Author Archives: Jessie Linn

Why coming to Google was a package deal for Belle Sun

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 Belle Sun, one of the Googlers behind the packaging design for Google products. Belle deep dives into her role and shares how her career has taken her from Shanghai to the U.S. and from working on baby products to high tech.

What’s your role at Google?

As a Packaging Engineering Program Manager I facilitate Google consumer products packaging design — from engineering to manufacturing. We design packaging that not only protects the product, but also provides the best experience for people as packaging is the first interaction our customers have with a product. No matter how challenging the development phase is, nothing beats the sense of achievement when I see our products packaged on the shelf.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I first check my emails and sort out the priority level. I then set up meetings to share project status, analyze risks and impact due to the changes requested — changes can be everything from adding a warning label to packages to adding additional screws so people can secure something like the Nest Cam onto their walls. Besides my daily work, I enjoy reading daily newsletters from the company to know what exciting things other Googlers are doing. I’m also a part of the “Dogfood” program where I test out new features and products and provide feedback.

Belle at her desk at home.

Can you tell us a bit about your move from Shanghai to the U.S.?

I grew up in Shanghai, China as an only child. I had no clue what I wanted to do, and solely focused on grades and getting into college — hoping to find a decent job in the future like many Chinese children of my generation. English was always my favorite subject. I went to the “English Corner” every week to practice and persuaded myself to be brave whenever I had an opportunity to speak with people from abroad. Fast forward to 2013, I moved to the U.S. at the age of 29. 

As an immigrant, I was at a loss. I wondered if I was ever going to do well here from life to career because I didn’t speak perfect English and it was so different from where I grew up. However, I never gave up and encouraged myself everyday that I could do it. I went from being too shy to say “hi” to a stranger to being a Googler. I learned you can do anything as long as you believe in yourself and work hard toward your goal.

Why did you decide to apply to Google?

I was working long days and nights prior to joining Google. One night my son held my arm to be with me while I was still in a meeting at a very late hour. At that point, I knew I needed to move onto something new for myself and my family. 

A friend of mine told me about a role at Google Nest. Google is known for providing a good work life balance and caring for its employees. Above all, it is a company that leads the future of technology development. So I decided to go for it.

Belle and her son posing on Halloween in front of an Android pie statue.

Belle and her son at a Googleween event.

What was your path to your current role?

When I lived in Shanghai I was a product planner —  I tracked orders and maintained on-time shipments from factories. That’s when I became interested in product development and landed a role for baby products where I first learned about project management and how products were developed from concept to manufacturing. When I first moved to the U.S. I worked at BuyBuy Baby, then I moved into the packaging industry and developed packaging for consumer products. 

What inspires you to come in (virtually) every day?

Designing and developing thoughtful packaging is exciting. Nowadays, packaging is not only used to protect the product during the transportation, but also a means to celebrate the company’s values such as sustainability and inclusiveness.
Pixel 4 box sitting on a table indoors.

Packaging Belle worked on for the Pixel 4.

What was your application experience like?

I applied for the role directly online. Before the interviews, I was concerned with answering the questions correctly. I researched on the web, consulted with others in similar roles, and learned about Google’s values. That’s when I realized that there would be no right or wrong answers. Instead, what Google valued the most was the thought process and the creative way to resolve problems.

What advice would you give your past self?

I wish I told myself to apply earlier rather than thinking things like, “Am I qualified enough to compete with others since Google is a company so many people want to join?” I should have focused on the fact that my experience matched what the role requested.

A chance encounter led this researcher 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 Preeti Talwai, an architecture student turned user experience researcher. Preeti shares how her initial reluctance about tech faded as she realized how many different types of roles there are in the space.


What’s your role at Google?

I work as a user experience (UX) researcher on the AI User Experience (AIUX) team in Google Research. Our team studies changes in society and science and creates product concepts in close collaboration with research scientists and UX folks across the company. 


