Tag Archives: My Path to Google

Navy veteran Meghan Wilkens finds camaraderie at Google

Welcome to the latest installment of “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 Meghan Wilkens, a Navy veteran who’s now a Program Manager on the Google Technical Services team (known as gTech). Meghan started her journey to Google by attending what has become Google’s Veteran Career Series, an annual career development event for the U.S. veteran community. (If you're interested in learning more about Google culture, job opportunities, and more to help your job search like Meghan did, you can register for the series here.)

You grew up in a Navy family. What was that like?

I grew up all over the world. I spent a lot of my childhood moving from country to country and experiencing different cultures. It was an amazing way to grow up, because it really opened my eyes to the world.

After graduating from Marquette University with a degree in advertising, I decided to follow my father's footsteps and enter the Navy. I commissioned as a Supply Officer and served in the Navy for nearly 10 years. It was an incredible experience and I attribute much of the person I am today to the experiences I had in the service.  

As I began looking at shifting out of the military, I completed my MBA from UNC Chapel Hill and, for the first time, looked at opportunities outside of the service.

What was it like to attend the Google Student Veteran Summit? 

When I attended the Google Student Veteran Summit back in 2018, the group of vets that came in to speak to us shared their stories on how they arrived at Google. The truly surprising part was how many different paths and various walks of life people came from. Being in the military full time, I knew that getting an internship at Google would be a stretch for me. But the shared experiences from the veteran panelists and the conversations I had with current vet employees inspired me. I decided I had nothing to lose and I applied anyway. Looking back, I am so very glad I did!

During my internship, I made a point to volunteer at the 2019 Google Student Veteran Summit. Being on the other side of the panel was a very different experience but no less rewarding. I am so glad to be back at Google full time and I intend to make veteran engagement a big part of my life at Google.

What’s your role at Google now?

I am currently a Program Manager on the gTech Central Functions team. I work on business planning and cost management within my team. Things have been very different in this new COVID-19 environment and, as a mother to two young children, it has been challenging at times.  My team has been nothing but supportive as I manage my work and my children during their remote learning.  

What inspires you at work every day?

I truly appreciate how we work to make information accessible and practical for everyone, everywhere. Coming from a mission-centric and service-driven role in the military, it is awesome to be at a company where I feel like my work is still in service to others. Being part of such a great team of people who are all working towards that same mission is really wonderful, and it creates an aspect of camaraderie that I felt during my time in the Navy.  

How did the recruitment process go for you?

Once I entered the interview process, I was so nervous about not answering in the best way or not making a good impression, but I was also thrilled to be interviewing with such a cool company and with some really unique teams. My recruiters were incredibly helpful and were dedicated to finding a team that matched my skill set.  

Following the MBA internship, I entered the conversion process to convert from an intern into a full time employee. That process was also exceptionally smooth and I felt the conversion team I worked with was really looking out for my best interests.

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

I wish I had more knowledge about some of the departments and teams within Google prior to starting here. Google has so many different product offerings and the roles people have within the company vary so vastly. It is incredible to see the different projects people work on within Google.

Finally, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

I think my biggest takeaway during this process is to not doubt myself. I didn't think I would get past the application process and, after getting interviews, I still thought I wouldn't get into the internship program.  I'm so glad I had enough gusto to at least try.

I hope aspiring Googlers apply for the positions they want without doubting themselves. You have nothing to lose by applying. Go for it!

Gabriel Jimenez knows the power of different perspectives

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 Gabriel Jimenez, a Product Marketing Manager in our Singapore office. He’s passionate about helping people, both in his work supporting job seekers and in helping build space for underrepresented groups at Google.

What were some of the most important things you learned while growing up?

I grew up the youngest of three kids with parents from Mexico and Puerto Rico in Temple City, California. I was raised to respectfully speak my mind, to open my heart and home to those who need help and to never let the status quo or expectations limit me. 

The last one became particularly important in my sophomore year of high school, when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by issues with fatigue, sleep, memory and mood. It is an invisible disability that I didn’t get comfortable with openly discussing until I went to college.

I attended the University of Pennsylvania, where I studied International Development. Penn gave me incredible opportunities for growth, helping me solidify my queer identity and experience with my disability. But observing the stark divides in experiences across socioeconomics, race, ability and sexuality also helped me become more aware of how I use my privilege in spaces where folks are underrepresented. I currently live in Singapore, where I try to lend a hand to NGOs supporting migrant workers and the LBGTQ+ communities.

What’s your role at Google?

