Konrad has secured himself a graduate job working as a Corporate Operations Engineer in Google London, and will be start in Spring 2020. Here he tells us about his path to employment and what you need to do to land your dream job.
A bit about my role
Google - and the parent company, Alphabet - probably does not have to be introduced to anyone. Anyone that has ever used the Internet utilised Google Search at some point. Ever since the start in a garage in 1998, the company grew to so many different areas, such as YouTube, hardware (Nest & Pixel phones), self-driving vehicles (Waymo), with over 100 thousand employees world-wide - with global headquarters in Mountain View, California, and UK headquarters located next to St Pancras Station in London.
I will be working within the Corporate Engineering team, which basically handles the internal tools and infrastructure. Responsibilities of my team include ensuring that technical issues that come up never actually happen again and modernising the infrastructure.
Finding the job and navigating the application process
Even before starting my University journey, I was hearing about stories working for Google, how amazing the work environment is, filled with incredibly smart people, working towards improving the world around us. I always considered Google to be out of reach for me, for I was just an average Computer Science aspiring student with my friends often achieving better results. Needless to say, I considered it a dream job.
I was able to start my journey first as an intern taking an industrial placement in Google Switzerland. The process was fairly simple, with a grand total of 3 interviews. The year spent with the Zurich team taught me a lot about the industry. At the end, I went through an extra interview process and finally secured full time employment to commence after my graduation.
What I will bring to the position
As my position is going to be a mixture of engineering and communication with users, I think one of the most underrated skills was my part-time retail job and helping other students in the university. It is incredibly useful to understand the people you work with, such that you can combine the efforts and strive to excel.
Of course, I cannot forget to mention numerous internships and projects that I was involved in, those paved the foundations of understanding of the professional environment and managing your time accordingly, such that you avoid claiming more responsibilities than you are capable of handling.
Finally, for a lot of courses and subjects in my education I kept thinking to myself “when am I going to even utilise this?” - which changed as soon as I realised that industry is following exactly the same standards and techniques. I am grateful to my professors for pursuing those concepts regardless of negative feedback.
My advice for students considering employment in this field
I think my biggest regret and something that I would change if I were to go through my University education is to never be afraid of failure. Are you not sure whether your application is going to be successful and are afraid of rejection? Apply anyway! Worried about your internship, that you are underperforming? You are there to learn and to learn we need to make mistakes – that is what makes us human, ability to recover and apply the experience in future endeavours - something that AI is still struggling with.
Also, do not dismiss the power of internships or personal projects. Whereas the former can be moderately difficult to find, the latter requires just your willingness to work continuously on an interesting idea - be it your own website, email server, machine learning approach, AI competition - all of it matters and those stories are what make you stand-out across all candidates.
My advice for those moving from university to working life
Do not forget about your work-life-balance. People say that University is the best time of your life, but I am willing to say that full-time employment is where the fun part starts. It is the moment where we become more independent, less limited by our funds and are ready to explore life. When I was moving between different stages of my life, I was always told “oh, you think that your high school exam is hard? just wait until University!” - and time after time I kept getting proven wrong. The more experience you have, the more joy you find in your life. That is why it is important to not to get lost in your work and remember that we work to enjoy life, not the other way around.
Life is out there waiting to be conquered. I mentioned before not to be afraid of failure, but also make sure that failure does not deter you from aiming high. If you are not successful with one company, that is fine, do not worry and try again later.
And certainly make sure that you stay close with your friends. Those are the people that could potentially provide a reference for you, or perhaps act as a hiring manager for future roles. Following one of the past LinkedIn headlines: “It is not what you know, it is who you know!”