Tag Archives: Life at Google

How a love of art and engineering led Nichole to YouTube

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

Today’s post is all about Nichole Lasater, a software engineer at YouTube, whose background in both art and engineering led her to Google.

How did you first get interested in software engineering?

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

What do you do here at Google?

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

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

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

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

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

What did you learn from your job search?

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

Any tips to share with aspiring Googlers?

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

What it’s like to have a hybrid internship at Google

After three virtual college semesters, I felt like a fish out of water applying for summer internships. My networking and interviewing skills were rusty, and as a first-generation college student without access to career prep resources, I felt totally unprepared for the job application process. I didn't know what role I wanted, where to apply or how to write my resume. So I joined a professional development program for underrepresented talent, where I spent hours in workshops, interview prep sessions and meetings with my career coach.

Inspired by a lecture on battling imposter syndrome and the power of believing in yourself, I built up the confidence to apply to Google. I trusted the process and kept my best foot forward, and before I knew it, I was in my first round of interviews for Google’s communications team. Not long afterward, I was walking through the doors of Google’s New York City campus on my first day as an intern.

This year’s interns are the first to participate in Google’s hybrid work week and the first to go into Google’s offices since early 2020. The hybrid schedule has helped me embrace the best of both worlds — from connecting with my teammates over lunch at the office to focusing on projects in the comfort of my home. Through this hybrid experience, and especially as a member of the communications team, I've learned how important it is to ask questions, stay connected and engage thoughtfully.

A big part of my role at Google is seeking out and sharing stories about our culture, products and people — including my fellow interns. So in celebration of International Intern Day today, I asked a few of them to share more about their hybrid internship experiences and their proudest accomplishments so far. Here’s what I learned.

How this intern’s passion for Africa led her to Google

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

Today’s post is all about Angela Kagabo, a Kenya-based intern working on marketing projects for the Ads sales team.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Kigali, Rwanda in a family of four children and a super mom. Two words that best describe me are authentic and funny (I might be exaggerating the funny part but my own jokes crack me up). I’m a rising junior, studying international business and trade at the African Leadership University in Kigali. I’m very passionate about women’s rights, my country and the African continent — particularly her stories, people, history and, most importantly, her future.

What do you work on at Google?

I’m an intern with Google’s Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) marketing team, and I’m working out of our Nairobi, Kenya office this summer. I support marketing projects for our Ads sales team, like planning client events. So far, I’ve had a blast working with the SSA marketing team because of all the new things I get to learn every day. I even got to meet most of my team at a recent offsite in Cape Town, South Africa.

A group of five Googlers, all in black t-shirts with a multi-colored logo, pose together and smile at the camera.

Angela and her teammates participating in a community service project

Why did you apply to Google?

I applied because I was inspired by all the Google products that have made my life easier — like Google Forms and Google Sheets, my go-to tools for collecting feedback and organizing data. And I wanted more people, especially those in lower-income communities, to know about and have access to these products. Google’s company culture was another big draw for me, as was the opportunity to work on projects specifically focused on Africa.

How did your interview process go?

Honestly, it couldn’t have been a smoother process. Although I went into the interviews feeling nervous, my interviewers put me at ease. In one of my interviews, I remember not understanding one of the questions. However, I felt comfortable enough to tell my interviewer (and now manager), “I’m not sure I understand that. May I have more context?” And she happily explained. As it turns out, not knowing the answer right away doesn’t mean automatic rejection — it actually means there’s an opportunity to learn something new.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

While the interview process was different from what I was used to, my recruiter shared a lot of resources to help me better understand the process and team I was interviewing for. I also spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos from previous Google interns and the Google Students team, and about overall interview etiquette.

Angela, wearing a black hoodie, poses next to her mother, who’s wearing a floral shirt.

Angela and her mother

Any advice for aspiring Google interns?

First, be yourself. Don’t try to fit into a box you think Google expects you to be in — because there is no box. Second, if you’re thinking about applying, watch videos on the Google Students YouTube channel. They’ll teach you how to create a strong resume and give you insight into the recruitment process. Also, spend time on Google’s career site because there’s a lot of important information to help you better understand the company.

And finally, just apply! I almost didn’t, because I didn’t think I’d actually get this internship, but I’m so glad I pushed myself to do it. If you’re worried about the interview process, Google is rooting for you and will share all the resources you need to be prepared. So go for it!

