Tag Archives: students

My Path to Google: Jesse Melhuish, Software Engineer

Welcome to the eighth installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers 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 Jesse Melhuish. Read on!


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in a small town in Kentucky called Berea, which is known for its arts and crafts as well as Berea College. I then attended the University of Kentucky and earned a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Computer Engineering. Outside of work, I like to go hiking when I can, collect Lego sets, play racquetball, and read. I’m also deeply interested in Computer Science education and try to encourage high school students from my hometown to pursue computing.

What’s your role at Google?
I'm a Software Engineer (SWE) on the Newsstand Web team, which delivers the Newsstand WebApp found at newsstand.google.com. I'm just getting started on this team, but I’m excited about all of the improvements planned for the news experience.

What inspires you to come in every day?
Lower income areas, such as my hometown, can be greatly benefited by Google's products and I enjoy knowing that indirectly I can help with that. I’m really excited about the spread of Chromebooks that should help to improve access to technology, and I recently found out (while working on Docs Offline) that the high school I went to switched to Google Apps for Education!

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
Google has been where I've wanted to work since almost middle school. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it through and would need to work locally for a few years and apply again, so I didn't apply until I was contacted.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I was contacted by a recruiter that got my name from a friend that had applied my senior year of college. I went through the hiring process during November/Christmas/New Years and had a lot of anxiety — decisions were delayed due to people on vacation and end of year hecticness.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I would have had more examples of my work to be able to show on my resume.

Can you tell us more about the resources you used to prep?
I did practice coding problems for about three days leading up to my phone interview.

To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Don't assume you're not good enough, or you'll panic or not try in the interviews. On the opposite side, don't assume you don't need to prepare. Most likely you're good enough to make it, but you should also refresh yourself beforehand.

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

Announcing Google Code-in 2017: The Latest and Greatest for Year Eight

We are excited to announce the 8th consecutive year of the Google Code-in (GCI) contest! Students ages 13 through 17 from around the world can learn about open source development working on real open source projects, with mentorship from active developers. GCI begins on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 and runs for seven weeks through to Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

Google Code-in is unique because not only do the students choose what they want to work on from the 2,000+ tasks created by open source organizations, but they have mentors available to help answer their questions as they work on each of their tasks.

Starting to work on open source software can be a daunting task in and of itself. How do I get started? Does the organization want my help? Am I too inexperienced? These are all questions that developers (of all ages) might consider before contributing to an open source organization.

The beauty of GCI is that participating open source organizations realize teens are often first time contributors, and the volunteer mentors are equipped with the patience and the experience to help these young minds become part of the open source community.

Open source communities thrive when there is a steady flow of new contributors who bring new perspectives, ideas, and enthusiasm. Over the last 7 years, GCI open source organizations have helped over 4,500 students from 99 countries become contributors. Many of these students are still contributing to open source years later. Dozens have gone on to become Google Summer of Code (GSoC) students and even mentors for other students.

The tasks open source organizations create vary in skill set and level, including beginner tasks any student can take on, such as “setup your development environment.” With tasks in five different categories, there’s something to fit almost any student’s skills:

  • Code: writing or refactoring 
  • Documentation/Training: creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
  • Outreach/Research: community management, marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions
  • Quality Assurance: testing and ensuring code is of high quality
  • User Interface: user experience research, user interface design, or graphic design

Open source organizations can apply to participate in Google Code-in starting on Monday, October 9, 2017. Google Code-in starts for students November 28th!

Visit the contest site g.co/gci to learn more about the contest and find flyers, slide decks, timelines and more.

By Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source

Asia-Pacific Google Intern Insights: Engineering and MBA interns share their stories

From Google Home to Maps, AdWords to Docs, our interns have the opportunity to work on some of Google’s most cutting edge and innovative projects. Interns work across sales, engineering, and other business functions, bringing a fresh perspective to Google. To show just how much of an impact interns make, we’re bringing you our Asia-Pacific Google Intern Insights. Today we’re catching up with FOUR interns: Mercy Fang, Software Engineering Intern, Beijing, China; Jim Chen, Software Engineering Intern, Beijing, China; Nagea Astiarini Delaya, MBA Intern, Indonesia; and Snigdha Singhania, Software Engineering Intern, Singapore. Read on!