I’m a Product Marketing Manager working on Next Billion Users products in Southeast Asia. While there are over three billion people already online, another billion are expected to come online in the next four years. They predominantly only use mobile devices, often struggle with data connection, and generally have an understandable mistrust of the internet. I work with engineers, UX designers and product managers to make sure that Google’s mission rings true for everyone, everywhere.

I'm currently working on Kormo Jobs, an app that connects job seekers with businesses looking to hire. Given the impact COVID-19 has had on unemployment, it's critical we build platforms that not only help job seekers find good jobs, but also help candidates present the best version of themselves to potential employers.

What inspires you to log on every day?

Google is the type of place that not only lets you respectfully question the status quo, but also expects you to do so to make our products more accessible to and inclusive of everyone. As a queer Latino with a disability, I know that the representation of voices from communities I identify with is still far below where I’d like it to be at Google. That’s why the culture of welcoming a different perspective, even amongst our highest leaders, still keeps me invested in Google. It lets me know that I can use my privilege to enact a meaningful change for those who aren’t in the room with me just yet.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

Like many liberal arts students without a “technical” degree, I hadn’t thought of Google as a place I could work. If I’m candid, I really didn’t know how to manage the transition from academic life to professional life. Although quite successful in their own right, my parents did not graduate from university and didn’t know how to advise me on the types of careers I was interested in. I was worried that the accommodations and processes I had developed to navigate my disability as a student wouldn’t be available in a work setting. 

Halfway through college I learned about Google’s BOLD Internship program through Lime Connect, an organization that prepares and connects university students and professionals who happen to have disabilities for scholarships, internships and full time careers.

After attending just one information session and doing some research on Google’s career site, I quickly discovered how expansive Google’s work is—including entire teams dedicated to improving internet access in developing countries—and how Google aims to make interview accommodations that set candidates up for success.

What resources did you use to prepare for your interview?

Because I knew I was interviewing for a role related to Google Ads for small to medium businesses (SMBs), I read updates on new Ads features and watched YouTube videos directed at SMBs. My goal was to understand how Google explained its values to small business advertisers. Being able to articulate that showed the interviewer that I really focused on helping the user, which is a top priority for any current or potential Googler.

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

Stop thinking of your career as jobs you want to have. Instead, think of your career as things you want to learn or problems and challenges you want to solve. Not only will you become a much more interesting and thoughtful candidate, but you will better recognize how seemingly unrelated roles are actually perfect for you.

How Awa Dieng found her passion for machine learning

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 Awa Dieng, an AI Resident on the Google Brain team in our Ghana office. Awa shares her path to working in research and machine learning at Google and how her work ensures AI systems are beneficial for everyone. If you’re interested in learning more, applications for the Google AI Residency will open in early 2021.

What first sparked your interest in working in research?

I was born and raised in Kaolack, Senegal, a country in West Africa. In school, I was always drawn to science in general and mathematics in particular. After high school, I received a government scholarship to study in France, where I received a broad education in math, physics and computer science.

As a student specializing in applied math, I started to get interested in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). I was excited about the possibilities surrounding emerging AI and machine learning (ML), and given my background and interests, research in ML seemed like a great fit. 

So I pursued my first research experience—interning with the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) team at Cornell University. I also worked on ML research in an academic setting at Duke University, but I was looking to diversify my experience by working in an industry research lab, which led me to apply to work at Google.

Of course, I was aware of the Google Brain team, which is highly respected in the community and publishes important work at all major ML conferences. The AI residency seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn from these researchers and explore different areas of machine learning. 

How would you describe your role at Google?

I work on the Brain team as an AI resident. The Google AI Residency is a year-long program designed to train and support the next generation of deep learning researchers. My time is spent identifying interesting problems in machine learning and working with my collaborators to solve them. This includes reading the existing literature on ML, running experiments and writing papers. 

Specifically, my research is centered around machine learning and causality, which aims at identifying cause and effect and answering “what if” questions. Indeed, while machine learning has led to a lot of progress in recent years, its widespread use has highlighted issues regarding bias, reliability and transparency. These are particularly important when ML systems are used to make consequential decisions that impact people’s lives. I believe a causal perspective can address these failures, and my work aims to draw strength from these two fields to build better decision-making systems.

awa-office (1).jpg

What inspires you to log in every day?

As part of the Brain team, there is a lot of freedom in which problems you choose to work on and what contributions you want to make to advance the field. For me, this is important because I get to work with knowledgeable collaborators on problems that I find important.

