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Internship at Google 2 (Part 1)

Once I have already written about how I managed to get into Google in Switzerland. Then I promised to report on my next internship - the second time at the Googleplex in California. And this time has come - my second internship is coming to an end, and I have something to say !: o)

Disclaimer: My personal experience, as always, does not pretend to universality.

And again, all over again ...

After my first internship on Google ended, having rested a bit and came to myself, I decided that this experience should definitely be repeated. Fortunately, I was still enrolled as a full-time student at my university (being a student is a must), I was (and is) less than 34 years old, so I met all the formal criteria. After that, I asked a friend who works in Google to send my resume for consideration, I was examined and a standard Google written to me, “Hello, we want to talk with you about the possibility of an internship ...”.

Together with the introductory letter, they sent me a bunch of links to online forms. Some of them were bureaucratic - I had to write if I was not listed in terrorist organizations, write places to study and work with contacts, and so on. The second part was somewhat more interesting - it was suggested to write in what it would be interesting for me to study on three points: architectural level ( front-end or back-end ), field of computer science (artificial intelligence, distributed computing, low-level programming, compilers, etc.) and programming language.

I chose a distributed back-end in C ++. True, I rather vaguely imagined what it was, all the more so because my first internship was not even a front-end, but a clean design in Photoshop and actively using Javascript / HTML / CSS. Looking ahead, I want to say that I received exactly what I wanted. And "it was difficult, but we could": o).


First I want to note that for those interns who were already interns, no concessions are provided. They are interviewed on a par with everyone else. It is possible that for those who returned next year to the same team, and on the previous internship they were all happy with each other, everything was much easier. But it was not my case - I was going to go not even to another team, but to a completely different country.

So, after I filled out all the forms, I again wrote and assigned 2 telephone interviews of 45 minutes each. Since I was interviewed in California, engineers called me directly from Googleplex. Therefore, I was given an interview quite late in local Czech time. At 20.00 and 20.45. Fortunately, many programmers, including myself, are owls, so an interview in the evening was the very thing!

Before the interview, I had 10 days left and I began to prepare. For those who are interested, you can read my old post about the interview. And for those who niasilit mnogabukav, a summary of my training was this:

By the way I want to note that with the design pattern I was lucky: o). When I was asked during an interview, “How would you design a system that does X?”, I immediately blurted out “Oh, yes, this is the U design pattern!” made a serious impression on the interviewer. Needless to say, this was the only pattern that I learned in preparation for the question about the “favorite pattern” ?: o)


The interviewers on Google are completely different. There are those who have a responsible approach to the process, send an online document in advance, where the code will be written, call on time and they have 10 questions ready - in case the candidate turns out to be a genius. And if complete opposites - there is no document, they call late and give the impression of some lack of preparation.

I got both of these options for an interview. The first interviewer called me on time, and 20 minutes before the interview I sent a document where I had to write the code. While the second, I called after 10 minutes with an apology that he had forgotten about me, and I finally had to dictate the code by phone. Yes, it is “the bracket opens, the int and, int it, the bracket closes”: o). Well, at least it was not boring.

I will not tell you specific questions, I can only say that the questions were fairly standard - to find something in the array, to do something with a string, to write to all this code. At the beginning of the first interview I was given a small survey on the knowledge of the most basic fundamentals - such as sorting complexity, the difference between process and flow, and what an abstract class is. These questions were not even part of the interview, but rather a test for "IT interchangeability" - it is unlikely that someone who does not know the answers to them would have at least some chance.

I also want to note such a moment. Since lately there have been a lot of websites on the Internet that are involved in publishing and analyzing interview questions, it’s just not smart enough to be smart. Simply, there are questions that are far from simple - for example, string rotation without using additional memory. And if a person does not know the solution to this problem, then it is not a fact that he will just come up with it. At the same time, since this task is encountered on all possible sites with questions for interviews, those who have had minimal difficulty in preparing (and there are quite a few of them) will know the solution. And when the interviewer sees 9 people who immediately say a solution (yes, they knew him), and one who sees this task for the first time and thinks for a long time, then this one has no chance.

This, of course, is my subjective opinion, but the interview in Google is no longer an “interview for geniuses” (well, not only in Google, for justice). And just an exam with a large list of questions. Who prepared - that well done. And who has not prepared, even if he is objectively smarter than someone who has worked everything, may be in flight. So if you are thinking of going through an interview in Google, then do not underestimate the factor of preparation and tampering. If your thinking is good, then this may not be enough.

