Author Archives: Daphne Karpel

An autistic Googler and his manager thrive through communication

To mark World Autism Awareness Day, we sat down with Tim Goldstein, who is autistic, and his prior manager, Patricia Li, to hear how they created an inclusive experience and career opportunities for Tim. They explained how they worked together on communication, collaboration and mutual understanding to build a strong and successful working relationship.   

What do you do at Google?

Tim: When I worked on Patricia’s team I provided professional services consulting and education for the Looker product of Google Cloud. Thanks to her help I am now in Cloud Global Training, specializing in Looker.

Patricia: I’m a practice manager in Google Cloud’s Professional Services organization (specializing in Looker). I support my team in tackling client challenges.

What was that first conversation disclosing your workplace needs with Patricia, your manager, like?

Tim:For me it was not anything out of the ordinary. Because of my work as an advocate for autism and neurodiversity, I am very public. To better control my disclosure, I regularly tell people up front.

When I told Patricia I was autistic, I also sent her a manager tip sheet that I designed for Vanderbilt University’s Frist Center for Autism and Innovation, which is specifically focused on disclosing your neurodistinction and ways to self-advocate with your manager. It gives your manager concrete ways to best work with anyone who is neurodistinct.

A question for both of you: How would you describe the first few months of your working relationship?

Tim: As is normal for me, I asked lots of questions, especially about details. Detail-up is the way many of us who are autistic process information, not concept-down. Because Patricia didn’t yet understand the scope of what being autistic can be, my questions often came across as pushback. 

At the same time, I was struggling to understand what exactly was being asked of me because it was being presented from a higher level. Our relationship deteriorated, despite our best efforts. Even though we were being open and communicating in our individual ways, we were ineffective.

Patricia:The first few months were an uphill journey. Even with the best of intentions, there were many misunderstandings, resulting in frustration on both sides. We hit a low point that forced an honest conversation around whether the role was a good fit. That was a turning point, as it helped me understand how to better support Tim. The conversations also demonstrated positive intent from both sides and helped us re-establish trust.

How did you improve communication?

Patricia: We worked out systems of communication that worked for us: keywords that told us to stop and go back to clarify, tags that meant “I’m just venting” versus “I need help,” knowing that sometimes more context is needed over a call rather than a chat ping.  Ultimately it comes back to communicating, assuming positive intent and establishing trust.

It also helped me understand what Tim needed to be successful, and how to lean into his strengths to give him the opportunity to lead and excel.  Tim is fantastic at presenting, and has a real passion for teaching and mentoring, lighting up when he is able to make something click for someone.  When I saw the opening on the Cloud Global Training Team, I knew it would be the perfect fit for him.  

How has this experience enhanced your perspective as a manager?

Patricia: Everything I learned while working with Tim is applicable in my role as a manager to any team member. This experience has enhanced my awareness that we each come from different perspectives, informed by different contexts and experiences.

Tim, do you have any tips you’d like to share with neurodiverse employees and aspiring Googlers on the spectrum?

Tim: The most important step is to be willing to be open about your neurodistinction. This is good for the individual as there is awareness before some issue may come up. This can help managers to recognise the true challenge instead of incorrectly assuming it is an attitude issue.

When you do disclose to your manager, don’t just wing it. Have a plan and ideally resources you can provide to help the manager better understand you and your neurodistinction.

Beyond your manager relationship, how has Google continued to create an inclusive workplace for Googlers with disabilities? 

Tim: Google has been very open and supportive of presentations and training opportunities on neurodiversity and autism. Much of this has been at the grass roots level with interest and support from DEI, HR, individual teams, and managers.

An autistic Googler and his manager thrive through communication

To mark World Autism Awareness Day, we sat down with Tim Goldstein, who is autistic, and his prior manager, Patricia Li, to hear how they created an inclusive experience and career opportunities for Tim. They explained how they worked together on communication, collaboration and mutual understanding to build a strong and successful working relationship.   

What do you do at Google?

Tim: When I worked on Patricia’s team I provided professional services consulting and education for the Looker product of Google Cloud. Thanks to her help I am now in Cloud Global Training, specializing in Looker.