Google, as a company, provides a platform to conduct research that could potentially reach a lot of people and have a large impact, guided by our AI Principles. I’m inspired by my fellow residents who come from different backgrounds and from whom I get to learn and expand my horizons. 

Tell us about the process of becoming an AI resident.

The process was quite straightforward. I applied directly through the Google careers website and a recruiter reached out to me. The process included both a research component and a traditional coding interview. Given my experience and preparation, I felt I was well-equipped for the interviews. Fortunately, they went well and I received an offer. 

I think the best preparation is to be clear about what research questions and areas you are passionate about. Convey that passion to your interviewers by either showcasing work you have done or work you have read and are excited about. 

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

What I have learned in the past months is to not hesitate to reach out to researchers in the company whose work you admire. Google has a breadth of excellent and distinguished researchers who are, for the most part, very approachable.

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

Please, do not be afraid to apply!

It’s common for members of groups that are historically underrepresented in tech to self-censor and not even apply to great opportunities they are well qualified for. If you are interested in AI research, I encourage you to consider applying to Google’s AI Residency Program — your perspective is important!

Zain Masri went from globe-trotting intern to marketing lead

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.

In today’s post, meet Zain Kamal Masri from our Dubai office and learn about some of the many paths to joining the Google marketing team. You’ll also find out why she once carried a Street View trekker through the ancient city of Petra.

What first sparked your interest in working at Google?

When I was a university student, I participated in the Google Ad Grants Online Marketing Challenge, where students get real-world experience creating online marketing campaigns for nonprofits. I created my first-ever Google Ads campaign and experienced how the web can help any nonprofit, business or individual reach a global audience. 

I wanted to learn more about Google products, which led me to take part in Google AdCamp. I competed in a team-based advertising challenge: we went through a market and consumer analysis, developed a creative strategy and presented a final proposal to sales product experts. 

This motivated me to apply for an internship with Google’s marketing team while I completed my master’s degree. One of my internship highlights was helping capture the ancient city of Petra, Jordan for Street View—you can catch a glimpse of me carrying the Street View trekker (a device with a built-in 360-degree camera, hard drive and batteries to capture Street View imagery) in the launch film which was narrated by Queen Rania!

Zain in Petra 2

Zain with the Street View trekker in Petra, Jordan

Tell us about becoming a full-time Googler.

After completing my internship, a full-time role became available and I applied right away. While I was super nervous, I was (and continue to be) passionate about working at Google. I tried my best to reframe my nervousness as excitement and hoped that my passion and dedication would shine through. When I received the job offer email, I had to read it several times to fully register what I was reading. I felt so proud and immediately called my parents to share the good news. They were over the moon!

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

Google has a wealth of programs for students and fresh graduates to gain experience and knowledge. I wish I knew more about the Associate Product Marketing Manager (APMM) program back when I was a student. As an APMM, you become part of a diverse community of the next generation of marketers and can access unique opportunities like rotations, bootcamps and mentorship.

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

Reading through the Google Arabia blog was extremely helpful as it gave me a deeper perspective on Google’s role in the Arab world and the top priorities and products in the region. It also helped to browse through the global Keyword blog and social channels.  

What’s your role at Google now?

I am currently the Head of Brand and Reputation at Google in the Middle East and North Africa. My role focuses on programs like Maharat min Google, which is a digital skills education program that helps youth, especially women, gain the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly digital economy. As part of the program, we created a series of short films that follow the journeys of six Arab women who have become entrepreneurs, women’s rights advocates and groundbreaking YouTube creators. We’ve trained more than 800,000 individuals, of which 50 percent are women, and 54 percent have found a job or grown in their business or career as a result of the program.

What inspires you to log in every day?

As part of my role, I manage Google Doodles for the Arab world. My main focus has been increasing female representation. Some of my personal favorite Doodles include Doria Shafik (one of the leading activists who helped women in Egypt win the right to vote) and Zaha Hadid (first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize). 


Zain and her fellow Googlers at the Dubai office

Army vet Eric L. Smith helps Cloud customers solve big problems

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 Eric L Smith, who got his first taste of computer science in high school, served in the U.S. Army, and now works on the Google Cloud team.

How did you initially get interested in technology? 

I was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, a small city in Pennsylvania, and got my first introduction to computer science in high school. I continued exploring computing while attending Wilkes University as a Business Administration major through work-study at the campus computer lab.  

My fledgling interest in technology took a hiatus when I left college early and joined the U.S. Army, where I served as an Infantry Scout/Sniper in the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum, New York. I just missed Desert Storm, but I deployed to South Florida as part of Joint Task Force Andrew, Somalia for Operation Restore Hope and Haiti for Operation Restore Democracy.  

