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8 people found this helpful  

Terrific opportunities for growth and impact

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Senior Staff Engineer in Mountain View, CA
Current Employee - Senior Staff Engineer in Mountain View, CA

I have been working at Google

Pros

Having been at Google longer than 9 out of 10 employees, I still feel the business poses me with fresh challenges and terrific learning opportunities virtually every day. I have been able to pursue several distinct "mini-careers" at the company, with promotions and transfers available as I hit major project milestones. The career environment is ideal for someone who thrives on complexity, who takes initiative, and who communicates well and constantly with technical collaborators.

I feel that management empowers and facilitates individual contributors. You have a fantastic liberty here to challenge how things are done (whether bureaucratically, technically or in product design). Expect fast and constant change. You can step up and drive that change, too, if you have the chops -- the courage to express a coherent vision, and the stamina and depth of skill to follow through. A high impact project at Google can affect a global user base of hundreds of millions (or is it billions now?), and can shape the course and direction of whole industries. You can provide great benefit to users worldwide. The right answer to a search query can literally save a life, reorient a career, or enrich a relationship. And while search is critically important, we do so much more.

When it works, it is a total jazz. When it doesn't work, well, you fail fast and try something new. Everyone outside tends to ask, "What company will be the next Google?", but internally we remain quite ambitious: "My project at Google will be the next Google!"

The people here are great to work with. Passionate about ideas, compassionate toward others, with many innovative superstars, and a culture that celebrates diversity. Of course, there is some politics, human nature and fallibility -- as you will find anywhere -- but I find the overall environment positive and well intentioned.

Cons

Working at Google has a stiff learning curve, and it can be challenging to ramp up and get your footing here -- especially if you have been doing software development 10+ years elsewhere and are accustomed to being a big fish. In you aren't on a very short list of luminaries (e.g. a Vint Cerf), then respect and influence have to be re-earned from scratch based on what you do at the company. Your past merits may have helped you get in the door, but inside they buy you nothing. So, to thrive here you have to grow and sustain some inspiration about what's possible, to keep your head above the daily grind of routine work.

Working at Google can isolate you from the global technology community, as well as sometimes from our users. We have our own technology stack and internal lingo, so systems and methods learned here aren't always transferable. We exist in an extreme media spotlight, in highly competitive markets, dealing with sensitive information, so we are very cautious about sharing anything externally. The culture tends to be inward facing: everything is on campus (the Googleplex) -- meals, entertainment, perk, education, tech talks -- so why engage outside of the bubble? Our approach is to solve everything with automation so that the system works on a global scale, but human-to-human customer service does not "scale", and so is sometimes given short shrift.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

I find that Google's leadership is willing to make hard choices with integrity. They are an inspiration -- and they are always challenging us to reach further, try harder, think more deeply.

Recommends
Approves of CEO

2597 Other Employee Reviews for Google (View Most Recent)

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  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    one of the great companies of our time

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at Google

    Pros

    There is no finer collection of engineering talent on the planet. Good perks, great free food. Fantastic talks from visiting speakers.

    Cons

    Google doesn't compete on speed -- it competes on quality. In that regard it is a lot like Blizzard. So if you're entrepreneurial and like to attack new markets this is not a good place for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    guys, you still think you can attack any market. The reality is: Google's culture produces high quality, high performance products ... slowly. Therefore, don't waste your time and effort competing in rapidly evolving markets like social networks -- concentrate instead on staid and stodgy markets where the dominant design is clear and quality, performance and cost are significant differentiators. Android, Chrome and Chrome OS are good examples, but also, why not kill Oracle, EMC, Cloudera, etc.? As for facebook, wait for social networking to mature, then fight on quality.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 10 people found this helpful  

    Good company and perqs; work itself is often lacking in substance and satisfaction

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Google

    Pros

    * World-class, brilliant coworkers
    * Excellent benefits and physical environment
    * Above-average total compensation compared to other local companies
    * Some groups do very cutting-edge work

    Cons

    * Much of the work is not interesting
    * Mid-level executive leadership is questionable
    * "Death march" schedules and random priority changes becoming more common
    * No career path from engineer to having substantive influence over what gets worked on
    * Too many overqualified people forced into work that's beneath their abilities

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Eric seems to be on the ball, but I'm less impressed by many of our VPs. I feel like I'm being assigned to projects as a lowest-common-denominator coder, because it's too complicated to keep track of what people are good at in an organization this size. I also feel that any insight I might have is basically unwanted and my job is to shut up and write code to support other people's visions. It's not an inherently very satisfying job, and I think it's going to become harder for Google to continue to attract top people if something doesn't change.

    Approves of CEO
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