Tag Archives: My Path to Google

This Googler is dedicated to making a difference

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

Today’s story is all about Lerato Seopela from our Johannesburg office. Lerato shares her path from management consultancy to marketing at Google, plus her passion for sustainability and beekeeping at home.

What do you do at Google?

I’m an Associate Product Marketing Manager (APMM) for the Ads Marketing team in Sub-Saharan Africa. My work often comes to life through local tool launches and events that share insights and practical tips with clients to help them reach their business goals.

The Google APMM program is a unique career path on the Google Marketing team. As a cohort-based, two-and-a-half-year rotational development program, it provides an active community, leadership roles, and job rotations to help you discover different marketing teams across Google.

I’m also an inclusivity advocate. Since joining Google, I have helped create inclusive marketing campaigns, research, and business training specifically for the LGBTQ+ community in the region.

What have been the driving forces behind your career?

My family has had a huge impact on my career. My parents, aunts and uncles have all achieved success and happiness despite the adversities they faced during the Apartheid regime. The values they’ve instilled in me have influenced how I empower myself and others through education. I feel fulfilled in my career when I know that I’ve contributed to improving the lives of others, whether that’s through supporting people’s business needs or helping them develop new skills.

How would you describe your path to Google?

Before Google, I was a marketing consultant at Discovery Health, an insurance company that encourages people to live healthier. Towards the end of 2019, I decided to look for a new job that would give me the opportunity to build my problem-solving skills, develop strategies and work with different people around the world. At the beginning of 2020, I started a new job as a management consultant at a local management consulting firm. Just before I transitioned to this new role, a recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn about an open Associate Product Marketing Manager role at Google. After a quick call with her, I immediately began the application and interview process, which all took place virtually. And I was lucky enough to get the role! I joined Google in April 2020, soon after the world was thrust into a global pandemic. Despite not seeing a Google office yet, it’s been an incredible experience working with so many talented people.

What surprised you about the interview process?

I was surprised by the rounds of interviews and the amount of communication from my recruiter throughout the whole process. It was reassuring to have someone to reach out to with questions, and who would proactively keep me updated. Everyone throughout the interview process was so lovely and made an effort to help me feel comfortable. It was a really human experience, and I could get a sense of the company culture from everyone I met.

What gets you most excited in your role?

What excites me most about my role is the breadth of work available, my amazing colleagues, and the tangible and positive impact we are making in the region. I’ve contributed to projects like the Economic Recovery campaign, which helps small businesses, jobseekers, educators and students find their feet and recover during the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts gave me a sense of purpose during a challenging time, and showed me that I can make a difference in my job. It was inspiring to see how some of the small businesses we worked with not only recovered, but thrived under very difficult circumstances. And working alongside a team dedicated to helping as many people as possible has been one of the proudest moments of my career.

And what excites you outside of your role?

My guilty pleasure is reality TV! I love watching the Real Housewives franchise. I’m also a huge foodie, and I like finding new places to try new food and hang out. To keep level headed, I enjoy Pilates, yoga, and hiking, and recently discovered the benefits of meditation. I’m also an advocate for sustainability and environmental preservation. In fact, I’ve taken up beekeeping to support the declining population of bees around the world.

Any tips for anyone hoping to join Google in Africa?

Have confidence in your ability. Don’t doubt the amazing things that you can do, and the impact you can make across the continent.

How 15 years in IT brought Subhasish to Google Maps

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

Today’s story is all about Subhasish Roy from our Hyderabad office. Subhasish shares how he brings the lessons he’s learned from over 15 years in IT to his current role as a Program Manager on the Google Maps team.

What’s your current role at Google?

I am a Program Manager on the Google Maps data moderation team, where I lead multiple projects to review the helpful content our users submit to Google Maps — like whether a business is still open, and if their hours, business name and other information are still accurate. What I love most about my role is working with a diverse team that is passionate about giving users the best experience possible.

