Angela’s Journey to Become a Software Engineer at Google

Angela’s Journey to Become a Software Engineer at Google


The great thing about Google is there are so many jobs here. I feel like you can’t really get bored here because if you get bored in one area there’s literally hundreds of other jobs you could go to. My name is Angela Taylor, and I am a software engineer here at Google. So if we go all the way back to the beginning, I was an intern and got a full-time offer into our People Operations department. I got from HR to software engineering by discovering programming. I had a project where I needed to update a broken Excel macro. In doing that and playing around with the macro, I just absolutely fell in love. That’s when I said, “What is it that I’m doing, and how can I do this forever?” I had to first actually figure out what the job was. So once I figured that out is when I realized all the stuff I needed to learn in order to actually get to this job, and it took a really long time, and all of my managers throughout the time I was taking classes were very supportive. I remember my manager at the time — I said, “I love this coding thing. You know, it would be great to be a software engineer some day.” She was like, “Great! If any technical projects come up, I’ll send them your way.” We do have 20-percent project opportunities here. So a 20-percent project is a way to spend 20 percent of your work week working on something that is not related to your core job. So I was still in HR, did a 20-percent project with an engineering team and then was able to transfer onto that team full-time. Google has a pretty simple transfer process, that if you want a job and have the skills for it, you just go apply for it. Once the hiring managers see that you are capable, they are more than happy to have you join their team. So my first job as a software engineer was in our Maps department, and I worked on the Google My Business team. I was working on an internal tool that allowed customer service representatives to help troubleshoot things with things with local business owners who were trying to get their information on Google Maps or Search. It was really exciting to actually get to see the process that goes into how the products that I was using day to day actually get made. You can code in pretty much any language at Google. Different teams use different languages, but the team I was working on in Maps used Java and Javascript. So I worked on the Maps team for a while, and I wanted the opportunity to work on something externally facing, and so that’s when I decided to move over to the Google Voice team. What’s really exciting about this team is the technologies they’re using. There’s a lot of different things that you can use internally in Google’s infrastructure to get your product out. So it’s exciting to get to work in these new frameworks and understand how they get their code up and running. So one thing that I really enjoy about Google is that they tend to not hire for positions; they want to hire smart people. And so when you hire smart people, they can usually fit in in different places. That’s the reason I have been able to have so many different roles without having to move around to different companies. I want to experience all that I can experience at this company, and you have the support of people around you to go off and pursue those different kinds of jobs you want to try. That leaves you with endless possibilities of all the things that you can do.

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