Mercy Fang, Software Engineering Intern, Beijing, China

Jim Chen, Software Engineering Intern, Beijing, China
Nagea Astiarini Delaya, MBA Intern, Indonesia

Snigdha Singhania, Software Engineering Intern, Singapore

Tell us one fun, outlandish fact about you!
Mercy: I don’t have just one! I love travelling and have already been to 20 countries. I’ve also tried extreme sports like bungee jumping, paragliding, and parasailing. My favorite music is rock, and I was the lead singer and guitarist in my band back in high school. Two years ago I found out about drumming ,and now I’m also a drummer.
Jim: I could solve Rubik’s cubes from Pocket Cube (2x2x2) to V-Cube 9 (9x9x9) when I was in high school.
Nagea: I am a trained classical chorister — I sing classical songs (i.e. Bach, Beethoven, and Whitacre) with a choir. In July 2009, my choir and I sang (and won) in choir competitions and festivals in 15 cities across five countries in Europe.
Snigdha: My intern host and I have a routine alarm, twice a day, to do push-ups together. We're pretty serious about it — so much so that it's even marked on our calendars!

What inspired you to apply for this internship, and what made Google appealing to you?
Mercy: I started learning Computer Science two years ago and I thought I would learn more if I interned at a large-scale company with many different projects, like small startups. Google is exactly this kind of company. I interned at Google Mountain View last summer (my sophomore year) as an Engineering Practicum intern and then this summer returned as a Software Engineering intern in the Beijing office.
Jim: There are a considerable number of talented computer science students at school, and many of them shared their previous experiences at Google, so I set a goal for myself and aimed to be able to catch up with them. Google is a leading company in computer science and engineering, so I really appreciated an opportunity to work with smart people and awesome tech groups. Then, about one year ago, I registered for a few online courses that introduced specific programming languages and advanced topics, like machine learning and computer vision. I then completed several projects applying those new techniques, which also enhanced my strength in coding and program design.
Nagea: I have been a true believer of Solow Growth Model — a Nobel Prize winner for economics — since I learned it last semester at the Darden School. For the past 15 years, I have witnessed Google move tech progression forward, which makes living life and doing business much easier, and I wanna be part of that.
Snigdha: My colleagues from a previous internship inspired me to apply! Being part of a community that is striving to make a positive impact in everyone's life  (and succeeding) is extremely gratifying. Also, isn't it just so cool to say you work for Google :)?

What team are you working on at Google? Can you provide us with a high-level description of your summer project?
Mercy: I worked on a new Face Detection feature for the Street View iOS app. When users upload 360 photos, they could click a button and it will automatically detect faces, and users could blur them. The work is on a large scale diffing testing platform that’s used to detect code outputs in order to verify that code changes result in intended output changes and work as expected. It helps ensure the reliability and correctness of code.
Jim: I’m currently working on the Search Developers Services team, which mainly focuses on easy tools for web and app developers. My project essentially contains two parts — to build a web tool for Podcast developers, and a tool for Android developers. This project is not only an independent one, but will also benefit developers. I feel quite lucky to work on this project from scratch.
Nagea: I worked with Google's Large Customer Sales team in Indonesia, and over my summer internship I worked on projects involving some of Google's most exciting challenges in building sustainable, high-growth businesses in Indonesia.
Snigdha: I'm working with Team Allo in Singapore. This summer, the goal of my project was to enhance the user experience provided by this chat platform, particularly for the Next Billion Users.

