Author Archives: Daphne Karpel

How seeking inclusion in tech led Lara to Google

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about 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 Lara Suzuki, a technical director in Google Cloud’s Office of the CTO, who’s based in London.

What’s your role at Google?

I work at the forefront of many technologies, including machine learning, responsible AI, cloud robotics and AI applied to medicine. I collaborate with Googlers across product, engineering and sales.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got interested in technology.

I grew up in Sao Paulo in a Brazilian-Italian-Japanese family. I’m autistic and have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated with things that move or change state, like machines, cars and electronic equipment. I always wanted to understand how things worked — what made them behave the way they did, and how I could make them do something else.

I started a music degree when I was 15, but a year later, I decided to follow my passion for engineering. I went on to pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a PhD in computer science.

Lara, wearing a space-themed sweater, sits smiling with a golden retriever.

Why did you decide to apply to Google?

Besides its technological impact, I was drawn to Google’s commitment to inclusion and belonging — including the programs they invest in to help people of all walks of life join the technology sector. The best thing about Google is the people and the value the organization puts on Googlers.

I will never be able to express my appreciation for the way Google has impacted my own life and helped me grow in this field. Even before I joined, Google awarded me an academic scholarship to pursue my PhD and provided mentorship, leadership and technical training.

Lara presents at an event. She wears a gray jacket and a lime green event badge. Behind her are pictures of women technologists with their names and talk names listed.

What was your interview experience like?

Even though I was nervous, all my interview experiences at Google were fantastic (I applied for one role and received referrals for two). Every interviewer was enthusiastic about the technologies they were developing, and my potential role in them. Even in the early stages of the interview process, I could grasp the company’s culture of belonging and belief in everyone’s capabilities.

What resources did you use to prepare?

I used a lot of online resources to polish my coding skills, read books and took coding challenges. I also did mock interviews with my friends and husband. That helped me prepare for questions and keep my anxiety at bay. At the actual interview, it felt like I was having a chat with a friend.

What advice do you have for aspiring Googlers?

Applying to Google can sometimes feel like you’re taking a long shot. I was very motivated to make it to Google, but also a bit afraid I wouldn’t be good enough. Don’t hesitate to apply because of a fear of failure. In the end, you’ll find the right opportunity at the right time in your career.

How a love of art and engineering led Nichole to YouTube

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns, apprentices and alumni about 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 Nichole Lasater, a software engineer at YouTube, whose background in both art and engineering led her to Google.

How did you first get interested in software engineering?

I originally planned to study veterinary medicine, but I took a computer science course in college (practically on a whim) and fell in love with software engineering. After graduating with a degree in computer science and game design, I built video games with a group of my former classmates before joining Google in 2019.

What do you do here at Google?

I've worked on a few different teams at YouTube, including Trust and Safety and YouTube Kids Web. Right now, I work for YouTube on TV, where I help bring YouTube to living room devices, game consoles and all sorts of entertainment systems. It’s inspiring to work on a product that so many people (including myself) use every day. I also have a background in art — I grew up painting and took digital art classes in college — and I like how this role allows me to bring that passion into my work.

Tell us more about how you bring art into your engineering work.

I care a lot about user experience and user interface (UI). I've helped several Google teams revamp their internal websites using Material Design, a set of design tools and best practices from Google. I even built a brand identity for an internal tool — I came up with a color scheme, typography and iconography to help it look and feel more like a modern app. All these projects helped me flex both my technical and design skills and gave my teammates a better experience using these resources.

Anything you wish you’d known when you started the recruiting process?

I have a very different background from many of my teammates — I grew up studying art, planned to major in microbiology and didn’t write any code until college. I was concerned that I wasn’t as knowledgeable as my peers and that I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a software engineer. But I’ve found the opposite is true. My recruiter shared that my background in both art and engineering actually helped me stand out in the interview process. And my team values the unique perspective I bring to this role. I’m not only building products and writing code, I’m helping them look good too.

What did you learn from your job search?

