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Developers, read this before applying to Google

stetsenko_me profile image Andrew Stetsenko ・7 min read

Want a tech job at Google? This article is for you.

My version of the guide on landing a job at Google starts not with common tips but with fresh data. Here are the results of our analysis of over 300 Google vacancies. To perform this research, we’ve built our own internal analytics tool for examining vast data sets. Ironically, it’s based on the seq2seq model from TensorFlow, built by Google as well :)

From all these job descriptions, we extracted the most demanded skills. Afterward, we filtered the results by 3 locations: Asia+Australia, Europe, and the USA+Canada. So, choose your current, (or future), destination, and go on.

North America

For North America, the list of the TOP skills looks the following:

The top skills Google looks for in North America

Apart from this list, the most desired languages in North America are C# (21) and Objective-C (23). As for the differences, about 10% of the vacancies in the USA and Canada demand knowledge of Swift (14) or Perl (11), while 22% of the positions (24) are for those who know SQL. If you opt for working with data, knowledge of Hadoop (13) and MapReduce (9) is strongly recommended.

Europe

Here is the skills list for Europe:

The top skills Google looks for in Europe

C# (20 mentions) and Objective-C (16 mentions) are also among the popular programming languages in Europe. In addition to languages, a future Googler should know Distributed Computing principles (15), Data Structures (14), OOP (6), etc. Surely, for Google, this knowledge should definitely go beyond university textbooks. Of course, you also cannot ignore Google’s own projects, such as the Cloud Platform (10) or Kubernetes (7).

Asia Pacific

These are the most demanded skills in Asia & Australia:

The top skills Google looks for in the Asia Pacific

Apart from these, Cloud Computing experts are also in demand. About 30% of all vacancies are dedicated to them. As for programming languages, C# is almost as popular as Go (21 mentions). The knowledge of Shell Scripting (10 mentions), Markup Languages (16 for HTML and 14 for XML), Automation Testing (8 mentions), and Databases (9 mentions) can also come in handy for different jobs. By the way, such skills as Big Data (9) and Deep Learning (7) seem to be gaining in popularity in Asia and Australia, too.

Important note: we don't claim that having these skills guarantees you a job at Google, (or that not having them spells an end to your career.) This is just a market analysis: it's always useful to know the demand.

Why Google

Studies show that about 2 million people apply to Google every year. And here is why. According to the Glassdoor reviews, Google offers the following perks to its employees:

  • Competitive compensation. The average salary at Google is about $124,000/yr for a Software Engineer with any level of experience, and $165,000/yr for a Senior Software Dev (as of Glassdoor).
  • Well-selected environment. Of every 130 applicants, only 1 becomes a ‘Googler.’
  • Career growth. If you eventually leave Google for any reason, just imagine the eyes of recruiters when they see ‘Google’ in your 'Work History', as opposed to the ‘Technology Stack’ section of your resume!
  • Great projects. Along with the projects related to search engines and cloud technologies, Googlers work on things like self-driving cars and healthcare devices.
  • Company culture. 3 meals a day for free, regular health check-ups, 22/18 weeks of a maternity/paternity leave, amazing gyms, unlimited coffee, and snacks — that’s what every Googler gets on a daily basis.

With 70+ offices across 5 continents, Google seems like an ideal place to work. Now, let’s find out how to apply.

Applying

All the necessary information for tech job applicants is mentioned on the Google careers page. First, you need to enter your skills to a specific search bar and browse the relevant job offers. After doing that, Google career experts advise you to concentrate on polishing your resume.

Laszlo Bock, former senior vice president of People Operations at Google, says that active verbs are the key to a successful technical resume. The ‘Experience’ section and bullet points, in particular, are the most important part of any resume. Here is a golden receipt from Laszlo how to 'cook' them:

Accomplished [X] as measured [Y] by doing [Z].

Take a look at these examples:

  • Implemented Solr cluster (master-slave architecture) for near real-time search, resulting in a 20% reduction in search time.
  • Developed and maintained an automated analysis system capable of processing 15 million statistical operations per day.
  • Rebuilt the environment to be elastic and resilient by splitting the monolith running on the IBM stack into containerized lean Spring Boot running in Kubernetes.

