July 3rd, 2013 | Published in Uncategorized
We recently hosted a Hangout On Air with a group of Site Reliability Engineers (SRE) at Google and followed up with a Q&A blog post featuring an SRE intern. SRE is comprised of software and systems engineering teams worldwide who specialize in troubleshooting, tool development and production systems automation. SREs are responsible for ongoing capacity planning to handle Google's rapid traffic growth and global expansion.
Today we’re featuring Gabriela Tavares, a SRE intern in our London office, who will tell you more about herself, Site Reliability Engineers and the work they do at Google.
So Gabriela, tell us about yourself...
I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I completed my bachelors in Computer Engineering at PUC-Rio and my masters in Logic and Artificial Intelligence at Imperial College London last year.
What are you working on at Google?
I’m working alongside the Ads Site Reliability team on optimizing database microsharding in a backend process. The database’s shards are divided into smaller chunks called microshards. The goal of my project is to optimize the partitioning into microshards in order to decrease the 99th percentile processing time. I’m experimenting with two different algorithms: a greedy algorithm, which is non-optimal but has linear computation time, and a dynamic programming algorithm, which always generates the optimal solution but has quadratic computation time.
What’s a typical day in the life of a SRE intern?
I usually start my day by catching up on emails and responding to code reviews. Then, I go for coffee with my team (we have fancy coffee machines in the office!). Some mornings we have team meetings where we share work updates and highlight any challenges. The rest of the day usually involves lots of coding. On Fridays, we have a "beer and demos" meeting where we drink beer, eat pizza and demo our recent work.
How did you find out about the SRE internship program?
I applied for an internship because I wanted to take a year off before starting my PhD and get some work experience in the industry. I initially applied to become a Software Engineering intern, but when I heard about the project in SRE from a Google recruiter, I realised it could be an interesting combination of theory/experimentation and software development.
What is your favorite thing about the internship?
The best part is being surrounded by super smart, interesting people from different backgrounds. The company environment really encourages social interaction so you get to meet a lot of people from different teams. I also like that my team is very sociable, we’re always going out to do fun things together. It’s also nice to have the chance to work with algorithms I never thought I would use after university!
London is an amazing city and the Google office is very centrally located. It’s very easy to get around everywhere and there's always lots of cool things to do and see.
What skills have you gained since you started?
Google also has its own tools and libraries for almost everything, so I’ve learned how to use them. I’ve also learned to ask questions; getting help from others is highly encouraged here, and always leads to interesting discussions and better solutions. I also think that I’m now writing much better code in terms of readability, simplicity and cleanliness.
Do you have any advice for someone considering to apply for a SRE internship?
Originally, I never considered applying for a SRE internship because my background more algorithmic than system-oriented, but SRE is not just about infrastructure and system administration. There are many interesting problems to tackle which involve designing and coding depending on the project, so be open minded and give it a go!
What are your plans once you finish your internship?
After my internship I’m moving to California to start my PhD in Computation and Neural Systems at Caltech. I’ll be working on modelling how our brain makes decisions and how these models can be applied to Artificial Intelligence. I also hope to return for another internship at Google.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Come to Google, it's all true!
Posted by Frida Borjesson