💎Become a Pixel engineer! Watch the video to the end to find out how to do it.
📼 Pixel’s new engineer? That could be you, as Pixel 6 becomes the new flagship of Google. Jana Ehmann, Staff Software Engineer, Ge Bian, Software Engineer, and Zhijun He, Principal Software Engineer at Google, share with you how they work at the company and why their team is one where you can thrive.
📼 Pixel seeks software engineers, technical program managers, test engineers, technical solutions consultants, and hardware and firmware engineers. In any of these positions, you will get to interact with many different teams and organizations, both within and outside of Google. The company partners with Android, Assistant, Fitbit, and countless others. They closely collaborate with many different hardware teams on developing new components for their devices.
📼 As a Pixel engineer you will use a broad range of programming languages, from C and C++, to Java and Python. Sometimes you will even handcraft the new assembly to optimize the critical pass for the best end-to-end performance. Pixel never limits itself to what they have and how they used to do things. They leverage their innovation and expertise to find the best tools and technologies for the missions.
Become A Pixel Engineer And Bring Your Perspective To The Table
Around the globe, each person working on Pixel’s team has a unique perspective, background, and expertise. They're distributed across the Americas, Asia, and Europe, but members come from all over the world. They speak multiple languages, they stem from different cultures, and they live in various environments, and this diversity enables them to truly understand and address the different needs and wants of their users across the spectrum.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Google? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Jana Ehmann, Ge Bian, and Zhijun He
More About Google
Since its founding in 1998, Google has grown by leaps and bounds. Starting from two computer science students in a university dorm room, they now have thousands of employees and offices worldwide. These Googlers build products that help create opportunities for everyone, whether down the street or across the globe.
💎 Your next technical application process might be closer than you think. Watch the video to the end to prepare for it in the best way possible.
📼A technical application process requires some prior preparation. Play this video to get three top tips on how to navigate your interview journey. You'll hear from Daniel Bergholdt, Senior Technical Recruiter at Thumbtack, who shares his expertise in this field!
📼For a technical application process, social media is not enough. Tip #1: Have a formal resume. Your LinkedIn is great, but also have a formal resume handy. You must keep your LinkedIn updated with all of your technologies and recent projects, but it’s important to have a formal resume as well for when you're applying directly to the company.
📼In a technical application process concreteness is a value. Tip #2: Be specific. When reaching out, know what you're applying for. Being very specific about what you're targeting will greatly increase your chances of moving forward. When reaching out to a recruiter, let them know that you have already applied for a certain position and that you also want to showcase some of your skills to them.
A Technical Application Process Requires An Appropriate Language - Tip #3: Use Technical Communication
The biggest tip with interviewing is technical communication. You want to ask clarifying questions before you even start coding. It's also important to state all the assumptions to make sure that you fully understand the parameters of the question. And lastly, you want to essentially think out loud. Show the interviewer how you want to solve the problem.
📨 Are you interested in joining Thumbtack? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Daniel Bergholdt
Daniel has 8+ years of full lifecycle technical recruiting experience. If you are interested in a career at Thumbtack, you can connect with him on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Thumbtack
A home is the biggest investment most people make, and yet, it doesn’t come with a manual. That's why Thumbtack is building the only app homeowners need to effortlessly manage their homes — knowing what to do, when to do it, and who to hire. The company is driven by a common goal and the deep satisfaction that comes from knowing its work supports local economies, helps small businesses grow, and brings homeowners peace of mind. They’re seeking people who continually put their purpose first: advocating for pros and customers, embracing change, and choosing teamwork every day.
Asking Theresa Rapior where she’s from is somewhat of a complicated question.
“I’m currently living in Los Angeles, but I was born in Germany,” she explains. “My dad's German, and my mom's American. I grew up mostly in Canada, then went to university in Scotland and studied in Cairo. And then, I lived in Korea for a couple of years before I moved to the States.”
Having lived in various corners of the world has not only given Theresa a unique perspective but has also helped her build valuable skills that she now uses as a Frontend Engineer at SoundCloud.
We sat down with Theresa to learn more about how she has connected archaeology and education to her transition into the computer science world. She also shared advice for those seeking to break into software engineering, but who lack the formal education.
Thinking Like Indiana Jones
As a teenager, Theresa had the unique opportunity to explore Egypt with her father and brother, an experience that would confirm her childhood dream to study archeology and Arabic.
“In November 2001, my dad took my brother and me to the north and south of Egypt. My dad had friends in the antiquities department so we got to go inside the Sphinx," she recounts. “I remember thinking: Wow, this is an adventure. Indiana Jones is the right path for me.”
Fast-forward to her early twenties and Theresa was back in the Egyptian capital pursuing archeological studies. However, when she realized that doing so as a lone foreign woman had its risky side, she decided to pivot to exploring Asia and teaching English in Korea.
Despite this shift, Theresa took away crucial lessons that would come in handy as a future software engineer.
“Archeology is very much like a crime scene investigation,” she explains. “You're trying to find evidence and explain something. Software engineering is a lot of problem-solving and asking the right questions.”
This way of thinking would stick with her throughout the rest of her career path.