After leaving the Army, I renewed my interest in computing, started earning industry certifications and became a help desk analyst. Starting in that role gave me an incredible opportunity to learn, as I worked my way through positions ranging from systems administrator to network engineer to IT director and cloud consultant before coming to Google. 

What’s your role at Google?

I’m a Technical Account Manager (TAM) in Google Cloud’s Professional Services Organization (PSO). I’m based out of the Google office in Reston, Virginia. What I enjoy most about my role is working closely with customers at all levels—strategic, tactical and operational—to get the most value out of Google Cloud Platform and help solve their biggest problems. One exciting project I’m working on is helping a global energy company that is using Google Cloud to help accelerate their growth and transition to more sustainable and renewable power.


Eric at Noogler (new Googler) orientation.

Why did you decide to apply to work at Google?

As cloud computing grew, I set a personal goal to work for one of the top cloud service providers. Google was at the top of that list because of what I knew about the innovative culture and talented people. Just as I was preparing to apply, a Google recruiter reached out and asked if I was interested. The timing was perfect and I felt like my career was coming full circle especially since I moved to Washington, D.C. and started my IT career the same year that Google was founded!

How did the recruitment process go for you? 

The recruitment process was exceptionally smooth. My recruiter was great at answering any and all questions, giving feedback and providing tips on the interview process. While the interviews were tough, it was the best hiring process I’ve experienced.

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

Google is great for veterans! After I came onboard, I joined the Google Veterans Network (VetNet), an internal community of military veterans and civilian allies, dedicated to unifying, connecting and serving the military community. Also, I’m currently helping mentor veterans interested in Google Cloud Certification through a program called VetsInTech. When fellow Vets ask me about jobs at Google, I tell them what a supportive environment it is and send them to g.co/vets.

What inspires you to come in every day?

Every day I’m inspired by the opportunity to help customers succeed, work with amazing people, and help grow Google Cloud.

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

Preparation breeds confidence. Interviewing at Google can be stressful, but if you prepare and practice it is much less so. Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the process, including during the interview when you need clarification.

My Path to Google – Rahul Patel, Associate Partner Manager

Welcome to the 46th 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 Rahul Patel. Read on!
Rahul during a visit to the Google Tokyo office in 2019.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Whitton, a small town within the borough of Richmond (London). I studied Computer Science at King’s College London but did not complete the degree, I found the concepts very interesting but could not remain engaged enough to execute what was being taught. I didn’t have the best grades at school but that didn’t stop my drive to succeed in being happy with where I worked.

I have seen my parents work for a long time and am inspired by how hard they work. My work ethic slightly differs, however. I prefer to work smarter vs. harder, maintaining efficiency and fun in what I do. 

Growing up, I always had such a passion for technology, whether that be fixing computers, routers, networks, or even just staying awake all night playing video games. This is what made me go down the traditional path of working towards a Computer Science degree, but realised that road was not for me. Alongside school and university, I built up a lot of work experience within different areas of work, such as in a technical consultancy, teaching, and project management. This really allowed me to understand how different businesses fall into place within the world and how everything operates. 
Rahul at Noogler (new Googler) orientation
Just as I decided to leave University, I stumbled upon apprenticeships — something I had known about but not fully pursued. I saw on Instagram that Google had a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship and applied. I went through the process and found myself somewhat inspired, excited, and fuelled with motivation when I started an apprenticeship in October 2018 on the Google Hardware marketing team. I got offered a full time role in a slightly different team six months later and have been at Google ever since.

Slightly separate from work, I love street fashion and am a big gamer. Being able to express myself in what I wear, I find truly fascinating. This inspired me to create a street fashion group at Google which is like an internal community where we all share similar passions. Gaming is also a great way to switch off and escape when you need to, but in a more creative way.

What’s your role at Google?
Currently, I am an Associate Partner Manager, where I look after elements of our Consumer Hardware business at key retailers within the UK. It is a very fluid role where many things feel like a start up — this allows us to almost define our own ways of working and processing, which makes every day feel very different! 

I also lead Go To Market for our Create and Wearable portfolio for the UK, which I find very enjoyable. There is a lot of planning and problem solving that is required which makes sure you’re always alert! A cool project I am currently working on is leading the launch for the Google Pixel Buds for the UK.

Rahul (right side, middle) and teammates
I have a 20% Project (which is an opportunity to work on something outside of your core role) in Stadia Marketing as well which allows me to follow my creative aspirations of working in Marketing. 

