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My Path to Google: Anastasiya Bortnyk, Global Customer Experience team

Welcome to the fifth installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Anastasiya Bortnyk . Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Originally I am from a small town in West Ukraine called Lutsk. Early on, I knew that I wanted to run my own business some day (following the example of my father who was an entrepreneur in the IT sector), so I studied International Business at the National University of Kyiv. In addition to my coursework, I was constantly involved in student projects. I also started working part-time in Sales and Marketing for IT companies in Kiev before graduating.

What’s your role at Google?
I am an Associate Account Strategist within the Google Global Customer Experience team. Day-to-day, I help Google customers resolve any technical issues they face while advertising with our online advertising platform AdWords and help them optimize their return on investment. However, the work is not only about interaction with clients directly. We have lots of different projects to dive into. For example, I am also in charge of Customer Education and am leading Online Mobile Academy, which aims to help our clients adapt to the quickly developing mobile landscape.

I really enjoy the freedom we have here at Google. We can each spread ideas, initiate new projects or get involved in existing ones we’re interested in. This is very beneficial in terms of professional and personal development. I really value the amount of learning opportunities I get on a daily basis.

What inspires you to come in every day?
Google’s culture and diversity inspires me most of all. It’s a pleasure to work with people who are all so interesting and different. There is also a huge variety of different opportunities here which, for me, is crucial because I work best when I can constantly switch up my routine. Being able to shape the job how you see fit really makes it a lot more interesting and rewarding.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
Where I come from, my peers and I always thought Google was unreachable, only for genius engineers. I dreamed about working here, but never thought about it too seriously. In my case, it was actually Google who bumped into me. I received a letter to apply for the Google Adcamp program, which was designed specifically for students interested in business and marketing. Thankfully, I was selected to attend and take part in this program. It opened my eyes to what Google was looking for; I saw the roles were reachable, and I definitely wanted to work here!

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I was contacted very shortly after the AdCamp program, and the process was smooth, yet challenging. I had rounds of interviews, each of which was different in nature. The questions weren’t easy, but they were very interesting.

I was not able to come for interviews onsite, so I did them over Google Hangouts. However, at that time I was living in the student dormitory, so I was also worried about that. I asked my roommates to give me privacy, and I even set up a cool background, but right at the end of one of the interviews, my internet failed, so I had to do half of the interview without video. It was a disaster back then, but in hindsight, it’s pretty funny :).

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I knew back then that Google is not only about programming and coding. There are so many opportunities for business or humanities graduates here as well. If I had known that before, it would have changed my perception much earlier.

Can you tell us more about the resources you used to prep?
I was lucky to attend AdCamp because it gave me a lot of insight into Google and how to get hired here. We had sessions telling us about the recruitment process, and we even had a mock interview. However, before interviewing, I also researched all Google blogs, read articles about interviews, and of course stories of people who had already interviewed at Google.

To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Find and reach out to Googlers if you know any. For me, the most valuable thing was a chance to speak to people working here before starting the process. Not only can they then refer you, but they can also share best practices, give you tips, and tell you more about the job you’ll be applying for. It’s also not a disaster if you initially get rejected. I know people who didn’t make it the first time, but persisted, remained positive, and ended up getting the job later on.

Want to follow in Anastasiya’s footsteps? Check out our Students site.

My Path to Google: Keawe Block, Staffing Lead

Welcome to the fourth installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Keawe Block. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Monterey, California, and was raised in a city called Marina, down in the Central Coast of California. My three brothers and I were all raised by a single mother. We never had much, but my mother always found a way to make sure we had enough.

I attended Long Beach City College and played sports year-round, specifically football and track and field. I didn't have the best grades, but my track coach fought hard to get me into UCLA and after my 2nd year, I was offered a partial scholarship there. I eventually lost that (very small) partial scholarship, which left me unable to afford a food card or housing in the UCLA dorms, so I had to move off campus. During this time, I bounced around from sleeping on friends’ couches, sleeping on campus, and even sleeping in my car. I then had to take out more loans to pay for school, and somehow managed to make up classes and earn my degree in History with a focus on the colonization of the Pacific Islands in 2009.

