Tag Archives: Googlers

One engineer’s tips for getting into Google

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

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

What do you do at Google?

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

What’s a typical workday like for you? 

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

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

What made you decide to apply to Google?

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

How did you land in your current role?

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

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

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

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

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

How did you prepare for the interview?

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


Any tips for aspiring Googlers?

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

Mental health trends & how they affect communities of color

Editor’s note: July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. To bring awareness to mental health, Asad Abdullah II — a Google engineer, trauma-informed meditation instructor and mental health advocate — chatted with licensed psychologist Dr. Ghynecee Temple about mental health trends, how they affect communities of color and ways to cope.  

Search interest for anxiety reached a record high across the U.S. this year. As we begin to reintegrate into life after an extended period of social distancing and self-isolation, people across the country are looking for ways to cope. 


Marginalized communities in particular have been disproportionately affected and continue to face challenges and stigmas when it comes to accessing resources and talking openly about mental wellbeing. According to Mental Health First Aid, 48% of White Americans with mental illness received mental health services, compared to 31% of Black Americans and Latino/Hispanic Americans and 22% of AAPI populations.


Curious to talk more about the mental health trends we’re seeing for marginalized groups, I sat down with Dr. Ghynecee Temple of the Ladipo Group, a Black-owned company dedicated to the emotional wellness of Black and African-American people and communities. Dr. Temple sifted through these trends, discussed lingering mental health stigmas and shared ways we can take care of our wellbeing and support others. 

Search interest for “why do I feel anxious for no reason” spiked 400% in 2021 U.S. compared to 2020. How is this affecting communities of color specifically? 


There's always a reason you feel anxious, you just may not have uncovered it yet. For communities of color, both before and during the pandemic, there are unique experiences that affect their mental wellbeing. You may deal with navigating daily discrimination, feel a lack of autonomy being in a system that suppresses or grapple with intersecting identities.


Fast forward to COVID-19, and you have a massive loss of control. You can’t see, smell or touch it, but it’s ever-looming and ever-present. So of course you’re going to feel anxious.


Still in some communities, getting mental health help is stigmatized. What I tell people is: Your brain is your control center for your entire body. If your thoughts are off,  it's going to impact every facet of your functioning. And if something is off and not feeling right, why wouldn't we get help? 


As people prepare to return to work and school, what would you say to those who are experiencing uneasiness or anxiety? 


Your feelings about the transition are valid. Some people are excited to socialize again,  others are relieved as home may not always be the safest place for them, and still others are nervous about interacting with people outside of their bubble. Don’t judge your feelings, and accept that you’re going to experience different moods each day.


What are some practical steps we can take to manage those feelings?


There’s still a lot of uncertainty, but part of what we can do to weather that storm is to be present. Instead of thinking about what’s happening in two months or 12 months, ask yourself how you are feeling right now and what you need at this moment. Set boundaries and goals for yourself. For example, if you feel safer wearing a mask, continue to do so even if it’s not required. If you’re struggling with social anxiety, set a goal to socialize for 15 minutes at lunch before allowing yourself to go back to your desk to decompress. Exposure is one of the most helpful things to improve social anxiety. Start small and challenge yourself to build upon it every day.


A lot of people are turning to therapy, and search interest for “black therapists” spiked last summer. How can people within the BIPOC community go about finding a therapist?


A quick Google search will show you resources near you — and even a self-assessment to help you learn more about anxiety. When finding a therapist, many therapists will have an online bio where they can talk about their own identities that feel salient or what communities they’ve worked with before — start there. Then ask for a consultation and evaluate them for yourself. I love when new clients ask me questions! You don’t have to pick the first therapist you find. Remember that you’re shopping and want to feel comfortable and safe.


I’m a Blue Dot Listener at Google. Our aim is to de-stigmatize mental health conversations in the workplace through allyship, peer support and education. I’d love to know from you, how we can be better mental health allies at work?


As allies, we need to check our own beliefs and biases, and embrace a continuous posture of learning and unlearning. I’d also encourage people to know their limits. There are often instances where we try to support people, but it’s out of our scope. Know when to connect people to the right resources.


You’ve been in the mental health space for almost a decade, what makes you hopeful for mental wellbeing for historically underrepresented groups?