Describe your typical workday.

I’m working from home like many others around the world. I generally start by planning and prioritizing my day with to-do lists and action items. Then, I usually have several video meetings with teams based in six offices across four time zones, including India, Ireland and the United States. Googlers are always collaborating using Google Docs, so I spend a good amount of my days working with my colleagues on strategy documents or reviewing proposals.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

I dreamed of working at Google ever since I learned more about the internet and its potential to impact millions of lives. Google continuously innovates to make people's lives easier, which inspired me to think big and want to work here.

How did you get to your current role?

I’ve had many roles during my 15+ year IT career. I started out as a software engineer and, from there, took on different positions — including team lead, project manager, development manager, and technical program manager. Along the way, I developed many skills, like managing teams, communicating and negotiating with customers, and eventually leading a large-scale enterprise application development team across multiple time zones and languages.

Despite all of this experience, I was still anxious about applying to Google because I didn’t study at one of the top-tier universities in India. I also wasn’t sure if I would be a good match for the culture or how my experience would fit into Google, since I hadn’t coded for 10 years at that point. However, once I got to Google, I was able to channel all of my experience and the skills I’ve developed throughout my career into leading teams, experimenting, and building products. I have access to world-class technology and talent, and the impact of my work has reached new heights.

What inspires you to log on every day?

More than a billion users every month use Google Maps for their daily commutes. I am inspired knowing that the work I’m doing is helping people. It's also a great feeling to work with so many smart people. It provides incredible learning and growth opportunities, and drives my daily energy.

Can you share any of the resources you used to prepare for the interview?

I used sites like LinkedIn Learning, online videos and training classes, and sessions from the Life at Google YouTube channel.

Do you have any advice 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 might think doesn’t apply to the role you want at Google may be exactly what gets you the job!

Prisha’s path from YouTube vlogging to digital marketing

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 Prisha Bathia from our London office, whose passion for creating YouTube videos led to an interest in digital marketing and eventually a full-time job helping customers at Google.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

One of my hobbies is filming videos for my YouTube channel, where I raise awareness of my rare chronic condition called Sturge Weber Syndrome. It’s a neurological condition that affects my eyes, brain and face. I have a vascular birthmark on the left side of my face (also known as a port-wine stain), caused by larger blood vessels in my brain. It's also why I have an eye condition called glaucoma, which means I have limited vision in my left eye due to high pressure and retina detachment.

Growing up, I wasn't the most confident person. I struggled with my visible difference and I didn't see many people in the media talking about it. I wanted to change that and help others feel more confident. Part of my channel includes videos on self-confidence, bullying and my hospital journey. I also film travel vlogs to show that my condition doesn't stop me from achieving my goals.

What’s your role at Google?

At 20 years old, I’ve recently transitioned into a full-time role on the Google Customer Solutions team as an Associate Account Strategist. I manage a portfolio of small to medium businesses, educating them on Google Ads and how to get the best return on their investment.

Before that, I had an apprenticeship on the Hardware marketing team, where I supported product launches, seasonal campaigns and paid media campaigns for over 15 countries. I loved using data and Google Analytics to plan campaigns.

How did you get interested in digital marketing?

In 2018, Great Ormond Street Hospital — the hospital I volunteer with, and the one that’s treated me since I was a child — offered me a position on their digital marketing team. The role included setting up and optimizing campaigns, and analyzing data. I loved that this work was helping to raise funds for the hospital and making a real difference! That experience, combined with my own background in content creation, showed me the impact of digital presence and inspired me to pursue it as a career.

How did the Google recruitment process go for you?

I vividly remember the interview day because I met so many other amazing apprentices. It was my very first job interview so I didn't know what to expect. It was simultaneously scary and fun.

I was worried I wouldn't get the job because of my condition. Growing up, I was always anxious about my career and if my hospital life would get in the way. I worried that missing school would keep me from opportunities and negatively impact my future career, but I am so thankful that hasn’t been the case. In a way, my condition created my passion for filming and posting on social media — which led me to my career in digital marketing!