After the interview

In the United States, the recruitment process works much more clearly and faster than in Zurich (I do not know about other offices). I don’t presume to judge whether this is due to the fact that there are more recruiters in Gugleplex, or the fact that it is accepted in the US to work more and more productively, but after an interview a week and a half have passed and I already had an offer for internship. While in Zurich, the process lasted 2 times longer.

I was also very lucky with the recruiter - she always answered for 12 hours and kept me up to date with what was happening. After some experience of communicating with recruiters (not only in Google, but also in other companies), I can say that this is a very rare thing - there were cases in my memory when I wasn’t answered at all or answered in 2 weeks to the question marked “Urgently ". So a good recruiter is the exception rather than the rule.

But this is so, a lyrical digression: o). After the telephone interviews have been completed, candidates begin to be offered to different teams. The recruiter collects all the information about candidates - resumes, interviewers' feedback - and, in accordance with the wishes of a potential intern, sends his information to several teams. After that, the future manager of the intern will interview his potential interns and choose someone for himself. Or no one chooses, but this, I think, is rare.

Those who are not selected are not eliminated from the game and are sent to other potential managers. It is not hard to guess that for some candidates this process can take a very long time. And some, even without a refusal after telephone interviews, may remain without a team and, accordingly, do not get an internship.

Getting ready to move

Going for an internship in Google is very simple. Google helps to resolve visa issues and sends all the necessary FedEx papers to the house. Google pays all expenses for moving (a fixed amount that covers everything and something else remains). Google, however, does not help to solve the housing issue and reserve a plane. But with minimal social skills, this is also not a problem - especially in California: o).

In the process of preparation, Google also creates a special group for interns. There you can write your questions, look for and offer housing - in my experience the group turned out to be an extremely useful thing. Even before I arrived, I already knew a lot of things about how and what in the office, when buses go and where it is better to go shopping: o).

And by the way, 99% of interns in the United States are recruited from American and Canadian universities. I don’t know why this is the case - people from other countries don’t want to go that far, or the American Google doesn’t want to specifically recruit foreigners and make them visas. I rather lean towards the first - because Canadians also need J-1 visas and Google takes them without problems.

About types of interns

Since the Googleplex is 10 times more than Zurich, then the teams here are completely different. Therefore, if in Zurich all interns were of the same type - Engineering intern , then in California the situation is much more complicated.
  1. Engineering interns are the usual interns and such here the most. Their task is usually to write some kind of utility that will immediately simplify life for everyone.
  2. Research interns are interns that do not write utilitki, but they investigate all sorts of different algorithms and their applicability in Google. They usually write code in the style of spagetti, but these are prototypes, so they can (unlike engineering interns). But they need to write a Google research paper on the results of their research.
  3. Operations interns . Operations is a team that monitors the progress of the office. How to make sure that there is an optimal temperature everywhere, so that all Googleers have enough food and everything is in the same spirit. One of the groups known to me as an assignment to this group was given to optimize the cover of some pumping station so that less water evaporates from it. In my opinion it is very cool and very sorry that I do not know the details: o)
  4. Designer interns, Testing interns - well, everything is clear. Almost the same as engineering intern, only with a bias in some specific specifics.
  5. Linux engineering interns, Site reliability interns - I have no idea what they do. But I know that they exist!

There is, of course, a large pile of non-engineering interns - marketing, sales, food management, hr ...

And a couple of comments

  1. In fact, the age limit of 34 years does not necessarily put an end to those who are older. I am familiar with two interns (one of whom is Canadian and made himself a visa), who are more than 34.
  2. It seems to me that the desire of the team to take an intern is more important than telephone interviews. I know about one case where the team literally “wrote out” an intern. It’s just that this person, as part of his PhD, wrote some kind of system that was used in Google. And they decided to take this person for an internship. I don’t know if he was interviewed, but I’m pretty sure that his knowledge of this system was much more important for Google than the ability to answer the question about string rotation, which was a very big plus for him.
  3. Another intern went through an interview with a not very good result. But he had excellent knowledge in one particular area, so the team that dealt with this area (as far as I understood, finding a good specialist in this area was rather problematic for them) tore off his hands.

Continued here

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/102482/

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