How I got my Google internship
Last summer I moved to California to work as a developer relations engineer intern for the Google Cloud team for 12 weeks. My story of how I got there began as soon as I arrived at Augustana, three years ago.
To me, the first year of college is the time to find out what you like and don’t like, followed by a good personal project or internship at a small company in your second year. All those experiences will be used for the third year when you’re looking for an internship that could determine where you go after college. Companies often keep the interns they have trained after they graduate.
As an international student, finding an internship was trickier because I had to find companies willing to sponsor my H1B upon graduation. I applied to 150+ companies last fall and heard back from 15-20 for the interview rounds.
Preparing your profile
These three components of my personal profile helped me make it to the interview rounds:
- Make sure your résumé is polished and aligns with the internship description. When you achieve a new relevant accomplishment, place it on the first page for quick scanning. Make sure to use measurable actions and skill keywords, which makes it easier for an ATS [Applicant Tracking System] to scan your résumé before the recruiters read it. Having a CORE coach read over your résumé is a good idea. You might overlook spelling mistakes, and that would show you are not a careful person.
- Keep your LinkedIn profile updated and use it as a networking tool. If you see Augustana alumni working at your desired companies, politely ask them about their experiences and even referrals. If you come across a potential recruiter, politely reach out to them with reasons why you are a good fit for the job. I got my interview with Meta last year with this approach.
- Finally, Github. For those who don’t know, GitHub is a hosting service for software development, and I use it to showcase my work. Your personal projects and school projects should be on Github, and then you can embed the Github link in your résumé.
Preparing for interviews
The interview rounds are where you can showcase your ability to fit in with the team. Depending on the position, there will be technical and behavioral interviews. My tip is to prepare early. The more comfortable you are at solving interview problems, the better you will do.
I spent the summer before my junior year doing one to two Leetcode questions, a platform with computer science interview questions, every day before going into September’s application season.
For a behavioral interview, make sure you learn the company’s values well and can talk about everything you have done that aligns with those values. Use the STAR formula to learn how to tell a concise and relevant story.
If you get the internship, congratulations! You should celebrate and prepare for what is coming next. For me, it was planning to live in California for the first time. Without my $2,000 Augie Choice, I would not have survived the high cost of living there before I received my salary.
On the job
When you are at a new company, especially a competitive one like Google, there can be imposter syndrome. I remember being surrounded by the smartest minds from top schools around the world, and nobody knew where I studied or came from (I was the first Augie student to intern at Google).
But the imposter feeling passed after two weeks when I got to know everyone on my team. People are friendly and willing to help you grow. Definitely, no matter how different our backgrounds were, we all worked toward the same goals. I hope you take this mindset wherever you go, not just Google.
My role as a developer relations engineer intern was to connect with the engineers, help them learn more about the tools at the company. By the end of the internship, I had the opportunity to create two YouTube videos, three blogs, one tutorial to create a social media by yourself, and one podcast. (I was one of the few interns who got two bonuses from Google.)
With the multiple skill sets I learned from this internship, I feel ready for whatever comes to me upon graduation.
Augie gave me a chance to study in the U.S. affordably, and I love it dearly. When I arrived, there was no club for computer science until I founded GDSC – Google Developer Student Club. I believe those who are willing to make changes in small environments will continue to do great in bigger ones.
I also recommend going beyond assigned classwork and trying new things. Although this project was not required for my Artful Computing class, I created a simple robotic arm that can draw. I took this opportunity to learn more about robotics and explore things beyond what was required.
Other ways to boost your profile to land an internship is to join STEM or computer science clubs, do research with your professors, and take online courses that pique your interest. One website I recommend to engage in a rapid and collaborative engineering environment is Hackathon.
With that in mind, this blog is not just about finding an internship. I am grateful for the chance Augustana gave me, and this blog is to give back, with the hope that you will find your own spark in whatever amazing dreams you are aiming for, regardless of where you come from.
Christopher Le is a senior computer science major from Tuy Hoa, Vietnam.