Source: The Keyword


How this Google intern is spending her summer

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

Today’s post is all about Micka Alencar, an intern from Brazil who’s spending her summer on the Google Cloud team.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I study production engineering at the Federal University of São Carlos in Sorocaba, Brazil. This summer, I’m interning for the Google Cloud team! Helping people really energizes me, so I also volunteer with local community projects in my free time, like teaching English classes to children. Outside of that, I like to watch anime and spend time with my family.

What do you do at Google?

I’m a Google Cloud Strategy and Sales Operations intern. In this role, I research cloud market trends and look for opportunities to grow our Google Cloud business in Latin America. Right now, I'm working on two main projects: developing a more structured onboarding process for our sales team, and building a framework for measuring our team’s progress.

Why did you apply to Google?

I decided to apply for an internship at Google because of how closely the company's values ​​align with mine. I’ve always dreamed of working at a place where I wouldn’t just be a number, but an important part of something bigger. At Google, my work is relevant, I’m heard and I can be myself without any judgment or fear.

How did your interview process go?

Google’s interview process was different from what I was used to. Here, you’re evaluated across a broad set of skills, not just your technical abilities. Both of my interviewers were very kind, and they made me feel comfortable from the start. They helped turn that evaluative moment into a pressure-free conversation where I could share my points of view, ideas and, ultimately, who I truly am.

Micka, in a black dress, poses with three other family members. They are wearing formal clothing and have bouquets of flowers behind them.

Micka and her family, who she credits with playing a big role in her professional development.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

To prepare for my interviews, I reflected on critical moments in my life and career and crafted a narrative around them. I also visited Google’s Careers site for interview tips and did several rounds of mock interviews with my friends.

How has it been working remotely?

Amazing! My onboarding process was so well organized, and my team has given me the support I need to succeed in this internship. And even though I’m working remotely, I recently met my team in person at the São Paulo office. This was an important moment for us to get to know each other even better.

Any advice you’d give to aspiring Google interns?

First, be authentic and don't try to fit into patterns or create false appearances. At Google, individuality is highly appreciated and is an important part of the candidate selection process. Second, don't diminish yourself in any way — you can be whoever you want to be. And if you think you can work at Google, then you can! And finally, dedicate yourself to your dream and believe strongly in your capabilities.

It’s electric! 6 lessons from our largest electric kitchen

We recently opened our all-electric Bay View campus, which also marked the debut of our largest electric kitchen. As our biggest blueprint for fully carbon-free cafes and kitchens yet, Bay View will help advance our commitment to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy across all of our campuses by 2030.

Still, any big change comes with a learning curve. So whether you’re a professional chef or an at-home cook, here are six lessons we’ve learned to help you make the switch to electric:

Electric is way faster. The benefits of electric kitchens go beyond climate impact, starting with speed. The first time I ever cooked on induction (electric) equipment, the biggest surprise was just how incredibly fast it is. In fact, induction boils water twice as fast as traditional gas equipment and is far more efficient — because unlike a flame, electric heat has nowhere to escape. At Bay View, our training programs help Google chefs appreciate and adjust to the new pace of induction. The speed truly opens up whole new ways of cooking.

It’s also safer, simpler and cooler. Compared to traditional gas equipment, induction equipment is safer because there’s very little heat transfer after you remove a vessel, reducing burn risk. Cleanup is a simple wipe-down versus removing stainless steel grates that stay at hundreds of degrees for hours. We also think — and we’re collecting data at Bay View to confirm — that electric kitchens will be more comfortable to work in, because they're potentially cooler (you don't need to leave the heat on high) and quieter (you don’t need the hood fans as often).

The end result is delicious. You can cook world-class food with induction equipment, and many Michelin 3-star restaurants already do. At Bay View, we did a full recipe review to match our same great flavor profiles using induction equipment. Turns out if you have the right brines, marinades, seasoning and technique, you can easily adapt recipes to electric equipment without compromising taste. For example, you can achieve the smoky taste of grilled asparagus on induction simply by giving it time in a smoker or adding smoked salt.

A plate of vegetables is arranged to showcase grill marks.