What’s the best part about working at Google?
Mercy: Working at Google and with my team is not all about programming. It feels like a lifestyle instead of just a job. In the beginning of my internship, our Beijing team hosted a summit and invited people from other offices. We had a couple of days of intensive discussion on various topics about the diffing testing platform, and as a result, I had a more comprehensive understanding of the platform. We had a team-building event on the last day and went to HouHai and Hutong. These were a lot of fun, and it felt like the team was a family.
I also had access to search on the Google code base, which allowed me to see other people’s code and learn about other projects. Google also has many online courses and tech talks every week that introduce you to various coding skills. So coming in means making progress and learning new things.
Jim: Googlers at my office have established many fun clubs, including a bunch of very interesting topics like latte art, board games, and various sports activities. Folks around me are not just working and coding all day — they have exuberant daily lives other than working. For me, since I’m a beginner at piano, I like to spend one hour a day practicing at my office. We all know that Google embraces and advocates for diversity, but I’d like to add that Google roots for and help Googlers build their own distinctions as well.
Nagea: First, my manager is an extremely funny person, I can't remember any meetings without her humor. It really helped me loosen up, especially before presenting to higher-level people at the company. Second, but probably best of all, she wanted me to succeed. Despite her packed schedule, she ensured that I am working on a meaningful project that the team could use after my internship, and provided me with all of the resources and network she has. My team shares this trait — they would sit with me and share all the knowledge I needed for my project and for my professional aspirations.
Snigdha: Working with host has been such a delight! Not only is she open to every Allo idea that I have (no matter how bizarre they are), she also helps me pitch them to the team. She is always willing to answer my questions about my project, the team, or even which course I should take in uni next term. Speaking of my team, in general, they are some of the smartest people I have come across, never shying away from helping me in any way they can. Keeping work aside, having asinine but extraordinary lunch conversations is something that I will surely miss about this group.

What does “being Googley” mean to you?
Jim: Google’s policies have been very flexible for Googlers. As an engineer, I think “being Googley” could be interpreted as “being self-driven.” We need to be active to push forward our progress, be willing to collaborate with people with a variety of backgrounds, and be passionate to derive any innovative ideas which could possibly make a huge difference. Seizing every tiny moment to contribute to the entire community is also crucial.
Nagea: Being Googley means being able to navigate through uncertainty and chaos. Google is all about uncharted territory — creating new products, building new businesses, telling new stories, inventing new ways of life. Observing my team here, “being Googley” is their ability to find structure in such uncertain situations that help guarantee them success.
Snigdha: Embracing the open culture and transparency at Google is what defines Googleyness for me. This sharing culture teaches you something new every day — be it from a senior software engineer, your manager, or an intern. Everyday breakfast/lunch conversations range from the latest machine learning tools and Firebase issues to "why can't emus walk backwards?”

If you could give one piece of advice to potential student applicants, what would it be?
Mercy: Practice programming as much as possible. Complete software engineering projects. Practice data structure and algorithm questions for programming interviews. But not just that! Some interview questions test your problem-solving skills, which takes practice and experience. I think Cracking the Coding Interview is a good book to read for interview preparation. It gives tips and also some sample practice problems.
- Polish your coding ability as much as you can. Tech companies are mostly asking their applicants to complete a couple of coding challenges in the interview, so it’s a fundamental and crucial requirement to move forward your application. There are many online resources, so make good use of them as soon as possible. If you don’t have a lot of experience solving coding challenges, you may find it a bit difficult even when working on some questions that seem easy. Don’t get scared, and be patient. Read other people’s solutions step-by-step and you’ll gradually (but definitely) improve.
- Be active in the interview. Don’t hesitate to demonstrate your idea. If the interview question is not something you are familiar with, it’s really hard to instantly come up with a perfect or optimal solution at the very beginning. Don’t worry about that; interviewers are actually expecting that. What you should do is take a short while to think on you own, and if you get stuck at some phase, just speak out loud, show that you’ve been thinking, and ask for a potential hint or feedback. The interviewer wants to see how you respond, so don’t be silent for too long. Consider the interview a collaboration with your teammate.
Snigdha: My colleagues from a previous internship helped me prepare for the interview process — my friend and I would spend hours discussing several algorithms and data structure questions everyday. This boosted my confidence and encouraged me to apply for this summer internship.

Google Summer of Code 2017 Student Curtain Call

Back in early May we announced the students accepted into the 13th edition of the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) program, our largest program ever! Today we are pleased to announce the 1,128 (86.2%*) students from 68 countries that successfully completed the 2017 GSoC. Great job, students!

Students worked diligently with 201 open source organizations and over 1,600 mentors to learn to work with internationally distributed online teams, write great code and help their mentoring org enhance, extend and refine their codebases. Students have also become an important part of these communities. We feel strongly that to keep open source organizations thriving and evolving, they need new ideas - GSoC students help to bring fresh perspectives to these important projects.

We look forward to seeing even more from the 2017 students. Many will go on to become GSoC mentors in future programs and many more will become committers to these and other open source organizations. Some may even create their own open source projects! These students have a bright future ahead of them in technology and open source.