The fact that people are even searching for mental health topics is encouraging. It makes me hopeful that people are willing to learn and unlearn things. 


Mental health trends & how they affect communities of color

Editor’s note: July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. To bring awareness to mental health, Asad Abdullah II — a Google engineer, trauma-informed meditation instructor and mental health advocate — chatted with licensed psychologist Dr. Ghynecee Temple about mental health trends, how they affect communities of color and ways to cope.  

Search interest for anxiety reached a record high across the U.S. this year. As we begin to reintegrate into life after an extended period of social distancing and self-isolation, people across the country are looking for ways to cope. 


Marginalized communities in particular have been disproportionately affected and continue to face challenges and stigmas when it comes to accessing resources and talking openly about mental wellbeing. According to Mental Health First Aid, 48% of White Americans with mental illness received mental health services, compared to 31% of Black Americans and Latino/Hispanic Americans and 22% of AAPI populations.


Curious to talk more about the mental health trends we’re seeing for marginalized groups, I sat down with Dr. Ghynecee Temple of the Ladipo Group, a Black-owned company dedicated to the emotional wellness of Black and African-American people and communities. Dr. Temple sifted through these trends, discussed lingering mental health stigmas and shared ways we can take care of our wellbeing and support others. 

Search interest for “why do I feel anxious for no reason” spiked 400% in 2021 U.S. compared to 2020. How is this affecting communities of color specifically? 


There's always a reason you feel anxious, you just may not have uncovered it yet. For communities of color, both before and during the pandemic, there are unique experiences that affect their mental wellbeing. You may deal with navigating daily discrimination, feel a lack of autonomy being in a system that suppresses or grapple with intersecting identities.


Fast forward to COVID-19, and you have a massive loss of control. You can’t see, smell or touch it, but it’s ever-looming and ever-present. So of course you’re going to feel anxious.


Still in some communities, getting mental health help is stigmatized. What I tell people is: Your brain is your control center for your entire body. If your thoughts are off,  it's going to impact every facet of your functioning. And if something is off and not feeling right, why wouldn't we get help? 


As people prepare to return to work and school, what would you say to those who are experiencing uneasiness or anxiety? 


Your feelings about the transition are valid. Some people are excited to socialize again,  others are relieved as home may not always be the safest place for them, and still others are nervous about interacting with people outside of their bubble. Don’t judge your feelings, and accept that you’re going to experience different moods each day.


What are some practical steps we can take to manage those feelings?


There’s still a lot of uncertainty, but part of what we can do to weather that storm is to be present. Instead of thinking about what’s happening in two months or 12 months, ask yourself how you are feeling right now and what you need at this moment. Set boundaries and goals for yourself. For example, if you feel safer wearing a mask, continue to do so even if it’s not required. If you’re struggling with social anxiety, set a goal to socialize for 15 minutes at lunch before allowing yourself to go back to your desk to decompress. Exposure is one of the most helpful things to improve social anxiety. Start small and challenge yourself to build upon it every day.


A lot of people are turning to therapy, and search interest for “black therapists” spiked last summer. How can people within the BIPOC community go about finding a therapist?


A quick Google search will show you resources near you — and even a self-assessment to help you learn more about anxiety. When finding a therapist, many therapists will have an online bio where they can talk about their own identities that feel salient or what communities they’ve worked with before — start there. Then ask for a consultation and evaluate them for yourself. I love when new clients ask me questions! You don’t have to pick the first therapist you find. Remember that you’re shopping and want to feel comfortable and safe.


I’m a Blue Dot Listener at Google. Our aim is to de-stigmatize mental health conversations in the workplace through allyship, peer support and education. I’d love to know from you, how we can be better mental health allies at work?


As allies, we need to check our own beliefs and biases, and embrace a continuous posture of learning and unlearning. I’d also encourage people to know their limits. There are often instances where we try to support people, but it’s out of our scope. Know when to connect people to the right resources.


You’ve been in the mental health space for almost a decade, what makes you hopeful for mental wellbeing for historically underrepresented groups?


The fact that people are even searching for mental health topics is encouraging. It makes me hopeful that people are willing to learn and unlearn things. 