Great equipment is available and affordable. If you haven’t seen induction cooking equipment in a while, you might still imagine a flimsy old hot plate. Not even close. You can now match every piece of gas equipment with a well-designed (and increasingly affordable) electric equivalent, including skillets, chargrills and woks. At Bay View, we even have electric pizza ovens! At home, a lot of your old equipment will carry over: Common cast iron, stainless steel and non-stick pans are all induction friendly if they have a magnetic base. Just try sticking on a magnet!

You still get that sizzle. Many chefs — both professional and at home — equate a gas flame with “real” cooking. But you don’t need fire to do a great job in the kitchen. For instance, you can sear proteins to enhance flavor on induction the same way you would on gas, and you still get that nice sizzle when you drop food in the pan. At Bay View (and across our cafes), we’ve leaned heavily into electric kitchen training sessions to help inspire our cooks, share best practices and give them the tools to do their best work.

Four chefs gather around a table with two pizza pies in the center. One chef gestures towards the pies while the others review recipes.

There are creative ways to manage the electrical load. Cooking aside, all-electric kitchens do tend to increase a building’s electrical load — but technology and planning can help manage that need. For example, as we’ve found across many of our electric cafes, smart circuit controls can automatically power down certain kitchen equipment if electricity loads get too high. At Bay View, we added spare circuits into our electrical panels for more flexibility, making it easier to accommodate changes in kitchen equipment use over time.

These lessons apply far beyond Bay View, to kitchens big and small, and I hope they inspire others to make the move to electric. What's been most rewarding to find at Bay View, and at our other electric kitchens, is that you don't have to choose between creating something delicious and protecting the planet — you can do both.

Meet Nathalia Silva, a Cloud Googler and DEI leader

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 how they prepared for interviews.

Today’s post features Nathalia Silva — a Toronto-based program manager on the Google Cloud Learning team, and a leader of two employee resource groups supporting Latino Googlers.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Google?

I work on the Google Cloud Learning team, whose mission is to train and certify millions of people on Google Cloud. As a program manager, I oversee processes that help design learning content, offerings and solutions for Google Cloud professionals. Outside of my core work, I’m a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) advocate, Star Wars fan and soccer lover — Fluminense is my favorite team!

How did you first become interested in tech?

I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, a beautiful city in Brazil. My mom and dad always believed in the power of education, but good high schools are expensive in my hometown. They both worked hard to provide access to a quality education for me and my brother. Through my parents' efforts and the support of my grandparents, uncles and aunts, I was able to attend an engineering university. Once I got there, I earned an academic scholarship to study in Toronto. After moving to Canada, most of my new friends were computer science students. They used to tell me about their projects and assignments, which inspired me to start studying computer science and eventually join the tech world.

Why did you apply to work at Google?

While working with local tech communities in Toronto, I met many Googlers who always spoke highly of their jobs and the company culture. This made me want to join the Google family. I also always wanted to work at a global company that fosters curiosity, and Google definitely does that. Most of my teammates love traveling and learning about different cultures — just like me!

Nathalia standing in front of a neon Google sign.

Nathalia in the office.

How did you first get involved in DEI work?

Being a first-generation Latina has helped shape my passion for DEI initiatives. Like many other first-gen college students, I struggled with financial challenges, racial discrimination, frequent homesickness and a lack of networking opportunities. So I founded an academic club offering networking events, workshops and career guidance to college students in Toronto. The club earned several academic awards and has evolved into a group that aims to connect women and kickstart their careers in tech.

How have you continued your DEI advocacy work at Google?

In addition to my previous work supporting groups such as women in tech and immigrants in Canada, I've always looked for a chance to help the Latino community. Once I started working at Google, I got involved with [email protected] Google, an employee resource group that creates community for Latino Googlers and allies. Today, I am a global lead for [email protected] and a founder of our local chapter, [email protected] Toronto.

Nathalia poses in front of a large Android statue (which is dressed up as a cowboy).

Nathalia at Google’s Austin office during a Women in Tech conference in 2019.

What was it like interviewing for Google?

I loved every minute of it. My recruiter was really supportive, which helped make the process feel much more straightforward. It was also amazing to meet many different Googlers. Every Googler who interviewed me was attentive and supportive, which made a big difference in my interview performance.

Any tips for aspiring Googlers?