Patricia: I’m a practice manager in Google Cloud’s Professional Services organization (specializing in Looker). I support my team in tackling client challenges.

What was that first conversation disclosing your workplace needs with Patricia, your manager, like?

Tim:For me it was not anything out of the ordinary. Because of my work as an advocate for autism and neurodiversity, I am very public. To better control my disclosure, I regularly tell people up front.

When I told Patricia I was autistic, I also sent her a manager tip sheet that I designed for Vanderbilt University’s Frist Center for Autism and Innovation, which is specifically focused on disclosing your neurodistinction and ways to self-advocate with your manager. It gives your manager concrete ways to best work with anyone who is neurodistinct.

A question for both of you: How would you describe the first few months of your working relationship?

Tim: As is normal for me, I asked lots of questions, especially about details. Detail-up is the way many of us who are autistic process information, not concept-down. Because Patricia didn’t yet understand the scope of what being autistic can be, my questions often came across as pushback. 

At the same time, I was struggling to understand what exactly was being asked of me because it was being presented from a higher level. Our relationship deteriorated, despite our best efforts. Even though we were being open and communicating in our individual ways, we were ineffective.

Patricia:The first few months were an uphill journey. Even with the best of intentions, there were many misunderstandings, resulting in frustration on both sides. We hit a low point that forced an honest conversation around whether the role was a good fit. That was a turning point, as it helped me understand how to better support Tim. The conversations also demonstrated positive intent from both sides and helped us re-establish trust.

How did you improve communication?

Patricia: We worked out systems of communication that worked for us: keywords that told us to stop and go back to clarify, tags that meant “I’m just venting” versus “I need help,” knowing that sometimes more context is needed over a call rather than a chat ping.  Ultimately it comes back to communicating, assuming positive intent and establishing trust.

It also helped me understand what Tim needed to be successful, and how to lean into his strengths to give him the opportunity to lead and excel.  Tim is fantastic at presenting, and has a real passion for teaching and mentoring, lighting up when he is able to make something click for someone.  When I saw the opening on the Cloud Global Training Team, I knew it would be the perfect fit for him.  

How has this experience enhanced your perspective as a manager?

Patricia: Everything I learned while working with Tim is applicable in my role as a manager to any team member. This experience has enhanced my awareness that we each come from different perspectives, informed by different contexts and experiences.

Tim, do you have any tips you’d like to share with neurodiverse employees and aspiring Googlers on the spectrum?

Tim: The most important step is to be willing to be open about your neurodistinction. This is good for the individual as there is awareness before some issue may come up. This can help managers to recognise the true challenge instead of incorrectly assuming it is an attitude issue.

When you do disclose to your manager, don’t just wing it. Have a plan and ideally resources you can provide to help the manager better understand you and your neurodistinction.

Beyond your manager relationship, how has Google continued to create an inclusive workplace for Googlers with disabilities? 

Tim: Google has been very open and supportive of presentations and training opportunities on neurodiversity and autism. Much of this has been at the grass roots level with interest and support from DEI, HR, individual teams, and managers.

Teaching and coding led one Googler to tech writing

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 Garrett Holthaus, a tech writer who taps into his background in both computer science and teaching.

What are you working on right now at Google?

Currently, I am working on two projects in the Google Cloud Programs organization. One is writing a user guide for a new internal software tool that will help streamline cross-team planning and interaction. The other is creating an internal training curriculum for program managers. It’s been amazing to work on these two different types of educational content, written documentation and instructor-led classes, at Google’s scale.

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

The technical writing community at Google is amazingly supportive. There are ongoing discussions about everything from style to formatting to engaging with subject matter experts. If you have a question, you can be assured of a helpful answer. (Sometimes two or three answers!) Within a month of joining, I had found a mentor and was getting advice on how to navigate my role.

How did you first get interested in technology?

From an early age, I have been interested in science and technology. My parents set me on a path to computer science when they bought an early home computer — I typed in game programs from magazines and was amazed at the possibilities for different applications. My dad had a basement workshop where I helped out with different projects and took on some of my own in electronics, woodworking and mechanical restoration.

