T5E interviews recent alumni across a wide variety of industries who have spent a year or more at their respective firms. We hope this will enlighten current students with respect to what companies look for while recruiting undergraduates and help them make more informed career choices.
Google works on organizing the world’s information to make it universally accessible and useful. Informally, Google works on tools for almost any productive task on the Internet. Apart from that, Google works on next generation hardware like Chrome-books, glass and, like the nexus series (and Android); not to forget the self-driving car. Search, geo, social, Chrome and apps, Android, ads are its main product areas. A new hire could get to work on almost any of these products. In India, we have maps, enterprise and emerging markets.
What does your work at Google involve?
I work on the maps team in google. My project called mapmaker helps users edit Google maps to add points of interest/roads and other features to maps. Anyone with a Google account can use it to edit Google maps. The maps of third world countries is in a good state today mainly because of contributions from people. Where there is crowdsourcing, there is also spam/abuse. I work on the moderation system that automatically/with the help of operators decides which edits are good and which are bad. I also work on other small things involved in the same site. My tasks are to write software modules involved in the above mentioned tasks.
What is the work environment like?
In short, the exact opposite of IITM. People respect you and get you to work through encouragement rather than intimidation. There are no deadlines, no attendance, no relative grading, no pressure. We can work at our own pace, at our own timings. Some prefer to work in the day and others in the night. Though it is not exactly a start up environment any more, we still have do some experimental work like in start ups. A Googler can work on 20% projects in other products/projects. I have worked on small projects in news and Android. People should take a look at the gallery of photos from the Google offices to know what the work environment looks like.
What does Google look for while recruiting undergraduates?
It looks for programming problem solving ability and good knowledge of various computer science topics, algorithms in particular. In the onsite/campus interviews, the interviewer tries to see how far a student can go to solve a problem. They see if a candidate can successfully pick up hints while solving the problem. One of my old blog posts describes one of my interview sessions.
What are the career prospects beyond (or in) Google?
Google helps you take up professional courses from various institutions like IIMs/IITs/IISc in India and universities like Stanford abroad. I just started my first Masters course (CS229) from Stanford University. Google pays upto 12000$ per annum for the same. One of my colleagues got his masters from Stanford while working for Google. The courses could also be managerial rather than technical. A Googler could either grow as a manager or on the technical ladder at Google. Several Googlers (even Indian) have gone on to start up in the bay area/Bangalore after a few years of experience at Google.
Any final thoughts…
My team at Google Bangalore, currently has 7 people from IIT Madras out of around 30, most of them PhDs. Some of my googler friends come to Google on a leave day just to have lunch/dinner. The cafe is that great here!
I have been to 4 countries after joining Google – 2 on vacations, 1 for a conference and of course Mountain View, CA, USA for work related discussions.
If you are trying to get placed in Google, start working on it right away! Googlers seem to love using dynamic programming in particular in interview questions.
Kashyap Puranik (B.Tech/CS/2011) was once a hack-fest co-ord for Shaastra and a web-ops coord for Saarang 2009, CFI and Exebit 2010. He was selected for GSOC in 2009 and interned at Google in 2010. He created and managed Faking Insti News till it got around 1000 likes.
If you are an alumnus and you have a story to contribute about your first job, write to us at t5e.iitm [at] gmail [dot] com and we will get in touch with you.
Editor’s note: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee alone and do not represent the views of, or should not be attributed to, Google Inc.