Autodidact Mode: On
After two years of teaching English in Korea, Theresa decided to move to Los Angeles to be closer to her sister. Since teaching was the most recent addition to her resume, it made sense for it to be her start in a brand new city.
Although the transition from education to tech seems like it's going from one end of the spectrum to the other, it was Theresa's experience in education that helped shift her mindset to succeed in the tech world.
“This divide between whether you are smart or not smart is something that holds students back," she says. "I made this realization for myself and what I wanted to impart to the kids is that if anyone can do something, you can do it too.”
In 2013, Theresa put this lesson to practice when she decided to try to scale solutions related to education and working with kids.
“I started trying to learn Ruby, build websites, and work with WordPress to see if I could build and find product solutions that help solve problems,” she explains.
Over the course of three years, Theresa pivoted from teaching herself these skills in order to build platforms to creating lesson plans and teaching coding.
Teaching others to code not only helped her gain a better understanding of programming but also allowed her to challenge herself with more advanced projects. Eventually, she decided to change gears and focus on becoming a programmer.
“I realized that I still wanted to be the programmer that I was training these kids to be, the person that's building these products and solving these problems,” she recounts. “So I asked the one engineer who was working on the website in our office if I could join the web development team because I had all these product ideas. For example, we really needed a form for teachers to submit content—it was only email and it took days and days to do it. So, I designed and then helped build a platform.”
With this practical coding experience under her belt, Theresa was primed for software engineering opportunities to come her way.
Serendipity at SoundCloud
One of Theresa’s favorite anecdotes to share is that when she was in university around 2010, she recalls coming across SoundCloud and being obsessed with how it connected her to niche artists and genres. She even fantasized about working there.
“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, being an engineer at SoundCloud would be the coolest job, but that is not my trajectory.’ And the fact that it happened this way is extremely serendipitous. It’s a really special thing for me,” she shares.
When Theresa came to SoundCloud, she was the first woman in their Los Angeles office to join the engineering team and she was happy to find that her teammates were extremely helpful.
“I had learned a decent amount on my own, but the vast majority of what I know now, and the skills that I have is from my jobs. When I feel lost, I don't feel bad for asking a simple question.”
Theresa raves about the freedom and support she has received at SoundCloud to explore new things and engage in collaborative problem-solving.
“I was hired as a front-end engineer. But, I have some backend experience and my goal is to be a full stack engineer because I want to be able to work on the platform end-to-end,” she explains. “So my team has been giving me access to things and problem-solving with me when I ask or letting me explore. It's extremely supportive.”
In addition to this supportive company culture, Theresa also mentions that her coworkers’ sense of humor and their shared interest in music help level the playing field.
“It doesn't feel like there are any hierarchies,” she says. “There's no hierarchy of knowledge, you're always able to talk to whomever.”
The Lessons Along the Way
Through her diverse experiences and self-study, Theresa learned that the key to understanding complex or new topics, such as programming, was to understand the meaning behind what you are doing.
“Once you know the meaning of things, then you can form your connections," she explains. “It's about finding the connection between the new material and what you already know. Then you can find ways to apply new knowledge fast.”
She also points out the importance of creativity and how we can all access it.
“I used to think that if someone was creative, it meant they were supernaturally artistic, and that was something that I did not have. I was never creative, I didn't make art, and so I didn't have the capacity for creativity. And then I realized that when I was trying to come up with ideas for how to scale education and solutions, these ideas that I was having are creative.”
Theresa highlights that combining this creativity with problem-solving is crucial in software engineering.
“With software, you have to figure out what is the problem you're solving and break it down to find the most efficient solution, which can be creative and novel.”
4 Tips for Breaking into Tech
Theresa will be the first to admit that learning code on your own can be hard. She assures us that feeling frustrated and wanting to give up are valid feelings, but it’s just a matter of pushing through.
For those who have always wanted to pursue their dream career in software engineering, Theresa offers this advice:
- Gain experience. Theresa says that having a degree in computer science is valuable but not always necessary to get a job. “You just need to gain experience and be able to show proof,” she explains. “And showing proof can come from building a portfolio, even if no one looks at it. What is important is that, even without an academic background, it is key to know the core of a language and not just a framework built on top of it.”
- Be able to explain what you do. “You need to be able to explain how to build things. In coding interviews, they want you to talk out loud about what you're doing and why you're doing it,” she shares. “They want to know what it would be like if they assigned you a task and how you would do it.”
- Have the motivation to keep going. “If something's frustrating and it makes you cry or makes you want to quit, that’s okay. Maybe you can try again next week, find a different solution or drop the thing that made you upset,” she advises. "And then connect to something that’s a little more fun, just keep pushing; if anyone can do it, you can do it.”
- Resources, resources, resources. Theresa shares a helpful resource that shows the step-by-step process of how to become a developer. Studying this roadmap helped her secure her job at SoundCloud.
Katie Dillon has many hobbies. During the pandemic, she picked up candle and jewelry making, opened an Etsy shop, learned new watercolor techniques, and poured hours into maintaining her vegetable garden.