I applied to every opportunity I spotted, even if it wasn’t something I was entirely interested in. Every application was worth the practice. I sent out many more resumes than I got interviews — but looking back, I’m OK with that. It helped me build my confidence and made me less afraid of rejection.

Any tips to share with aspiring Googlers?

I was really afraid at first. I was scared that I wouldn’t fit in since I didn’t have a coding background. But I’ve learned that if something fascinates you, whether it’s art or software engineering, just go for it. Anyone who is passionate and genuinely enjoys the work can be successful. You will find your community.

How Ben’s love for technology led him to Google

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns, apprentices and alumni about 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 Ben Miles, a Technical Solutions Engineer for Google Cloud who’s based in our London office.

What’s your current role at Google?

I’m a Technical Solutions Engineer for Google Cloud. I work specifically on Apigee, Google Cloud’s API management platform. In my role, I help Google Cloud’s customers fix technical issues through a mix of troubleshooting, debugging, software development and system administration. I enjoy the entire process, from reporting an issue to finding a resolution. It always feels great to help our customers and learn something new along the way.

When did you first get interested in technology?

I always had a passion for technology when I was growing up — I would play endless amounts of video games and take apart my parents’ desktop computer for fun. Flash forward to today, I still spend a lot of time teaching myself new programming languages and researching areas like space exploration (watching a live SpaceX rocket launch is on my bucket list).

But I didn’t study anything even remotely technical in school. In fact, I’ve never been very academic — I didn’t attend university or get a degree, and my grades in high school were never that strong. So I thought my chances of working in the tech industry were over before I had even started. That’s why Google’s apprenticeship program was a great stepping stone into tech for me. I was able to learn on the job and even get certified through formal training connected to the program.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

Like many Googlers, I never thought I would get a job here. I was terrified to apply, because I didn’t think I’d stand a chance. Once I realized I had nothing to lose, I ultimately took the leap and applied. You can’t achieve anything if you don’t try.

I got accepted into Google’s digital marketing apprenticeship program when I was 18. I spent one year there before applying to another apprenticeship focused on IT engineering. In that IT role, I helped other Googlers solve technical problems, like fixing their laptops and debugging software issues. Taking on two apprenticeships back to back is rare — I’m actually the only Google apprentice who’s ever done it! — and I learned a lot from both experiences.

Ben’s desk at the London office includes two monitors, a Noogler hat and an Android sticker, as well as a collection of figurines and other decorations.

Ben’s desk at the Google London office.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I’ve been through many recruiting processes at Google, both as an internal and external applicant, and every experience has been rewarding. Applying to the Technical Solutions Engineer role was especially challenging, but I felt supported every step of the way. My recruiter talked me through each part of the process and what to expect, and the interviewers were all extremely kind.

What resources did you use to prepare for your interview?
Since I didn’t have specialized education or training, I prepared entirely using the internet and free resources. I watched YouTube videos to learn more about specific topics, and used forums like Reddit to research and ask questions. Reading books was another good way to absorb a lot of information at once. If you can’t find a specific book for free online, it’s probably available in your local library!

A group of new Googlers (“Nooglers”) wearing colorful propeller caps pose around a “Welcome to Google” banner. In the background are large glass windows looking out to a blue sky.

Ben at “Noogler” (new Googler) orientation. He’s wearing a white sweatshirt and holding the “Welcome to Google" sign on the right.

Any tips for aspiring Googlers?
There is no one “type” of person Google hires. I have an unconventional background and still managed to reach my goal of working here. I still can’t believe that I’m writing this now. Thinking back to a few years ago when I was in high school, a job at Google seemed completely unrealistic. Now, I get to do what I love every day and work with some of the largest companies in the world on services that millions of people use. I am so grateful that Google saw potential in me, and I can't wait to see where the future takes me.

How a Google recruiter prepared for her own interview

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about 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 Jennifer Jones, a recruiter from our Atlanta office, who originally wanted to be an elementary school teacher and shares her journey from studying education to recruiting engineering talent.

What’s your role at Google?