I'm now married and have two beautiful sons. When I'm not working, I love playing sports with my kids, snowboarding, and am a passionate amateur cinematographer. Also, between my brothers and I, we've established a "Creative Collective" called "Hereaux" (HERO). We're also working on establishing a non-profit that is focused on developing, mentoring, and keeping kids creative.

What’s your role at Google?
I'm currently a Channels Specialist Team Lead, focusing on diversity in tech. Our team was established five years ago, and I've been able to have the opportunity to work on/with this team since its inception. We focus on hiring underrepresented engineers in tech. One of the cool projects I'm working on is up-skilling our partners throughout Google on what my team does and how we can scale that to ensure that we're looking for talent with the right lens.

What inspires you to come in every day?
I work with an amazing team, and coming in everyday to tackle the diversity issue within tech is beyond inspiring and gratifying. I'm extremely passionate about diversity and equal opportunity for all. I grew up in very diverse areas — Marina and Seaside, and Long Beach, where I went to junior college. When I first stepped foot onto UCLA’s campus, it was the first time I felt like a minority and began my interest and work on supporting/working with underrepresented communities. At Google, we're tackling this diversity issue. We were the first to release our diversity numbers and the first to identify that we have a problem that we want to solve. So coming in everyday, knowing that my work is changing lives and changing the landscape of not only Google, but the entire tech industry, is very inspiring.

My mom has had the same job for 20+ years and has never once gotten a raise because she doesn't have a degree. If I can help people who have non-traditional backgrounds get into Google, I get a sense of accomplishment doing what I wish someone could have done for my mom years ago.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
I've never in my life thought about applying to Google. When I graduated college in 2009, I had no idea what the tech industry was about and never even considered opportunities to be available at Google. I always looked at Google like some magic entity that was impossible to work at. My resume wasn't impressive. I was unable to gain any viable experience because of sports, as well as me needing to take random jobs to support myself through school. All of this meant I wasn't appealing to companies. I finally was able to get a job with a car rental company and worked there for about two years, but I was miserable and found myself depressed.

During that time, I had a friend that worked here at Google, and he wanted to put my resume in for opportunities. Again, I knew nothing about Google and didn't think someone like me could work here. I continued to turn down his offer until one day I had a bit of a meltdown and knew I needed a change.

My decision to enter the process, even though I thought I'd never end up here, was the best decision I could've made. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Just ask Wayne Gretzky.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I called the friend I mentioned and asked him to put my resume in. Two weeks later, I interviewed, and a week after that I accepted an offer and moved my family up to the Bay Area. The job was for a recruiting coordinator position, which is an entry level role for staffing.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish that I understood more about Google, the tech industry, and how staffing/recruiting works overall. I came into the interview process and into Google extremely green. Growing up where I did and enduring the struggles that I did, thinking beyond what I initially thought I could accomplish wasn't something I was used to doing. I was a product of my environment and while I aspired to be successful in life, I never took the time to invest into what I assumed was impossible.

To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

The tech industry overall, and especially Google, is changing in many ways. What we historically looked for in candidates, the "traditional backgrounds" is becoming a thing of the past. There is a large emphasis on diversity in all aspects. Demographic diversity, diversity of thought, of experience, of background, etc. We understand now more than ever, that we need to look beyond what we know will work, in order to find true talent. We're focused on ensuring that our workforce is representative of the communities that we operate in and that isn't a staffing-only goal; it’s a goal for all of Google.

Google Travel Grant Application: 2017 Grace Hopper Conference — Apply Now!

As part of Google's ongoing commitment to increase the number of women in engineering, we are excited to offer travel grants to the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference taking place in Orlando, FL from October 4-6. Once again, this year’s conference will offer incredible opportunities for mentoring, networking and career development.

University students and industry professionals in the US and Canada who are excelling in computer science and passionate about supporting women in tech can apply for a travel grant to attend the 2017 Grace Hopper conference.

The Grace Hopper Travel Sponsorship includes:
  • Conference registration
  • Round trip flight to Orlando, FL (from within the US or Canada)
  • Reimbursement for ground transportation to and from the airport and the hotel
  • Arranged hotel accommodations from October 3-7
  • $75 USD reimbursement for miscellaneous travel costs
  • A fun event specifically for travel grant recipients on one of the evenings of the conference!

