Securing an internship as a student can be quite challenging whether in terms of preparation, interviewing, or other aspects of the process. Having interned at Google as a STEP intern in the summer of 2023, this article will be a walkthrough of my personal experience. Disclaimer: This is my personal experience; I am not affiliated with Google and what worked for me might not work for you. Keeping that in mind, this is how my application process went.
While this might go without saying, a well-tailored resume is needed for the application. After doing some research and consulting people in the domain, I modified my resume and created a personal portfolio showcasing some of my work. Google has a great YouTube video on how to create a great resume, you can find it here. Similarly, I made sure to have a few projects on my GitHub. I was able to reach out to a current Google employee who agreed to refer me. I submitted my application and waited for feedback.
A few weeks later, I received a follow-up email and a questionnaire to fill in. This was followed, later on, by an email informing me that I would need to choose dates to interview. With a mix of anxiety and excitement, I specified my availability and started to get ready. I had around a month to prepare. Fortunately, I was taking the Data Structures and Algorithms course at university. The course covered a vast majority of the concepts needed for the interview, so my preparation really consisted of three things:
- Reviewing concepts covered in class.
- Learning more advanced concepts that were not covered.
- Practicing what I learned.
While practicing is really important and arguably, the most beneficial type of preparation you can have, I believe that thoroughly understanding coding concepts comes as a prerequisite. Memorizing patterns is good but understanding them is even better, at least in my opinion. I did not solve hundreds of problems, mainly because my time was limited, but Leetcode was, I would say, of great help. I practiced easy and medium problems, taking note of patterns commonly found in them. While you might think that practicing makes you more confident, it actually makes you realize how much you don’t know.
Not being able to solve a certain problem can become discouraging but fortunately, there are thousands of online resources that were of great help to me. The ones that helped me the most were:
Please note that I am not promoting any of those resources, they were just of great help to me.
I went through two 45-minute interviews with a 15-minute break in between them. The interviews were conducted online, and I had to code on the spot. The interview day was really stressful, but the interviewers were really nice and guided me through the problems. Communicating my thought process to them allowed me to explain my point of view and the approach I was aiming for. No feedback is provided right after interviews. I waited around a week and received an email from my recruiter, informing me that I passed the interview stage. I still had to go through team matching to secure an offer.
After going through the team matching process, I secured an offer at Google Cloud, Warsaw around March. My internship start date was specified to be July 3, 2023. I then started my visa and work permit preparation with the help of Google.
As you might have guessed, I was extremely happy and grateful for the opportunity that I got. Interning at Google was an unforgettable experience. It was challenging to get there but it was also extremely rewarding.