Why I Joined Google
As some of you may or may not know, I joined Google as a Developer Advocate on the Google Cloud Platform Team in January. I just completed my first 3 months and, like many others, it's been a whirlwind experience. The sheer amount you need to learn and get used to is overwhelming. Google has been doing a lot since it started almost 20 years ago and it shows. There is a huge amount of built-up experience and know-how at the company.
My Path to Being a Googler
After college I joined a small/medium sized company of about 600 people and started my career doing practical, but uninteresting kind of enterprise development. The technology was old and the Washington D.C. area isn't the most hip of places for programmers not interested in defense contracting. I wanted to do something radically different. So I packed my bags and headed to Tokyo.
I had been learning Japanese on and off as a hobby after college and I decided that I liked enough to try my hand at living in Japan. I worked for a couple small development companies doing web development. My second job allowed me to do web development in Python which still is a rarity, but was even more of a rarity in 2008 Japan and the small community allowed me to contribute in a big way. I helped start the PyCon JP conference and though my contributions to the logistics of the conference itself were limited, I worked to promote the conference and make it easier for developers in Japan to use Python.
My journey with Python brought me in contact with Google App Engine as it was being released. The developer of App Engine, Bret Slatkin, came to Japan and inspired me to become more active with the community around Google products. App Engine was only available in Python at the time and encouraged a lot of other developers to learn Python so I had my work cut out for me. A friend recommended me as an "API Expert" in Japan, the program that would eventually become the Google Developer Experts program. Through that experience I was able to visit many local areas around Japan and talk about App Engine and Google's other cloud technology.
So last year when a friend asked me if I would be interested in a position as a Developer Advocate for Google Cloud Platform, I jumped at the chance.
Why I Joined Google
There are a lot of reasons to join a company like Google but here are mine.
A Team I Can Trust
This may seem obvious but changing jobs is never an easy thing to do. Many questions come about. For Google, questions like "Is this job challenging enough?", "Will I learn enough?" can generally be answered easily with a resounding "Yes!". But other questions like "Will I be happy?" and "Will I be successful?" are a bit harder to answer.
I was referred by a friend of mine at Google. HR at companies often talk about how candidate referrals are the best way to find new employees but it's also the best way to find a new job for the candidate as well. When considering whether to take a new job or not, it's reassuring to know that the folks you will be working with are folks who you will get along with and trust. It was obvious from the start that the team I would be working with was full of great people.
For me the position was perfect. The job of the Developer Advocate position is something I was already familiar with through my work with the Python and Google developer communities. It was the perfect position for me to play to my strengths. Developer Advocate seemed to be, for me, the right job at the right time.
Google is, well, Googley
Google has a phrase that is used a lot at the company. "Googley" has a lot of different meanings for different people but this article by Jens Oliver Meiert does as good a job as any to describe it. I think it's accurate to put "Do the right thing" at the top of the list. While a few Googlers aren't particularly Googley, most are and strive to be even more so.
For that reason, Google is a great company to work for. There is a strong engineering culture which values trying to find the best solutions to problems and to do things the "right" way. This is evident in the company\'s commitment to ethics and, as a general rule, the folks at Google are highly ethical. Things like security, and privacy of data are taken very seriously.
Being an expat in Japan I had an appreciation for other countries and languages. But since coming to Japan I had been too isolated here and wanted to branch out into other countries in Asia as well as back into the U.S. and even Europe. Google was the perfect company to give me that experience.
The people I get to work with at Google are top notch. It's easy to feel like an impostor in a company with so many smart, accomplished people. But an environment where you are constantly challenged to deliver better results is an environment that will give you the most room to grow in your skills and experience. I felt that even though it made me feel uncomfortable, it would be the best place to grow, expand my horizons, and advance in my career.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I intend to work hard to make Google Cloud Platform the best place to host your applications and data. It's hard to say what will happen but I'm excited about the future and really optimistic about technology. Many people have talked about the ability of technology to improve people's lives. I think that new technologies like cloud, containers, mobile, and wearables, have huge potential to change people's lives exponentially more than computers have so far. The next few years will be exciting!
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