My focus is on early-stage, foundational research that tries to unpack big questions about human behavior and needs. With early-stage work, we’re often working with technologies that aren’t built yet and may be very new to users. For example, one of my favorite projects was studying people’s personal goals for a year and helping teams understand how technology can better support those goals.

What does your typical day look like right now?

When I’m planning research, there’s a lot of collective strategizing with other teams and my UX colleagues. When I’m conducting a study, my days usually involve a number of sessions with participants. When I’m synthesizing data, it’s a lot of “heads-down” time punctuated by ongoing sharing and collaboration with my team.  And when I’m sharing the insights and working to put them into action, my days involve meetings and presentations.  

Can you tell us about your decision to apply to work at Google and your path to your current role?

I always felt a pull towards design, so I decided to study architecture in college and went on to do a design research/architectural theory degree. Honestly, I never thought I’d work in tech and was actually against that idea at first. I had a very narrow understanding of tech jobs, and I was pretty sure they weren’t for me. The first time I became interested in Google was at the end of grad school.

I accidentally walked into a networking event after a class at the business school on campus, and I heard a panelist say she worked for Google’s Real Estate and Workplace Services division. I was surprised that something relevant to architecture existed at Google, and I stuck around until the end of the event to meet her. I sent her my resume, and though a role on her team didn’t work out, my information ended up getting passed along to a UX research manager who offered me a role as a research assistant. I decided to take this year-long contract role to test-drive a tech career, and, to my own surprise, loved it. After my contract, I transferred to a full-time role on my current team. 


My path to Google has been meandering and unpredictable. I have always been drawn to understanding human stories and shaping people’s experiences, but I didn’t know the job I had been describing was called “UX research” until I graduated from college. I’ve found that my non-traditional background has opened doors to unique types of research and teams at Alphabet that I may not have otherwise known to look for.

Preeti standing in front of a large Android statue wearing a Noogler hat.

Preeti on her first day at Google.

What inspires you to come in (virtually) every day?

Being able to meet so many different types of people and tell their stories, especially when those voices are not often heard or need to be amplified. The topics I research require deep and personal conversations with our users, and I’m always amazed at how open and candid these sessions can be. I find this an inspiration, but also a privilege and a responsibility I take seriously. My most gratifying moments are when I get to share what we’ve learned back with the communities who gave us this knowledge.

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

I would tell my past self that there’s so much more to do at a tech company like Google beyond engineering.  There are so many roles I didn’t know existed, and getting to these roles doesn’t have to be, and is often not, a formulaic process or a straight line.

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

I see a lot of aspiring UXers wondering how to build a portfolio and feeling like they “need experience to get experience,” especially to come to a place like Google. One strategy that helped me is to focus less on job titles and skills as you’re building experience, and instead seek opportunities that help you hone your human-centered research lens and approach. Those opportunities might come in diverse and even surprising disciplines, and can help you get methods experience nearly identical to what you’d be getting in a typical UX internship.

Ikumi Kobayashi on taking inclusion seriously

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 Ikumi Kobayashi, a Search Optimization Specialist based out of Tokyo whose search for an inclusive and accessible workplace ultimately led her to her role at Google and a newfound confidence.


Can you tell us about your decision to apply to Google? 

I have profound hearing loss in both ears and use hearing aids. I rely on lip-reading during conversations. As a person with a disability (PwD), I struggled during my job hunt in Japan because most of the companies I applied to had limited job postings for PwD, and the benefits for PwD were often unequal compared to people without a disability. 


I decided to apply to Google because I wanted to work in a company that takes diversity and inclusion seriously. I was nervous before applying to Google because teamwork can be difficult for a hard-of-hearing person like me, but I decided to give it a try because I had nothing to lose.


How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

I studied communications in undergrad and joined Google right out of grad school, so Google is the first company I’ve worked at. I was an intern my first year at Google, and during that time my team supported me to overcome anxiety and build confidence as a Googler with a hearing disability. 