Can you tell us about accommodations at Google for your work?

Everyone at Google is so supportive and shows a genuine interest in learning more about my condition and how they can help me. They understand that my condition can worsen on random days, and that I have frequent doctor appointments.

One of the main issues that I face, especially at work, is getting tired. Because I’m only able to use my right eye, my eyes often become strained — and I struggled in the first few months of my apprenticeship. But I worked with my manager, mentor, and our employee accommodations team to make some changes to my day-to-day routine. Now we make sure that I can take regular breaks, work from home, and have flexibility to leave the office early.

Working from home in the last year has been challenging. The screen time increased significantly and caused my condition to worsen at times. But by staying transparent with my team, we found solutions. If you are navigating something similar, my biggest tip is to speak openly to your manager or someone you trust.

With voluntary return-to-work at the London office, how has the hybrid model been working for you?

I love the hybrid way of working — it's been a great way to balance work and my condition. I've been able to go to the office recently, and it's helped me reduce my screen time and think less about my chronic illness.

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

Take every opportunity you get. Each one is a chance to develop new skills and learn from mistakes. It's the best way to grow professionally and personally.

A Googler’s impact on future Latino leaders

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, and career tips.

Today’s post is about Monica Silva-Gutierrez, who shares how great mentors and mindfulness can sustain a professional journey, and how she is honoring Hispanic Heritage Month.

What do you do at Google?

I lead strategy and operations for the Core Systems and Experiences team at Google, which is responsible for making sure our products are always working and delivering the best possible user experience.

Alt text: Monica wearing a gold crown, gold beads, and a gray, Google-branded vest.

What was your path to Google?

I grew up in a small town in Texas along the Mexican border. My mom was a farm labor and women’s rights activist, and my dad was a salesman. Right after college — I attended a “Hispanic-serving” institution in San Antonio — I worked as a political advisor and scheduler for former United States President Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign, which helped me land a full-time position in his administration. In that role, I got to travel the entire world and experience many different cultures. While incredibly rewarding, it was pretty exhausting. So I took an intentional pause and spent time living in a meditation ashram in upstate New York, where I learned the art of yoga and mindfulness. From there, I entered the nonprofit world and focused on campaign finance reform. Through this work, I met my lifelong sponsor — a long-time Googler who encouraged me to apply to a position here. And now, here I am, six years later.

A young Monica smiling at the camera. She is wearing a white collared shirt and posing for her 3rd grade photo.

Monica in 3rd grade.

Outside of your core role, you are a leader in the Hispanic community at Google, specifically working with Latino leaders. Can you tell us about that?

I helped create Google’s first Latinx Leadership Council, to show that “if you can see it, you can be it.” We work to promote visibility and encourage our Latino leaders to advocate for the inclusion, advancement, and representation of Hispanic and Latino Googlers across the globe. This past year, I launched mentorship and sponsorship programs to elevate emerging Latinx leaders, including helping them prepare for promotion and look for stretch opportunities. So far, we have supported 80 emerging leaders. It’s early days, but we are really proud of the progress we have made.

Monica and five others on stage under a “Latinas at Google” sign. They are smiling at the camera and holding bouquets of colorful flowers.

Monica, Second from left, at the [email protected] summit 2019 with the steering committee.

What are you doing to celebrate Hispanic culture this month?

I am trying to slow down more. One of the things I appreciate most about my Mexican heritage is that before you get any work done, you talk to people, you sit down, you understand and ask questions about loved ones. You make a connection. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I am reminding myself of this and prioritizing human connection in my day-to-day interactions.

Monica and her three family members are smiling at the camera outside on a sunny day. Monica and her husband are both wearing sunglasses.

Monica and her family on a hike.

Any tips for other aspiring Googlers?