Give it up for the woman who helps Googlers give back

Over the past month, Googlers around the world have virtually volunteered in their communities — from mentoring students to reviewing resumes for job seekers. It’s all a part of GoogleServe, our month-long campaign that encourages Googlers to lend their time and expertise to others. GoogleServe is just one of many opportunities employees have to give back, and one of the projects that Megan Colla Wheeler is responsible for running. 

As the lead for Google.org’s global employee giving and volunteering campaigns, Megan’s role is to create and run programs like GoogleServe and connect the nearly 150,000 Googlers around the world to them. Ultimately, her job is to help Googlers dedicate their time, money or expertise to their communities. How’s that for paying it forward?

With more than ten years of experience at Google, we wanted to hear more about how she ended up in this job, her advice to others and all the ways volunteering at Google has changed — particularly this past year. 


How do you explain your job to friends?

My goal is to create meaningful ways for Googlers to contribute to their communities — by offering their time, expertise or money — and help connect them to those opportunities. 


When did you realize you were interested in philanthropy and volunteering?

I was a Kinesiology major in college. Toward the end of my sophomore year, I took a course on social justice and it struck a chord in me. Though I loved sports, I realized I wanted my career to be about something bigger, something meaningful. I wanted to lend my skills for good. So even though I graduated with a kinesiology major, I focused my job search on the nonprofit sector and got a job working for a nonprofit legal organization.


How did you go from there to leading volunteer programs for Google.org?

I never knew that the job I have now was even possible. I left my nonprofit job to become a recruiting coordinator at Google. My plan was to do it for a year, diversify my skills, then go back to the nonprofit world. 

I remember going to my first GoogleServe event. We helped paint and organize a senior citizen community center — all during the workday! It blew me away that Google placed such an importance on volunteering. Coming from the nonprofit world, it felt meaningful seeing a company that cares deeply about these things and encourages employees to get involved. So I stayed at Google and kept finding ways to work on these programs. 


Fast forward 10 years and you’re one of the masterminds behind these events. How has employee volunteering and giving at Google changed over the years?

So many of the things that Google has created, like Gmail, came out of grassroots ideas that then grew as the company did. The same is true of our work to help Googlers get involved in their communities. 


Take GoogleServe for example. In 2008, a Googler came up with the idea to create a company day of service. Over a decade later that campaign has gone from a day-long event to a month of service that encourages over 25,000 employees to volunteer in over 90 offices around the world. And it all started with one Googler saying, "This would be a cool idea." Along the way, more Googlers have come up with ideas to get involved in the communities where we live and work through giving and volunteering. Although the programs have grown and evolved over the years, we’ve maintained the sentiment that inspired those campaigns in the first place.


We’ve also been focused on connecting Googlers to opportunities that use their distinct skills, like coding or data analysis. For example, a team of Googlers - including software engineers, program managers, and UX designers - are currently working with the City of Detroit to help build a mobile-friendly search tool to help people find affordable housing. 


How has it changed in the past year?

At the core, these programs are about giving back, but they’re also culturally iconic moments at Google. They’re a chance for teams to connect and do something together that’s more than just your average team-building activity. You’re building a shared experience and meeting people from completely different roles and departments. They’re also a chance for teams to learn and grow from people outside of Google and to bring that perspective back to their job. 


Over the past year, people have felt generally disconnected. So even though our volunteering has become virtual, it’s still a chance to interact and contribute. Virtual or not, it really does create a positive work culture. 


What advice would you give to people who have a day job in one area and a passion in another?

Be willing to work hard and get your core job done and carve out time to keep doing what you’re passionate about. When you are working on projects that you love, it keeps you engaged in a really special way. And you never know when those passion projects will intersect with your core work, or when they’ll turn into something bigger. 


How Vicky Fernandez found her passion for leading teams

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 Vicky Fernandez, who shares how she went from one of the very first employees at our office in Buenos Aires to a leader who manages multiple teams.


What’s your role at Google? 

I work within Google’s ad sales business, where I manage the analysis, insights and optimization team for Spanish-speaking Latin America’s largest customers. The team brings together industry experts with specialists on performance, data and measurement solutions. I get to work with very talented people from all across the continent, taking best practices from one market to the other so that our clients thrive.


What does your typical workday look like right now? 

As a manager, I spend a lot of time meeting with my team, as well as collaborating with other project leaders. When meeting one-on-one with my direct reports, we speak about their current challenges and how I can help them. We also follow up on their objectives, projects, careers and check in on their well-being. 