Interested in what the students worked on this summer? Check out their work as well as statistics on past programs.

A big thank you to our mentors and organization administrators who make this program possible. Their dedication to welcoming new student contributors into their communities and teaching them the fundamentals of open source is awesome and inspiring. Thank you all!

Congratulations to all of the GSoC 2017 students and the mentors who made this our biggest and best Google Summer of Code yet.

By Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source

* 1,309 students started the coding period on May 30th, stats are based upon that number.

The Mentors of Google Summer of Code 2017

Every year, we pore over oodles of data to extract the most interesting and relevant statistics about the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) mentors. Mentors are the bread and butter of our program - without their hard work and dedication, there would be no GSoC. These volunteers spend 12 weeks (plus a month of community bonding) tirelessly guiding their students to create the best quality project possible and welcoming them into their communities - answering questions and providing help at all hours.

Here’s a quick snapshot of our 2017 group:
  • Total mentors: 3,439
  • Mentors assigned to an active project: 1,647
  • Mentors who have participated in GSoC over 10 years: 22
  • Percentage of new mentors: 49%
GSoC 2017 mentors are a worldly group, hailing from 69 countries on 6 continents - we’re still waiting on a mentor from Antarctica… Anyone?

Interested in the data? Check out the full list of countries.
Some interesting factoids about our mentors:
  • Average age: 39
  • Youngest: 15*
  • Oldest: 68
  • Most common first name: Michael (there are 40!)
GSoC mentors help to introduce the next generation to the world of open source software development — for that we are very grateful. To show our appreciation, we invite two mentors from each of the 201 participating organizations to attend the annual mentor summit at the Google campus in Sunnyvale, California. It’s three days of food, community building, lively debate and lots of fun.

Thank you to everyone involved in Google Summer of Code. Cheers to yet another great year!

By Mary Radomile, Google Open Source

* Say what? 15 years old!? Yep! We had 12 GSoC mentors under the age of 18. This group of enthusiastic teens started their journey in our sister program, Google Code-in, an open source coding competition for 13-17 year olds. You can read more about it at g.co/gci.

My Path to Google: Maegan Clawges, User Experience (UX) Engineer

Welcome to the seventh installment of our blog series “My Path to Google”. These are real stories from Googlers 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 Maegan Clawges. Read on!
Maegan Clawges 1 JPEG.JPG

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, in the Appalachian mountains. I was exposed to a lot of local art there which inspired me to study design in college. Once in college, I realized that being able to code would increase the impact of my design work so I added a second degree in computer science.

What’s your role at Google?
I’m a UX Engineer at YouTube in the art department. We are an interdisciplinary team that works on brand and design language for all YouTube products. As a UX Engineer I work on tools for the design team, in addition to writing full-stack production code to build infrastructure for our design goals.

What inspires you to come in every day?
I am inspired every day by the people on my team — they have a wide array of skills and experience that I learn from. Working with them pushes me to do my best creative work.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
I was drawn to Google because of its dedication to innovation and helping the world. The Google Doodles inspired me creatively and influenced me to start learning to code.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I first joined Google as a software engineering intern. During college I got to know my university's Google recruiter through an event I organized for women in tech. She was super supportive throughout my internship and full-time application process. I applied to four different roles at Google because I wasn't sure where I fit as a hybrid engineer and designer, and I was impressed by how they managed my parallel application paths and how they offered me advice along the way.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I had learned more in school about how to collaborate within a large company. Even at YouTube, which is smaller, I work with designers and engineers throughout the company and it’s awesome, but communicating at that scale is a skill in itself.

Can you tell us more about the resources you used to prep?
For the technical interviews, I mainly focused on practicing algorithm-based questions. I remember spending an entire weekend in front of a whiteboard before my intern interview. I also read as much as I could about Google, since I decided early on that it was the company I wanted to work for. Having that background information helped me integrate when I joined and ask better questions.

To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

First, focus on developing skills in the areas that interest you, even if they’re interdisciplinary. Then, figure out how that skill set fits into Google's products and goals. A good mentor can help with that. Finally, get really good at telling your story, about your skill set and where you want to be in the future.

Computer Science Summer Institute: Q&A with participants Adela and Jessica

Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI), a tech program for rising college freshman, just celebrated its 10th summer. To mark this milestone, today we’re featuring Adela and Jessica, two CSSI participants. We’re proud of how this program has impacted the hundreds of students who have experienced its magic, and hope you enjoy their stories. Read on!