I love technology and am surrounded by it everyday at Google! There is so much change with technology happening within the world, and being able to work so closely with it feels very rewarding.

What inspires you to come in (or log-in)every day?
Working at Google has been a dream of mine that I never thought was achievable. When I was at school, I had the opportunity to visit the Google offices in London, which was where I first experienced the wonders of working here. Being around the incredible people is what inspires me to come in every day, whether that be to collaborate on work, to catch up, or to learn more from an inspiring talk or event that happens. Being surrounded by technology enhances that experience, and really allows you to see what impact you have within the world. 

Googlers create an ever-changing display of pixel art at the Google London office.
How did the recruitment process go for you?
I found the recruitment process quite enjoyable. There were interviews and challenges which allowed me to research, and feel very comfortable with areas I did not understand before. I was always kept up to date with what stage of the process I was in. This did take the edge off slightly, when thinking about what my future could be.
Rahul and teammates celebrate the Pixel 3 launch
What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I had known to be more confident in myself. The only thing I found that could have held me back was not being able to share my experiences because I did not believe in who I was. Call it a type of imposter syndrome, where I found myself amongst the smartest people applying for a role, and I felt like I should not have been in the mix — but you should never let that hold you back and always believe in yourself.

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?
To prepare, I went over many of the Google qualifications such as the Digital Garage, and even went over interview questions on YouTube. I read books such as “Case in Point” and chose to research Google itself. What the company did, all the many different elements within Alphabet, and why I felt I could fit within it.  Watching “The Internship” for inspiration was also part of the process.
YouTube Space at the Google London office
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
No matter what background you find yourself from, what experiences you have, you have got nothing to lose in applying. You can only gain, whether that be interview practice, understanding where to improve yourself, or even landing your dream job. Google doesn’t have a rulebook for candidates they select to hire, it’s about you as an individual and what you have to offer. So be true to yourself and understand what it is that you do best.

My Path to Google – Beyza Bozbey, Software Engineer

Welcome to the 44th 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 Beyza Bozbey. Read on!

Editor’s note: Beyza speaks about her experience participating in Google’s longest running coding competition, Code Jam. The 2020 online qualification round is happening this Friday, April 3. If you would like to register,  you can do so at g.co/codejam.

Beyza posing on the Brooklyn bridge.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. In high school, I participated in a special program that prepared a small number of students for the Informatics Olympiad computer science competition. I was the only woman in the program from my high school. When I learned programming and algorithms, I discovered my passion for Computer Science. After I finished two years of college in Istanbul, I transferred to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where I studied Computer Science. During college, I participated in robotics and fashion clubs and did an internship at a fashion tech startup company which was a great experience for me to combine my programming skills with my interest in fashion. 

Outside of work, I love traveling, following fashion trends, and watching movies and TV shows — especially supernatural ones. I'm a huge Marvel fan and I once camped out to get into a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. 

Beyza posing in glasses and a cape.

What’s your role at Google?

I'm a Software Engineer on the YouTube Comments team. I've been working on the backend side of a new project about the comments section. What I love the most about it is that everyday is a challenge and it never gets boring. When I create a new feature or fix a bug, it is truly amazing to see that the impact reaches thousands of users around the globe. This is absolutely what makes me get out of bed every morning. Also, Google has an incredible amount of resources, therefore learning at Google is a never ending journey.

Beyza posing in front of YouTube sign at her office.

You’ve participated in a few Google coding competitions, can you tell us more about that?

I’ve participated in both Google Code Jam (Google’s longest running coding competitions for individuals) and Hash Code (Google’s team coding competition). I didn’t realize it at the time, but the types of questions I really enjoyed during the Informatics Olympiad competition were very similar to Google coding competition questions. My first Google competition was Hash Code — when I heard about it, I was so excited. I found two friends from college and convinced them to join. While the problems were a little advanced for our level, it was fun to work together and brainstorm in order to solve the questions.

Code Jam registration is open now — any advice to those thinking about getting involved?
Definitely sign up! You don’t have to know everything about coding competitions already. The UI is simple and it’s also really fun to see other people solving a question. When I see that others have solved a question, I think, “if they solved it, I can solve it too!” It’s encouraging.

Has participating in Google's Coding Competitions affected your path to becoming an engineer at Google?
Yes! I started to realize that I was developing a lot of great skills while doing the coding competitions. Code Jam was a similar practice and environment to a coding interview, making it fun and useful at the same time!

