Google recruitment talk: Impressions

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?

Oh no!