My passion for electronics and hardware led me to major in electrical engineering, where I became fascinated with computer architecture. I started out in microprocessor validation, writing assembly code and tools to exercise various parts of a CPU. As a validator, I learned to put on my “evil” hat and try to break the hardware in ways the designer hadn’t anticipated. 

And how did you then get interested in teaching?

I volunteered as a tutor in college and participated in various educational outreach opportunities during my career. One program that made a big impression was Science is Elementary, in which I visited a local elementary school with a small group of my coworkers once a month to teach a science lesson. This and other experiences led me to teaching high school physics, before later rejoining the tech industry.

Garrett standing in front of a modified Boeing 747SP airplane  with the words “Sofia Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy” along with an American and German flag.

Garrett during a summer internship as a teacher working for NASA. He’s standing in front of a Boeing 747SP airplane that was modified with a large sliding door on the rear of the fuselage that can open in flight to reveal an infrared telescope.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

I got an opportunity to write a technical article about something old and familiar — hardware! I enjoyed the experience and almost couldn’t believe I got paid for the work, which was a good sign that I was on to something. I spoke to a friend at Google who was in a technical writing role and realized that as a teacher, writing had been a central part of my job — both doing my own writing and evaluating my students’ writing. Because technical writers create content that is designed to help users, the role was a way to combine my two passions of technology and education.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

I had done many interviews before and had some idea of what to expect, but I was impressed that Google provided interview preparation resources geared towards candidates who might have little or no interview experience. Throughout the entire process, the recruiters and interviewers who worked with me were friendly, encouraging and accommodating.

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

One of the most powerful interview techniques I learned was the concept of a PSR: Problem, Solution, Result. This involves thinking of problems you have encountered in your previous jobs, your education or your life. How did you solve the problem? Having my PSRs ready helped my confidence during the interview, and I was surprised at how often the opportunity arose to bring one out.

Garrett wearing a Noogler hat. In the background are other people sitting in chairs and a person standing on a stage holding the microphone.

Garrett at Noogler (new Googler) orientation.

How Su Mei Teh moved from financial services 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 Su Mei Teh, the Asia Pacific Head of the Payments Product Operations team, based in Singapore. Su Mei shares how she moved from financial services to tech, and how the critical thinking and business management skills she honed applied to multiple roles at Google

What does your typical work day look like right now?

It’s usually full of meetings due to the collaboration between teams: They’re based across 12 offices in 8 timezones! I generally start the day with video conference meetings with colleagues in California and end the day meeting with colleagues in Europe. In between, I carve out time for focused work, such as writing a strategy document or reviewing a financial model. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Outside of Google, I spend time with my family and volunteer with a variety of causes. I’m a founding member of the Singapore chapter of the Asian Google Network, an employee resource group that supports professional and personal development for the multicultural Asian community in Google. I also re-discovered my joy of singing by joining the Musicians @Google Singapore group.

How did you find the transition from financial services to Google?

When I got the offer to join the Google Ads team, I was in disbelief. Up to that point, I thought that my chances were slim as I had no prior digital ads experience and felt branded as a financial services professional. Thankfully, the critical thinking and business management skills that I had acquired could be applied in Google as well. 

You don’t need to have a computer science or engineering background to be in Google. Google is such a diverse company with many products and services, which require many functions to support its operations and growth. Sales, project management, financial controlling, strategy, operations, legal, etc. All these are roles we have in Google that don’t require prior tech experience! 

What has your experience been with internal mobility (moving to different teams) within Google?

My first role at Google was strategy and operations management on the Google Ads team. After a few years I wanted to get closer to the heart of product development, so I moved to payment product operations. I also wanted to satisfy some of my entrepreneurial appetite in a team that was essentially a start-up within Google. Lastly, payments and fintech (financial technology) were rapidly growing sectors. It was, and still is, an exciting time to be in that space. 

