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Surprising pathways to working at Google

Tech careers

There’s more than one way to land a job in tech – and these amazing pathways are proof

Think you need a tech-specific degree to land a cool tech job? Nope! These three people all have successful careers at Google – but their study paths might surprise you.

Bachelor of Business

Natalie Piucco, Google Cloud Technologist

Natalie’s thirst for collecting new skills has helped her build a stellar career, even though she didn’t do a ‘traditional’ tech degree. Instead, she studied a Bachelor of Business for a unique combination of skills she calls her “superpower”.

“We need people with a fusions of skills who can fall in love with the problem first and really unpack the human side – is this the right problem to be solving for? – then deeply understand how new technology might help to solve it,” she says.

Natalie’s ability to think like an engineer combined with her business background has rocketed her career. Image: Lauren Trompp

Future-focused

In her current job as a Cloud Technologist, Natalie helps business and engineering leaders build new products or scale their business using Google Cloud technologies. She also helps businesses navigate tech and digital changes – so she has to be across a variety of tech, including artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, data and cloud computing.

Natalie also does plenty of international travel. You might find her launching Google hardware products in Europe, running AI workshops in Japan, or at conferences in San Francisco.

As for her career aspirations? With tech changing so fast, chances are her next role doesn’t exist yet, but it’s likely you’ll find her working with people who are applying emerging technology to complex problems that are yet to be solved, to make the world a better place.

Natalie’s pathway

  • Bachelor of Business, University of Wollongong
  • Engineering Intern, Google Cloud
  • Solution Engineer, Google Cloud
  • Global Practice Lead, Cloud Transformation, EMEA
  • Field CTO & Cloud Strategy, Google APAC

Bachelor of Fine Arts

Andrew Gray, Senior Technical Program Manager

Google
Andrew studied fine arts, majoring in photography – now he works in tech at Google. Image: Lauren Trompp

After graduating with a photography degree, Andrew had second thoughts about turning his passion into a career. Instead he looked to other hobbies – like building and fixing computers.

Without any formal tech qualifications, he got a job providing support to Apple customers, then landed an internal IT support role at Google and – with on-the-job and self-directed learning, plus a graduate certificate in IT – Andrew’s career has progressed to an awesome senior management role.

Every job is a learning opportunity

Now leading software engineering projects across Google’s ChromeOS, Andrew is proof a tech degree isn’t the only path.

“Those with different education, experiences or backgrounds can be just as successful as those with the ‘traditional’ approach,” he says. “Use every job as an opportunity to learn new skills and apply your old skills to new technical challenges.”

Andrew’s pathway

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (photography), National Art School
  • Family Room Specialist (repair technician), Apple
  • Genius (computer repair technician), Apple
  • Internal Corporate
  • IT support, Google
  • Corporate Operations Engineer, Google
  • Graduate Certificate in IT, UTS
  • Technical Program Manager, Google
  • Senior Technical program manager, Google

Bachelor of Science/ Bachelor of Arts

Lena Wang, Site Reliability Engineer

Lena studied computer science as part of a Bachelor of Science, but her pathway into tech wasn’t exactly typical, as she combined her degree with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in philosophy.

“Tech has and will continue to shape our socio-political interactions, for both better and worse,” she says. “I wanted to understand the innovations themselves in order to apply pressure on the industry in an informed way.”

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Lena Wang combined computer science with arts. Image: Lauren Trompp

One way Lena has worked to apply pressure is improving representation for women and minorities. While still at uni, she was recognised for her work in this area by Google, receiving a Women Techmakers Scholarship (now known as a Generation Google Scholarship).

Before graduating, Lena undertook software engineering internships at Microsoft and Google, and is now a site reliability engineer (SRE) at Google, working behind the scenes to efficiently and automatically prevent or fix any tech outages.

Lena’s pathway

  • Bachelor of Science (Physics, Computer Science)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy), University of Sydney
  • Generation Google Scholarship, Google
  • Software Engineer Intern, Microsoft
  • Software Engineer Intern, Google
  • Site Reliability Engineer, Google

This article was brought to you in partnership with Google and was originally published in Careers with STEM: Technology.

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