Six months into Google as Software Engineer: people

21 Aug 2022

« Previous chapter: technical complexity & tooling

I’ve heard many times people say that the most valuable part of a company is its employees. “Isn’t that obvious!”, one might say, but only recently had I understood its true meaning. We talk often about a company’s culture. For example, we say that it has a blameless culture. We say XYZ company is customer-obsessed. What we are really talking about is its people.

I realized that it is very important to speak thoroughly with people at the company you want to join and see if they are the kind of people you want to work with. Since some big companies like Amazon have a varying set of teams, it might be even more important to “interview” your potential team. Personally, when joining Google and my current team, Android Auto, I did not vet my team much. I heard a lot of positive comments from my friends already working there. So, I just went with the first team that I happen to like. Fortunately, I ended up in an amazing team doing amazing line of work — building software for cars!

People in my team have been helpful and thoughtful from the day one by doing their best to bring me to my full productivity in the team. They would help me not just with onboarding issues at work, but also with problems in my relocation to Munich. It turns out my recruiter reached out to one of my teammates and asked to assist me in all matters of onboarding the team. So, that teammate came to me personally and said I could reach out to him regarding any matter I need help with. I was blown away by this. I knew people would be helpful, but didn’t expect this level of support.

People at Google hold themselves to a high standard both personally and professionally. They call it being “Googley”. Being Googley is thrown out often at work. I learned that everyone at Google has their own slightly different definition of being Googley, but they all share these qualities: being proactive, striving for excellence, not being evil, and being humble. I often see people doing things they don’t really have to do, such as removing meeting reservations if they no longer need them or picking up trash on their way.

People at Google are very approachable. There are very few people in the office that I would hesitate to approach. The great thing about this is that it grows on you. As someone in this environment, I feel I have become a much more friendly/communicable person.

On a technical level, people are unsurprisingly very intelligent and surprisingly very humble about it. I noticed that when solving a certain problem they consider many more aspects of the problem than I do. Their background shine with amazing projects and prestigious universities. Welcome to the imposter syndrome. But, do not fear — they have an amazing course on how to deal with it :)

» Next chapter: is it worth it?