Seek out great sponsors — people who will advocate for you and help you see opportunities. And when someone takes a chance on you, pay it forward. Someone who saw my value and understood how that would benefit the tech sector referred me to Google. Now, I dedicate time to supporting others who, like myself, may have grown up in a small town in Texas, and might feel that a company like Google is a bridge too far. As you move forward, continue to build a network of champions to help you solve problems and navigate the inevitable bumps in your career.

And, always remember to breathe.

How Hannah Frankl advocates for startups and inclusivity

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 Hannah Frankl, who supports entrepreneurs around the world as a member of the Google for Startups team, and helps share disability-inclusive best practices as an inclusivity advocate.

What’s your role at Google?

I am a Global Product Marketing Manager for Google for Startups, a team dedicated to leveling the playing field for startup founders and communities to succeed. We connect them with the right people, products and best practices to help them grow. Day to day, you will find me meeting with startup founders or working with developers to improve our offerings. My work often comes to life in new features on our Google for Startups website, or in executive reports analyzing our target markets. I thrive most when working directly with founders, helping them tackle their most pressing business obstacles.

I also serve as an inclusivity advocate. Since joining Google, I have helped create inclusive marketing audits and co-authored Google’s first-ever marketing guidelines for women and people with disabilities — which served as the foundation for what is now publicly available on all-in.withgoogle.com. I am also a frequent panelist for Google’s Disability Alliance, an employee resource group, and assist teams across the company with product development and user testing. Both in and outside of Google, I train creatives in disability-inclusive best practices and will soon be expanding this work internationally. I recently merged my two passions, disability inclusion and startups, to sponsor2Gether International’s accelerator program for founders with disabilities as part of the Google for Startups greater mission to support underrepresented founders.

How did you first get interested in business and social impact?

I moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area in 2013 to pursue my undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley. At first, I wanted to study chemistry to become a doctor like my mom — motivated by my desire for tikkun olam (healing the world). However, I found myself less interested in chemical reactions and more fascinated with how organizations use their platforms to have a social impact. I ultimately earned a B.S. in business administration, with a minor in conservation of resources.

Hannah stands on stage, speaking into a microphone. In the background is a screen showing presentation slides, mounted on a white wall with the words “Further Faster Together” on the right side, and list of large cities on the left. In front of the wall is a yellow couch and grey couch, and a podium with the Google for Startups logo on it.

Hannah presents at a Google for Startups event.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

I first learned about Google’s Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development (BOLD) Intern program through Lime Connect, a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating students with disabilities. It was the summer before my junior year, and a representative from Google spoke at the Lime Connect Fellowship Summit in New York. I had of course heard of Google, but before that moment, I hadn’t really considered myself a contender. However, the session helped me think about the unique perspectives, skills and insights that I could bring to a company like Google.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

On the morning of my first virtual Google interview, I ironed my shirt and neatly laid out my finest selection of paper and colored pens on my desk. It wasn’t until mid-interview that I realized my laptop was running out of battery, and that my charger was in the other room. In a panic, I interrupted my interviewer and took a few minutes to get resituated, apologizing throughout. When I didn’t hear back from Google the following week, I was sure I had been rejected.

It turned out that I just had to wait a few weeks, when Google officially offered me the job. In fact, that very interviewer later became my summer internship manager! And in case you were wondering, I am now the proud owner of multiple laptop chargers.

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

For my initial application, I tailored my resume to the role and tried to mirror the language of the program wherever possible. For the interview, I practiced responding to questions and reviewed the resources available on the Google Careers website and blog.

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

Be yourself. You will succeed at Google because of what makes you unique, not despite it.

A Sales Googler’s passion for building communities

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

Today’s story is all about Saad Hamid, who’s based in Singapore. Saad shares his journey of starting the first Google Developer Group in his hometown of Islamabad, joining Google’s Developer Relations team, and landing his current role on our App Developer Sales team.

