This past August, the EMEA Intern team challenged their 2014 intern class to create a video about a product they would launch if they had an unlimited budget and resources in the spirit of moonshots and 10x ideas. They needed to include their concept, resources required, potential impact and the problem it would solve.
The video was to be a maximum of 2 minutes in length, and points were awarded by a panel of engineers for product idea, feasibility, technology, innovation and impact. The prize was a fully paid week at our Headquarters in Mountain View soaking up the culture, lifestyle and general life as a software engineer in Google Mountain View.
Jakub Czarnowicz, an SRE intern in Zurich, was our winner this year, with his entry tackling how to help visually impaired people navigate everyday activities using “Google Assistance Dog” on a mobile device. We asked Jakub about his inspiration and experience:
Of all of the tech companies to apply to, why did you want to work at Google?
Google is one of the few places that allows you to grow and develop your skills as well as spend some marvelous time in awesome places. It’s famous for being innovative and open for new, cool ideas. If you want to affect lives of millions of users – Google is the place to do that.
Due to that choice, my whole summer was one big series of coding, hiking, designing, sightseeing, learning and having fun. One big adventure!
In what way has Google impacted you and how have you left an impact at Google?
Surprisingly, I have learned many new things here. From coffee making and juggling to networking, software design and Go language. There are many talented, brilliant people working at Google and they are all open to sharing ideas and explaining bleeding edge technology. Just a few discussions during coffee time can teach you more than a month at the university.
It is difficult for an intern to have a big impact on such a company but I hope that my product idea from the Intern Competition would be introduced and one day I would see it running. That would be a really big achievement.
What is the most interesting/exciting thing that you have been able to do as a Google intern?
It’s not that simple to decide what was the most interesting. As a “nerd” I was delighted to have an impact on Google-scale applications – thousands of instances running in data centers all over the world, millions of users, unbelievable performance and stability of services … It’s just amazing.
And then, after work, there was another kind of excitement. I fulfilled one of my biggest dreams – paragliding in the Alps. It’s totally breathtaking!
How was working in Google HQ (MTV) different from working in a European office? Is there an added benefit to either?
Google HQ is different in every way. It’s not an office – it’s a whole district of buildings including over 30 cafes, tennis courts, swimming pools, bowling alleys and so on. There are ten times more engineers than in any other office. You need a bike to travel from one building to another. The Zurich office is a lot smaller and there are incomparably fewer places to spend your free time. On the other hand, it feels a lot more homely, it’s less crowded and as quiet and peaceful as a Swiss facility can be.
Do teams work differently in different offices? Is the culture different?
Each team is different, each can work in any way the members prefer. There were two most noticeable differences between my team and the team I’ve spent my time in Mountain View with. First is working hours. In Zurich, many people prefer to stay up late. The office is far from being empty even at 9pm while Googlers I’ve met in MTV leave much, much earlier.
Another thing is the coffee culture. My team spends a lot of time chatting over a cup of a latte prepared with all the proper rituals. As a coffee lover – I really enjoy this way of spending a break.
What types of lessons/skills have you learned at Google, especially in your exchange office, that you will take back to school after this summer ends?
For me, the most important skills were independence and self-confidence. At Google, if you have an idea – you should introduce it and try to make it happen without any hesitation. Even if it’s criticized and rejected, you will learn a lot and draw conclusions that will help you in the future.
During my exchange, I continued to work on my main project even though I was separated from my team. In my opinion, this was the best way to learn how to solve problems on my own and work on even the most difficult problems without any supervision.
After spending time in your exchange office, do you think differently about other office locations? Would you consider working in a different office?
Nothing changed in my way of thinking about different places – I always loved traveling and experiencing new cultures. This exchange just confirmed my beliefs that I should make full use of my youth before finishing my studies and starting work as a full time employee.
Each office is different and I would love to visit as many as possible.
You had to create a video to enter into this exchange competition. Tell us a little bit about yours and where your idea came from.
My idea was to create an app that would help visually impaired people deal with everyday activities. Even ordinary actions are challenging if you have problems with your sight. Shopping? Using public transportation? Crossing a road? If you think those are simple operations – try doing them with your eyes closed.
That is where the most marvelous ideas came from – just putting yourself in someone’s else shoes and try to solve their problem in the most Googley way.
After this summer, what comes next for you?
It’s hard to say. I still have two years of my masters degree so I want to come back to Poland and finish my studies. In terms of Google – my biggest dream for now is to come back as an intern to work awesome offices, such as New York or Sydney.
If you’re passionate and excited by working on cool things that matter, enjoy tackling the toughest problems in information technology and developing innovative products that make a positive difference in tens of millions of lives every day, Google might just be for you!
As an intern, you come here to build, lead, break, create, improve, shi, and shoot for the moon. Our career paths are varied. Google gives you tons of options to develop yourself, and then get out of the way and let you choose what’s best for you.
If you’re inspired by Jakub and other #googleintern stories, we encourage you to apply to our 2015 internship program. Applications are open now – apply today! We’re hiring for 2015 internships right now, click here to apply!
Posted by Raquel Inacio, University Programs Recruiting Specialist