Please apply here by Monday, July 17. The Grace Hopper Travel Sponsorship winners will be announced by mid-August.

For questions, please email

Attention Graduates! Take Your Content With You When You Graduate

Graduation is an exciting time: You’re packing everything up and starting your next chapter in life. Still, it can be stressful if you’re trying to download and save all of your digital files before you leave school.

We’ve got your back with a new tool that makes it easy to copy and transfer the emails and content you created with G Suite for Education to a personal Google Account. From term papers you spent months writing to email threads with classmates, you can move it all to your personal account before you graduate, in less time that it takes to pack the car. Just a heads up that his tool is only available if your school administrator has allowed it and you can learn more about that here.

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All you need to transfer your content is a personal Google Account. Don’t have one? Visit to create one for free now.

Move your digital life in a few clicks
After you log into your school account, go to the transfer tool. There, you’ll be asked for your personal Gmail address so that the tool can transfer everything over to your own Google Account. Your Google Account’s free Gmail address will be your username followed by

After you’ve provided your personal Gmail account address, copying and transferring your email and content is a snap -- just follow these four easy steps:
  1. Select “Get code.”
  2. Check your personal Gmail inbox for a confirmation email from Google. In the email, select “Get confirmation code.” A new tab will open with your code.
  3. Return to the Transfer tool page (make sure you’re still logged into your school account) and enter the code from your Gmail account, then choose “Verify.”
  4. Choose the content you'd like to transfer, then select “Start transfer.”
If you want to transfer files that were shared with you (but that you don’t own), add those files to Drive on your school account so they can be transferred with the rest of your files. We suggest you do this before beginning your transfer.  
After you’ve started the transfer process, your files may start appearing in your personal Google Account within a few hours, but may take up to a week. When everything’s been moved over, you’ll get an email at your personal Gmail address telling you it’s all done. Got questions? Check out this handy Help Center article.

We hope this helps you take your schoolwork and digital memories with you as you head into the wide world that awaits after graduation. Congrats — we look forward to hearing about all the amazing things you'll do next!

My Path to Google: Jon Wiley, Director of Immersive Design

Welcome to the third installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Jon Wiley. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a native of Austin, TX, where I received a degree in Theatre from the University of Texas. While performing improv and sketch comedy on Austin's famous Sixth Street, instead of waiting tables I honed my web design skills. Eventually that paid the bills better than comedy and, following several years of professional design experience, I convinced Google to hire me in 2006.

What’s your role at Google?
I'm the Director of Immersive Design for Google. I lead the team of UX (user experience) designers, UX researchers, and UX engineers in creating great products for VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). Our team is responsible for things like Google Cardboard, Tilt Brush, Earth VR, Tango, JUMP cameras, Google Expeditions, and the Daydream VR platform and Daydream View VR headset.

What inspires you to come in every day?
Time is our most precious resource and it's nearly impossible to get more. I think the ultimate goal of technology is to give people more choices about how they can spend their time. I see the work I do at Google as expanding that choice. For example, before working on VR I worked on Google Search. With Search, if we could provide a better answer, faster, we could give back a little bit of time to that person — time they could use for other important things. With VR and AR, I think we can (within a decade or so) dramatically improve people's productivity with computers, thus giving them back quite a bit of time.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the application process with Google?
I'd been designing for Web for nearly a decade when I decided to apply to Google. It had never really occurred to me that I could work at a company like Google, but I realized it didn't hurt to apply.

Once I started going through the process (building up my portfolio and resume), I realized that I actually had a lot to offer. So I approached the interviews confident that I had what it takes, but also thinking it was a long shot anyway. I took the application very seriously, but I was pretty sure I wouldn't get it even so.

Part of my doubt was that I didn’t feel strictly qualified. The role typically called for a degree in computer science or human-computer interaction. I had a degree in theater. I knew I had the skills and experience, but I lacked the degree. And I wasn't sure how strongly Google felt about that.
How did the recruitment process go for you?
Everything went about the way I expected from having read about it. Short phone call with a Googler, a design exercise, surprise at being invited to interview in person, interviewing with several Googlers.

