing in his Noogler hat
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
I grew up in Centerville, Ohio, with three sisters, Viviana, Sonia, and Angela. My parents, Alfredo and Emilia, both proud Mexican immigrants, made sure that I knew my heritage, and felt proud of it. Growing up, my sisters and I would help out, working at our parent’s Mexican restaurant, Las Piramides. 

Outside of school and work, I’ve always loved listening to music, messing with latest tech, and playing games with friends. My interest in tech and experiences helping family and friends with my limited computer skills, led me to study IT electives in high school. Upon arriving to college, I studied Network Engineering at Sinclair Community College before transferring to the University of Cincinnati (UC) where I completed my B.S. in Computer Engineering. 

Throughout university, I grew close to Latino/Hispanic inclusive groups like Latinos en Accion as well as engineering focused teams. Looking for a way to focus my interests even further, I worked with other motivated colleagues to rekindle our Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) chapter at UC. At Google, I work with groups like HOLA (Google’s Employee Resource Group committed to empowering the Latinx community both inside and outside of Google) and Code Next (free Google-run computer science education program that meets Black and Latinx high school students in their own communities) to continue the diversity focused STEM work that got me to where I am. This also includes going back to recruit at SHPE’s convention – the convention that made it happen.
Sandro and Googlers prepping for the National SHPE convention.
What’s your role at Google?
I’m an IT Resident in Mountain View as part of the IT Residency Program. The program is an immersion into end-to-end IT support at Google, and provides the opportunity to jump-start your career at Google and beyond. My favorite part about the work is that I assist Googlers from all around the world, in-person and remotely, regardless of the team they’re working on. I’ve even had the chance to travel worldwide, visiting and working from the London and Sydney offices. Right now, I’m on rotation with the Google Calendar Site Reliability Team! Learning the ins and outs of keeping production running at Google-scale is amazing as well as a mind-boggling opportunity at times.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
Even though I’d thought of Google as a dream job when I first learned about the company, I never thought I’d actually get here.

My journey to Google starts and ends with SHPE. When I started studying at the University of Cincinnati, I remembered seeing informational flyers about the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. After getting involved with our local chapter, and looking for ways to get us to the National Convention, I discovered and applied for a Google Travel and Conference Scholarship. Soon after applying I got an email, letting me know Google was flying me out to the convention in Kansas City, but I knew I couldn’t go without the team that inspired the idea. So we worked with the university and sponsors and were able to acquire funding for the rest of the group to make the inaugural conference trip together! 

Part of registering for the conference was submitting a resume to SHPE, so they could share with attending organizations. I’d never applied to Google as I thought I wouldn’t make it through the tons of other resumes, and even if I did, there wouldn’t be a position for someone with my experience. This was where Google proved me wrong. I’d always romanticized the idea of working in Silicon Valley, with Google at the top of the list. I thought I might visit the Googleplex as a tourist, but didn’t have much confidence that I was employable – especially at Google as a new graduate. 

After submitting my resume to SHPE, I never expected Google to reach out, but they did. It took me almost a whole day to respond to the first email because I didn’t believe it, and almost dismissed it as spam.
Sandro holding a clipboard in front of the Google SHPE convention booth.
How did the recruitment process go for you?
Google had the most helpful recruitment process I’d ever been a part of, and SHPE only helped make it even more surreal. After convincing myself that the email from Google wasn’t spam, I spoke with a recruiter. They made sure that I understood the role and answered all my questions over a phone call. Then they planned to make it possible for me to interview in-person with Googlers at the convention. Being my first SHPE convention, I was overwhelmed by the experience of seeing thousands of professional Hispanic engineers. I was definitely nervous, but having my friends there helped. 
Sandro and Googlers on a trip.
Complete the following: "I [choose one: code/create/design/build] for..." 
I build for representation, inclusion, and respect.

What inspires you to come in every day?
I’m inspired to come in everyday because I know the people I work with are just as passionate to help me as I am to help them. Everyday I work here is an opportunity to open the door for others who might not see themselves here, show them they’re valued by helping, and build a better place for them when they get here. From helping people communicate to reaching quantum supremacy, Google brings people together to create and inspire. I’m also especially honored to work with and support Code Next. I get to make sure that students keep learning.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I would’ve applied sooner if I’d known that the Google careers site was so comprehensive in listing every opening. I would also recommend that anyone interested in a role take a look at the specific criteria listed. They’re as specific as they can be, and depending on what you’re looking for you might have a good chance of finding something you’re interested and qualified for. Don’t dismiss yourself and always keep looking!
Sandro in front of Google sign in Mountain View.
Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?
Google actually has tons of YouTube videos about general hiring and interviewing. For my interview for the IT Residency Program, I studied a ton of troubleshooting methodologies, and actually reviewed my notes from my classes/studies.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Googleyness is a thing! There’s lots of facets to it, but for me, the most important narrow down to respect and helping others. What was different about Google to me compared to previous workplaces is that everyone is invited to bring their whole selves to work, so make sure you’re being yourself during the interview.