And recently, her interest in the lindy hop community has been resparked. “Swing dancing is something I enjoy doing,” she shares. “I used to travel for dance every other weekend. It was a huge part of my life. And I recently got inspired to get back into it.”
Whether through crafting or dancing, Katie enjoys harnessing her creativity — a skill she also uses for her work as a Software Engineer at SeatGeek. We sat down with Katie to learn how producing effective code involves creativity and design thinking.
Following Her Interest in Design
Katie grew up within a family of software engineers. “My dad is a software engineer and my younger brother has always wanted to be a software engineer,” she shares.
Katie, on the other hand, wanted to carve her own path. “I wanted to do the absolute farthest thing that I could think of from software engineering. There was no way that I was going to code.”
In an effort to find her own voice, she joined a filmmaking program in high school. “It was film, design, and English,” she explains.
After two years in the program, her mind was set on filmmaking and she applied to several university filmmaking programs. Although she was accepted to some reputable schools, she started having second thoughts.
"I thought I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, so I wanted to go to a school that allowed me the flexibility to change my mind. I ended up applying to some design schools and then going to the University of Michigan," she says.
There, she pursued an art and design major and started on her career journey.
“I [ended up] doing graphic design, UI/UX stuff,” she explains. “I was doing a lot of freelance design work and consulting for small businesses. I was full design and felt pretty good about that for my future.”
Katie had regular clients and a full schedule with her design work, however, she felt inclined to take an intro to coding class to stay current—and keep up with her family’s dinner table conversations about machine learning.
“[I thought to myself], ‘I'd like to understand what this chaos is when my dad talks about it,’” she admits with a smile.
And after that first class, she was hooked.
Merging Creative Design With Coding
“I took one class and I [knew] this was for me,” Katie shares.
“It opened my eyes to the fact that engineering can feel like adult Legos, where it's highly creative, but in a way that also tickles my organization brain,” she explains.
Because of her newfound interest, Katie decided to finish her design degree with a minor in computer science. While working to achieve this, she got a first glimpse at what a career in tech could look like. This glimpse came from an internship for a company she was previously doing design work for. “It was a local company in Ann Arbor. [I told them] I wanted to code and it worked out great,” she shares. She went on to describe the invaluable mentorship and support she received during her transition from design to code. “That internship really helped me envision what it would look like to work as a software engineer,” she adds. “Something I’m still grateful for.”
Because of her design background, Katie was able to draw similarities between designing and coding. From a design perspective, coding is “designing how a system is going to work or designing the flow of information,” she explains.
She has always thought of design as a form of creative problem solving; understanding a problem or a pain point that needs to be solved, ideating different possible solutions, and then realizing those solutions.
Similarly, coding involves designing creative solutions to problems. In both cases, these problems often have many solutions. “With coding, we're not outputting something visual, but designing how information moves through a system,” she explains.
The key is being able to design code that helps reach goals; and design thinking plays a crucial role in that. “There are so many different design choices that make good code.”
Using Creativity to Code at Seatgeek
After her first experience with coding, Katie decided to expand her career and found SeatGeek through a job search. What caught her attention was the staff.
“Something that resonated with me was that there were these people in all different walks of life who, I felt, SeatGeek honored and encouraged to be their whole [selves] both inside and outside of work,” Katie says.
SeatGeek is the live entertainment platform that’s rethinking ticketing by caring more about fans, teams, and venues. With their technological savvy and fan-first attitude, they’re simplifying and modernizing the ticketing industry.
Now as a Software Engineer, Katie uses creativity and design work in her coding process. “I use creativity more when I’m thinking about and planning code,” she adds.
“[On my team] we try to think about these big problems and break down those problems into smaller chunks and that process is so creative to me. We’re figuring out what needs to be solved and then designing some sort of solution.”
Advice on Using Creativity to Power Your Code
Creativity is a beneficial skill — one that Katie uses on a regular basis.
“In my job, I end up wearing many hats and playing designer when writing frontend code,” she explains. “It's always great when I'm able to collaborate with someone and have explicitly asked for design input on bigger projects, but when that's not possible, my design background allows me to still be effective and create user-friendly interfaces through conversations with stakeholders and an iterative design process.”
Katie emphasizes that everyone should identify their own creative processes and harness those when designing and writing code, but she offers this advice for those searching to vary that creative spark:
- When in doubt, draw it out. “This may not work for everyone but it works for me to have a physical pen to paper and be able to draw my ideas,” says Katie. “Whether you’re drawing a diagram or a doodle, it doesn’t have to be perfect. This process can reveal the weak points and help you focus and iterate on your ideas.”
- Be open to collaboration. Having open and casual meetings with other engineers can create the space for innovation. “I think that some of the most effective and groundbreaking meetings don't really have a plan other than ‘let's talk about this big idea and think about it,’” Katie shares. “Talking to other engineers during that unstructured design time is really helpful.”
- Do the big design work first. “Doing enough of the planning and design work ahead of time, I feel, lays the base to be more creative with the small things,” shares Katie. “Once you have the structural pieces in place, you can utilize creativity by getting feedback and bouncing ideas off of other colleagues to fill in the missing components.”
If you’re ready to apply creativity and design to solve big problems, check out the open positions at SeatGeek.