Internships are a critical aspect of the college experience that the department strongly recommends to our computer science majors. Students gain significant benefits, including experience, skill development, and connections, to build your resume and secure a full time job. Finding an internship is the responsibility of the student, however, through partnerships with tech companies, the department and the College provide excellent resources and opportunities to our students.
MH Johnson, a Computer Science senior, was always interested in working for Google, so he took the initiative to “google” for student job opportunities. His determination landed him his first internship with the company in NYC during Summer 2015 as a Engineering Practicum (EP), followed by an internship as a Software Engineer this past summer, and, ultimately, secured an offer for a full time position! MH eagerly answered a few questions to share his experience at Google:
How would you describe the culture at Google?
The culture at Google might be my favorite thing about working there. When it comes to Engineering and code quality, everyone takes it very seriously and holds each other to high standards. Everyone has great ideas and I met so many smart people. At the same time, everyone is very laid back about things that are typically “business world”. For example, there is no expected dress code, I wore a tee shirt and shorts most days. Also, the hours are very flexible. There were plenty of engineers on my team who would sleep in every day and get to the office at ~11am or even noon!
The best part though, is the mutual respect at Google. People value ideas at Google, whether it’s an engineering director or an intern wearing a tee shirt, everyone at Google can have a meaningful conversation.
And of course, there are the fun perks like free food, scooters in the office, massages, game rooms, etc.
What new skills did you gain during your internship?
My coding improved so much from my experiences at Google. I wrote thousands of lines of code, and all of it was reviewed by at least one software engineer.
Another important skill, that I underrated at first, is communicating with your team. It’s very important and surprisingly difficult to stay up to date with your host and your whole team. Along the same lines, it’s crucial to learn when and what you should ask questions about to your host.
I pretty much always knew I wanted to work as a Software Engineer after I graduated. My internships confirmed that this is what I want to do, and Google is where I want to work. I was lucky enough to get a full time offer after my second internship, I will start at Google after I graduate in May 2017.
Any tips for others who may be thinking or looking for an internship next summer?
Be persistent and just apply. My freshman year I applied to tons of internships for that summer and I didn’t even get any interviews (even from Google). But going through the application process forces you to make a resume and refine it. Applying itself is a learning process.
Finally, get involved with the CS department here at CofC! The program is full of smart students who work on cool things, and the department holds lots of events that you should definitely try to attend.