What’s your role at Google?

I’m a Growth Manager for the AppDev Sales team. I help app developers and startups grow their businesses by uncovering potential opportunities in local and international markets. I get to watch them open new offices, hire diverse teams and build global partnerships. It’s also rewarding to know that my work supports entrepreneurs in my home country of Pakistan. 

What’s your typical workday like?

Right now, like many Googlers in Singapore, I’m working from home. My typical workday is filled with internal and external meetings. My external meetings range from helping clients adopt developer tools like Firebase, to sharing growth opportunities in new markets. I get a lot of energy from talking to people, so I love meeting with my teammates and clients. 

And like many other parents working from home, sometimes my two-year-old daughter makes an appearance!

Selfie of Saad in front of a building with a Google logo on it.

Saad visiting Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in Islamabad, Pakistan and originally studied electrical engineering. I was obsessed with the internet in its early days, which inspired me to experiment with online businesses and led me to my role at Google. My hobbies include making a lot of bad dad jokes and coming up with unconventional  dishes, like biryani with strawberries — I call it the Strawbiryani!

Are there any key themes in your path to your current job at Google?

My passion for community building has helped me meet a lot of great people, and led me to where I am today. Before joining Google, I ran a startup. And before that, I was part of a local startup accelerator that supported the Pakistan tech ecosystem. 

Back in 2012, I started a Google Developer Group (GDG) chapter in my city — one of Google’s volunteer community programs to train developers in the latest technologies. As a GDG manager, I ran community events, workshops and hackathons for developers in Islamabad. Eventually, I became Pakistan's first Google Developer Expert (GDE), sharing insights and expertise about Google products with the local developer community. 

Google’s size, scale and impact always attracted me, and ultimately inspired me to apply. I first joined as a Community Manager on the Developer Relations team, where I was responsible for managing several Google Developers Programs — including Google Developer Groups, Google Developers Experts, Developer Student Clubs, and Women Techmakers.

Saad wearing a black shirt with a multicolored globe image on it. Behind him is a white building, trees, and people walking around.

Saad attending Google I/O in 2019.

Tell us about the resources you used to prepare for the interviews?

The best place to start is a blank Google Doc. Imagine all of the challenges you faced in your past roles, and document everything you did to get past them. Reflecting on your work is a great way to prepare for Google interviews. It was also helpful to watch YouTube videos of candidates speaking about the Google interview process. 

What advice would you go back and give yourself?

I would definitely tell myself to relax more. I was so nervous during the process that I could literally feel it in my gut. But by the end, thanks to the support from my interviewers, I felt very calm and relaxed.

Do you have any tips for aspiring Googlers?

Don't be your own roadblock. There is nothing in the world that you can't do or achieve. As long as you don't stop yourself from taking a leap and striving for your goals, you will do just fine.

What this Cloud Googler learned from the military

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 Dennis James, Director of Cloud Customer Experience for the US East Region and a veteran of the United States Army. Dennis talks to us about his time in the military, his transition to Google and why it’s important to keep trying — even if you don’t succeed the first time.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in Long Island, New York. Both of my parents were educators, and my father was also a volunteer (and eventually Chief) firefighter and paramedic. There was always a strong theme of leadership, academics and service in our household. 

That environment undoubtedly influenced my decision to attend the United States Military Academy — otherwise known as "West Point." Once I got there, I participated in many physical activities while also pursuing my passion for electronics. I majored in electrical engineering and spent most of my downtime tinkering with gadgets at West Point’s computer lab. 

After graduation, I served as an infantry officer in the US Army with the 25th Infantry Division and deployed to Iraq from December 2007 to February 2009. When I returned, I left active duty to become an IT strategy consultant in Washington DC, while also serving as a Military Intelligence Officer in the Army Reserves. I attended Columbia Business School two years later, where I was accepted to the Google MBA internship program. I started full time at Google in 2013, and have been here ever since!