I am an Early Careers Software Engineer Recruiter at Google. I work specifically with candidates looking to start their software engineering careers with us.

I tell all of my candidates to think of me as their coach, and that my job is to help them get to the finish line. I love how I can incorporate so much of my personality into my position, while tailoring each experience to what my candidates need. It's an honor to be part of such an important decision in their lives.

How did you get into recruiting?

My path to recruiting (and Google) has been a unique one for sure. I had no intention of becoming a recruiter — I stumbled into this career. But ever since I found this role, where I can be myself and help others at the same time, I have been obsessed with what I do.

After graduating high school, I went to Temple University in Philadelphia for a year and a half with the hopes of becoming an elementary teacher. But the more I attended classes, the more I knew it wasn't for me, and I decided not to pursue a college degree. I went back home to New Jersey and started working in retail, which led to account management and eventually recruiting.

I first applied to Google in 2015 and made it to the onsite interview, but I didn’t get to the offer stage. In 2017, I took a contract recruiting job working out of Google’s Austin, Texas office. From the moment I walked through the doors, I knew I belonged there. When my contract ended, I went another direction — but Google always stayed top of mind. There was no other place like it for me.

This past year, I applied again for a full time role at Google. Imposter syndrome and negative thoughts were definitely creeping in. "I don't have a degree, can I really do this?" "What if I have to move, do I really want to do it?" But I applied anyway and got the job!

Jennifer stands next to and gestures towards a neon red cursive Google sign

Jennifer at Google’s Austin, Texas office

What inspires you to come in (or log in) every day?

I love how liberated I feel in my position. My manager trusts me to execute my work, but she is always there if I need her.

Google also has some of the most incredible people, and it's amazing to work with change makers and innovators. It's such a collaborative environment and a place where I’m comfortable bringing my whole self to work each day.

What was the interview process like for you?

My recruiter prepared me for my onsite interviews in a way that I had never experienced before. Each step of the way, he shared updates — even on weekends. I'll never forget, I was walking out of my local grocery store when I saw his email that I had passed my onsite interviews. I cried right there in the parking lot! It was such an incredible feeling.

Can you share some of the resources you used to prepare for your interviews?

I treated my interview prep like a part-time job. I spent time writing down everything I had accomplished and scenarios that I wanted to mention in my responses. I searched for "hypothetical interview questions" and "behavioral interview questions," and practiced answering using the S.T.A.R. method. All of this helped me feel comfortable when it came time to interview.

Do you have any tips for aspiring Googlers?

Don't give up. I interviewed three times over the course of six years before I became a Googler. There were so many times that I almost talked myself out of applying. If I listened, I wouldn’t be here! Learning to quiet the negative voices and think positive thoughts helped tremendously.

How 15 years in IT brought Subhasish to Google Maps

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s story is all about Subhasish Roy from our Hyderabad office. Subhasish shares how he brings the lessons he’s learned from over 15 years in IT to his current role as a Program Manager on the Google Maps team.

What’s your current role at Google?

I am a Program Manager on the Google Maps data moderation team, where I lead multiple projects to review the helpful content our users submit to Google Maps — like whether a business is still open, and if their hours, business name and other information are still accurate. What I love most about my role is working with a diverse team that is passionate about giving users the best experience possible.

Describe your typical workday.

I’m working from home like many others around the world. I generally start by planning and prioritizing my day with to-do lists and action items. Then, I usually have several video meetings with teams based in six offices across four time zones, including India, Ireland and the United States. Googlers are always collaborating using Google Docs, so I spend a good amount of my days working with my colleagues on strategy documents or reviewing proposals.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

I dreamed of working at Google ever since I learned more about the internet and its potential to impact millions of lives. Google continuously innovates to make people's lives easier, which inspired me to think big and want to work here.

How did you get to your current role?

I’ve had many roles during my 15+ year IT career. I started out as a software engineer and, from there, took on different positions — including team lead, project manager, development manager, and technical program manager. Along the way, I developed many skills, like managing teams, communicating and negotiating with customers, and eventually leading a large-scale enterprise application development team across multiple time zones and languages.