Why did you decide to apply to work at Google? 

I was working for a TV company and looking for a change. I had heard that Google was opening offices in Buenos Aires (this was 15 years ago), so I decided to send them my resume. I knew nothing about digital marketing, so when they called me for interviews, I locked myself at home for a whole weekend and studied. Still,  I was not very confident after my interviews, but I was happy to participate in the process because I met really nice people and had a good time. 


Surprisingly, they called me back to join Google. I feel very proud to be part of this company, and I also feel proud to be part of our customer´s teams. At Google you belong to not only this company, but also thousands of companies that trust us to grow their businesses.


How did the application and interview process go for you?

After sending my resume, I got a phone call with a recruiter and then four on-site interviews, all together the same day. At that time (15 years ago) Google had no offices in Buenos Aires yet, so many people from the U.S. and Mexico came for a week to do interviews in a temporary office they rented. I had no idea who they were, but they were all very nice and approachable. I´m glad I didn't know how important they were because I think I would have been a lot more nervous. 


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

I started at Google supporting small businesses in Spanish-speaking Latin America. After a year or so I moved to support bigger companies in Mexico. (I did this remotely from Argentina, and I used to travel to Mexico a few times a year.)


Then I got the chance to take my first formal leadership role, leading a team dedicated to helping small businesses that use Google Ads solve technical, billing and optimization issues. I loved being a manager and decided that it was my path. After a couple of years growing that team, I moved to a new role to build a different team for big customers. After gaining experience growing the team and improving service levels and efficiency, I recently got the opportunity to manage these three teams together as one team. I feel really excited about it!


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

Think about the experiences that you would like to share during the interviews related to leadership, teamwork and process improvements. When questions come up, you can share those experiences. If you have success stories to show, try to have some numbers in mind (like growth on sales, efficiency gains, cost reduction, etc.)


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

Googlers are all very nice! You will have a great time, so focus on enjoying the interviews.


How competing unlocked this intern’s coding passion

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

Today we spoke with Livia Seibert, a software engineer intern working virtually in Pennsylvania. Find out how a fun coding competition with her dad led her to becoming an intern at Google.

What do you do at Google?

I’m a software engineering intern. I’m working on a command line tool that automates the creation of experiments to make it safer, easier and faster for engineers to try out new changes. I like my project because I’m able to have a positive impact on other engineers by helping to speed up their workflow.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

At the beginning of my sophomore year of college, I decided to apply to software engineering internships for the first time. I had taken classes the summer before, but I did not have any internship experience at that point. Many internships I saw listed at other companies only took junior-year interns or were unlikely to consider applicants without experience, so I was really excited when Google talked about the STEP internship during a recruiting visit on campus, and I decided to apply for it.

How would you describe your path to Google?

I was first introduced to computer science when I was 13 because my dad had seen a YouTube video about the importance of coding and the lack of computer science education in schools across the U.S. I was pretty resistant to learning how to code at the time, since I went to a small all-girls school where coding wasn't a super popular course of study. My dad ended up challenging me to see which of us could finish an online Python class fastest, and after a week he had given up on it and I ended up being super interested in the material. I taught myself how to code using online resources throughout middle school, and when I got to high school I was able to take CS classes. Since then, I’ve always known that I want to go into software engineering.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

I applied to Google directly. I was very nervous about the technical interview process because it was completely new to me, but it ended up being a much less stressful experience than I had anticipated. The engineers who conducted my interviews were incredibly kind and supportive, and each interview felt more like a conversation than the interrogation I was expecting.

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

One thing I wish I could go back and tell myself before applying is to have more confidence. I think that it’s easy to get intimidated by the large number of very talented people that apply to Google every year, and to experience imposter syndrome even once you’ve gotten the job. Instead, it’s important to focus on your own accomplishments and avoid comparing yourself to others.

Complete the following: “I [choose one: code/create/design/build] for…”

Inclusivity. As a woman in tech, I value making sure that underrepresented groups are able to have their voices heard in order to create tech that works for everyone.

Photo of Livia Seibert

Livia Seibert

Why this Google engineer is teaching students to code

San Francisco-based Googler Ernest Holmes first started coding when he was in high school. “From then on, I was hooked and knew I wanted to become an engineer,” he says. By the time he was a freshman at Morehouse College, Ernest was participating in the Google in Residence program (GIR). That program introduced him to the Google internship program which he took part in for three consecutive summers before joining us as a full-time engineer.