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

I’ve been working on a very fun (though intense) project -- the relaunch of Google Pay in Singapore. We completely reimagined the Google Pay app to be more immersive and rewarding for our users. I learned to work with a lot of ambiguity, and picked up some new know-how in the process. It’s been heartening to receive compliments from friends at how much they love Google Pay.

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

I wish I had applied to Google earlier. I was filled with skepticism about my chances given I assumed my financial services experience wouldn’t be relevant. Speaking to people in Google really helped me realise that there were a large variety of roles, many of which made use of the skills I built elsewhere. 

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

As with any job, there is an element of timing, so monitor Google’s career site and program alerts for roles you are interested in. While you wait for the right opportunity, build up your knowledge and work on better articulating the value and impact you can make so that you can avoid last-minute cramming when an interview opportunity comes along!

The (digital) road from competitive programming to Google SRE

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 Mohamed Yosri Ahmed, a Site Reliability Engineer at our Munich office. Yosri’s passion for coding competitions led him to Google -- and now he supports young programmers as a mentor in Google’s own series of coding competitions!

So first off, what is “competitive programming” and what are the competitions like?

In competitive programming, participants put their skills to the test as they work their way through a series of algorithmic puzzles. Competitions are timed, and oftentimes you’re working together with a group of teammates in order to solve difficult puzzles together. Competitive programming is really fun and challenges those who practice it to grow technically and personally.

 How did you first get involved with competitive programming?

 I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. I got my computer science bachelor’s degree from Ain Shams University, which is also when my journey with competitive programming (CP) began. Since then I’ve developed a passion for problem solving and finding solutions to complex challenges and riddles.

Yosri at the International Olympiad of Informatics 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Yosri looks over an arena where participants in yellow and orange shirts sit at tables and work at laptops.

Yosri at the International Olympiad of Informatics 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

What’s your role at Google?

 I am a Site Reliability Engineer at the Production Productivity Engineering team. We focus on helping Google rapidly launch reliable services through applying best practices. We get to engage with many teams working in many different areas; this is challenging yet super exciting.

I also help run the Google's Coding Competitions such as Code Jam and Kick Start.

What inspires you to log in every day?

At Google there are always new learning opportunities and the possibilities to grow are endless. Google really cares about its employees’ growth and happiness at work.

Also the impact of my team’s work and the products we build, that affects so many people's lives in many ways, makes me feel grateful and inspired to do more.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

After graduating from college, I got contacted by a Google recruiter following my performance in Code Jam that year. Relocation at that point was not easy for me so we had to stop the process. A couple of months later, I got contacted again by another Google recruiter to explore opportunities. By then, things were clear for me and we decided to move forward and start the interview process. I actually flew from the International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals in Portugal to do my onsite interviews in France.

How did you join the Site Reliability Engineering team at Google?

After passing the interviews, I proceeded to the next step: software engineer team matching. My recruiter also asked me about my interest in Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) which I didn’t know much about at the time. A Googler SRE friend suggested I check out one of the free online books Google SREs wrote to share their best practices.

Yosri and three other new Googlers stand in front of a Google sign.

Yosri and three other new Googlers at Noogler Orientation in Zürich.

How did coding competitions prepare you for SRE at Google?

Competitive programming can help participants develop lots of skills that are useful for SRE, like dealing with ambiguity and being able to troubleshoot abstract ideas without necessarily being the expert. 

CP trains us to focus on targets and how to achieve them. The short time limits teaches us to appreciate every moment and to efficiently utilize the resources we have.

Another aspect of similarity is troubleshooting and testing at scale. Both are key skills and responsibilities for SRE in order to be confident about a system and to know why it may or may not work. With tight time constraints to solve different problems and penalties on wrong attempts, CPers develop their testing and troubleshooting skills.

Both CP communities and SRE thrive on communication and collaboration. SREs have huge diversity in their responsibilities and how they approach them. Cross team collaboration during incidents for a common mitigation goal is similar to a CP style where 3 teammates are trying to solve the same problem on a single PC. In this style, coordination of efforts is essential. 

In CP, team members may have different strengths in different algorithmic and data structures topics and they join their skills to solve more complex problems. Along the way, we learn to make use of our different skill sets in order to succeed together. 