I started as a Google Ads Account Manager, but I found face-to-face conversations with many clients everyday difficult and I preferred working more with the product and with my teammates. After three months, I moved to my current team. My job title is now Search Optimization Specialist and my responsibility is to support Japanese companies in the entertainment industry as they run and optimize their Google Search Ads. It is very rewarding to see the companies I support grow and I am really thankful for the previous and current team who accommodated flexibly for me.

Ten people gathered around a table inside of a restaurant.

Ikumi and teammates out at dinner in 2019.

What does your typical day look like right now? 

After our Google Tokyo office completely shut down in March 2020, I have been working remotely in my apartment in Tokyo. I really miss meeting my teammates and friends in the office, but I keep myself energized by proactively setting up meetings as much as possible. Conversations with Googlers always help me to maximize my productivity. Outside of work, I'm a fashion enthusiast and go to a fashion design school three times a week after work. I love to watch fashion shows on YouTube during my free time.


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

I am passionate about advocating for diversity, inclusion and accessibility so I joined the Disability Alliance — an employee resource group for Googlers. Right now, I am the only Japanese hard-of-hearing Googler on the Google Ads team and we can do more to diversify the Asia-Pacific Google community. I strive to do my best to make our community even more accessible for Googlers with disabilities.

Ikumi speaking into a microphone in front of a large group. A slide is projected behind her introducing herself.

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

I would love to tell my past self (and anyone else with a disability who is considering applying to Google) that Google will not let you down because of your disability. I was once a very unconfident person because I was always left behind during conversations and felt helpless. Google’s mission statement is to make the world's information universally accessible and useful, and that applies to the workplace as well. 


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

Before applying to Google as a grad student, I had little work experience so I spent lots of time revisiting my past challenges and thinking through how I tried to overcome them. Leadership doesn't only mean leading a group. If you have an experience challenging yourself to achieve a goal, that is also a leadership skill. My advice is to go to the interview fully prepared to share your strengths.


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

Be confident and embrace your uniqueness. Also, don't be afraid to share any accommodation needs during the application process. Bring all of yourself to the interview and tell us how amazing you are! 

Ikumi Kobayashi on taking inclusion seriously

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 Ikumi Kobayashi, a Search Optimization Specialist based out of Tokyo whose search for an inclusive and accessible workplace ultimately led her to her role at Google and a newfound confidence.


Can you tell us about your decision to apply to Google? 

I have profound hearing loss in both ears and use hearing aids. I rely on lip-reading during conversations. As a person with a disability (PwD), I struggled during my job hunt in Japan because most of the companies I applied to had limited job postings for PwD, and the benefits for PwD were often unequal compared to people without a disability. 


I decided to apply to Google because I wanted to work in a company that takes diversity and inclusion seriously. I was nervous before applying to Google because teamwork can be difficult for a hard-of-hearing person like me, but I decided to give it a try because I had nothing to lose.


How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

I studied communications in undergrad and joined Google right out of grad school, so Google is the first company I’ve worked at. I was an intern my first year at Google, and during that time my team supported me to overcome anxiety and build confidence as a Googler with a hearing disability. 


I started as a Google Ads Account Manager, but I found face-to-face conversations with many clients everyday difficult and I preferred working more with the product and with my teammates. After three months, I moved to my current team. My job title is now Search Optimization Specialist and my responsibility is to support Japanese companies in the entertainment industry as they run and optimize their Google Search Ads. It is very rewarding to see the companies I support grow and I am really thankful for the previous and current team who accommodated flexibly for me.

Ten people gathered around a table inside of a restaurant.

Ikumi and teammates out at dinner in 2019.

What does your typical day look like right now? 

After our Google Tokyo office completely shut down in March 2020, I have been working remotely in my apartment in Tokyo. I really miss meeting my teammates and friends in the office, but I keep myself energized by proactively setting up meetings as much as possible. Conversations with Googlers always help me to maximize my productivity. Outside of work, I'm a fashion enthusiast and go to a fashion design school three times a week after work. I love to watch fashion shows on YouTube during my free time.


