Google Interns are located at offices all across the globe, and represent a broad diversity of backgrounds, concentrations and interests. Inspired by Steven Colbert’s Better Know a District, we’re bringing to you “Better Know an Intern!” The series introduces you to our interns across the globe, and will get you the scoop on the impactful projects they work on, their interests and passions, and what it’s really like to intern at Google straight from the source.
For our today’s post, meet Christina Lidwin, a senior computer science major and first year Creative Technologies master’s student at Virginia Tech, and an intern on the Billing team.
1. Of all the companies to apply for, why did you want to work at Google?
During my sophomore year, I was looking to participate in a second technical summer internship. I had enjoyed working for a software company in Northern Virginia, and wanted to experience a new company, location, and culture. I had heard excellent things about Google, and I applied for Google’s Engineering Practicum program, which targets current sophomores/rising college juniors. This program stood out for me because of the collaborative project between full-time employees and other interns my age and skill level, career-building classes taught by people from different backgrounds and areas in the industry, and the mentorship opportunities.
Needless to say, I had a great time as an Engineering Practicum intern in Google’s Cambridge office, and I was thrilled to become a Google Student Ambassador and be invited back as a Software Engineering Intern for summer 2013 at headquarters in Mountain View.
2. In what way(s) has Google impacted you, and how have you left an impact at Google?
The motto “there’s always more information out there” is truly a way of life at Google. With so many technologies, languages, concepts, and programs, Google has impacted me by showing me a lifestyle in which everyday presents a new, fun, and exciting concept or challenge to engage with and learn. My hosts/managers, mentors, and peers are all uniquely inspiring people, and I am always amazed by how willing people are to engage in conversation and how much knowledge is shared throughout the company.
Working for Google has also taught me that I can (yes, even as an intern) make an impact for the company. Last summer as an Engineering Practicum intern, I worked with two fellow interns and three hosts to experiment with Robotium Testing for Google Play apps. The experiments help developers in Google Play create visual and simulated interactive tests on Android devices, so they can spend less time on manual testing and more time on developing new features. This summer, I am working within the Google Billing teams to create a new notifications viewer, which helps internal Billing team engineers better understand how events and notifications are processed and manage activity in customer accounts. Both of these projects have helped me see that the work I am doing has a much larger impact than on my own personal development or the productivity of my team; anything I am doing to help make our lives easier as engineers helps change the world.
I also enjoy contributing to Google in more ways than being a software engineering intern. Whether it is volunteering in one of Google’s service projects, participating in a program or event Google is hosting, or being a resource to Google on my university’s campus, it is exciting to be impacted and impact Google in different ways.
3. What is the most interesting/exciting thing that you have been able to do as a Google intern? Your “Magic Moment”?
The “magic moments” I have are the times when I get to share my experiences at Google with others. Being able to share what I do and talk to people about Google’s company and culture reminds me how unique Google is and I feel humbled to be a part of it.
4. Aside from working for Google, what kinds of organizations/clubs/activities are you involved with in your community / around your school’s campus?
Outside of my internship and being a Google Student Ambassador, I enjoy playing saxophone as a member of the Newman Community Musicians at Virginia Tech (we even recorded a CD this past spring!), reading design/web development blogs, visiting my high school to talk to Computer Science/Math students about pursuing technology in college, participating in University Honors study abroad and freshmen mentorship programs, and cheering on my college football team (Go Hokies!).
5. What types of lessons/skills have you learned at Google that you will take back to school after this summer ends?
Being involved in the CSSI program and working with Google this summer has given me a greater sense of the phrase “anything is possible.” There are really interesting technical challenges to be solved and exciting products to be designed and developed, and there are so many resources available, that the possibilities for what I can do are endless. Going back to school, I feel inspired to spend more time “inventing the future” (as my school motto goes) through the lense of making information more universally accessible and useful to others.
I am also very excited to be returning to Virginia Tech in the Fall to represent Google as a Student Ambassador for the second year in a row. Throughout the year, I get to use the knowledge I have learned over the summer about Google to engage with various student organizations and academic programs around campus. It will be nice to share the magic of Google with Hokie nation, while also keeping in touch with Google representatives and letting them know more about our school.
6. Any advice for students interested in being a Google intern?
Google is a company where you have the ability to bring your passions to life. While that can be as a software engineer, there are plenty of ways to contribute to the community, give back, and help keep Google a forward-moving, innovative, and fun-to-work-and-engage-with company. Do not be afraid to showcase your talents and extracurricular interests on your resume and in your interviews, because Google is about a lot more than understanding how to code.
7. Favorite micro-kitchen snack?
Hands down, the Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Squares with Caramel Filling
Interested in learning more about our internship opportunities? Please visit our student jobs site and apply today!
Posted by Sarah Henderson, Student Development Team