This past summer of 2014 I got the opportunity to intern for Google at their headquarters in the sunny bay area city of Mountain View.
My journey took place over the course of two years, starting my freshman year after meeting a Google recruiter at a networking event, then continuing when I attended the BOLD Immersion Program (a weeklong all expenses paid leadership program at Google HQ) the summer after my freshman year. Fast forward to the end of winter quarter sophomore year, I had applied to the internship and done a healthy amount of interviews when I was extended an offer for an 11 week internship which I quickly accepted.
As far as the actual internship, I knew it would be awesome but I could have never imagined exactly how great it would be. When you read about Google internships you tend to hear all about the free transportation to and from work, amenities on campus like the gyms or pools, and of course the free gourmet food. What made my experience truly unforgettable though was the things I didn’t expect like getting to hear Hilary Clinton speak in person or going on a boat cruise through the bay with my fellow interns. I’m going to try to not talk too much about the employee perks because they are heavily covered topics but I will say that Google is really invested in their employees and it really shows.
Of course my internship wasn’t exclusively an 11 week long all you can eat buffet interspersed with games of billiards and getting destroyed by my manager at go-kart. At the end of the day working at Google was just that – work. And for that I am grateful because my favorite part of my internship was definitely the work. I was an intern for the Online Enterprise Communities team. Corporate jargon aside, this basically meant that through the use of an interactive online community my team acted as the voice of the customers who implemented Google for Work products at their respective companies. To further simplify, we were essentially the middlemen between Google and the employees at companies utilizing our enterprise offerings. In specific my job consisted of three primary projects. First, I was tasked with creating new webpages that would localize part of our site to Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese. Next I lead the efforts in ensuring we maintained a consistent user experience as we upgraded our site’s community platform by conducting usability research, making UI changes, and communicating our site’s needs to an external party for whom I was a main contact. Lastly I did a lot of general community management upkeep which ranged anywhere from interacting directly with customers to scripting, recording demos and even being in front of the camera for our very own YouTube series. For me all of these projects were extremely rewarding because I was doing impactful work that was challenging and interesting to me. Google’s slogan for their non-engineering internships is, “Do cool stuff that matters.” I found this statement ringing true my entire summer. I would make changes on our site that instantly reached thousands of viewers and were even accessible by the general public. It was such an amazing moment when my parents asked me what I did at work and I was able to send them a link and literally show them. At the same time if I had to make one change to the catchphrase I would suggest “Do cool stuff that matters with cool people that matter to you.” I was incredibly blessed with the team of people I got to work with. A huge part of the reason I found my work so enjoyable is because they gave me the freedom to pursue projects that I found interesting. In fact, my first project was actually to choose what projects I would be working on for the duration of the summer. From the get go they deeply integrated me into the team and gave me challenging problems that often times they didn’t even know the solution to. At the end of my internship as I was writing process documentation and teaching my team certain procedures it was so gratifying.