Never stop learning. Once you get an interview at Google, I recommend visiting both the Google Careers site and, if applicable to the role you’re applying for, Google Cloud’s training website. I didn't have much experience working with the cloud, so Google Cloud's training website was a key tool for me. It houses a number of resources to help you better understand core cloud products and services. Attending community events can also be helpful, since you get access to industry content and networking sessions.

Any advice for your past self?

I wish I could tell my past self to never stop believing in my potential. For some time, I doubted if I could get a job at Google, and this brought a lot of stress and anxiety into my life. Once I fully believed in my capabilities and knowledge, I built the confidence to apply to the role that I have now!

Meet Nathalia Silva, a Cloud Googler and DEI leader

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 how they prepared for interviews.

Today’s post features Nathalia Silva — a Toronto-based program manager on the Google Cloud Learning team, and a leader of two employee resource groups supporting Latino Googlers.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Google?

I work on the Google Cloud Learning team, whose mission is to train and certify millions of people on Google Cloud. As a program manager, I oversee processes that help design learning content, offerings and solutions for Google Cloud professionals. Outside of my core work, I’m a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) advocate, Star Wars fan and soccer lover — Fluminense is my favorite team!

How did you first become interested in tech?

I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, a beautiful city in Brazil. My mom and dad always believed in the power of education, but good high schools are expensive in my hometown. They both worked hard to provide access to a quality education for me and my brother. Through my parents' efforts and the support of my grandparents, uncles and aunts, I was able to attend an engineering university. Once I got there, I earned an academic scholarship to study in Toronto. After moving to Canada, most of my new friends were computer science students. They used to tell me about their projects and assignments, which inspired me to start studying computer science and eventually join the tech world.

Why did you apply to work at Google?

While working with local tech communities in Toronto, I met many Googlers who always spoke highly of their jobs and the company culture. This made me want to join the Google family. I also always wanted to work at a global company that fosters curiosity, and Google definitely does that. Most of my teammates love traveling and learning about different cultures — just like me!

Nathalia standing in front of a neon Google sign.

Nathalia in the office.

How did you first get involved in DEI work?

Being a first-generation Latina has helped shape my passion for DEI initiatives. Like many other first-gen college students, I struggled with financial challenges, racial discrimination, frequent homesickness and a lack of networking opportunities. So I founded an academic club offering networking events, workshops and career guidance to college students in Toronto. The club earned several academic awards and has evolved into a group that aims to connect women and kickstart their careers in tech.

How have you continued your DEI advocacy work at Google?

In addition to my previous work supporting groups such as women in tech and immigrants in Canada, I've always looked for a chance to help the Latino community. Once I started working at Google, I got involved with H[email protected] Google, an employee resource group that creates community for Latino Googlers and allies. Today, I am a global lead for [email protected] and a founder of our local chapter, [email protected] Toronto.

Nathalia poses in front of a large Android statue (which is dressed up as a cowboy).

Nathalia at Google’s Austin office during a Women in Tech conference in 2019.

What was it like interviewing for Google?

I loved every minute of it. My recruiter was really supportive, which helped make the process feel much more straightforward. It was also amazing to meet many different Googlers. Every Googler who interviewed me was attentive and supportive, which made a big difference in my interview performance.

Any tips for aspiring Googlers?

Never stop learning. Once you get an interview at Google, I recommend visiting both the Google Careers site and, if applicable to the role you’re applying for, Google Cloud’s training website. I didn't have much experience working with the cloud, so Google Cloud's training website was a key tool for me. It houses a number of resources to help you better understand core cloud products and services. Attending community events can also be helpful, since you get access to industry content and networking sessions.

Any advice for your past self?

I wish I could tell my past self to never stop believing in my potential. For some time, I doubted if I could get a job at Google, and this brought a lot of stress and anxiety into my life. Once I fully believed in my capabilities and knowledge, I built the confidence to apply to the role that I have now!

How Ken advocates for small businesses and LGBTQ+ Googlers

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 how they prepared for interviews.

Today’s post features Ken Zhang, a New York City-based account strategist, a member of our PRIDE at Google employee resource group and an advocate for LGBTQ+ Googlers.

What’s your role at Google?