Adela Chavez, Los Angeles CSSI participant

Despite facing many challenges, including homelessness, Adela has never stopped chasing her dreams. While balancing a job and caring for her siblings, she also began learning about computer science and exploring coding. In the future, she hopes to be a mentor to others with similarly difficult backgrounds.

Jessica Morales-Mendoza, Seattle CSSI participant
Jessica has overcome obstacles throughout her life, as well. Coming from a low-income household of seven, she has found time to not only care for many of her siblings, but to also participate in robotics and programming at her school. Going forward, her dream is to work for the FBI’s Cyber Security Unit.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I want to make an impact. I want to be the reason that someone gains the confidence to follow their dreams. I have gone through plenty of hardships in my life, whether it was having to work when I was just 15 years old to help alleviate family expenses, having to stay up all night to take care of my siblings while my mother and sister worked the graveyard shift, or even being homeless at times during my senior year. If it weren't for the people who believed in me and gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams, I don't think I would be here today.

I grew up in a low-income, immigrant household of seven in Los Angeles, CA. At the age of thirteen, due to a family circumstance, I had to mature and be the older sister when I was actually one of the youngest. My parents were depressed and had fallen into alcoholism, while my brother was struggling with drug addiction.

During that very difficult part of my life, I began participating in afterschool programs, including robotics and game jams hosted by my CS (computer science) teachers. I discovered that programming has a lot of purposes, from creating robots, bringing crazy ideas to life, stopping cyber crimes and more.

In the fall, I will begin attending California State University, Los Angeles. I am passionate about helping others succeed, especially those from tough financial situations or circumstances. Besides that, I am obsessed with aliens and UFOs!

What motivated you to apply to CSSI?
For me, it was when I realized that computer science provided a way for me to escape poverty and secure a career that I was interested in. I knew that this path would allow me to create programs that could provide help for those who need it.

However, going into CSSI, I wasn’t entirely sure if computer science was for me. I knew that it had many interesting aspects, but I wanted to get more hands-on experience before making a final decision. After the incredible experiences I had at CSSI, I am now 100% ready to dedicate myself to this field.

I actually found out about CSSI when I was applying to Google’s Generation Scholarship. After reading the program description, I was hooked! When I first applied, I didn’t really think I had a chance of getting accepted (imposter syndrome), but I’m so glad that I went ahead and applied anyway. If I hadn’t taken a chance on it, I would’ve missed out on so much.

What do you wish you’d known before you arrived at Google for CSSI?
That it’s okay to ask for help. Growing up, I was the first in my family to go beyond middle school and take difficult classes, so I was always forced to figure things out on my own. I wasn't used to asking for help or admitting when I didn't know what was going on.

When I came into this program and actually learned that asking for help is encouraged, I initially struggled to accept it, which might have prevented me from fully understanding what was being taught. Eventually, I realized that if I wanted to get the most out of the program, I had to start asking for help.

I wish I’d known how hard it would be to leave this amazing experience! The amount of tears falling from our faces when it was time to say our goodbyes demonstrated how much we had grown together. It was such a blessing to meet people with open minds and heartwarming love. We all had different stories and perspectives, but were so supportive of one another.

Can you tell us how the CSSI experience has impacted you?
This program has truly been a life-changing experience for me. Before this program, I didn't have any confidence in myself. I didn't think I was smart enough to do computer science. I didn't think that I would be able to create applications that could help people. I didn't think that I was able to present in front of an audience. But now I know that I can do all of these things and more. As long as I work smart, use all the resources at my disposal correctly, and build up my courage, I can do whatever I set my mind to.

At CSSI, I learned about imposter syndrome. What is that, you may ask? The feelings that make us feel unworthy, when in reality, we are qualified. Learning about this was huge for me, as I’ve often struggled with self-doubt.

I also gained communication skills, confidence, and of course, coding experience. Although my communication skills and confidence have a lot more to grow, this experience was a start that I feel really blessed to have enjoyed.

What are you going to miss most from your CSSI experience once you leave?
I'm going to miss feeling like a valued part of a company. Going back to my regular job will be hard—it's just not the same as Google.

