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9 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
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  1. 4 people found this helpful

    weak management, no respect for contractors

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

    I worked at Google

    Pros

    obvious perks like food, gym, celebrity visits/talks, laundry, dogs on campus, etc

    Cons

    the managers from my experience did not know how to manage. they seemed like former engineers that were just given the title. No leadership, guidance, or followup throughout my year there. Also when it came time to convert me to full time, management failed and "forgot" to submit my application. Contractors overall seemed pretty unhappy even with all the awesome company perks. It just seemed like there was just some lack of respect for us.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    train your managers better. it's like the blind leading the blind sometimes over there, hence the "chaos" everyone is talking about.

    No opinion of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful

    Pockets of greatness in product and engineering. Other functions are secondary and low-profile.

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

    I have been working at Google

    Pros

    People are smart and well-intentioned
    Gourmet food everyday, in lots of different cafes
    Countless opportunities to take on-campus classes
    Internally transparent company, even around product development

    Cons

    In finance, non-technical management somewhat helpless in technical environment.
    IT problems fester because leadership is detached... can't envision and implement solutions.
    Poorly designed internal processes lead to massive inefficiency in day-to-day operations.
    Culture of autonomous work is being replaced by corporate, tops-down autocracy.
    20% of people in finance provide 80% of the functional value, because the other 80% of people don't have necessary technical skills to contribute.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest time and technical resources to support financial operations.
    Engage senior leadership in solving IT problems.
    Don't hire people with lots of staid corporate baggage.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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