Any other tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

The path to success is not unique. These paths may cross but they may never be the same for everyone. We should identify our skills and put them into practice to sharpen them. We should always keep on learning and aiming for a better future. 

The (digital) road from competitive programming to Google SRE

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 Mohamed Yosri Ahmed, a Site Reliability Engineer at our Munich office. Yosri’s passion for coding competitions led him to Google -- and now he supports young programmers as a mentor in Google’s own series of coding competitions!

So first off, what is “competitive programming” and what are the competitions like?

In competitive programming, participants put their skills to the test as they work their way through a series of algorithmic puzzles. Competitions are timed, and oftentimes you’re working together with a group of teammates in order to solve difficult puzzles together. Competitive programming is really fun and challenges those who practice it to grow technically and personally.

 How did you first get involved with competitive programming?

 I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. I got my computer science bachelor’s degree from Ain Shams University, which is also when my journey with competitive programming (CP) began. Since then I’ve developed a passion for problem solving and finding solutions to complex challenges and riddles.

Yosri at the International Olympiad of Informatics 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Yosri looks over an arena where participants in yellow and orange shirts sit at tables and work at laptops.

Yosri at the International Olympiad of Informatics 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

What’s your role at Google?

 I am a Site Reliability Engineer at the Production Productivity Engineering team. We focus on helping Google rapidly launch reliable services through applying best practices. We get to engage with many teams working in many different areas; this is challenging yet super exciting.

I also help run the Google's Coding Competitions such as Code Jam and Kick Start.

What inspires you to log in every day?

At Google there are always new learning opportunities and the possibilities to grow are endless. Google really cares about its employees’ growth and happiness at work.

Also the impact of my team’s work and the products we build, that affects so many people's lives in many ways, makes me feel grateful and inspired to do more.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

After graduating from college, I got contacted by a Google recruiter following my performance in Code Jam that year. Relocation at that point was not easy for me so we had to stop the process. A couple of months later, I got contacted again by another Google recruiter to explore opportunities. By then, things were clear for me and we decided to move forward and start the interview process. I actually flew from the International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals in Portugal to do my onsite interviews in France.

How did you join the Site Reliability Engineering team at Google?

After passing the interviews, I proceeded to the next step: software engineer team matching. My recruiter also asked me about my interest in Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) which I didn’t know much about at the time. A Googler SRE friend suggested I check out one of the free online books Google SREs wrote to share their best practices.

Yosri and three other new Googlers stand in front of a Google sign.

Yosri and three other new Googlers at Noogler Orientation in Zürich.

How did coding competitions prepare you for SRE at Google?

Competitive programming can help participants develop lots of skills that are useful for SRE, like dealing with ambiguity and being able to troubleshoot abstract ideas without necessarily being the expert. 

CP trains us to focus on targets and how to achieve them. The short time limits teaches us to appreciate every moment and to efficiently utilize the resources we have.

Another aspect of similarity is troubleshooting and testing at scale. Both are key skills and responsibilities for SRE in order to be confident about a system and to know why it may or may not work. With tight time constraints to solve different problems and penalties on wrong attempts, CPers develop their testing and troubleshooting skills.

Both CP communities and SRE thrive on communication and collaboration. SREs have huge diversity in their responsibilities and how they approach them. Cross team collaboration during incidents for a common mitigation goal is similar to a CP style where 3 teammates are trying to solve the same problem on a single PC. In this style, coordination of efforts is essential. 

In CP, team members may have different strengths in different algorithmic and data structures topics and they join their skills to solve more complex problems. Along the way, we learn to make use of our different skill sets in order to succeed together. 

Any other tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

The path to success is not unique. These paths may cross but they may never be the same for everyone. We should identify our skills and put them into practice to sharpen them. We should always keep on learning and aiming for a better future. 

How one engineer went from startups 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 Avital Zipori, a software engineer at our Tel Aviv office. Always lured by the startup world, she first turned down an offer from Google. After filling her startup fix, she now brings the skills she learned at small companies to Google. 

What’s your role at Google?