I’m going to miss the family that was created at the beginning of this new path of my life. The people around me made me feel like I was at home and loved, which is something that I find really valuable.

PhD Research Intern Philip Haeusser: deep learning, neural networks, computer vision, oh my!

Today’s blog features Philip Haeusser, a PhD Research Intern at Google. Read on to learn about his projects, publishing at Google, coding, and his internship's impact. Enjoy!

So tell us about yourself and your PhD topic…
Hi! My name is Philip, and I’m a third-year PhD student in computer science at TU Munich, supervised by Daniel Cremers. I am working in the field of computer vision, the discipline where we teach computers to understand images and videos. To a computer, images and videos are nothing but a huge collection of meaningless numbers. If you represent them as colors, a human is immediately able to tell what’s in the picture.

In order to get a computer to achieve the same, I train neural networks — a family of models that can be interpreted as instances of a “mini visual cortex.” The goal is to map the many numbers that make up an image to something more meaningful, such as a class label like “cat.” Neural networks are amazing at this. I have worked on problems like optical flow (“what changes from one video frame to the next?”) or domain adaptation [“how can we use knowledge (labels) from one domain (e.g. handwritten images) on another domain (e.g. house numbers from Google street view)?”].

When I’m not doing research, I work on my YouTube channel “Phil’s Physics” where I present experiments and talk about science.

How did you get to work in this area?
In 2014, I was completing my Master’s in physics at the University of California in Santa Cruz. I was part of an interdisciplinary team working on retina implants for blind people. In one of our experiments, we had to deal with a lot of data that was very expensive to get — but we couldn’t use all of it because our data processing pipeline was not complex enough. So I started to read about machine learning and neural networks. I got immediately hooked and reached out to professors who were working in this area. It was a great honor to get invited to present my work to Daniel Cremers, who then offered me a PhD position at his chair.

Why did you apply for an internship at Google and how supportive was your PhD advisor?
The field of deep learning is moving very fast. Almost every week, a new paper on some new groundbreaking neural network or training trick appears. More often than not, the authors work at Google. That got me interested in the kind of work that Google is doing in this field. At a summer school, I met Olivier Bousquet, who gave an amazing talk about the Google Brain team. He told me about research internships at Google, and then I applied. My PhD advisor liked the idea, because it’s always good to get new perspectives, to connect with people and to engage in exchange, particularly in a new field like deep learning. Plus, Google has the resources to facilitate experiments that are computationally unfeasible at many universities.

What project was your internship focused on?
I had the honor to be working with Alexander Mordvintsev, one of the creators of DeepDream. The project was on a novel method of training neural networks with unlabeled data and semi-supervised learning.

We developed a new method that we called “Learning by Association.” It’s similar to the “association game,” where you’re told a word and you respond with the first thing that you associate with it. After a few “iterations,” you usually get very funny “association chains.”

We did something similar: We trained a neural network to produce representations (neural activation patterns) that allow for associations, too. Associations from labeled data to unlabeled data. Imagine an association chain from an example of the labeled batch to an example of the unlabeled batch. Then, you make a second association from unlabeled to labeled data. That would then be an “association cycle.” You can now compare the label of the example that you ended up at with the label of the example at the beginning of the cycle. The goal is to make consistent association cycles, meaning that the labels are the same. We formulated this as a cost function and showed that this technique works extremely well for training classification networks with less labeled data.

Did you publish at Google during your internship?
Yes, I wrote a paper and submitted it to CVPR, the biggest computer vision conference in the world. I even presented on this topic at the 2017 CVPR conference. And Google funded my conference trip, so this internship has not only brought me great industry experience, but also a publication that I am very proud of.

How closely connected was the work you did during your internship to your PhD topic?
My host and I were exploring many topics in the beginning and this particular one fits perfectly in my PhD. Besides, I think that even projects orthogonal to a PhD topic can help a lot, with regard to coding and project management skills.

Did you write your own code?
Tons! I am particularly grateful for the code reviews that helped me improve code quality and made me think more about style and scalability. I am also very happy that Google allowed me to open-source my code, as is common practice in the research world. This way, I can continue to work on the topic and share code with researchers all across the globe. I was able to write a follow-up paper on “Associative Domain Adaptation,” which just got accepted for ICCV.

