THE GOOGLE INTERNSHIP
"Are the nap pods real?"
I was wide-eyed and eager for an answer, like The Internship was Harry Potter and I would finally discover if Hogwarts existed.
Feeling like I was on a middle school field trip, I spoke with Janet An '16, a software engineering intern at Google, over a delicious dinner. My plate was piled high with free taco salad, free grilled corn on the cob, and a free, hearty concoction of Mexican rice, beans, and ground beef…did I mention it was free?
"Yeah, there are a couple in that building over there," she responded, pointing behind me. "There's also a ball pit there."
Alright, let’s face it. If you’ve never interned at Google and you watched The Internship, weren’t you just a teensy bit curious about how much Vince Vaughn and Jared Stern (the other guy who apparently also wrote the script) actually got right?
"Noogler" caps? Yes.
Pursuing and actually dating your hot supervisor without getting a sexual harassment suit against you? No.
Nap pods? Yes.
I-must-beat-everyone-else-to-be-successful-here intern competition? No.
Free food? Oh, so much yes.
PART OF THE TEAM
An, who applied to Google her sophomore year, simply wanted to work at a big company.
"It gives internships more structure," she explained. "My friend who works at a small startup spent a week setting up a programming environment that my manager at Google helped me set up in ten minutes."
According to An, whose project deals with an aspect of Google Maps (that's as much as she can say due to a non-disclosure agreement she signed), the best part of her internship isn't the crazy perks; it's the people.
"I love my team," she said. "They're really welcoming and I feel like I'm learning a lot."
Pablo Hernandez '17, another software engineering intern who works on the AdWords team to optimize ad revenue, agrees that the people are one of the best parts of the internship.
"They really treat you like you're part of the team," he said. "You attend all the meetings and they're really open to helping you."
Because each intern works on a different project, the atmosphere is non-competitive and pretty pressure free, according to An. And a lot of the teams aren't just welcoming in a work sense. When An and I visited her desk, it was surrounded by nerf gun bullets.
"Yeah…I seem to be the target of their game," she said, laughing.
A DREAM COME TRUE?
Of course, working at Google isn’t just a stress-free dip into the ole nap pod. Interns are no longer in CS 106A lectures and there is no Karel the Robot or Keith Schwarz. Work can be tough, bugs persistent, and long days prove to be boring at times. On a typical day, an intern starts work around 9, takes a few breaks, has a couple meals, works some more, then leaves at 5, according to Hernandez. Unlike An, Hernandez had a less positive experience with the "big company" aspect of Google.
"Since it's so big, there's always a lot of dead time because projects are so connected and you're always waiting on somebody to do something," he said.
An, who rarely experienced any “dead time” says it really depends on the team and project you are assigned. Regardless, you learn, and gain valuable experience surrounded by techies all alike. And despite any qualms a Google intern may have about the internship, there seems to be one thing in common: they all want to return.
"I'd love to come back," said Hernandez, who placed value in the relationships he built. "It’d be cool to be on a different team and work on a different project.”
"I would definitely work here full time," An said. “I like Google’s mission of making the world’s information accessible to everyone.”
I, for one, was sold on the free food and nap pods.