Despite all of this experience, I was still anxious about applying to Google because I didn’t study at one of the top-tier universities in India. I also wasn’t sure if I would be a good match for the culture or how my experience would fit into Google, since I hadn’t coded for 10 years at that point. However, once I got to Google, I was able to channel all of my experience and the skills I’ve developed throughout my career into leading teams, experimenting, and building products. I have access to world-class technology and talent, and the impact of my work has reached new heights.

What inspires you to log on every day?

More than a billion users every month use Google Maps for their daily commutes. I am inspired knowing that the work I’m doing is helping people. It's also a great feeling to work with so many smart people. It provides incredible learning and growth opportunities, and drives my daily energy.

Can you share any of the resources you used to prepare for the interview?

I used sites like LinkedIn Learning, online videos and training classes, and sessions from the Life at Google YouTube channel.

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

Show your willingness to think outside of the box. It sounds cliché, I know, but the way you think can take you far. That expertise that you might think doesn’t apply to the role you want at Google may be exactly what gets you the job!

Prisha’s path from YouTube vlogging to digital marketing

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about 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 Prisha Bathia from our London office, whose passion for creating YouTube videos led to an interest in digital marketing and eventually a full-time job helping customers at Google.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

One of my hobbies is filming videos for my YouTube channel, where I raise awareness of my rare chronic condition called Sturge Weber Syndrome. It’s a neurological condition that affects my eyes, brain and face. I have a vascular birthmark on the left side of my face (also known as a port-wine stain), caused by larger blood vessels in my brain. It's also why I have an eye condition called glaucoma, which means I have limited vision in my left eye due to high pressure and retina detachment.

Growing up, I wasn't the most confident person. I struggled with my visible difference and I didn't see many people in the media talking about it. I wanted to change that and help others feel more confident. Part of my channel includes videos on self-confidence, bullying and my hospital journey. I also film travel vlogs to show that my condition doesn't stop me from achieving my goals.

What’s your role at Google?

At 20 years old, I’ve recently transitioned into a full-time role on the Google Customer Solutions team as an Associate Account Strategist. I manage a portfolio of small to medium businesses, educating them on Google Ads and how to get the best return on their investment.

Before that, I had an apprenticeship on the Hardware marketing team, where I supported product launches, seasonal campaigns and paid media campaigns for over 15 countries. I loved using data and Google Analytics to plan campaigns.

How did you get interested in digital marketing?

In 2018, Great Ormond Street Hospital — the hospital I volunteer with, and the one that’s treated me since I was a child — offered me a position on their digital marketing team. The role included setting up and optimizing campaigns, and analyzing data. I loved that this work was helping to raise funds for the hospital and making a real difference! That experience, combined with my own background in content creation, showed me the impact of digital presence and inspired me to pursue it as a career.

How did the Google recruitment process go for you?

I vividly remember the interview day because I met so many other amazing apprentices. It was my very first job interview so I didn't know what to expect. It was simultaneously scary and fun.

I was worried I wouldn't get the job because of my condition. Growing up, I was always anxious about my career and if my hospital life would get in the way. I worried that missing school would keep me from opportunities and negatively impact my future career, but I am so thankful that hasn’t been the case. In a way, my condition created my passion for filming and posting on social media — which led me to my career in digital marketing!

Can you tell us about accommodations at Google for your work?

Everyone at Google is so supportive and shows a genuine interest in learning more about my condition and how they can help me. They understand that my condition can worsen on random days, and that I have frequent doctor appointments.

One of the main issues that I face, especially at work, is getting tired. Because I’m only able to use my right eye, my eyes often become strained — and I struggled in the first few months of my apprenticeship. But I worked with my manager, mentor, and our employee accommodations team to make some changes to my day-to-day routine. Now we make sure that I can take regular breaks, work from home, and have flexibility to leave the office early.

