Google is, of course, t3h k3wl. In fact, working at Google is probably cooler than studying at MIT, in terms of geek status. ;) This recruitment talk wasn't about convincing U of T students how cool Google is. That would've been preaching to the choir. Rather, the talk was about some of the interesting challenges people might get to work on at Google. This should help students think about their projects and their resumes...
I was a bit disappointed that there weren't any female engineers. The two women there were both from HR. They wore Google shirts with the second "o" replaced by the sign for woman, and that's something I want to think about further. I talked to one of the women after the presentation. She said that there was supposed to be one, but she got pulled into a project at the last minute. They do try to pay attention to these things, though, and occasionally have all-female events.
I confess. I loiter near the front during post-talk mingling not because I have burning questions to ask, but because I like eavesdropping on other people's questions. I learn a lot from other people's concerns. For example, like students around the world, U of T students are worried about their GPA and whether their grades will affect their admissions. They want to know what companies are looking for. They want to know about where the company's going. The usual HR stuff. I like watching out for the unusual questions, like the way someone asked "So, important question: vi or emacs?" (Wish I knew who asked that one!) And the person who asked about Python. Interesting.
Anyway, getting back to Google. Google's interesting. Here'd be my strategies for getting in:
- Resume, traditional job application? Right now? No way. I
won't stand out in the crowd.
- Internship? International student; fat chance.
- Extracurricular projects? Promising. If I want to get into
this stuff, it's a good time to learn AJAX and figure out how to use the Google APIs. Google Desktop looks _really_ interesting and it's right up my personal info/knowledge management alley, but it's Microsoft Windows-based. (That's another option, though; get something running on Linux...)
So if I want to boost my chances for next year's job application cycle, I should work on a project. Come to think of it, anyone can do that from anywhere in the world—so don't lose hope, people back home! =)
Next question. Do I want to work at Google?
I didn't need to see this presentation to know that Google is totally cool. It's every geek's dream company. Imagine hanging out with incredibly brilliant geeks, working on great projects, eating nice (and free!) food, and enjoying all the computing power you can throw at a problem.
Does it fit what I want to do?
Well, if I get in, it will certainly push me in terms of technical skills. I'll learn a _lot._ But I don't just want to work on my technical skills... I don't think I know enough about Google yet to like them immensely.
It's nice that Google matches employee donations, and it's great that they've got a motto of "Don't be evil." I need to learn more about them and how they might fit into my personal mission statement, though... I think I need a lot more user contact, a lot more involvement in people's lives.
And hah! yes, ego comes into it too. I want people to know me. Not just the systems I build, but to know _me_, and I want to know them not just as statistics but as people too. As much as I'm glad that those Googlers can keep Google running and can develop all sorts of cool new systems, they're still anonymous to me and to the millions of people who use Google without thinking.
There you go. I've confessed it. I'm egotistic. I want people to know me and I want to know them. I want to be within talking distance of users.
Is that something Google can let me do? I don't know. We'll see.
Ack! I can't believe I feel uncertainty about _the_ geek company of our time!
Does this mean I'm getting less geeky?