I'm the U.S. East Coast Lead of the Scaled Account Strategist cohort on the Google Customer Solutions (GCS) team. In other words, I do account management. I work with a range of clients, from some of the nation's top marketing agencies to small community businesses, to advise on ways they can grow their accounts using Google Ads. Outside of my core role, I also serve on the board for the PRIDE at Google chapter within GCS, a group for Googlers in our organization who identify as LGBTQ+ or allies.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I'm a first-generation Asian American and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I actually grew up next to Google's Irvine campus in California — which first inspired me to want to work here! After high school, I studied economics at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) — go Tritons! At UCSD, I won a scholarship from the Prism Foundation, which uplifts LGBTQ+ Asian and Pacific Islanders by raising funds and mobilizing resources to eliminate social, economic and structural barriers to success. Through this scholarship, I met several board members who worked at Google and encouraged me to apply. During college, I also attended Out for Undergrad's Tech Conference, which is designed to inspire LGBTQ+ students to pursue ambitious careers. There, I met even more mentors who spoke highly of Google's culture, particularly the amount of LGBTQ+ Googlers in leadership positions.

What does your typical workday look like right now?

When I go to the office, my typical day starts with a bike ride to work. Once I arrive, I usually grab coffee with my coworkers before going through my inbox. The rest of my day varies depending on deadlines and client needs. This can include preparing for client calls, attending trainings on topics like the future of ads measurement, speaking to customers about potential solutions for reaching performance targets, and blocking off time for deep focus. I also try to use my lunch time to meet fellow Googlers. The amazing people I get to work with make my job feel like college again in the best ways possible.

What motivates you to log in every day?

I’m motivated to do this work because both my core role and my PRIDE at GCS role allow me to give back. My work as a Scaled Account Strategist is so rewarding because I can help small businesses grow. And I love my involvement with PRIDE at GCS because of the impact we make in our local communities and for Googlers through efforts like career mentorship programs, allyship trainings and volunteer opportunities to support LGBTQ+-owned businesses here in New York.

Ken smiling in his Noogler hat. Sunlight is pouring in from a nearby window.

Ken during his virtual Noogler orientation.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

I interviewed and started at Google during the beginning of the pandemic, so all of my interviews were virtual. But surprisingly, that didn't affect my connection with my interviewers! I remember during my final video interview with my soon-to-be manager, he was still able to paint a beautiful and honest image of Google’s culture. This made me feel connected to him and the company as a whole.

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

Google has some great online classes to develop skills for high-demand roles. I personally took courses on Google Ads to prepare for my interviews. They taught me the fundamentals of Google’s Search, Display, Shopping and Video platforms, which helped me better frame my answers during interviews. My recruiter also spoke about the importance of using the S.T.A.R. method — the process of answering questions by highlighting the situation, task, action and result.

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

Don't be afraid to be yourself! The support I've received from teammates has propelled me to do my best work. Last year, I participated in an internal panel during Pride Month and was blown away by the heartwarming messages I received from Googlers I hadn’t even met. In fact, if I could go back in time and give myself one tip before applying, it’d be to get ready to meet so many new role models and make friends I deeply care about.

This Googler turned her passion for branding into a career

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 entail and how they prepared for interviews.

Today’s post features Tennessee Watt — a London-based associate product marketing manager. Tennessee has lots of advice to share about interviewing at Google, especially because she applied four different times before landing on the brand and reputation team!

What’s your role at Google?

I'm in the Associate Product Marketing Manager program, which is a rotational development program for early-career marketers. In my current rotation, I work on Google's brand and reputation team. More specifically, my work is aligned to our platforms and ecosystems (P&E) product area, which means I get to develop campaigns that promote Google's offering for developers and other technologists. As part of this work, I recently led the refresh of P&E’s social media strategy, resulting in a full reconsideration of our audiences’ wants and, consequently, the content we offer.

What’s a typical work day like?

My work day usually starts with a double espresso and a look through my to-do list. Most of my team is based in the U.S., so my mornings tend to be clear of meetings. As a result, I use this time to work on documents like event strategies and creative briefs. In the afternoon, I usually attend a few team meetings for each of my projects. During those sessions, my team and I touch base on progress, set goals for the week and brainstorm ideas. Outside of my core role, I'm a member of the Inclusive Marketing Consultants group, so I also help review marketing campaigns before they launch, ensuring they meet Google's standards for inclusive marketing.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I grew up in London and was interested in tech from a young age. I was 4 when I got my first computer, and was 14 when I learned video editing. During this time, I also explored other passions — from martial arts to stage school. However, when it came time to decide what to do for work, I knew I wanted to work in a communications role focused on tech. To achieve this, I studied business and finance during undergrad, followed by a master’s degree in management where I specialised in digital innovation. In fact, I even wrote my dissertation on the Google Ads business model, which definitely helped launch my career in digital marketing!