What do you do at Google?

I'm on the Google Cloud Customer Experience team, which provides consulting, training, technical account management and support services to our customers and partners. One example of our work that I’m particularly proud of is how we helped the New York City Department of Education support a quick transition to remote teaching and learning with Google Classroom. 

What made you decide to apply to Google?

During my deployment to Iraq, I realized I was ready for a new challenge outside of the military — ideally in the technology world. I started looking through a directory of former service members who now worked at tech companies, and connected with a Naval Academy graduate and Aviator who worked at Google. He shared helpful advice about his own journey, and helped me think about jobs I might like and what skills they required. Through his ongoing coaching and support, he became an important mentor and part of my path to joining Google.

I loved the idea of working at Google, but I hesitated to apply at first. I was worried that I wouldn’t be considered a good fit because of my background, and that it would be hard to convey my experiences to someone outside of the military. It took me a lot of time (and work!) to overcome these feelings. But by continuing to meet with my Google mentor, growing my skills in the military, and earning my MBA, I ultimately built up my confidence to apply for an internship.

Dennis smiling in his military uniform and holding his helmet

Dennis while serving in Iraq

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

Show up with enthusiasm and, most importantly, be yourself. In my case, I embraced my military background and channeled those leadership skills into the business world. And when I reflect on the reasons behind my success at Google, the vast majority tie back to my military experience. 

And finally, don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed at first. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, keep at it.

Dennis and his wife, Tiffany, standing and smiling in front of a Google building, while holding their twins, Gabriella and Mason

Dennis with his wife, Tiffany, and twins, Gabriella and Mason

How this engineer’s career break led her 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 we spoke with Kiranmayi Bhamidimarri, a software engineer at our Bangalore office, who shares her story of joining Google after taking a year-and-a-half break from the workforce. 

What’s your role at Google?

I am a software engineer for Google Cloud, where I work on Cloud Spanner — a database management and storage service. My team is focused on developing introspection tools for this system, which help our customers better understand any issues with their Spanner databases. 

What was it like taking a break from the workforce?

Stepping back from the workforce marked a turning point in my life. Through a lot of reflection, I grew both as a person and as a professional during that period — even though I wasn’t working. For example, I discovered that I care deeply about diversity and inclusion in all aspects of my career, including the places I work. After taking the time to develop these bigger-picture perspectives and once I felt comfortable balancing things in my personal life, I started exploring returning to work. 

What made you decide to apply to Google?

I came across the concept of Carer’s Leave and what this benefit looks like at Google. When a family member or loved one falls seriously ill, Google's Carer's Leave policy allows employees to take the time they need to provide or find care for them. I liked the idea of working at a company that helps employees support their family in times of need. This led me to researching Google’s culture overall. I loved that Google is an inclusive place that would allow me to bring my whole self to work and not leave my personal life behind — which became especially important to me after my career break. 

How did you approach the Google application process after taking a career break?

At first, I was very nervous and told myself not to be too ambitious. I struggled with impostor syndrome and wasn’t sure if I would do well in the interviews, which I’d always heard were challenging. Then a friend who interviewed with Google shared her positive experience with me, and busted many myths. She explained, for example, that the interviews focus on thought process rather than the exact solution. She ultimately helped me realize my worth and put my best foot forward. 

What was the interview process like for you?

When I first decided to apply, I asked a friend who recently joined Google for advice. He guided me through the process and even helped me with a referral, but I was rejected at the resume screening phase. At the time, my resume didn't reflect my actual skills and experience. I didn’t list everything I’d worked on, because I was afraid I had forgotten too much during my break to explain or answer questions. I was shrinking myself into someone else so they wouldn't expect so much from me. 

My friend who referred me encouraged me to revamp my resume and try again. I reached out to some Google recruiters on LinkedIn, who took the time to speak with me and look at my updated resume. One of the recruiters set up a phone interview, and that kicked off the process. 

