Dhananjay Singh – Google

Ever heard about dreams coming true, come read my internship experience in my dream company.

Hi there! I am Dhananjay Singh, 4th year Computer Science undergraduate. I interned at Google this summer. This year and the last year have been exciting for me academically, quite ironic to the situation. And getting selected in the first company (that too your dream company) you gave an interview for, feels ecstatic. Internship season tends to get on your nerves, and this news relieved me of all the pressure.

Google Google Google… that’s what I dreamt of when I prepared for JEE. That’s the company I thought of when I got into IIT Bombay. But when I first understood the immense competition and rigorous selection process, the dream seemed quite faaaaar fetched. All that I heard about Google’s culture, work ethics and coding practices made my dream more genuine. But never once did I imagine that I would eventually get an opportunity to intern there! 

But when the internship season started, I did get shortlisted for Google. The fact that I had done a lot of competitive programming made me feel confident that I could make it. I glanced over all the topics before my interview, prepared the presentation of my resume and gave 1-2 mock interviews (my friend Aniruddha came to my rescue! ). There were 2 half an hour interviews with a 10 minutes break in between them. It came as a shock to me that they didn’t ask a single question on my resume and went straight to coding questions instead. However, I managed to solve the questions posed and that is how I landed my Google Internship!  

Just a quick aside, Google announced WFH allowances for this year’s intern. All the discussions among interns were around how to spend the WFH allowance. Whether it was deciding on portable or split A/C or asking questions like “bean bag reimburse hoga kya”. 

Moving on to the first day, the day when the wait got over. The most exciting part for me was meeting my internship host and co-host and getting to know about my project. There weren’t many teams having more than one intern and it was the same for my team as well, I was the only intern in the team. My project was regarding possible enhancements to Google Search UI developer tools and building a framework for executing custom analysis over Web UI code of Google Search.
It is mandatory for interns to finish the internship ramp-up training prior to working on their respective projects. It familiarized me with many fascinating internal development tools of Google and Google’s coding practices. After ramping up, my host told me that he had devised the plan for the internship project keeping in mind 3 months’ duration so my internship was extended from 2 to 3 months. (I was delighted that I could spend more time in my dream company :P). However, I realised later that being the only intern in a WFH setup is very boring (veerrrry boring).

During the first month of my internship, often the work ate up my time because there was no notion of working hours. I often ended up working late and disturbing my sleep schedule. I realised that working in a WFH setup requires a lot of discipline. Anyone working in this setup should be aware when to stop the work for the day. Thus, I inculcated my habit of book reading. I started finishing my internship work at around 6 pm and jumped straight to a novel. This also ensured that my screen time was reduced – which is a big concern in WFH.

However, WFH has its own perks. Like whenever a person has a logic in mind to write in code, no one would want to stop. And this luxury is available to us during WFH. Sometimes I myself, while coding, ended up working till 5 in the morning;  this ensured that my code was completed in one go. This setup, according to me, also ensures improved productivity because it gives us the flexibility to work at any time we feel we are most ready to.

Missing out on visiting the Google campus was very disheartening, however the intern team ensured that we didn’t feel like we were missing out on a lot. There were many fun sessions, various trivia quizzes (one of which I won :P) and team bonding sessions. And what should I say about the swag kits, they were the most exciting part of the internship. I am listening to a song on Google Home right now as well and surely will be listening to it while you are reading (you can ask me) XD.

My internship was a joyful learning ride. I always learned new things each time I presented to a different stakeholder. Collaborating with teams outside Bangalore (in my case, San Francisco), made me wonder how a company comprised of employees from varied cultures could still thrive and be at the top. Working at odd hours just to have a meeting with the San Francisco team was really exciting and intimidating at first but everyone was so welcoming. That’s what multinational companies are all about. They open the doors of success for you, let you communicate with teams across the globe and widen the reach of your ideas. 

One takeaway from my internship has been to always document my ideas and get them reviewed before implementing them. Having proper documentation gives a sense of safety in the implementation stage as well. At the end of my internship, those documents gave me a sense of accomplishment and were also my go-to’s in case of any deliberations on the future scope of the project. 

Finally, I would like to add that an internship in a software company is not just about coding. It’s about ownership of your project, it’s about having a vision for your project, it’s about leadership, it’s about teamwork and collaboration. Thus, there are various skills you can learn during the internship. Having said that, an internship is not a stress ride, it is a learning ride. Just be a sponge and try to absorb everything that comes to you. Don’t stress yourself up for not landing a good internship because learning never stops and neither should you.

Thanks for reading!

5 months ago