Beyza sitting inside a giant "G" statue.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the Google application process? 
After I learned programming in high school, I wanted to learn more about how Google Search works. As a high school student in Turkey, working at Google was like an impossible dream for me. Then I heard that someone who graduated from my high school started working at Google and that inspired me. I realized that it was an attainable goal, so I decided to apply. However, my application wasn't accepted and I couldn't get an interview. One year after my internship application got rejected, a recruiter contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in interviewing for another internship. I was super excited and nervous, but during that time, I was trying to adapt to moving to a new country (the USA) and transferring to a new school (USC), and unfortunately, I couldn't pass the interviews. Fast forward two years and two more attempts at interviewing and I got a full-time offer. Do not give up if you don't get it your first (or second or third) try!

Beyza in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process? 
I wish I had known Google's interview process better before my first interview. I remember that I was so nervous that I couldn't even understand the question. I should have asked some clarifying questions and talked about my thought process.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers? 
LeetCode was super helpful, but sometimes it makes you lazy to check edge cases. You can submit your solution with just one click and if it fails, it's so easy to find out which edge case caused the failure since the website shows you the input already. However, in a real interview, you walk through your solution by hand. You have to find the edge cases on your own and which input might break your solution. Therefore, I highly suggest aspiring Googlers code on a piece of paper and practice walking through your solution by hand. You can also pair with a friend and practice interviewing ... and sign up for Google's coding competitions!

My Path to Google – Juan Angustia, Visual Designer

Welcome to the 43rd 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 Juan Angustia. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Constanza, a small town surrounded by beautiful mountains in the Dominican Republic. In the year 2004, before I ever dreamed of joining Google, I went to college at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) to study Advertising with a focus on Graphic Design. However, I did not finish my degree because the school did not offer classes that sparked my specific interests. Instead, I decided to continue teaching myself the things that I loved. 

At that time, a career in UI or UX didn’t exist. You either studied Graphic Design or Advertising, which I was never passionate about. I wanted to work on something that people could interact or play with, something more exciting. This is why I started to design websites. 

During and before I started college, Google was my main source of knowledge. I attribute 80% of the knowledge I obtained to the information I found on Google. Back in the day, I remember walking miles from home to the only computer lab in town. This was the only place where I was able to get internet access. Every day after lunch I took my central processing unit (CPU) and walked to the lab. I connected my CPU and my first thought was to open Google.com to search for tutorials on how to use Photoshop or how to create digital designs.

When I’m not working, I love to dance. It is a form of mediation for me, and also a way to express and share my Latino/Caribbean vibes with others. Sometimes at the office, I dance and work at the same time. I also love to travel and work on personal projects. I take photos and make videos like my short film El Camino. These hobbies to me are a way to find inspiration outside of my day to day work. If you want to know more, feel free to check out my Medium and Instagram: @jcagarcia.

As a Dominican I have music on my blood, it is part of our culture. Merengue and Bachata are some of our typical music. This is a tambora (drum), a popular Dominican instrument.

What’s your role at Google?

I’m a Visual Designer on the Google Duo team in our Seattle/Kirkland office. I’m blessed to be part of this team. The culture, the people, and the vibes are the things that I like the most.. A cool project of mine was recently launched, the new Duo precall interface for the web, which you can check out. You can even submit feedback if you have ideas to help improve the experience for our users.

Duo team event in Playa Vista, Los Angeles. My design for the event is on the screen.

What inspires you to come in every day?

I’ve been working at Google for almost a year, and every day is like living a dream. I feel grateful for the opportunity that I have. Working with very talented people with diverse backgrounds (professional and cultural), and with products that touch billions of people's lives around the world is one of the most exciting things that I could mention. In other words, I work with an incredibly diverse group of people who are some of the smartest, most creative, and humble people I've ever met. I learn something new every time I’m in a meeting.
The team at an offsite event.
Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process? 
The first time that I applied I was rejected for lack of qualifications. Four years later, I was contacted again. I still don’t know how to describe the feeling  when I read the subject line in that email,  “Hello from Google.” It was a mixture of excitement and fear. It was a difficult decision to make, because at that time I had a stable position at my former job in Philadelphia. I also had just bought an apartment a year prior that I absolutely loved. 

Also, I didn’t know if I was ready for the job, or to move cross country and leave my mother behind in Philadelphia whom just three years prior I had brought to the U.S. to fulfill her “American Dream.”

Checking out the Android statue garden.
How did the recruitment process go for you? 
After the first initial call, I was able to move on to the second round of calls, which would be with a designer who would evaluate my experience.The interview process was very friendly and comfortable. Another detail that I noticed from the first moment, was the high attention to detail and how important the recruiter made me feel throughout the process. 