Early on I was asked for my GPA. My GPA was not good (under 3.0) so I sent it along, but I also wrote what amounted to an essay on why my GPA was low. I'd spent much of my time in college creating and building independent and successful things. For example, I co-created what was, at the time, the world's largest improv and sketch comedy festival. I wanted to show that I was much more than a score.

I never heard if that essay made a difference or not. Probably didn't hurt. :) Today, GPA isn't nearly as emphasized as it was when I was hired 10 years ago because we've learned that there are much better signals.

One other thing — my last interview of the day was really difficult. The interviewer asked some very challenging questions. I left feeling like I'd done well right up until the end, then bombed. It was stressful. But then I reminded myself that I'd never dreamed I'd have gotten as far as I did in the process and I went and had a cheeseburger at In-N-Out and felt much better.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I read every single thing I could about the interview process before I went through it, so there were no surprises.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
My very best interviews, both as the interviewer and interviewee, have always been when we get on a topic that the interviewee is very excited about (that's relevant to the role). Google is a good place for folks who are really, really interested/excited about a thing and can basically talk forever about it. I think that's what ultimately got me the job and why I've been successful - I'm just super excited about the details, tools, and challenges of user experience design.

Visit to learn more about life at Google and our opportunities for students. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and G+!

Announcing the 2017 Google Scholarship Recipients!

Since 2004, Google has awarded almost 2,500 scholarships to students from underrepresented groups in technology to inspire and help them become future leaders in the field. We are excited to announce this year’s Google scholarship recipients in the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Africa!

These students come from diverse backgrounds, are passionate about technology, and have proven themselves as leaders and role models within their communities. By supporting these students with an academic scholarship and a trip to Google for the annual Scholars’ Retreat, we hope to not only support their academic pursuits but also empower Scholars to encourage and inspire those around them.

We recently selected recipients from the following scholarship programs:

Congratulations to the 2017 recipients of these scholarships who represent 88 universities in 19 countries. These students will join a community of Google scholars who are actively changing the diversity status quo in the tech industry. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for these exceptional students!

Stay tuned for our announcement of the Women Techmakers Scholars Program for Asia Pacific.

Black History Month Pay It Forward Challenge Winners

This spring we announced Google’s annual Black History Month “Pay It Forward” Challenge as a way to recognize individuals who are making a positive impact in the Black community, while also remembering those who have paved the way in the past. We received many inspiring applications filled with personal stories and determination — a reminder that there’s always time to make a difference (even as a busy college student!). We’re excited to share the work of our three winners, and hope that you feel inspired too. On to the winners!

Meet Calvary Rogers
Calvary Rogers

Calvary believes that “we let injustice win the day when we conclude that there is nothing we can do about it.” When confronted with an incident of on-campus threats targeting Black freshmen students, he knew that his only choice was to take action. As Co-Chair of UMOJA, an umbrella group that serves to unite all students that identify with the African Diaspora at the University of Pennsylvania, Calvary planned a university-wide town hall where Black students voiced their concerns with administration, each other, and the nation as a whole. While documenting the administrative actions students wanted to see (and starting the conversation about what change would look like), Calvary and his peers realized that what they needed most was to learn from the past.

Through UMOJA and the Africana Department, Calvary is developing a database that will function to individually archive student activism initiatives and institutional/administrative feedback across universities in America in order to maximize social progress and institutional breakthroughs. By archiving Black history at universities and their surrounding communities across America, he believes that we can better learn how to ameliorate both the experiences of Black students and citizens across the world (and how they respond to them).

“When we step aside and hear the voices and stories of underrepresented groups to understand their circumstances on a human level, we dramatically shift the dynamics of our community… in doing so, we unify, gain courage, and learn new ways to advance our fundamental humanity in ways that work for everyone.”

Meet Kielah Harbert and Wilglory Tanjong
L-R: Wilglory Tanjong; Kielah Harbert

Co-winners Kielah and Wilglory are also familiar with the importance of sharing and disseminating information as a way to empower marginalized students. After submitting their college applications, they realized that without the help of the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), they may not have been able to successfully apply to universities around the country. This led them to wonder: do students who do not have the help of LEDA (but were just as qualified and worthy) have the resources that they needed to prepare and apply to college?  

