On October 13th, Co-Op and Careers Advisor and host of WITWorks Chris McIntyre interviewed Patrick McSweeney from Google. He is a software developer for Google. If you want to go listen to the interview yourself, click on Listen On Demand and type in WITWorks into the Mixcloud search bar. The audio file in which you can listen to the interview is called "WITWorks Radio - Interviewing Google." If you don't want to listen to the interview yourself, you can read the summary below.
As a software developer, Patrick has stated that a person should be expected to write a lot of code and be able to write with one of the following programs: Java, C++ and Python. There are a wide range of jobs someone would have to do such as checking up on the web features and making sure they run correctly. Also, with Google, there are a wide range of individual projects to work on which include analysis statistics and some design work.
When asked about what Google looks for in their candidates, Patrick gave a couple of things that people should have under their belt. The core skills a candidate for Google should have are in data structures such as trees and heaps, algorithms and of course coding. A candidate should be able to take a problem description and turn it into a working program. Patrick also stated that the core class that someone should have for this job is Data Structures and Algorithms. And of course, one of the most important qualities that Google looks for is passion.
One of the questions asked was about the resumes. Patrick has stated that Google personally doesn't want a cover page. Some other helpful resume tips Patrick has given is that the resume should be as concise as possible and should fit on one page, but a little more isn't bad. Also, make sure to add your GPA towards the top of your resume. Don't bury it, even if it's the not the best GPA.
Another major question that Patrick was kind enough to answer was about both normal and phone interviews. Patrick highly recommends doing mock interviews with people so that you can be comfortable with answering long and short questions and pacing them. With Google specifically, you should understand the problem fully before writing the solution down so that things can go as smoothly as possible. With phone interviews, it is recommended that you have clear communication since you won't be face to face with the employer. To help understand the problem you're given, make sure to ask any clarifying questions - don't be afraid to ask! It's actually a good mark in the employer's book. Also, make sure that when you are in the phone interview, you are somewhere quiet with good internet connection and are hands-free.
As some final words of wisdom, try your best to experience as soon as you can. Google offers a program called Summer of Code. Or, you can try to find an internship over the summer if you don't do Google's Summer of Code. And the most important piece of advice: Practice make Perfect!