Google internships are helping Holly engineer a successful computer science career.
Holly Ade-Simpson knew straight away she wanted to apply for an internship with the tech giant Google after they visited Victoria University of Wellington, where she was studying. She never thought she’d be accepted – but two preliminary interviews and two technical interviews later, the Electronic and Computer System Engineering student found herself with a summer placement in Google’s Sydney offices.
Now, Holly has completed two Google internships and is preparing for her third, this time at the company’s global headquarters in Mountain View, California.
It’s a long way from Holly’s first week at university, when she was afraid of being out of her depth. “I came in with no coding at all. I hadn’t done any tech stuff through high school or growing up,” she says.
“On my first day I had to put together a desktop computer…many classmates had their computer assembled in half an hour and I would be there for three.” But something one of her lecturers told her stuck. “He said, ‘Although you might not know everything now, you’re going to be OK because you’re asking all the right questions’,” Holly says. “That gave me a little bit of hope.”
Holly says one of the best things about her Google internships has been learning from other Googlers. “They have such a honed knowledge, so meeting all the people there is really interesting,” she says.
Persistence also paid off for Mayur Panchal, who applied three times to be a Google student ambassador before he was finally accepted.
Mayur, who also studies Electronic and Computer System Engineering at Victoria University of Wellington, was flown to Google, Sydney, for training and team-building exercises such as cooking classes – even spying a couple of copies of Careers with Code while there.
“I had a blast over at Google’s offices, it was a really good experience and I met some really cool people,” he says.
In his role as student ambassador, Mayur helps to organise events on campus at Victoria University of Wellington. He has just wrapped up Mobile Refresh, a one-day conference for mobile designers, developers and testers in New Zealand.
Mayur says the project management skills he learnt at uni and participating in robotics competitions have all made a difference in being able to take on a non-technical role. There’s a shortage of good coders, he adds, and recommends taking an introductory computer science or programming subject at uni.
“It’s only one trimester that you’d have to spend to give you an idea of whether you like it or not, and it opens quite a lot of doors,” he says.
“Computers are now everywhere so you might as well learn how they work.”
– Michelle Wheeler