#Admitted, Kielah and Wilglory’s new book, provides those resources. It offers information that is largely unavailable to socio-economically disadvantaged Black youth by serving as a guide that empowers, gives positive representation, and inspires readers to reach higher by providing them with the guidance they need to succeed. Additionally, the guide teaches students how to self-advocate, think critically, and navigate the many obstacles they will face as low-income students who care about education.

“In a world where Black youth are depicted as gangsters and thugs in mass media, and forgotten communities have little or no positive role models in positions of influence, #Admitted shifts the narrative. We show them, through positive representation, that they can be successful through education — we tell them, they can.” -- Kielah Harbert

How can you help?
Calvary encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your stories and experiences with activism and how they have tapped into untouched areas of social justice by utilizing people and/or organizations who have walked their paths before them. If you’d like more information on helping UMOJA, head to the request form.  Wilglory and Kielah urge you to buy copies of #Admitted for youth in your community, spread the word to others, have the duo speak to students, and lastly, support their summer "I Can Too" project.

Together with Calvary, Kielah and Wilglory, we can give voices and resources to all students both now and in the future.

My Path to Google: Adriana Jara, Software Engineer

Welcome to the second installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Adriana Jara. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in a small rural town in Costa Rica called Candelaria de Naranjo. I grew up surrounded by coffee plantations and nature. I used to help my family during the harvests and always joke that in spite of knowing the coffee making process from bean to cup, I must be one of the very few software engineers who doesn’t drink coffee! After high school, I moved out of my small town to go to the Universidad de Costa Rica for college, where I graduated with a Bachelor in Computer Science.

Besides being a software engineer at Google, I'm a dancer. I've been doing contemporary dance for 12 years, and I also practice salsa and West African dance. Dance has helped me see the world from a different perspective. It helps me clear my head and make better decisions as an engineer.

What’s your role at Google?
I'm a software engineer. I recently transferred to the Shopping Syndication team, where I hope to make shopping ads outside of more useful and less annoying!

What inspires you to come in every day?
The people I work with. I also thoroughly enjoy solving problems, especially problems that have impact on our users. It’s rewarding to work with so many inspiring people to help make our users’ lives easier. I'm excited about connecting people with opportunities, and sharing the advantages that our products bring to more users.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
It started with Gmail when I was in college. I very clearly remember opening my Gmail account and being so inspired by the people that changed how we do email (something that I thought was fine as it was). They made it so much more intuitive and effective that I remember thinking to myself “I want to work with people like that, people who don't take the status quo for granted, people who wonder how can we do better."

About 8 years later, I got the first email from an @google address (my recruiter’s) and got so excited about the chance to work with the people I had always admired. I never thought I could make it from my small town to the Googleplex. I never thought I would end up working in a place where you can impact millions of users around the world.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I was super excited to even be in a Google office for the interviews, but at the same time, I was scared to death of the possibility of having to move by myself to a whole new country and start a different life. I remember my first phone interview didn’t go so well. At that point, I was losing hope, but got a surge of strength thinking “I’m a good engineer and I want to work at Google, but I’ll be fine even if it doesn’t work out.” The burst of confidence seems to have helped — I did well on my second interview, came onsite for interviews, and now I work here!

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I had the perception that Google was only looking for geniuses who knew everything and could come up with the best solutions in minutes. I wish I could go back in time to tell myself how wrong that perception is—it would’ve definitely removed at least a bit of the pressure of the interviews.

Now as an interviewer myself, I’ve realized that Google engineering interviews are basically just conversations about solving problems. Essentially, they go like this: If we were to work on [x] problem together and given [y] set of tools, how would you approach it? Had I known that this is the actual approach, I think I would've been more relaxed going into the process.

Can you tell us more about the resources you used to prepare?
Various coding exercises, an algorithm class (there are a lot of those on Coursera and other education sites), and a whole lot of practice. I knew several people who were also interviewing and we shared resources we found, did 'code reviews' on challenges, and did mock interviews together.

I also absolutely loved the ’How To’ videos from the Life at Google channel on Youtube.