Working from home in the last year has been challenging. The screen time increased significantly and caused my condition to worsen at times. But by staying transparent with my team, we found solutions. If you are navigating something similar, my biggest tip is to speak openly to your manager or someone you trust.

With voluntary return-to-work at the London office, how has the hybrid model been working for you?

I love the hybrid way of working — it's been a great way to balance work and my condition. I've been able to go to the office recently, and it's helped me reduce my screen time and think less about my chronic illness.

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

Take every opportunity you get. Each one is a chance to develop new skills and learn from mistakes. It's the best way to grow professionally and personally.

How Hannah Frankl advocates for startups and inclusivity

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about 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 Hannah Frankl, who supports entrepreneurs around the world as a member of the Google for Startups team, and helps share disability-inclusive best practices as an inclusivity advocate.

What’s your role at Google?

I am a Global Product Marketing Manager for Google for Startups, a team dedicated to leveling the playing field for startup founders and communities to succeed. We connect them with the right people, products and best practices to help them grow. Day to day, you will find me meeting with startup founders or working with developers to improve our offerings. My work often comes to life in new features on our Google for Startups website, or in executive reports analyzing our target markets. I thrive most when working directly with founders, helping them tackle their most pressing business obstacles.

I also serve as an inclusivity advocate. Since joining Google, I have helped create inclusive marketing audits and co-authored Google’s first-ever marketing guidelines for women and people with disabilities — which served as the foundation for what is now publicly available on I am also a frequent panelist for Google’s Disability Alliance, an employee resource group, and assist teams across the company with product development and user testing. Both in and outside of Google, I train creatives in disability-inclusive best practices and will soon be expanding this work internationally. I recently merged my two passions, disability inclusion and startups, to sponsor2Gether International’s accelerator program for founders with disabilities as part of the Google for Startups greater mission to support underrepresented founders.

How did you first get interested in business and social impact?

I moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area in 2013 to pursue my undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley. At first, I wanted to study chemistry to become a doctor like my mom — motivated by my desire for tikkun olam (healing the world). However, I found myself less interested in chemical reactions and more fascinated with how organizations use their platforms to have a social impact. I ultimately earned a B.S. in business administration, with a minor in conservation of resources.

Hannah stands on stage, speaking into a microphone. In the background is a screen showing presentation slides, mounted on a white wall with the words “Further Faster Together” on the right side, and list of large cities on the left. In front of the wall is a yellow couch and grey couch, and a podium with the Google for Startups logo on it.

Hannah presents at a Google for Startups event.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

I first learned about Google’s Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development (BOLD) Intern program through Lime Connect, a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating students with disabilities. It was the summer before my junior year, and a representative from Google spoke at the Lime Connect Fellowship Summit in New York. I had of course heard of Google, but before that moment, I hadn’t really considered myself a contender. However, the session helped me think about the unique perspectives, skills and insights that I could bring to a company like Google.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

On the morning of my first virtual Google interview, I ironed my shirt and neatly laid out my finest selection of paper and colored pens on my desk. It wasn’t until mid-interview that I realized my laptop was running out of battery, and that my charger was in the other room. In a panic, I interrupted my interviewer and took a few minutes to get resituated, apologizing throughout. When I didn’t hear back from Google the following week, I was sure I had been rejected.

It turned out that I just had to wait a few weeks, when Google officially offered me the job. In fact, that very interviewer later became my summer internship manager! And in case you were wondering, I am now the proud owner of multiple laptop chargers.

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

For my initial application, I tailored my resume to the role and tried to mirror the language of the program wherever possible. For the interview, I practiced responding to questions and reviewed the resources available on the Google Careers website and blog.

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

Be yourself. You will succeed at Google because of what makes you unique, not despite it.

A Sales Googler’s passion for building communities

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s story is all about Saad Hamid, who’s based in Singapore. Saad shares his journey of starting the first Google Developer Group in his hometown of Islamabad, joining Google’s Developer Relations team, and landing his current role on our App Developer Sales team.

What’s your role at Google?