With such bullet points, your chances of getting a tech job at Google highly increase.

Apart from this, keep in mind the following rules:

  • Include only those tech skills which are relevant to the job description.
  • Don’t forget to mention your leadership experience, if you have any.
  • If you have limited work experience, include your relevant school projects or coursework.
  • Keep your resume short and simple; if the recruiters need more details, they will contact you to ask additional questions.
  • Refrain from long cover letters. They won’t help you to showcase yourself as an innovative techie.

Important note: all the applications are reviewed by real people, not parsers. Keep that in mind when crafting your resume. Don’t overdo it with the keywords or templates — stick to a plain and simple resume format. (.doc or .pdf is perfect.)

If you don’t have the time or experience to craft a suitable resume by yourself, consider turning to tools like CV Compiler. This particular tool analyzes your resume and gives instant advice on how to improve it. By the way, it also checks how suitable your resume is for the world’s top-notch companies, Google in particular.

Another important rule: don’t forget about networking! Think of all your acquaintances. If you have any with Google connections, send them your resume and ask them to refer you. Google has a special referral system for its employees, so the process will be fast and simple for the Googler you know. However, networking alone won’t land you a tech job at Google — it can simply hasten the process of reviewing your resume.

Interview and making a decision

At last, you’ve made it! The recruiter finally said “Yes,” and the interview is scheduled. Take a moment to celebrate, then begin your preparations again. Google is known for its long recruitment process, which takes 6-8 weeks on average from the initial contact to the offer. During this time, you will have to pass 2 stages: the phone/Hangout interview, and the onsite interview.

In the phone interview, you’ll have a Google Doc shared with a person who will interview you, (usually a manager or a team member.) The interview will last for 30-60 minutes, during which time you’ll have to answer questions, (mostly about algorithms and data structures), and back your answers with some code. As you’ll be limited in time, your code needn’t be perfect, but it should definitely be workable and revised. Having coped with a task, you will then be asked to explain your solution in an algorithmic way.

Having passed the phone interview, you will be invited to the office for a series of onsite interviews. Google loves behavioral interviews, so forget about the typical ‘Why-did-you-decide-to-leave-your-previous-job?’ questions. Moreover, don't think about brainteasers: Google had left them in the past. Instead, expect to role play particular situations and be ready to explain your actions. For example, think of your answers to the following questions:

  • Describe your process for... (building an e-mail list, setting up a database, etc.)
  • Tell me about a time you... (had a tough time with your colleague, took a risk and failed, etc.)
  • What is an accomplishment you're proud of and why?
  • What is the most complicated industry-related thing you know about?

Surely, you will be asked to code again. The questions will cover mostly algorithms, data structures, recursion, sorting, discrete maths, and graphs. Moreover, you won’t be let to work in an IDE, but will be free to choose a language at your disposal.

Important note: During the meeting, an interviewer will estimate not only your industry-related knowledge but also your general cognitive ability. So, be ready to explain your way of thinking and tell real stories from your own experience. Moreover, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You should find out as much as you can about your future role, the team, the company culture, and so on.

After you’ve completed all of your interviews, a special committee will review your candidacy. If everything’s good, you will get a long-awaited tech job at Google.

Useful resources

If you need some extra inspiration or tips, turn to these articles:

Do you have any other tips on getting a job at Google? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading! This post was originally published here.

Even if you're not applying to Google, a good resume is your key to successful employment. Get your perfect resume here: https://cvcompiler.com/.

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Andrew Stetsenko

@stetsenko_me

HR Tech Entrepreneur with coding background

Discussion

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Could you elaborate why you used TensorFlow to extract text keywords and sort them by frequency? It's an honest question. Can it recognize words that are related to skills in this specific case or something else? Thanks.

 

Hi Dmitry. Sure, I'm happy to explain. We used TensorFlow to build custom NER (Name Entity Recognition) models, using BiLSTM-CNN-CRF. Hope I answered your question :)

 

No, not really. I have no idea what those acronyms are. ELI5, perhaps?