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

It’s okay not to be perfect. During my phone interview, I answered one of the questions incorrectly. I was nervous and disappointed about the mistake, but the interviewer encouraged me to try again and I ultimately found the right solution. So I would tell myself that it's okay to make mistakes, as long as I learn from them and continue to grow. 

I would also reassure myself that I won't be treated differently because of my career break. That was a big fear of mine, and I'm so happy I was proven wrong. I am grateful to everyone at Google who spoke to me about my hesitations with returning to the workforce, and provided mentorship and support. Now six months in, I continue to feel valued and encouraged to bring every part of myself to work.

From startup founder to product manager in Nairobi

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.

This week we spoke with Andrew Kamau, a Noogler — new Googler — who recently joined as a Product Manager in Nairobi. Learn how Andrew’s career took him from startups in Kenya to creating products at Google.

What do you do at Google?

I’m a product manager working on the Privacy team for Chrome Browser. Product management typically involves wearing multiple hats, but I can summarize it as supporting my team in ensuring that we are delivering product features that help our users stay and feel safe while using Chrome to access the web.

I work closely with a team of engineers, designers, product managers and other cross-functional roles to anticipate our users’ needs such as easy-to-use privacy controls and protection from online threats. We then design product strategy that meets those needs. This usually involves weaving together inputs from our users and colleagues across different teams and then making product decisions that align with the company’s mission.

How would you describe your path to Google?

I’ve had a somewhat unusual path compared to most folks in my position. My career background is largely in tech startups. I live in Nairobi, which has a thriving community of creative talent from which I’ve benefited from and to which I’ve contributed. My time as an entrepreneur working on financial technology exposed me to opportunities that helped diversify my experiences and build up the empathy and skill set that is extremely invaluable as a product manager.

Coming from a startup background, I was — on one hand — nervous about moving to a global corporation. I worried that I might not fit into the culture, having not worked at any organization with more than 40 people in the entirety of my career before this. On the other hand, the interesting thing about working at Google is that I’m still able to channel my scrappy, entrepreneurial approach to experimenting and building products. The difference is that I now have access to world-class technology and talent to support me every step of the way and the impact of my work has increased exponentially.

What’s the one thing that surprised you about the interview process?

Considering that I went through the entire process in the midst of the pandemic and working from home, I was pleased to find that everyone involved was gracious enough to accommodate my preferences, so I didn’t have to worry about awkward situations like my son barging in on our video calls.

I did have some preconceived notions about what the recruiting process would look like. One that took me by surprise was how helpful and supportive my recruiter was. She helped make the process less jarring and more rewarding; even going so far as to set up calls with product managers and engineers who work at roles similar to the one I was interviewing for. They voluntarily provided guidance and advice, which helped me be better prepared for the technical interviews.

Andrew and his son smile at the camera holding a Noogler hat.

Andrew and his son

What gets you most excited in your role?

Chrome is used on over three billion devices across the world to access the web. Building and maintaining safe and reliable product experiences for our users at this scale is a huge responsibility and source of motivation for me. I enjoy working on technical solutions to advance our mission and deliver value to our users. I’m particularly fortunate to work with incredibly smart engineers and designers on our teams.

In my role, every day is different. Some days are spent largely on meetings, chat and email with my colleagues brainstorming and planning, while others are heads-down working on synthesizing feedback from users and developing product requirements. 

I regularly carve out time on my weekly calendar for virtual coffees and lunches where I get to meet folks in the company based in Munich, London, Dublin, and other locations globally. Due to the diversity of backgrounds and experiences in the company, there’s always something fun and interesting to learn from others.

Any tips for aspiring Googlers in Africa?

First and foremost, focus on being great at your craft while maintaining a low ego. I strongly believe that confidence, ambition and humility can co-exist.