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

I am passionate about advocating for diversity, inclusion and accessibility so I joined the Disability Alliance — an employee resource group for Googlers. Right now, I am the only Japanese hard-of-hearing Googler on the Google Ads team and we can do more to diversify the Asia-Pacific Google community. I strive to do my best to make our community even more accessible for Googlers with disabilities.

Ikumi speaking into a microphone in front of a large group. A slide is projected behind her introducing herself.

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

I would love to tell my past self (and anyone else with a disability who is considering applying to Google) that Google will not let you down because of your disability. I was once a very unconfident person because I was always left behind during conversations and felt helpless. Google’s mission statement is to make the world's information universally accessible and useful, and that applies to the workplace as well. 


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

Before applying to Google as a grad student, I had little work experience so I spent lots of time revisiting my past challenges and thinking through how I tried to overcome them. Leadership doesn't only mean leading a group. If you have an experience challenging yourself to achieve a goal, that is also a leadership skill. My advice is to go to the interview fully prepared to share your strengths.


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

Be confident and embrace your uniqueness. Also, don't be afraid to share any accommodation needs during the application process. Bring all of yourself to the interview and tell us how amazing you are! 

Why Monica Gómez left her role as a CEO to work at 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 Monica Gómez, who left a very comfortable job as CEO of one of the world’s leading media agencies to take a risk and pursue a dream of working at Google in a role that directly impacts the development of Colombia and the Central America Region.

How would you describe your role at Google? 

As a Head of Agencies, I work with outside partners and ad agencies in the region to develop business models based on the newest data and technology. I am also an activist in the search for female inclusion and empowerment in the digital industry.


Can you tell us a bit about your early studies and career? 

I grew up in a small city in Colombia, in a huge family. (I have 20 uncles!) In our country, education is a privilege, it is not a right, and that made my parents work hard to give me the opportunity to go to a university. I actually started my studies in optometry, but in the second semester I got pregnant and had to leave the university to take charge of a new life with my daughter. This both rescued me and gave me a new purpose.


I worked during the day, and at night I began my studies in marketing and advertising. My professional career started at the bottom, making phone calls, filling in database fields and doing basically what no one else wanted to do. My passion and determination were the keys to quickly scale up and become CEO of one of the world's leading media agencies.


In parallel, my daughter and I decided to start a new family — so today, my husband, my two daughters and I are indestructible.


What made you decide to apply to Google?

I attended a wedding and there, after dancing all night, a good friend who worked at Google told me about an opportunity that would open up soon at the company that she thought would be perfect for me.


My first reaction was an immediate, "No thanks. This position is not for me, it is for someone younger." It's amazing how your biases from the past come to your mind and sabotage you to the point of taking away great opportunities. At the time, in my 40s and in a comfortable place as an agency CEO, I was scared. I was happy at my job and competing with new talent in the industry to show that I was the best candidate terrified me. 


After three weeks of introspection I realized I wanted to participate in the process, and that I was ready to face my insecurities and go full energy for my dream: work at Google.


Monica smiling in front of a large Android statue.

How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

My experience in the advertising ecosystem in Colombia was vital for my participation in the selection process. Knowing the advertising ecosystem and having worked in different roles in agencies and as a client made the difference.


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

I never thought that I would experience a disruption as big as COVID-19. Overnight the consumption habits of people around the world changed, and the reacting capacities of all of us in the industry were put to the test. The pandemic dramatically challenged our agility, commitment, consistency and leadership to make decisions in a context where there are no instruction manuals.


For that reason, it motivates me to encourage my partners to build strategies that accelerate the business of the brands they represent and contribute to the development of our country.


I also find happiness in helping my team achieve personal fulfillment. I’m a facilitator for I am Remarkable, where I help other women recognize and celebrate their accomplishments. It is a way to return what I have received from Google


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

You don't have to worry about explaining the reasons why you want to change jobs, or justifying your work decisions in the past.