How did you end up working at Google?

Before starting in my current role, I actually applied to Google three times, each unsuccessfully, before deciding to take a year's break to gain some more experience and mentorship before applying again. Using that time to focus on my passions made all the difference. When I applied for the fourth and final time, I felt much more confident because I was far more certain of my abilities and what I brought to the table!

How did you prepare for your Google interviews?

I started by creating an elevator pitch to neatly discuss my past experiences, the skills I bring to a team and the quantified impact I'd had in past roles (campaign engagements, sign ups, etc.). I also made sure to read up on, and develop a point of view around, Google's recent projects and commitments related to the role's product area. And finally, I practised answering interview questions using the 'STAR' method — basically, centering my response around the situation, task, action and result.

Any tips for aspiring Googlers?

For behavioural questions ("tell me about a time.."), I suggest answering like you're telling a story about what happened. Your answers have to be structured, of course, but the interviewer wants to know who you really are, so it's important to be authentic so your confidence and passion shines through. I'd also say to be patient! Google's recruitment process can be lengthy and challenging, but it's just as much about you seeing if Google is the right place for you than it is the other way around. And most importantly, figure out what you're good at, what you enjoy doing and what the world needs you to do — then apply to a role that fits!

How Unni’s passion for social impact led him to Google

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns, apprentices and alumni about how they got to Google, what they do in their roles and how they prepared for their interviews.

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, today’s post features Unni Nair, a senior research strategist on Google’s Responsible Innovation team. As a second-generation Indian American, Unni’s background has helped shape his passion for sustainability and responsible artificial intelligence (AI).

What’s your role at Google?

I’m a senior research strategist on the Responsible Innovation team. In this role, I use Google’s AI Principles to help our teams build products that are both helpful and socially responsible. More specifically, I’m passionate about how we can proactively incorporate responsible AI into emerging technologies to drive sustainable development priorities. For example, I’ve been working with the Google Earth Engine team to align their work with our AI Principles, which we spoke about in a workshop at Google I/O. I helped the team develop a data set — used by governments, companies and researchers — to efficiently display information related to conservation, biodiversity, agriculture and forest management efforts.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but I lived in many different parts of the U.S., and often traveled internationally, throughout my childhood. Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was to live in and learn from so many different communities at such a young age. As a child of Indian immigrants, I was exposed to diverse ways of life and various forms of inequity. These experiences gave me a unique perspective on the world, helping me see the potential in every human being and nurturing a sense of duty to uplift others. It took dabbling in fields from social work to philosophy, and making lots of mistakes along the way, to figure out how to turn this passion into impact.

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, how else has your background influenced your work?

I’m grateful for having roots in the 5,000+ year-old Indian civilization and am constantly reminded of its value working in Silicon Valley. One notable example that’s influenced my professional life is the concept of Ahimsa — the ethical principle of not causing harm to other living things. While its historical definition has been more spiritually related, in modern day practice I’ve found it’s nurtured a respect for nature and a passion for sustainability and human rights in business. This contemporary interpretation of Ahimsa also encourages me to consider the far-reaching impacts — for better or for worse — that technology can have on people, the environment or society at large.

How did you ultimately end up at Google?

I was itching to work on more technology-driven solutions to global sustainability issues. I started to see that many of the world’s challenges are in part driven by macro forces like rapid globalization and technology growth. However, the sustainability field and development sector were slow to adapt from analog problem solving. I wanted to explore unconventional solutions like artificial intelligence, which is why I taught myself the Python programming language and learned more about AI. I started hearing about Google’s AI-first approach to help users and society, with an emphasis on the need to develop that technology responsibly. So I applied to the Responsible Innovation team for the chance to create helpful technology with social benefit in mind.

Any advice for aspiring Googlers?

Google is one of those rare places where the impact you’re making isn’t just on a narrow band of users — it’s on society at large. So, take the time to reflect on what sort of impact you want to make in the world. Knowing your answer to that question will allow you to weave your past experiences into a cohesive narrative during the interview process. And more importantly, it will also serve as your personal guide when making important decisions throughout your career.