I'm a senior software engineer and tech lead for Google Research. My team focuses on building engaging, conversational experiences. A cool new feature we recently released is aimed at teaching children more about animals. Try it yourself by saying “Animal of the Day” to Google Assistant.

How did you first get interested in technology?

I grew up in Netanya, Israel. I got my first taste of programming in high school and then again in my analyst role in the army, and couldn't get enough of it. It’s what eventually led me to study Computer Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

I'm a co-founder of Extend, an organization focused on opening the tech industry to diverse engineers, and a co-founder of Baot, Israel’s largest community of senior female software engineers.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

Actually, I never thought I would work at Google. I knew it was considered the best place to work but that it was extremely difficult to get in, so it didn't even cross my mind that it would be an option. 

I’d been working at a mid-sized startup since I was a student, and after a few years I decided it was time to look for my next challenge. I had my mind set on joining a new startup. When a Google recruiter reached out to me, I decided to interview for the practice. I figured that there was no chance I would pass, but I expected the interviews would be hard and would prepare me well for other interviews.

Avital speaking next to a podium with a Google logo and a slide with a penguin on it.

Avital gives a talk at the Google Research conference.

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

Above all, it's the amazing people I get to work with! I also love having the power to create something out of absolutely nothing, and think of creative ways to solve challenging problems with significant impact.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

I was so certain I would not pass that I had already chosen a job at a new startup to join when I got the news that I had been accepted to Google.  

This left me with a difficult decision to make: On the one hand it sounded crazy to say no to Google, but on the other hand I was really excited about the startup. I wanted the experience of a small, new startup at some point in my career, and it seemed to make more sense to do it at that stage of my life when I didn't have other time-consuming obligations. 

I decided to join the startup and I had a great time and learned a lot. But as with most startups we eventually ran out of money. The Google recruiter kept in touch with me during this time, so I contacted him and continued the process where we left off. 

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

I didn't know how much freedom engineers at Google had to manage themselves and choose what they work on. 

I also didn't know how simple it was to switch teams, even if you are switching between completely different engineering specialties—like from front-end development to low-level networking). This is incredible because it allows you to keep learning new things and work on a variety of products and technologies.

Avital speaking into a microphone while sitting with other Googlers.

Avital speaking at a panel during a Google recruiting event.

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

I mostly studied using the book "Cracking the Coding Interview". Nowadays I recommend also using coding websites that test your solutions and doing mock interviews with friends.

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

My advice for everyone is don’t be afraid of failure and forgive yourself if you do fail. This is generally important in life, but also specifically relevant for starting a process with Google. 

I meet people who are afraid to enter the process and I attempt to convince them that they have nothing to lose. Even if you don’t get the job, it will be a better outcome than not trying at all. So if you are afraid to start a process—please do it anyway!

Dre’ Davis went from college to Google’s data center team

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 Dre’ Davis and his journey from not quite knowing what he wanted to do with his new mechanical engineering degree to joining Google’s data center team in Loudoun County, Virginia and being part of a new data center site from the ground up.

What’s your role at Google?

I’m currently a facilities technician on the Data Center Infrastructure Operations team. We maintain our data center infrastructure, keeping services like G Suite and YouTube up and running. 

The one thing I love about my role is something that is, by my knowledge, very consistent across Google: the people. My job requires collaboration with the people around me. My job can be challenging at times, but when the people are caring, compassionate and intelligent, it makes your job that much easier.

Red, white and blue airplane-themed Google logo sign at a Google data center.

A Google logo sign at a Google data center.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in a small town in Virginia called Appomattox. Our town is famously known for being the place where the American Civil War ended. After graduating from high school, I ventured off to Old Dominion University. There I got my bachelors in mechanical engineering technology with a minor in electrical engineering technology. 

The STEM field wasn't an area I would have pictured myself in. None of my family had experience in the industry, I had never worked in it prior to getting to school and it seemed so beyond my reach. On top of all of this, I was also a first-generation college student. It was my goal to be the first and to lead the pack.

Why did you decide to apply to Google?