“No salgas antes de entrar,” Do not leave before entering — great words from Adri Noreña. 

Lessons from an MBA intern turned full-time Googler

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 Nikhil Nerkar, who started at Google as an MBA intern and eventually found a home and passion on the YouTube Creator and Artist Development team in Mumbai.

What’s your role at Google?

YouTube has millions of creators, and it’s a number that will keep on increasing in the coming years. As a strategic partner manager, I work directly with emerging creators to ensure that they achieve success on the platform and have a great experience. We help the creators build their channels, grow their audiences and turbocharge their reach through the platform.

Nikhil wearing a Noogler hat sitting in front of a wall made of legos.

Noogler onboarding in Singapore, April 2019.

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

I get to interact with creators from different walks of life. I connect with people ranging from regional creators to celebrities, making my day creatively fulfilling. I serve as a trusted advisor for the creators, providing them with lessons learned from their data,  ensuring they are positioned for success. 

Also, I can bring my whole self to work because Google encourages an extremely collaborative, humble and positive culture. Google creates opportunities for everyone to grow professionally as well as personally. It is empowering to work for Google because the company puts its people first. 

Can you tell us about your decision to apply to Google?

I was drawn to the focus Google puts on creating a positive and trustworthy user experience. On top of that, there was a lot of buzz on my campus about the roles offered for MBA interns, and that was all the push I needed to enter the process.

Nikhil with a group of interns outdoors.

A Team-building activity for all India interns from four locations was conducted in Hyderabad in May 2018.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

Well, there are three parts to this story.  

I had initially applied to Google as an MBA intern. The interview questions were open-ended, and I remember being on my toes throughout the entirety of the interview. 

I joined as an MBA intern in the Trust and Safety Cloud Ops team at the Hyderabad office. At the end of my internship, I had an opportunity to present my findings to the director of Trust and Safety, and executives from the Cloud operations team. I expressed interest to return as a full-time employee, and my recruiter was able to tell me I had an offer in-person on my university campus. It was a great surprise! 

I was a part of the Trust and Safety team for 18 months, and then there was an opening for a Strategic Partner Manager at YouTube. Google has always encouraged internal mobility and after multiple career development conversations with my manager, I decided to apply for this role. After multiple rounds of interviews, I was offered this position. It has been a fulfilling experience for the past four months. 

Nikhil standing indoors in front of a Google sign.

Visiting fellow interns at Mumbai office in May 2018.

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

I wish I would have known how friendly and approachable the Google recruiters and the interviewer team would be throughout the process. They don’t expect you to solve everything in your first attempt, as most of the questions are open-ended. 

It's helpful to know that engaging with the interviewer, asking follow up questions, taking some time to gather your thoughts and communicating with a structured problem-solving process will help you reach a better solution. 

What resources did you use to prepare for the interview?

For preparation, I referred to Google's certification courses like Skillshop and Digital Garage. The roles, responsibilities and expectations related to the position are clearly highlighted in the job description. Another good point of reference would be the YouTube playlist called Preparing to Apply or Interview at Google. This playlist gives an overview of the hiring process and offers tips from recruiters.

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

Embrace your strengths, and don’t be intimidated to apply.

Why Rob Tate moved from print to digital ad sales

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 Rob Tate, a senior account manager for digital ad sales based in New York. Rob shares his experience joining Google mid-career and how he was able to translate his “traditional” sales background in print marketing and retail to a role in digital ad sales. Rob now works helping small businesses shift their focus to e-commerce — something that’s become especially prominent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Can you talk us through your role at Google?

As an account manager for digital ad sales, I work mainly with web hosting and email marketing companies to manage their digital advertising campaigns across Google Ads platforms. A cool project I’m working on at the moment is brand expansion through Video Ads Sequencing on YouTube. It’s exciting to work with companies who really want to transform their brand story and see YouTube as a valuable piece of the puzzle.