I’m a Growth Manager for the AppDev Sales team. I help app developers and startups grow their businesses by uncovering potential opportunities in local and international markets. I get to watch them open new offices, hire diverse teams and build global partnerships. It’s also rewarding to know that my work supports entrepreneurs in my home country of Pakistan. 

What’s your typical workday like?

Right now, like many Googlers in Singapore, I’m working from home. My typical workday is filled with internal and external meetings. My external meetings range from helping clients adopt developer tools like Firebase, to sharing growth opportunities in new markets. I get a lot of energy from talking to people, so I love meeting with my teammates and clients. 

And like many other parents working from home, sometimes my two-year-old daughter makes an appearance!

Selfie of Saad in front of a building with a Google logo on it.

Saad visiting Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in Islamabad, Pakistan and originally studied electrical engineering. I was obsessed with the internet in its early days, which inspired me to experiment with online businesses and led me to my role at Google. My hobbies include making a lot of bad dad jokes and coming up with unconventional  dishes, like biryani with strawberries — I call it the Strawbiryani!

Are there any key themes in your path to your current job at Google?

My passion for community building has helped me meet a lot of great people, and led me to where I am today. Before joining Google, I ran a startup. And before that, I was part of a local startup accelerator that supported the Pakistan tech ecosystem. 

Back in 2012, I started a Google Developer Group (GDG) chapter in my city — one of Google’s volunteer community programs to train developers in the latest technologies. As a GDG manager, I ran community events, workshops and hackathons for developers in Islamabad. Eventually, I became Pakistan's first Google Developer Expert (GDE), sharing insights and expertise about Google products with the local developer community. 

Google’s size, scale and impact always attracted me, and ultimately inspired me to apply. I first joined as a Community Manager on the Developer Relations team, where I was responsible for managing several Google Developers Programs — including Google Developer Groups, Google Developers Experts, Developer Student Clubs, and Women Techmakers.

Saad wearing a black shirt with a multicolored globe image on it. Behind him is a white building, trees, and people walking around.

Saad attending Google I/O in 2019.

Tell us about the resources you used to prepare for the interviews?

The best place to start is a blank Google Doc. Imagine all of the challenges you faced in your past roles, and document everything you did to get past them. Reflecting on your work is a great way to prepare for Google interviews. It was also helpful to watch YouTube videos of candidates speaking about the Google interview process. 

What advice would you go back and give yourself?

I would definitely tell myself to relax more. I was so nervous during the process that I could literally feel it in my gut. But by the end, thanks to the support from my interviewers, I felt very calm and relaxed.

Do you have any tips for aspiring Googlers?

Don't be your own roadblock. There is nothing in the world that you can't do or achieve. As long as you don't stop yourself from taking a leap and striving for your goals, you will do just fine.

How this engineer’s career break led her to Google

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today we spoke with Kiranmayi Bhamidimarri, a software engineer at our Bangalore office, who shares her story of joining Google after taking a year-and-a-half break from the workforce. 

What’s your role at Google?

I am a software engineer for Google Cloud, where I work on Cloud Spanner — a database management and storage service. My team is focused on developing introspection tools for this system, which help our customers better understand any issues with their Spanner databases. 

What was it like taking a break from the workforce?

Stepping back from the workforce marked a turning point in my life. Through a lot of reflection, I grew both as a person and as a professional during that period — even though I wasn’t working. For example, I discovered that I care deeply about diversity and inclusion in all aspects of my career, including the places I work. After taking the time to develop these bigger-picture perspectives and once I felt comfortable balancing things in my personal life, I started exploring returning to work. 

What made you decide to apply to Google?

I came across the concept of Carer’s Leave and what this benefit looks like at Google. When a family member or loved one falls seriously ill, Google's Carer's Leave policy allows employees to take the time they need to provide or find care for them. I liked the idea of working at a company that helps employees support their family in times of need. This led me to researching Google’s culture overall. I loved that Google is an inclusive place that would allow me to bring my whole self to work and not leave my personal life behind — which became especially important to me after my career break. 