To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Don't be afraid to try! There is nothing to lose by trying. If you want to work at Google, go ahead and apply. Prepare yourself for the interviews by sharpening your knowledge of data structures, algorithms, and coding. If you try and fail, don’t give up! There are many factors that might lead to a failed round of interviews—everyone has bad days—so prepare yourself and try again.

Visit to learn more about life at Google and our opportunities for students. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and G+!

My Path to Google: Bjion Henry, Associate Account Strategist

Welcome to our blog series “My Path to Google!” We’ll be posting real stories from Googlers highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Bjion Henry. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m from Luton, just north of London in the UK. I studied Industrial Economics in the University of Nottingham, which was essentially a mixture between business and economics. I was active with Google while in college and also interned at Google.

What’s your role at Google?
I’m in a full-time Google Marketing Solutions role (I’m an Associate Account Strategist). Day-to-day, I work with digital marketing agencies advising them on how to grow their clients' businesses through online marketing and how to grow as agencies. It also involves a lot of data crunching and transforming insights into strategies that you then pitch to your clients.

What inspires you to come in every day?
In my role the clients have to trust you enough to actually go ahead with your ideas! Sometimes I even travel to London to meet clients face to face.

The best thing about the role is that you’re able to impact a lot of businesses and people, which is quite unusual for an entry-level role at a big company. That impact is special, and motivating. For example, although I probably didn’t acknowledge the gravitas of the situation at the time, as an intern I got to represent Google for a Q&A panel, and also for their AdCamp program. It was a bit intimidating at the start but it went really well (I think!).

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
While studying for my undergrad in 2015, I was accepted onto Google’s Top Black Talent program and as part of that, I also took part in the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC).

We were paired with a local business and I volunteered to be the team leader of my group. Over the course of about 2-3 months, we met-up numerous times at the Google London office — I guess that was my first time really experiencing Google.

After that, I applied for an internship with Google.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
During my Google internship, I had conversations with my manager and recruiters regarding a full-time role and the recruitment process started then. I returned to university for my final year, and around January I had my first phone interview.

Once I had passed that, I then moved to face-to-face interviews where Google flew me to Dublin. I remember being stressed because it was at the same time as my exams, and it was difficult balancing the preparation for both. I also remember my first interview going pretty well — most of the questions just felt like small talk with the occasional business-related question. However, my second interview felt extremely hard. I left Dublin feeling as if I had lost the opportunity, but two weeks later I got a phone call confirming a full-time role.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
That I could work on a lot of projects. I interned with the Global Customer Experience team here at Google, where part of my time was spent working with advertisers to overcome any issues or challenges they were facing whilst advertising with Google. We would troubleshoot, give them advice, and generally be the face of Google to those customers.

I had a great manager and was encouraged to work on other projects within Google that interested me. I decided to work on Google Adopt, a startup program mentoring startups from around Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) on their digital marketing. First I rebranded the program, and then I redesigned and coded the external website for the upcoming cycle.

I was also interested in working in sales, so when it came time to apply for a full-time role I decided to go for the Google Marketing Solutions job and was successful.

Can you tell us more about the resources you used to prep?
I started with learning as much as I could about AdWords and Google through articles and YouTube videos. Next, I picked out keywords and concepts from the job and interview brief and prepared questions for them. For example, if it said ‘In your role you’ll speak to marketing professionals managing relationships,’ I’d prepare an answer to the question ‘tell me a time when you managed relationships with marketing professionals.’ When preparing the answers, I’d write them out in the STAR format, and that helped a lot in the interview.

To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Learn everything you can about Google — the products, the ethos, everything! Unsurprisingly, the best way to do that is to get involved in as many Google-related things as you can find. That could be a Google networking event, university programs, online events, or internships. You can also sign up for programs like GOMC and get Adwords certified. Once you’re through the door, you can network and you start to learn how the Google culture works.

My last take away would be to apply no matter what! Some people think you have to be an academic, or a tech-head, or a successful entrepreneur. I wasn’t really any of these and so when I applied it felt like I was playing the lottery. I honestly never thought I’d make it onto the Top Black Talent program let alone secure a Business Internship and then make it as a full-timer, so anything can happen!