What were you up to before joining Google?

I grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Even in my younger years, I had an interest in STEM, being a part of a science and technology program in high school where I studied architectural engineering. After graduating from North Carolina A&T State University with a bachelor's degree in business management, I worked in the federal government for a few years, where I completed the USPS Management Foundations program with a focus on product innovation and brand marketing. While I was working there, I was also a graduate student at University of Maryland University College (UMUC), where I earned my MBA. 


Outside of work, what do you like to do?

I am a small business owner and run a graphic design consulting company that helps other small and medium-sized businesses build their brands online. My other passions are photography, traveling,  trying out new restaurants, writing, collecting all types of art from Black artists and spending time with my friends and family.


Can you tell us about your decision to apply to Google? 

I was always interested in Google! I applied to roles for years with no success, and finally got into the recruitment process a few years ago. I was mid-level in my career, having five years of work experience when I started the recruitment process. With a more traditional sales background working with print marketing campaigns and retail sales, I knew that my work experience along with my personal experience as a small business owner would help me in my new role, but I was still nervous.

Rob outdoors on a red, yellow, blue, and green “Google bike” in front of the large Google sign at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

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

Knowing that the work I’m doing is helping people. It’s not just advertising and marketing: We partner with our clients to build user-centric strategies that help their businesses grow. During the pandemic, so many small businesses have shifted their focus to e-commerce and websites instead of physical locations. We’ve been able to be a big part of those companies shifting their strategies to meet their customers’ needs, even from home.


How did the application and interview process go for you? 

The recruitment process started with me being contacted via LinkedIn by a Google recruiter. I had a bunch of interviews over the course of a few months, and I wasn’t used to that. I felt like Google was a whole new world, but my recruiter did a great job of providing helpful resources to make me feel comfortable during the process. 


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

I did a bunch of research on the role I was interviewing for — pulling information directly from the job description. I used the How We Hire section on Google’s career site and tips about interviewing with Google to decide what parts of my experience to focus on during interviews. 


Do you have any tips 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 may not think applies to the role you want at Google may be exactly what gets you the job! Be confident and show your personality — share how the things you do outside of work may help you in the workplace. The small details make a difference and tell your story.

How Emily Garcia found her dream job in consumer hardware

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 Emily Garcia, head of Supply and Demand Management for our Pixel products. Emily shares her experience finding her dream role in Consumer Hardware at Google — a role she didn’t know existed until she applied. 

What’s your role at Google?

I am the head of Supply and Demand Management for our Pixel  products in the Devices and Services Business where I manage an amazing team of global planners. Our job can be super challenging—constantly flexing between dynamic market changes and supply chain obstacles. But there’s nothing more exciting than seeing your product “on shelf.” It’s truly a dream job for me.

What steps did you take that led you to the hardware field?

I grew up in Lima, Peru as the youngest child of three girls. Growing up, I had no clue what I wanted to do, but tech and telecommunications has always been super exciting to me. In college,  I decided to get a degree in Industrial Engineering because I thought it would give me the most options when I started looking for a career.

I moved to the U.S. at 18 to get my Bachelors degree at the University of Michigan — which is where I also experienced what a real winter is like. I was very fortunate to find an amazing support structure in Michigan; I joined student groups such as SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) and SWE (Society of Women Engineers) which gave me access to industry leaders, recruiters, career fairs and student resources. This helped me find internships (six of them!), secure a GEM Fellowship and get my Masters degree entirely funded.

Emily sitting outside with her dog.

Emily and her dog, Milu, working from home.

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

Working within Devices and Services at Google is an incredible experience. We have tons of opportunities to improve the supply chain, get creative on how to best serve our customers and get to support very innovative products. Coming to work (or logging on) knowing that there will be a new challenge every day is super rewarding. And being surrounded by such ambitious, creative and kind people creates the perfect environment to thrive.