Having mostly worked in the African tech industry, I’m constantly blown away by the talent and creativity that I encounter. I’d encourage anyone who aspires to make the jump not to doubt themselves and apply. You don’t need to know anybody (I didn’t!) or pull any strings.

It’s also important to take time to find a role and team that is an ideal match. For example, I had to delay my process for a few months until I found the role and team that best matched my interests. Eventually, I ended up interviewing for a different role from the one I was invited to apply for — and it worked out great.

Growing Cloud in the Middle East with Dina Amin

Welcome to the latest installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns and alumni highlighting 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 Dina Amin, the Head Of Cloud Marketing for the Middle East,Turkey and Africa. Dina is based out of our Dubai office, and has spent the past 15 years in the city after falling in love with it during a three-month stay. The Middle East is not only deeply rooted in her present but also in Dina’s past, growing up between the U.K., Jordan and Iraq. 

How would you describe your role at Google?

From a day-to-day perspective, my team and I are responsible for generating awareness of Google Cloud and Google Workspace products among existing and new customers. Our products help companies with their digital transformation ambitions so this is a particularly interesting challenge during a time when many companies are transitioning online! 

As part of my role, I have also been fortunate to be on the team responsible for some of the largest and most exciting geographic expansion projects that we are working on in Google Cloud.

What else are you involved with at Google outside of your core role?

I’m very involved with (and previously led) the [email protected] Chapter in the Middle East and North Africa. This role is one that I was very proud to hold because of the opportunity to help drive positive change in the company and our communities.

Outside of work, one of my favorite interests is being out at sea. My most recent adventure was getting my skipper license last year. Another way I make sure to get out to sea regularly is through wakesurfing, which Dubai’s weather makes possible all year round.

Dina on a Google bike outdoors.

What inspires you to log in every day?

I’m inspired by the  feeling of delivering moments for our sales team to connect with their customers. These moments truly bring the whole team together in a bonding experience.

One of my favorite and most powerful examples of this is Cloud Day, which is a one-day immersive event where Google Cloud executives, partners and customers share how the cloud is transforming business and improving the lives of people around the world. My team was able to deliver this format in two main hubs — Dubai and Istanbul, where more than 2,000 people joined us both in-person and digitally. Given we are a small team, it was a huge mission for us to achieve, and we are so proud to have done it!

What made you decide to apply to Google?

At the time, I was completing my masters in business and had heard that a guest speaker from Google was coming for a talk on campus. I was interested in learning more about the company and different opportunities, so I decided to attend. I showed up early to the talk, and saw that the speaker, who turned out to be the Managing Director of Google in the Middle East and North Africa, needed some help setting up. We  started talking, and I quickly realized how exciting this line of work sounded. The guest speaker encouraged me to apply, and I really got inspired after the talk so I decided Google could be a good fit for me.  

Almost six years later and two different job paths at Google, I definitely feel I made the right choice joining that talk and applying to Google. It truly shows you that you never know where any opportunity may lie.

Dina in a Noogler hat indoors.

What resources did you use to prepare for your interview?

I used a lot of different resources when preparing for my interview, but I think there are three that were the most useful. The first was reaching out to Googlers and meeting them to learn more about their experiences. This helped me understand more about the company and the Googlers, in their usual fashion, were very open to help! 

The second was utilizing my business school’s career counseling services. It’s a service that may be undervalued, but it makes all the difference to get guidance from counselors who have witnessed a variety of different career paths. 

The final resource was prepping with common interview questions to get more comfortable with these types of questions. Here’s a list of best practices, advice, and tips for interviewing at Google.

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

Always keep in mind that a career path does not have to be linear. Each person has their own path to take that may have twists and turns. The key is to stick with it and keep searching for the path that sparks passion within you.

I was a computer science major, but I’ve experienced sales, marketing, operations, technology and strategy jobs while traveling or living in at least 15 countries. I loved these experiences as they helped me become a lot more comfortable and confident in knowing myself as a professional and knowing what I bring to the table.