The more nerve-racking but also exciting part was the design exercise, where I was to show my design skills and process. To make a long story short, it took me two weeks to plan, idealize, design, and prepare my project 

Much to my relief, a week after I turned in my design I received a call from the recruiter who was working with me during the interview process. They told me that I had passed the exercise and that I would proceed with an in-person interview at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. A shoutout to the excellent attention I received from the recruiter who assisted me throughout this entire process.

The whole interview process took me about three months — months filled with mixed emotions. Finally, after spending months of waiting to complete the entire interview process and contemplating whether I should accept the opportunity to join Google, I decided to accept the position of Visual Designer in Seattle with the Google Duo team.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process? 
I would have liked to know more about Google’s internal environment and culture, something that I learned after joining  the company and by reading “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt  & Jonathan Rosenberg. I highly recommend reading this book, this helped me immensely to understand Google’s culture, the company’s history and how people manage their projects and time.

At my Noogler orientation, showing how proud I am to have come from the small town of Constanza, Dominican Republic to Google.
Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?
I read a lot about Google Material Design, reached out to friends who work at Google, and also watched videos on YouTube about how to prepare for a Google interviews.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
I would recommend that they identify what it is that they are good at and focus on the things that they are passionate about. Never stop dreaming. Continue to pursue your dreams and channel your passion by doing the things you truly love. This is undoubtedly what will help you conquer any opportunity.

Me with a little guitar that I made using a vinegar bottle, piece of wood and fishing lines. (1996).

My Path to Google – Caile Collins, Software Engineer

Welcome to the 36th 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.

This special edition comes out just in time for the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and features Caile Collins, a software engineer who interviewed for her current job at a previous GHC — and will be returning to #GHC19 this year as a Googler.

Today’s post is all about Software Engineer, Caile Collins. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Buffalo, NY, home to Buffalo wings and Niagara Falls. I entered college as an English major, and I came out with a B.A. in Linguistics with minors in Computer Science and Spanish at Cornell University. When I’m not working, you can find me taking yoga and dance classes, walking dogs, embroidering/weaving/sewing (multi-threaded tasks!), and attending lots of musicals, plays, and comedy shows.

What’s your role at Google?
I am a software engineer working in Google Research on an early-stage project to help language learners achieve their goals. I was really eager to get involved with this project because it ties together my Linguistics background with my role as a product/infrastructure engineer.

I had the chance to join the team from its inception, so it’s been really rewarding to watch it develop, and I’ve been able to be very hands-on and have a lot of impact since it started as such a small team. It’s also been interesting to work together with research engineers, user experience researchers, and product managers to figure out the best path for our project; it’s a very dynamic environment, and everyone contributes different perspectives.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
I originally wanted to be a speech pathologist; though I was taking more and more Computer Science classes (reaching beyond the requirements for the minor), it didn’t occur to me that I would ever pursue a career in that area. A friend of mine from my Natural Language Processing class encouraged me to come to an on-campus panel of female Google interns that she was going to be participating in (it became my introduction to Cornell’s Women in Computing Club). As I recall, the discussion centered around breaking down impostor syndrome; it clearly drove home the point well enough, because I went back to my dorm and applied to a dozen internships on a whim.

Caile, her team, and Seattle’s Fremont Troll at a team offsite.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I applied directly for my first internship, and then I interviewed in-person at the end of summer in order to come back for another internship the following year. During that summer, I learned I’d be attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing for the first time in October, and my Google recruiter said that I could do my final full-time interviews there. I was extremely anxious about interviewing so I decided to just jump in headfirst and do as many practice interviews as I could – with full-time engineers before my internship ended, with friends at school, and then with real companies at the career fair at school. It gradually became less scary.

When I finally got to Grace Hopper, I showed up to the interview booth extremely early to make sure I’d know where to find it; I kept circling back there, and the recruiters would give me a friendly wave and chuckle because they knew they’d be seeing a lot of me until my interviews finally happened.

Afterwards, it was really great to be able to relax and join in the celebration of Grace Hopper. I love being in female-driven environments, and having that at such a large scale, especially in my newly selected field of work, was pretty amazing. I particularly remember the keynote speeches were really inspiring; I was excited to hear Susan Wojcicki speak since I had met her that summer while interning on a team at YouTube.