What was the application and interview process like? 

Visiting the Google campus for my onsite interviews was a really enjoyable experience for me—all the interviews felt really comfortable. I gained perspective from every interviewer and I didn’t feel the nervousness or stress that I usually feel at interviews.


By the time offer discussions came in, I was doing a month-long volunteer project in a rather rural part of South Africa. My recruiter and future manager held late night phone calls with me over a spotty phone connection to discuss details and help plan my move.


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

I was super grateful that I was warned in advance how lengthy the process could be, so I took everything in stride. I didn’t have any expectations and was just grateful to continue going through the process.

Emily standing next to a large Android statue with a Noogler hat.

Emily at her 'Noogler' orientation.

What resources did you use to prepare for your interview or role?

Before interviewing, I consulted with current and former Google employees to really understand the culture, values and their experience. I read a lot! Mostly online, reading about how the company positions itself and the various things Google is involved in. 


Preparing for my role was an entirely different process—I was stepping into a role I had done before but with a very different set of circumstances. Here, I met with peers and stakeholders, understanding the current challenges, capabilities and opportunities. I even revisited some of my old textbooks to refresh my core knowledge of this work. 


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

Your experience, your background and point of view are priceless. Be yourself, ask tons of questions and don’t give up.

From interviewing to starting at Google, all virtually

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 Krithika Ramanarayanan, head of business insights for online partners. Krithika’s experience with Google has been completely virtual, as she only joined the company six months ago. She shares what it’s been like to interview and start at Google during a pandemic and how she’s gotten to know her team and Google’s culture, all without stepping foot into an office. 

What’s your role at Google?

I am head of business insights for the Online Partnerships Group (OPG) based in Dublin, Ireland. I lead the core analyst team which supports data-driven business decisions and market trend investigations. We work with sales, product and leadership teams to help online publishers grow their businesses and in turn achieve our vision—fund the world's information by enabling content creators. 

What inspires you to come in (virtually) every day?

It’s been six months since I joined Google. Initially it was unusual not meeting people, and having a 2-year-old at home meant joining a lot of introduction calls with him running around in the background. But the virtual onboarding process for Google was structured in a way that made me feel supported during my journey as a “Noogler.”

The best advice I got from my manager at that time was to get to know the products and the business whenever there were opportunities to do so. That helped me to hit the ground running once I started working with the team on projects. I’m curious by nature and learning something new every day about OPG or in the wider Google community keeps me motivated. 

I am also a data geek. I enjoy the challenge of translating analysis into actions for the business. As we often say in the PI team, the best analysts are masters at bridging the gap from numbers to actions and making it understandable.

Set of four photos of Krithika, her husband, and their toddler posing indoors in front of a Christmas tree. The family wear matching pajamas that read, “Mama bear,” and “Papa Bear.”

Krithika: “Our attempt at getting a family holiday card this year. #ToddlerLife”

How did the application and interview process go for you?

I was very excited about this opportunity as it seemed a natural fit for my talents and career progression. After I applied, a recruiter reached out to me for an informal chat.

The process was quite straightforward and really pleasant. My recruiter and I still catch up for a coffee chat every few weeks, and that's something I really appreciate as they still make the time for me. I had a couple of phone chats with people from the OPG team and then the interviews, which to be honest were nothing like what the internet led me to believe. I really enjoyed the discussion, as that's what the interviews felt like. 

For anyone interested in or going through Google’s interview process, I’d definitely recommend checking out the new interviewing at Google page of the careers site.

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

I would have loved to have known more about just how supportive Google is. Whether it relates to physical health, mental health, career progression or relocation, Google will work with you to help you achieve the work-life balance that works for you. The training, talks and virtual meetups within Google have allowed me to pursue new areas of interest and grow in new ways I hadn't considered before.

How have you forged new contacts and relationships while working remotely?