This is your second internship at Google. What were the reasons to come back to Google Zurich?
There are so many interesting research projects at Google that only one internship is not enough :-). No, seriously, I was offered a really interesting project on the team of Sylvain Gelly. I had already met him and his colleagues last year. They are amazing people, and I couldn’t miss out on the chance to work with them.

What key skills have you gained from your time at Google?
I think my code quality improved a lot. At Google, you have the chance to learn from brilliant coders with a lot of experience. They write smart code, fast. And they help you do the same.
But I also connected with many people from different teams and backgrounds. I met amazing product managers who gave me insights into how they design successful products. I was even able to work with them on new YouTube features since I am also a YouTube creator. And last but not least, I worked on my metabolic endurance with the Tough Mudder team at Google’s internal fitness center.

What impact has this internship experience had on your PhD?
Looking at it in retrospect, my internship was an important milestone for my PhD. I didn’t apply with the expectation of it being a total game changer, but I think I returned back to university with a ton of new ideas and inspiration.

Looking back on your experiences now: Why should a PhD student apply for an internship at Google? Any advice to offer?
When you’re in the middle of your PhD, there will be this moment when you think you’re trapped and you need to see something new. Or when you realize that you would like to try an experiment that requires 1000 GPUs. Or when you think you know it all and you want to challenge yourself. Or when you think about the time after your PhD and you wonder what it would be like to write code at scale and make a huge impact. I think there are many reasons for an internship. Google is a fun place to try yourself out and maybe come home with a nice paper, new friends, new ideas, or even a job offer.

My Path to Google: Zaven Muradyan, Software Engineer

Welcome to the sixth installment of our blog series “My Path to Google”. These are real stories from Googlers 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 Zaven Muradyan. Read on!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Armenia and lived there for about seven years before moving to Dallas, Texas. After several subsequent moves, I eventually ended up in the Tri-Cities area of Washington, where I went to the local community college to study computer science and graduated with an associate degree.
What’s your role at Google?
I'm a software engineer on the Google Cloud Console team, working on the frontend infrastructure. In addition to working on framework code that affects the rest of the project, I also work on tooling that improves other developers' productivity, with the ultimate goal of improving the experience for all users of Google Cloud Platform.
What inspires you to come in every day?
My colleagues! It's a joy to work on challenging and large-scale technical problems with so many talented and kind people, and I am able to learn from my coworkers every day. I also get to work with several open source projects and collaborate closely with the Angular team at Google.
When did you join Google?
I officially joined Google a little more than two years ago. I had always admired Google's product quality and engineering culture, but prior to starting the recruitment process, I had never seriously considered applying because I didn't feel like I had the formal credentials.
How did the recruitment process go for you?
It started, in a sense, when one year I decided to try participating in Google Code Jam just for fun (and I didn't even get very far in the rounds!). A little while later, I was contacted by a recruiter from Google who had seen some of my personal open source projects. To my surprise, they had originally found me because I had participated in Code Jam! I was excited and decided to do my best at going through the interview process, but was prepared for it to not work out.
I studied as much as I could, and tried to hone my design and problem solving skills. I wasn't quite sure what to expect of the interviews, but when the time came, it ended up being an enjoyable, although challenging, experience. I managed to pass the interviews and joined my current team!
What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
Prior to going through the interviews, I had the idea that only highly educated or extremely experienced engineers had a chance at joining Google. Even after passing the interviews, I was still worried that my lack of a 4-year degree would cause problems. Having gone through the process, and now having conducted interviews myself, I can say that that is certainly not the case. Googlers are made up of people from all kinds of different backgrounds!
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Don't assume that you won't be able to succeed just because you may have a "nontraditional" background! Go ahead and apply, then prepare well for the interviews. What matters most is your ability to problem solve and design solutions to complex issues, so keep practicing and don't give up.

Can you tell us more about the resources you used to prepare your interviews?

I started by going through "Programming Interviews Exposed," which acted as a good intro to my preparation. After that, I tried learning and implementing many of the most common algorithms and data structures that I could find, while going through some example problems from sites like Topcoder and previous iterations of Code Jam. Finally, one specific resource that I found to be very helpful was HiredInTech, especially for system design.

The results are in for the 2017 Google Online Marketing Challenge!


More than 600 professors and 12,000 students from over 65 countries competed in the 2017 Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC)...and the results are in!

