Mom, I am made the Google team!

Ruslan Tkhakokhov, second-year student at Computer Technology Chair, is currently doing an internship at Google in the US.

Ruslan Tkhakokhov

I started to think about an internship at Google when I came across an article written by one of Russian programmers who works for Google and lives in California. She wrote about working there, internships and staying abroad.  Inspired by it, I decided to submit an application for Software Engineering Intern position. Next week I was asked to send my grade certificate. My results were good so the next steps were two technical Interviews.

Apart from data structure, algorithms and software languages knowledge, an applicant should have interview skills. It means that one can explain what approach he or she will use while solving a task. When preparing for my interview, I used glassdoor.com, which contains feedbacks of students who had interview experience. Leetcode.com also helped me to be prepared for Java Interview Questions.

In three weeks a team leader told me that I succeeded in these tasks and offered me to choose a project. Usually applicants start to work only after completing it but, as the recruitment officer said, I was enrolled before that because of my good results. I decided to work at GooglePlay. Together with colleagues I will upgrade its’ searching system by making it “smarter.” For instance, if a user is searching for a movie, the system will also offer to read about it on different online sources.

I didn`t tell my parents and friends about this internship until I had been accepted. That is why when received the offer I said something like that: “Mom, I will work for Google. I'm just waiting for my visa to get approved.” Everyone was really surprised!

You`ve moved up in the world!

Anton Kovsharov, first-year Master`s student at Computer Technology Chair, did his internship at Google (Mountain View, California) last year. Currently he's interning at Facebook.

Anton Kovsharov

To be enrolled into an internship program at Google or Facebook one can submit an application through their websites or obtain a recommendation letter from a staff member of these companies, which is what I did.

These companies are very similar. Both Google and Facebook hire young engineers who are ready to spend almost all their time working. Microsoft developers, for instance, as far as I know, have their own families and aren`t constantly on overtime.

Working hours at Google are not fixed. You can, for instance leave the office at noon to go to the gym. However it doesn`t mean that staff members work less than others because each team has its own tasks. To solve them you have to collaborate with your colleagues so most teams have relatively fixed schedule. 

Most of Google engineers are very talented and always ready to share their experience. You can ask them for advice or help. There're also lots of corporate leisure leasure opportunities, ranging from open air yoga to playing football with colleagues.

My internship at Facebook started on June 27 and will last 12 weeks. I've read about the five corporate values and I'm curious about how they're implemented in real life. The values are: be bold, be open, focus on impact, move fast, and build social value. 

It is said that being hired by large a IT company you're set for life. Most of my friends who work as programmers don`t think so. They can receive a job offer from all over the world and be wealthy. But it is not the most important thing for them. They aspire to create something new, to solve complicated challenges even if they seem unachievable.  All programmers love to play games, and they build their lives accordingly. The higher the level, the greater the reward to completing it. 

Interesting tasks and excellent working conditions

Ignat Loskutov, third-year student at Computer Technology Chair, is doing his internship at Google Canada.

Ignat Loskutov

Last year I decided to spend next summer holidays doing software developing because of lack of such experience. I started researching the opportunities and went straight to Google. Even if I didn't make it, I figured the application and technical tests experience would be useful.

There were two 45-minute interviews. Preparing for something is not my strong point, and I think I did pourly at the first one. So it's still a mystery for me why I got accepted. After a several calls from potential project leaders, I was acceted into the Montreal office.

As a trainee at Google team I will develop tools for detecting data bugs in C++ programs. Chrome is one of such programs. It is widely used so I can share the details. However some programmers work on internal projects; that is why they cannot talk about their projects.

First of all I had Intern Orientation course at which we learned about main principles of working in Google and also about our further tasks. I recently started my training and my first impression is that I deal with extremely interesting tasks. My working conditions are excellent – there are food courts and billiard hall in the office!

Do the things you love

Ivan Arbuzov, graduate student at Computer Technology Chair, completed the internship at Facebook and recently moved to the UK to start a full-time job at Facebook`s office in London.

Ivan Arbuzov

Having completed the internship training in the USA I was hired by Facebook. Unfortunately I couldn`t receive an employment visa and that is why I am going to work in London.

Interns have the same opportunities and priviledges as staffers. You can forget about phrases like "you're an intern, you can't touch this code" or "you cand access a certain database because you're an intern." There could be some limits in areas of activity. But it's worth pointing out that with a lot of opportunities comes a lot of responsibility.

Hiring process at Facebook is the similar to other large companies: several technical interviews aimed at determining the areas of expertise. It's typical when a talented programmer got a case of nerves during an interview and something didn't work, and he didn't get hired. Facebook has plenty to choose from. The recruiting process never stops. 

Facebook is different from other companies because new hires are often recent grads who're not sure about their future specialization. They spend the first couple of months learning about the technical aspects of the company so you can pick what you're interested in. For Facebook it's very important that staffers do what they actually like otherwise they'll just waste everyone's time. I'd love to be working on Facebook's internal development environment, but that team is in the US and I'm in England for now. In the future I for sure will be able to do IDE.

If you accept a permanent position you'll receive bonuses such as stock options as well as a one-time bonus. At first I couldn't figure out why they were giving all this money to newbies and then I realized that talented young developers are saught after by companies around the world, and this way Facebook is trying to keep talented interns. They invest in a newbie during the first year and then he or she starts bringing a profit.

Communication skills are crucial for those who work at IT company. Even if you are extremely an smart coder who has won tons of programming competitions you have to be able to work with others, which is often difficult for young people in our field. Many of them would rather sit in a corner by themselves and try to tackle a problem over and over again instead of seeking help. Facebook doesn't work like that. You've got communicate with your colleagues to solve tasks faster and effectively. One of Facebook's principles "Move Fast" is a testiment to that. 

Staffers working at Facebook have flexible schedule. Noone is obligated to be at the office from 9 am till 6 pm. But its expected to be on site for at least five hours a day to work with your team. You can work from home part of the time if you've cleared it with your manager. We had a guy on our team who went home to Brasil for three weeks without taking a vacation. To pull that off you've got to be really good at working remotely and to have the trust of your colleagues that everything will run just as smooth with you being gone. 

Every Thursday night there's a little party at the office. There's a also a kitchen, and staffers don't need to worry about where to get breakfast, lunch or dinner. Communication between colleagues is informal. Anyone can approach Mark Zuckerberg. Everyone is very friendly, and that's great. 

You don't have to be genius to join Facebook of Google. As practice shows, IT students at ITMO University have a strong background to succeed in interviews and tests and be hired by the top companies. The most important thing is to be enthusiastic and follow a principle of lifelong learning. 

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