By hosting lots and lots of Google Meet calls, and not hesitating to ask whoever you meet to recommend three more people to talk to next. I try to make those conversations about getting to know Google and getting to know the person I am speaking with.

What advice would you give to someone considering starting at Google right now?

If the role matches your interests, career experience and skill set, don't be put off by the idea of starting remotely at first. Google has made massive efforts to ensure the process is smooth and fun. The teams and people you interact with from day one will ensure that your onboarding process is a rewarding, welcoming experience.

Inside the Cloud Technical Residency with Tony Rodriguez

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 Tony Rodriguez, a Technical Solutions Engineer in Austin who started at Google in our Cloud Technical Residency (CTR), a one-year rotational program for recent college graduates. (If you’re interested in applying, the CTR program is now accepting applications for 2021.)

Can you tell us more about your roles at Google?

As of July 2020, I am officially now a Technical Solutions Engineer (TSE) in Google Cloud. Prior to becoming a TSE, I was a part of the Cloud Technical Residency Program, a rotational program aimed to provide students who have recently graduated with both technical and client facing skills. The program is 12 months long, with three months of training and rotations in three separate Google Cloud organizations.

Throughout each rotation I increased my technical knowledge of Google Cloud products. First, as a Technical Account Manager I managed relationships and major projects for Google Cloud Platform (GCP) customers, then, as a Strategic Cloud Engineer I helped architect/build solutions for customers, and finally, as a Technical Solutions Engineer, I supported our products and worked with product teams on improving them.

Coming straight out of college and not being certain of what I wanted to do, this program was incredible. I got to explore three amazing roles and get a taste of what the day to day looked like for each. The fact that I went through it with a cohort of 25 amazing individuals, also helped make it a smooth transition out of college. 

Group of individuals in front of large balloons letters reading "CTR".

Tony and his CTR cohort during their initial training.

Have you always been interested in tech?

I was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico but grew up in the Atlanta area. Growing up, I always had a passion for technology and knew I wanted to pursue something in the tech field. I thank my parents for teaching me that hard work and determination pays off but also for being understanding everytime I broke the computer! I’m the first person in my family to graduate from college; I studied computer science at the University of Georgia. (Go Dawgs!)

You applied to Google twice. Can you tell us about that experience?

The idea of applying to Google was initially scary, because I feared rejection. I got denied the first time when I applied for a software engineering internship my junior year of college, but I received helpful constructive feedback and worked hard that year towards preparing for a second shot if given the opportunity. 

I applied again a year later for a software engineering role and at the beginning of the process, I told my recruiter that the past year had opened my eyes. I learned there are more positions in tech than just software engineering. Because of that conversation, I was informed about a new program that Google had started the past year and how it was a great opportunity for new college graduates to explore other roles available in tech. 

I decided to give it a go and from that point forward I was in the process for applying to become a CTR. The process overall was super smooth and consisted of both technical interviews and interviews focused on non-technical skills like problem solving, project management and leadership.

I’ll never forget the day when my recruiter, Suzie, told me I got the job. I was hesitant about moving to a new city where I didn’t know anyone, but I can say that by far, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made and has helped me grow as a person.

Tony standing in front of the 360 bridge in Austin.

Tony explores the city of Austin.

Anything you wish you’d known before your interviews?

I remember being super nervous the first time and feared asking questions. But every interviewer I talked to told me they do not expect you to give the most optimal solution from the beginning; instead, they want to hear your thought process. They encourage you to ask questions to clear up any misunderstandings, because that helps you move towards a final solution. 

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

I reviewed the materials my recruiters provided me multiple times (a new helpful resource is the CTR Careers on Air series). I also reached out to my professors to help me refresh my knowledge of web technologies and fundamental computing concepts. If you’re not familiar with the cloud like I was and want to see how enterprise companies are using it today, I recommend checking out the Google Cloud Blog.

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

Never give up! I never thought I'd be working at Google and I wish I gave myself more credit to begin with. Don't be intimidated to apply and put yourself out there.