I was only months away from graduation, and still had no clue what I really wanted to do, so when a Google recruiter reached out on LinkedIn, the timing was impeccable. I had no clue as to whether it would work out or not, but I was willing to put myself out there to see. 

What inspires you to come in every day?

I was able to join the team just as our sites were hitting the ground, so to see the growth of these data centers has been amazing. Virginia has the largest concentration of data centers in the world and I am excited to see how we continue to innovate to stand out among data centers in my home state.

Hard hat with Google logo.

Google-themed safety gear.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

I had several phone interviews with experienced technicians. I was still very new to this technical world and had little experience at this point, so I was a nervous wreck on every call. I was afraid that the person on the other end would hear a quaking kid rather than a student looking to get a foot in the door. 

However, with every call, I got a glimmer of hope when I heard the words, "Congrats, here are the next steps!" This process lasted a couple of months until I was finally presented with my offer and my inner panic finally subsided. 

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

The recruiters are on your side. We sometimes have the perception that the person standing between us and the opportunity wants to hinder us from getting there. Google does truly look for the best candidates, but they also are looking to help you as best they can. 

What  resources did you use to prepare for your interview?

"How We Hire" on Google Careers is a great asset. It gave me so many tips that allowed me to be successful throughout the entire process, from applying to interviewing. Your recruiter will also be a great tool for you. From the time my recruiter messaged me on LinkedIn, they were top notch and made sure that all my needs were met and all questions were answered in a timely manner. 

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

Sometimes the only thing standing between you and success is fear. Be willing to step out and be courageous. Courage doesn't mean you're not scared; it means you're terrified, but willing to take it on anyway.

Patrick Schilling advocates for people with disabilities

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 Patrick Schilling, a Strategic Deal Manager on the Google Cloud team. In addition to helping big companies use Google technology to get ready for the future, Patrick uses what he’s learned through his experience breaking barriers to advocate for people with disabilities and create a more inclusive society.

What’s your role at Google?

I’m a Strategic Deal Manager on the Google Cloud team. I help our sales and professional services teams manage the largest strategic partnerships that Google Cloud enters with customers in Europe and the Middle East. What´s particularly inspiring about my job is to see our clients, some of whom are the largest, most traditional enterprises in the world, embark on their digital transformations.

How did you begin advocating on behalf of people with disabilities?

I was born and raised in the city of Tuttlingen in Southern Germany. Since birth, I have lived with a physical disability (shortened arms and legs), which posed a variety of challenges to my family in my early years and teens. Overcoming these challenges, continuously growing as a person and sharing my experiences to empower others has become one of the key motivators of my life. 

I became the first person in my family to ever attend university. Along the way, my family and I broke through a variety of challenges and hurdles, such as being the first person with a disability to ever attend my German high school. I experienced both severe societal injustice and an extraordinary commitment aimed at remedying it. After high school, I involved myself in local and state politics in Germany. I founded several organizations that lobbied on behalf of people with disabilities. In that function, I started doing speaking engagements focused on how political and technological progress can create an ever more inclusive society.

Patrick poses with a multicolored hat given to new Googlers at orientation. In the background are other new Googlers with their hats.

Patrick at Noogler (new Googler) orientation.

What led you to apply to Google?

I pursued a double degree in international management and business administration, which allowed me to study for two years at ESB Business School in Germany, and two years at NC State University. During that time I interned in Germany and the U.S., primarily  for technology and tech consulting companies. It was during one of those internships that I met people from Google. Their drive to challenge the status quo, their desire to not take no as an answer and their commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive society inspired me to apply.

Patrick’s speech at NC State University’s 2018 spring commencement ceremony.
10:25

Patrick’s speech at NC State University’s 2018 spring commencement ceremony.

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

Seeing how the world´s largest organizations transform and get fit for the digital age is breathtaking. So is seeing how excited our clients get about the seemingly endless capabilities that groundbreaking technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning offer to grow their businesses and better serve their customers.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

The recruitment process was both challenging and inspiring at the same time. I was still on the U.S. West Coast at the time, interviewing for a position in Europe. While my recruiters did their best to accommodate for the time zone differences, it still meant waking up at 6 a.m., hastily downing 3 shots of espresso and then getting into interview mode. 