This year we introduced a new AdWords Certification award and algorithm evaluating performance across more campaign types, delivering some of the most impressive work seen in the history of GOMC. Check out our AdWords Business, AdWords Certification, and Social Impact Winners below, and reference our GOMC Past Challenges page for a full list of the 2017 Team Results.

Congratulations to the winners and a big round of applause for all teams that participated! Thanks to all of the support from professors and the thousands of students who have helped businesses and nonprofits in their communities, we have had much to celebrate together. Over the past 10 years, more than 120,000 students and professors across almost 100 countries have participated in the Google Online Marketing Challenge, helping more than 15,000 businesses and nonprofits grow online.

Though we are taking a step back from the Google Online Marketing Challenge as we know it and exploring new opportunities to support practical skill development for students, we are continuing to provide free digital skills trainings and encourage academics to keep fostering a learning environment that connects the classroom with industry. For resources that will help you carry on project work like GOMC, a place for sharing feedback to help us continue to provide useful student development programs and a way to stay updated on our latest offerings, visit our FAQ page on the GOMC website.

2017 Google Online Marketing Challenge Winners

AdWords Business Awards
Global Winners
  • School: James Madison University | United States
  • Professor: Theresa B. Clarke
  • Team: Michelle Mullins, George Shtern, Caroline Galiwango and Raquel Sheriff
Regional Winners
  • Region: Americas
  • School: James Madison University | United States
  • Professor: Theresa B. Clarke
  • Team: Jonathan Nicely, Ken Prevete, Jessica Drennon and Jesse Springer
  • Region: Asia & Pacific
  • School: University of Delhi | India
  • Professor: Ginmunlal Khongsai
  • Team: Prakriti Sharma, Raghav Shadija and Ankita Grewal
  • Region: Europe
  • School: Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań | Poland
  • Professor:  Wojciech Czart
  • Team: Michał Paszyn, Marek Buliński, Kamil Poturalski, Aneta Disterheft, Damian Koniuszy and Kamila Malanowicz
  • Region: Middle East & Africa
  • School: Kenyatta University | Kenya
  • Professor: Paul Mwangi Gachanja
  • Team: Peter Wangugi, Jackson Ndung'u, Selpha Kung'u and Antony Gathathu
AdWords Certification Awards
Global Winners
  • School: University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt | Germany
  • Professor: Mario Fischer
  • Team: Tobias Fröhlich, Lorenz Himmel, Sabine Zinkl, Thomas Lerch, Philipp Horsch and Maksym Vovk
Regional Winners
  • Region: Americas
  • School: James Madison University | United States
  • Professor: Theresa B. Clarke
  • Team: Nicole Carothers, Emily Vaeth, Annalise Capalbo and Brendan Reece
  • Region: Asia & Pacific
  • School: Indian Institute of Management Indore | India
  • Professor: Rajendra V. Nargundkar
  • Team: Kalaivani G, Swathika S, Chandran M, Akshaya S, Sadhana P and Mathan Kumar V
  • Region: Europe
  • School: University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt | Germany
  • Professor: Mario Fischer
  • Team: Matthias Schloßareck, Michelle Skodowski, Lena Thauer, Yen Nguyet Dang, David Mohr and Sebastian Kaufmann
  • Region: Middle East & Africa
  • School: The Federal University of Technology, Akure | Nigeria
  • Professor: Ajayi Olumuyiwa Olubode
  • Team: John Afolabi, Adebayo Olaoluwa Egbetade, Olubusayo Amowe, Israel Temilola Olaleye, Raphael Oluwaseyi Lawrence and Taiwo Joel Akinlosotu
  • Client: Stutern
AdWords Social Impact Awards
  • 1st Place
  • School: The University of Texas at Austin | United States
  • Professor: Lisa Dobias
  • Team: Kaitlin Reid, Ben Torres, Zachary Kornblau, Kendall Troup, Kristin Kish and Angela Fayad
  • Client: Thinkery
  • 2nd Place
  • School: James Madison University | United States
  • Professor: Theresa B. Clarke
  • Team: Michelle Mullins, George Shtern, Caroline Galiwango and Raquel Sheriff
  • 3rd Place
  • School: James Madison University | United States
  • Professor: Theresa B. Clarke
  • Team: Jonathan Nicely, Ken Prevete, Jessica Drennon and Jesse Springer