How did you approach the Google application process after taking a career break?

At first, I was very nervous and told myself not to be too ambitious. I struggled with impostor syndrome and wasn’t sure if I would do well in the interviews, which I’d always heard were challenging. Then a friend who interviewed with Google shared her positive experience with me, and busted many myths. She explained, for example, that the interviews focus on thought process rather than the exact solution. She ultimately helped me realize my worth and put my best foot forward. 

What was the interview process like for you?

When I first decided to apply, I asked a friend who recently joined Google for advice. He guided me through the process and even helped me with a referral, but I was rejected at the resume screening phase. At the time, my resume didn't reflect my actual skills and experience. I didn’t list everything I’d worked on, because I was afraid I had forgotten too much during my break to explain or answer questions. I was shrinking myself into someone else so they wouldn't expect so much from me. 

My friend who referred me encouraged me to revamp my resume and try again. I reached out to some Google recruiters on LinkedIn, who took the time to speak with me and look at my updated resume. One of the recruiters set up a phone interview, and that kicked off the process. 

What’s one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? 

It’s okay not to be perfect. During my phone interview, I answered one of the questions incorrectly. I was nervous and disappointed about the mistake, but the interviewer encouraged me to try again and I ultimately found the right solution. So I would tell myself that it's okay to make mistakes, as long as I learn from them and continue to grow. 

I would also reassure myself that I won't be treated differently because of my career break. That was a big fear of mine, and I'm so happy I was proven wrong. I am grateful to everyone at Google who spoke to me about my hesitations with returning to the workforce, and provided mentorship and support. Now six months in, I continue to feel valued and encouraged to bring every part of myself to work.

One engineer’s tips for getting into Google

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today we spoke with Akash Mukherjee, a Security Engineer at our Mountain View office, about what makes his work challenging and exciting.

What do you do at Google?

I’m a Security Engineer on the Chrome Browser Core Infrastructure team. My team makes sure that the infrastructure used to build and ship Chrome to billions of users is secure. We build tools to make it easy for secure development practice across Chrome. One cool part of this work is that we not only support Google’s internal developer community but also open source contributors.

What’s a typical workday like for you? 

Most of my day involves designing and building out tools, so a lot of writing code and design docs. I’d say I spend 15% of my time syncing with colleagues on updates for ongoing projects. I’m fortunate to have multiple projects to work on — this helps me feel constantly challenged and motivated to work.

I feel like I have a great balance between collaborating and working independently. 

What made you decide to apply to Google?

Google had always been at the back of my mind, but I was intimidated by the interview process and held off applying for a while. Still, I’d heard good stories about the work-life balance at Google from friends. I was actually getting ready to apply right when a recruiter reached out to me! It felt like a natural match not only in terms of technical skills, but also culturally.

How did you land in your current role?

Before joining Google, I was a security engineer at another company, where I was doing more automation work. Although it was exciting, I always felt something was missing. Joining Google I realized how much I value constant innovation and building new systems and tools. One of the coolest things about building new things is that it requires you to understand the vast existing infrastructure. It’s challenging, exciting work.

What inspires you to come in (or log in) every day? 

It’s fascinating to see how Google’s objective of building for everyone breaks down to the individual level. One of the benefits of working at Google is that the work we do impacts more than a billion people’s lives. That motivates me. It would be unfair not to also mention all the amazing people I work with on a daily basis — my colleagues are a crucial part of the work I do.

A golden retriever puppy lays on the trunk of a car while wearing a Noogler hat.

Besides work, I play soccer and love to explore driving around. I also have the cutest golden retriever and outside work, that’s where I spend most of my time.

How did you prepare for the interview?

Google’s interview process really tests your fundamental knowledge. Work on strengthening those building blocks and answer questions with technical details. This is a good starting point that I have used. If you look at the questions, you’ll see how fundamentals are important. 

Any tips for aspiring Googlers?

Believe in yourself, especially during tough times and failures. Anyone out there reading this, just get past the fear of failure and start learning from it. Failures teach us much more than success.