Throughout all my interviews, the people I met reassured me that this is the company I would love to work for. Google has a policy in place that allows you to self-disclose any special needs you may have due to a disability. When I self-disclosed, both the recruiter and the hiring manager made absolutely sure to provide me with all accommodations needed to set me up for success. 

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

The most important thing is to familiarize yourself with the resources available on Google´s career site. This will help you get ready for your role and set you up for success. In addition, I would encourage all applicants to reach out and speak to current Googlers. We are here to help you get ready and it is our pleasure to share our experiences.  

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

Be yourself and bring all of it to your interviews! This is a place where it doesn't matter who you are, or where you come from or what you look like. You can make it here at Google, if you are willing to try.

Patrick Schilling advocates for people with disabilities

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 Patrick Schilling, a Strategic Deal Manager on the Google Cloud team. In addition to helping big companies use Google technology to get ready for the future, Patrick uses what he’s learned through his experience breaking barriers to advocate for people with disabilities and create a more inclusive society.

What’s your role at Google?

I’m a Strategic Deal Manager on the Google Cloud team. I help our sales and professional services teams manage the largest strategic partnerships that Google Cloud enters with customers in Europe and the Middle East. What´s particularly inspiring about my job is to see our clients, some of whom are the largest, most traditional enterprises in the world, embark on their digital transformations.

How did you begin advocating on behalf of people with disabilities?

I was born and raised in the city of Tuttlingen in Southern Germany. Since birth, I have lived with a physical disability (shortened arms and legs), which posed a variety of challenges to my family in my early years and teens. Overcoming these challenges, continuously growing as a person and sharing my experiences to empower others has become one of the key motivators of my life. 

I became the first person in my family to ever attend university. Along the way, my family and I broke through a variety of challenges and hurdles, such as being the first person with a disability to ever attend my German high school. I experienced both severe societal injustice and an extraordinary commitment aimed at remedying it. After high school, I involved myself in local and state politics in Germany. I founded several organizations that lobbied on behalf of people with disabilities. In that function, I started doing speaking engagements focused on how political and technological progress can create an ever more inclusive society.

Patrick poses with a multicolored hat given to new Googlers at orientation. In the background are other new Googlers with their hats.

Patrick at Noogler (new Googler) orientation.

What led you to apply to Google?

I pursued a double degree in international management and business administration, which allowed me to study for two years at ESB Business School in Germany, and two years at NC State University. During that time I interned in Germany and the U.S., primarily  for technology and tech consulting companies. It was during one of those internships that I met people from Google. Their drive to challenge the status quo, their desire to not take no as an answer and their commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive society inspired me to apply.

Patrick’s speech at NC State University’s 2018 spring commencement ceremony.
10:25

Patrick’s speech at NC State University’s 2018 spring commencement ceremony.

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

Seeing how the world´s largest organizations transform and get fit for the digital age is breathtaking. So is seeing how excited our clients get about the seemingly endless capabilities that groundbreaking technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning offer to grow their businesses and better serve their customers.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

The recruitment process was both challenging and inspiring at the same time. I was still on the U.S. West Coast at the time, interviewing for a position in Europe. While my recruiters did their best to accommodate for the time zone differences, it still meant waking up at 6 a.m., hastily downing 3 shots of espresso and then getting into interview mode. 

Throughout all my interviews, the people I met reassured me that this is the company I would love to work for. Google has a policy in place that allows you to self-disclose any special needs you may have due to a disability. When I self-disclosed, both the recruiter and the hiring manager made absolutely sure to provide me with all accommodations needed to set me up for success. 

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

The most important thing is to familiarize yourself with the resources available on Google´s career site. This will help you get ready for your role and set you up for success. In addition, I would encourage all applicants to reach out and speak to current Googlers. We are here to help you get ready and it is our pleasure to share our experiences.  

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

Be yourself and bring all of it to your interviews! This is a place where it doesn't matter who you are, or where you come from or what you look like. You can make it here at Google, if you are willing to try.