Early exposure to coding helped set Ernest up for success, but some of his classmates weren’t as lucky. During his first computer science course in college, he realized many of the students were only then getting their first coding experience.

“There were some students who, like me, had their interest piqued early on, while others had never coded before in their lives, and they just wanted to take a computer science class to figure it out,” Ernest says. “For that second group, it was like they were starting at a disadvantage because they’d never been exposed to the concepts, and they were entering into college life at the same time. That can be overwhelming.”

Ernest started tutoring sessions for his classmates and quickly learned that if they’d been exposed even just a few years earlier, it could have changed their paths. Inspired by this idea, in 2019 — at the same time Ernest began his career as a full-time engineer at Google — he founded the nonprofit CodeHouse to fulfill his personal goal of bringing the joy of coding to the next generation.

“CodeHouse is a nonprofit that partners with schools across the U.S. to introduce students to careers in tech through exposure to large tech companies, hands-on training and financial assistance,” Ernest says.

A group of people stand together on an orange rug.

The Codehouse team.

CodeHouse brings software engineers, product managers and designers from Google and other tech companies, as well as representatives from colleges and universities around the U.S., to meet with students and share their career stories.

“Throughout the year, we host Tech Exposure Days to make learning about careers and opportunities in tech a fun and engaging experience,” Ernest says. “We want students to leave with more knowledge about what’s out there in the tech industry as well as connect with role models who look like them in careers they hadn’t even considered.”

To date, CodeHouse has worked with more than 2,500 students through its events. With support from fellow Googlers Michelle Asamoah and William Bell, the CodeHouse team continues to grow and so does its mission.

“We started CodeHouse by hosting events to help expose students to tech while they’re in high school, but we want to be a long-term partner for them on their journey through college and into their professional careers,” Ernest says. “To do this, we kicked off our CodeHouse Scholar initiative last year where we’re offering $20,000 scholarships, mentorship, and a technical skills training session for incoming freshmen going to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and majoring in computer science.”

In the first cohort of scholars, CodeHouse identified 30 students from across the U.S. to be sponsored and receive scholarships. These students will participate in a technical skills workshop that includes an introduction to basic coding languages like Python and they’ll learn about different careers in computer science. Ernest and the CodeHouse team hope to scale this program to additional career fields in tech so students can get even more exposure and skills training before college.

“I fell in love with computer science,” Ernest says. “As an engineer at Google, I know that I can create anything that I can imagine. I want to introduce as many people to that feeling and this field as possible.”

To learn more about CodeHouse, visit thecodehouse.org. You can also follow them on Twitter, Instagram or their Facebook page.

How Joy Jackson prepared for her Google interview

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

Today’s post is all about Joy Jackson, a data center technician on the global server operations team, who shares how she went from studying to be a graphic designer to discovering a passion for IT and joining the Google data center team.

What’s your role at Google?

I am currently a data center technician on the Global Server Operations team, leading local projects as well as working with our team to deploy and maintain Google's advanced data center servers and network infrastructure. What I love most about my role is working with a diverse team and seeing how passionate each of us is to make sure that our network is up and running, ensuring users have the best and fastest experience possible.

What does your typical day look like right now?

A typical work day for me right now ranges from many different duties like physical deployments of the data center, maintaining servers and networking infrastructure and working closely with various partner teams to ensure our goals, missions and projects are successfully delivered.

Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and after graduating high school I left Charleston and went to The Art Institute of Charlotte, where I received my associate’s degree in graphic design. When I am not working, I like to spend my time on graphic projects and photography. Some of my hobbies outside of designing and photos are hiking, doing yoga and most importantly, traveling. I love to meet new people, explore new areas and learn about different cuisines and cultures. 

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

I was interested in Google because of how innovative the company is. I had never applied before and was intimidated because of how huge the company is. When I applied and heard back about interviews, I was extremely nervous because I did not think I would be a good fit due to being at the very early stages of my career.

Joy stands in front of a Google logo across a piece of wood cut in the shape of Virginia.

Joy works at one of Google’s Virginia data centers.