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?
Other than my very generous friends’ time and support, my most reliable resource was Programming Interviews Exposed. I’ve read it front-to-back more times than I can count, and I’ve lent it out to others since then. In my experience, working through problems alone in your head is very different from solving them out loud in front of someone, so it’s important to practice in a real interview-like setting, even if it’s just with your peers.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I had known that software engineering isn’t all about what specific skills you already know, but largely about how much you’re willing to learn and adapt when tackling new challenges. Moreover, software engineering requires patience and communication to build an end-to-end product that’s meant to last. Those are great skills to have in all aspects of life, and they’ll help you on a microscale - debugging! - and a macroscale - launching!

When not writing code, Caile’s hobbies include other multi-threaded tasks like weaving!

What inspires you to come in every day?
I’ve had a lot of inspiring women in my life, from my mom, sister, and aunts, to my teachers and co-workers. In my career, I’ve been lucky to have met women who have shown me that (1) I can dare to be a software engineer, (2) I can do really well in this field by continuously learning and adapting, and (3) I can find community here.

Once I started at Google full-time, I really want to pass that impact forward. I quickly got involved in intern mentoring. Beyond feeling very lucky to work on a project I’m personally interested in and that contributes positively to the world, I’m grateful for the opportunity to act as a mentor, while continuing to feel supported by those in my own life.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
You don’t need to have been coding since you were twelve in order to be a great programmer. If you’re already studying it or working in it now, just think how much you’ve learned since you first started. I didn’t know Computer Science existed as a field until I heard that a friend was studying it in college.
Occasionally I’ll look back at early project notes and remember how little I initially knew about something that I’m now very knowledgeable about and comfortable with. Everybody has to start from somewhere, so just be patient with yourself and know that getting stuck is okay; you can always try again.

The 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is underway!

My Path to Google: Goodman Lepota, Associate Account Strategist

Welcome to the 35th 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 Goodman Lepota. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am originally from a township in the north of Johannesburg, South Africa. I was fortunate to have spent the past five years living and studying in the United States on an academic scholarship awarded by MasterCard. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Marist College in New York. I am also a graduate of the African Leadership Academy.

When I am not working you can find me reading. I was a publisher of three student newspapers from high school, prep school, to college. I am still fascinated by the different forms of creativity writers employ in their storytelling.
(photo credit: Googler Zach Louw)

What’s your role at Google?
I am an Associate Account Strategist in Dublin, Ireland (Google's Europe, Middle East, and Africa headquarters) working with the Sub Saharan African Google Customer Solutions team.

I often say what we do is like getting a free MBA, because you learn so much from different people. My role includes consulting over 120 clients, focusing on digital growth for their businesses, and advertising. We have an unprecedented scope of successful business models across Africa.

My favorite part about the job is that I get to make an impact and help small and medium sized businesses grow. I work with some of the most exceptional and supportive people everyday. Everyone on our team is invested in making sure everyone else succeeds.

Complete the following: "I [choose one: code/create/design/build] for..." 
I build for a more inclusive and prosperous future.

What inspires you to come in every day?
I am excited about Google’s projects in Africa, particularly focusing on internet access such as Google Station and other internet infrastructure projects. Google is a status equalizer. It gives access to the same level of information for someone living in a rural area with less resources as it does for someone in a cosmopolitan urban area. Google creates opportunity.
 Goodman (center right) with teammates Sashin Pillay (Associate Account Strategist), José Alguem (Google Customer Solutions, Africa lead), and Kristin Ransome, (Associate Account Strategist).
(photo credit: Googler Zach Louw)
How did the recruitment process go for you?
I came across the opportunity on LinkedIn and applied directly on the Google Student Careers website. I had five interviews with Google. Although I was in the process of interviewing for other companies, Google’s hiring process was probably one of the best. Here’s why: they paired me up with a recruiter who facilitated and communicated with me as I prepared for all the interviews. The Googlers who interviewed me also influenced my decision because I felt they were invested in me succeeding during the interviews.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
I was always interested in business marketing, technology, and policy making. I was excited by the idea of taking on a challenging role after graduating from college, but even more so, I wanted to work for an organization with an amazing team. Google was that place.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
There are some myths about interviewing for Google like asking you tricky and unsolvable questions, which I found to be far from reality.
(photo credit: Googler Zach Louw)

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
I wanted to share my advice to two kinds of students. The first one is to someone who grew up not imagining they could join Google. I can tell you now that Google will make you feel welcome.

The second one is for the students who are studying in a country that is different from their home country and looking for an amazing opportunity. Google has an exceptional team to support you in relocating in the event that you get accepted.

And I always say this to people — you always have to have that strong conviction that your dreams in life are possible.