Want to follow in Bjion’s footsteps?

Visit to learn more about life at Google and our opportunities for students. Be sure to check out BOLD Immersion, our program for students from Europe, Middle East and Africa. Deadline: April 23rd, 2017 (23:59 GMT)

You can also see Bjion in a YouTube Live broadcast (and while you’re there, check out our other YouTube live events!):

BreakInequality Hackathon: SMS technology and API integration bringing health information to developing nations

Today we're catching up with NatalNet — a team of University of Waterloo students who won Google's Grand Prize at the Devs without Borders-led BreakInequality Hackathon, which encouraged women through technology to build scaling solutions for Plan International Canada's maternal health programming in Bangladesh. (Spoiler alert: they built an app that bridges the communication gap between expectant mothers and community healthcare workers in rural areas of Bangladesh). We invited the NatalNet crew to Google Waterloo to share their hackathon story and fill us in on how the future of their app is shaping up in partnership with Plan International Canada.

University of Waterloo students pictured from left to right, Victoria (a third year student in Systems Design Engineering), Namrata (a second year Biomedical Engineering student), Ashley (a third year Financial Analysis and Risk Management student minoring in Computer Science), Isabelle (a second year Software Engineering student), Mack (a second year Biomedical Engineering student).

Why did you apply to the BreakInequality Hackathon?
Our experience with hackathons is incredibly varied; a few members of our team had never been to a hackathon before, while others had competed in several. Despite our range of experience, we were all motivated to attend BreakInequality for the opportunity to make social impact. The chance to create a solution that could impact the lives of women on a global scale was an opportunity that we simply could not pass up.

How did you decide to build the NatalNet app?
We loved the idea of being able to connect women in rural areas of developing countries to health information and care through SMS technology. We narrowed our scope to pregnancy and newborn care information after learning that Bangladesh has a 50% mobile phone proliferation rate and that 98% of these cell phones are 2G devices - meaning that many soon-to-be mothers have access to a  SMS-enabled cell phone. We built NatalNet as an SMS and web-based application to provide pregnant women with access to information and trained community health care workers. It’s incredibly important to us to support a solution that empowers expectant and new mothers to take charge of their own personal healthcare.

What challenges did you run into with your build?
We were working with a lot of technologies that many of us didn’t have experience with. Integrating SMS into a solution was something we hadn't tackled before. After digging through documentation on Firebase and different APIs that helped us sort out the syntax that would bring our functions to life, we ended up with a solution that was “fully functional” (meaning it did exactly what we envisioned it to do!). Overcoming the different API integration challenges that arose during the project was a huge source of learning and pride for us.

What's the most important lesson you learned during the experience?
We all gained an immense appreciation for sleep after marathoning through 24+ hours of hacking! We also learned that having a shared passion for a specific goal, and working hard towards that goal as a team, leads to amazing innovations. It’s easy to see how this lesson can be applied to the work world. Most positions, especially in the tech industry, require you to work as a member of a focused team. The teamwork skills we developed during BreakInequality are skills we will take with us into our professional careers.

What's next for NatalNet and your partnership Plan International Canada?
We've been working very closely with both the Plan International Canada and the Devs without Borders teams to research, budget and ensure logistics are in place to allow NatalNet to be realistically implemented in Bangladesh. From there, our database is built to scale. We plan to use Google Analytics and Cloud Natural Language API to send personalized, automated responses written by community health care workers to women in need of information, making access for them more efficient and accurate.

What advice do you have for other women pursuing careers in STEM who are drawn to solving complex real-world problems?
Always make time for things you find important. This experience proved to us how important it is to go out and get as much experience as you can. Don’t know how to code? Get out there and learn! Want to solve a complex problem? Get out there and start solving complex problems! It may seem as if you’re going at it alone, but you’ll find so many other brilliant female minds surrounding you — we did! By making a space for yourself in the industry, you're using your superwoman powers to open the door wider for future generations to enter STEM roles, so don't be afraid to get out there and start learning!

With Google's Grand Prize support behind them, these UWaterloo students are working closely with Plan International Canada and Devs Without Borders to bring tangible social impact to women in Bangladesh through their app. Go team NatalNet!