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

When I went off to college, I thought my heart was set on becoming a graphic designer and opening my own agency. But as I progressed in life and my career, I found myself more interested in working in IT. I worked hard to transition from what I thought I wanted to do to where I am now. And I am happy I did – I love the work we do. I have had opportunities to work in different data center locations and in different roles, just by learning new skills and opening myself up to reach out to other site locations and their teams.

What inspires you to come in every day?

I am inspired each day to come into work because of the millions of lives we are able to touch. It's just a great feeling knowing that, by the work we are doing, we are able to help so many people stay connected with friends and loved ones.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

I was referred to apply, and I was nervous about not being the right fit. But after my phone interview, I decided to stay open-minded about the process. Because I knew I could do the job and it was a perfect fit.

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? I wish I could go back to the moment before I applied and tell myself that it is okay to ask questions! I was so nervous and scared to ask any questions.

What resources did you find most helpful when preparing for the interview?

One of the resources I used to prepare for my interviews were sites like LinkedIn Learning, taking the time to do online courses and training classes and watching tutorials.

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

Never doubt your abilities to achieve anything you put your mind to. With education, drive and determination, you can reach your goals.


Graphic with a photo of Joy wearing an Android t-shirt on the right, and on the left, text that reads: “My Path to Google, Data Center Technician.”
10:25

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.

Two Googlers meet for the first time at I/O

Mike Pegg has never missed an I/O. “There’s a magic about it,” he says. “It’s sort of like seeing Google come to life, right?” Mike leads Developer Relations for the Google Maps Platform team, and when we spoke via Google Meet a few days before I/O, he was gearing up to present at the conference from his Bay Area home. Gearing up, literally.

“My tech check for my AMA will happen...right here,” he says looking around his desk at home. “I literally had a suitcase sent to me with all my camera gear and microphones. I even bought some ethernet cabling so I’m not competing with my son’s gaming on our WiFi!” 

While Mike’s AMA would broadcast from his home, up until recently he thought he wouldn’t physically make it to I/O this year. Then he heard there would be a (small) audience. “I was so excited to take part, I just wanted to help out in whatever way I could.” Speakers who would be on stage at the Mountain View campus nominated colleagues to be audience members — and Mike was one of about 35 Googlers selected to sit in the audience at I/O

As was Lamon Bethel, a visual designer. Unlike Mike, Lamon had never been to I/O — in fact, he’d never been to the Mountain View campus. Based in San Francisco, he’s only been working at Google for about nine months. “The invite was sort of mysterious,” Lamon says. “It was like a Friday or Saturday and I was going through my inbox and there was this totally nondescript, cryptic email saying I’d been nominated to sign up to attend I/O.” At first he thought it was a joke — he was so new at Google, and he wasn’t a developer. He signed up anyway and soon enough, found out that he would be on site for I/O  with the small audience group. 

A person’s hand holding a plastic bag. The clear bag has a red mask inside.

 Audience members each received face masks upon arrival.

Lamon would be diving head first into the world of Google — as well as into the now-unique experience of seeing so many people at the same time. “It was energizing just to be in touch with all the I/O folks throughout the planning process,” he said before the event. “When I’m actually in the presence of other people, and seeing the presenters...I’m so curious what that will feel like!” 

When I talked to Mike and Lamon a few days before I/O, it was the first time they “met,” though they knew they would both be in the audience. They don’t work in the same department, so it’s likely that even if they’d been working in offices this year, their paths wouldn’t have crossed. But both of them said they couldn’t wait to be on site at I/O, experiencing an event happening in front of them, in real life. 

Of course, they were also just looking forward to meeting. “I can’t wait to meet you, Lamon!” Mike said during our call. “This will be so cool. It will almost be like your first day at Google.” 

By all accounts, it was a good one. “The energy of the speakers, the audience members was great — it was such a seamless day,” Lamon says. Lamon got to meet coworkers for the first time, and Mike was reunited with people he’s worked with for years. “It was pretty special to not only reconnect, but also experience the magic of the I/O keynote together!”

And Lamon and Mike also met — in person — even though they were seated at different stages. “But when we had breaks and during lunch and breakfast, we found time to connect,” Lamon says. “He’s someone that I feel like I’ll always have this really unique bond with after having gone through that I/O experience together,” Mike says.