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.