How Can I Get A Software Engineering Job At Google?

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March 23, 2017

How can I join Google as software engineer? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Paul K. Young, Software Engineer at Google, on Quora:

You want a job at Google? Then apply now. The possible outcomes:

You get the job. Congratulations!
You get to the in-house loop but are rejected by the hiring committee. Maybe with dedicated study over a longer period you could re-apply and get in at a later time.
You don’t pass the phone screens or the resume screening. This is the outcome for the vast majority of candidates. It typically indicates that a position at Google is out of reach for the candidate. (Most applicants are in this category.)
Some people spend months on preparation and defer their application because they don’t think they’re ready. But that’s usually not a great strategy. The possible outcomes:

You get the job. Problem solved, but could you have started a few months earlier?
You don’t get the job. Was that prep time well-spent? Could you have built an app or done better at your current job in that time? Could those activities have helped you more in your career?
Another thing to consider: Google places higher expectations on candidates with more experience. So waiting a year or two to gain experience isn’t necessarily beneficial to one’s chances of getting hired. Work on large-scale distributed systems, cloud platforms, or specialized areas of interest applicable to Google might be beneficial. But spending a year or two on a small-scale website or app might not be so helpful.

So apply now. But you don’t have to go into the interview unprepared. In fact a bit of prep is warranted. There are plenty of resources out there to help prepare for technical interviews. Here are a few general pointers that are sometimes overlooked:

Practice coding on a whiteboard or in a Google doc. This is often a stumbling block for candidates that are accustomed to using an IDE for development.
Learn about the core business offerings of the company.
Think about how you might implement some of the features for that company’s products. Many services at Google operate at scale, but there’s a good deal of variance in how they do so. For instance the challenges of serving the Google homepage are different from serving YouTube videos or ads that are embedded on third-party sites.