Editor’s Note: This post is part of an occasional series about CU Boulder students’ summer experiences in engineering. Tell us about your summer experience at email@example.com.
I spent my summer working for Google in Mountain View, Calif. I arrived to discover that all the legends about Google’s offices are true – the ball pits, bowling alleys, climbing gyms, swag and especially the food. We even got those silly-looking Google beanies with the spinners on top. Taking two slides on the way down to lunch from the fourth floor was not an uncommon occurrence! Google goes out of their way to make sure their employees are happy.
My job was with the Google Doodles team, the people who make the art for Google’s logo to celebrate holidays and interesting people. Google has a version of Google Search that’s optimized for speed, which it serves to users on slow connections or old phones. Until recently, no Doodles got served over that version of Search, so my job was to get them there. I worked on both the Doodle team’s internal doodle-organizing tools and the server that’s the first destination for a search query coming from a browser.
I expected to be completely lost, but it turns out even Google’s complex code base can be broken down into manageable parts. My teammates were also always willing to help when I got stuck. They’re the kind of close-knit crew who know both when to stay up until 2 a.m. troubleshooting, and when to relax and have a team Nintendo party. They definitely felt more like family than coworkers by the time I left.
Google also hosted a lot of intern events, both educational and entertaining! I got to participate in a summit for Google’s women engineers called “We Are GWE.” This was a two-day event aimed at teaching us to help address diversity problems. Other intern events included laser tag, painting and cooking classes, and sailing around San Francisco Bay on a cruise ship as an end-of-summer treat.
I also met a few of Google’s researchers, who convinced me by example to go for a PhD in computer science. I had never really considered graduate school before because I’d never seen what researchers in industry do all day.
I’ve started to find out, now that I’m home, how much I learned from working at Google beyond just better programming skills. I definitely hope to return next summer.
Audrey Randall is a senior computer science major.