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How to get to work in Google without experience and with a Russian diploma

Eugene Krasko, YouTube programmer, рассказал about Russian diplomas, interviews and work in the United States.

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Eugene was born in Yekaterinburg, after graduating from school he entered ITMO at the Department of Computer Technologies and moved to St. Petersburg. After 2, he transferred to the department of higher mathematics, and at the 4 course he decided that he still needed to do programming. I began to study practical programming in Java-courses at Exigen Services, and I went to the Computer Science club for theoretical courses. In parallel, he began to enter the magistracy at the Academic University in the direction of Software Engineering.
I liked the magistracy and he completed internships at Yandex and JetBrains; I started working as a teacher in the department - and after graduation he remained at the SPbAU postgraduate program. At the same time, after half a year of work I decided to try Google (approx. YouTube is owned by Google) and received an offer.

“Thus, Google is my second employer, and as a programmer it’s the first,” says Eugene. - The moving process turned out to be quite long: from the moment of the first interview to the first working day, almost a year and a half passed. Even after you receive an offer, there are still a lot of things to do: getting a visa, selecting a team and the move itself. However, such long terms played into my hands - thanks to them I did a lot in graduate school. All that remained was to defend my thesis, which I did, returning for a short time to Russia from the USA after two years.

Initially, I filed with Google in the United States, and the most direct route is the H1-B work visa. It is intended for highly qualified specialists, but it has an annual quota, and I did not get into it. Then I was offered a district route - the L1 visa, the so-called transfer within the company.

In order for an employee to be transferred to an American office, he must work for at least a year in the office of the same company in another country. Google recruiters offered me a choice of Canada, Australia and Switzerland, and I settled on the latter. Mostly because my friends lived there - my classmates. A year later I was in Silicon Valley.

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- What is the difference between the workflow in the US and Swiss offices of Google?

- I am often asked about the differences between work and life in Zurich and Silicon Valley. I didn’t notice serious differences in the workflow device. Perhaps this is because the work of my current team is closely related to the one in which I worked in Switzerland. In fact, we are working on one project and often fly to each other on business trips.

Offices are arranged a little differently, and the rhythm of life is also different - here everything is for larks, and in the Swiss office - for owls. Although the latter is more of a necessity, because many local YouTube and Google teams work with teams from Europe. And for the interaction of teams there is a very short time interval of convenient intersection between time zones: in Europe it is evening, and in the USA it is morning.

- How is your typical working day?

- If there are no morning rallies with Zurich, then I come to work most often to watch for 10. I think I am one of the most recent, because office parking is already full. Well, then everything is standard: I respond to emails, program and go to meetings.

- What are you working on?

- I am working on an internal project. This is an infrastructure for testing: we make the services that our developers use to test their code.

- Do the Russian diplomas take into consideration the US?

- For American companies, there is no special significance of which country has issued a diploma to a programmer. Here, perhaps, a little more attention, if there is a master's degree. And, by the way, quite often when evaluating a diploma in the USA, this degree is also appropriated to developers who graduated from Russian universities with a specialist degree (5-year education). In general, a diploma plays a serious role only in the absence of work experience or to obtain a working American visa, although this is also not a panacea. Knowledge and experience are important for getting a job.

-How are technical interviews with Google?

- My interview took place in St. Petersburg (Google still had an office there). At that time I worked as a teacher of discrete mathematics at the Academic University and, accordingly, this was indicated in my resume. During the interview, I got the impression that many interviewers asked questions related to my current job and wanted to check if I really understood what I was teaching. I really liked the tasks that I was offered; They were diverse and interesting.
Now I also conduct technical interviews with candidates and, conversely, I try to ask the same questions so that everyone is on an equal footing.

Yes, and then I find it easier to compare candidates with each other. Previously, it was fashionable at Google to ask various puzzles at interviews (for sure, many people met puzzles about the coin and blender), but over time the company realized that such tasks were not revealing, and even banned them.

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- How is the final decision on the candidate taken?

- For each candidate, interviewers should fill out a special form in which you need to describe how the interview process went, and evaluate the candidate on several objective criteria. Further, these assessment forms from each interviewer are processed by HR managers and transferred to the so-called Hiring Committee. Committee members make the final decision. The committee also includes Google engineers, but it cannot be the same engineers who directly interviewed the candidates.

- How much do programmers pay in Google?

- It is difficult to say: it is not customary to discuss salaries with colleagues here, in Russia there is a simpler attitude to this. But in general, this is a very broad question: it all depends on the level at which the programmer is hired, and the skills to bargain when getting an offer. For the same level, the monthly salary will be about the same, but the size of other types of remuneration may be very different. The presence of the counter-partner and the ability to “sell” yourself decide a lot.

Like many US IT companies, Google’s salary consists of three parts. The first is the monthly salary that comes to the card in a fixed amount, which is indicated in the contract when signing the offer, and then, possibly, changes at the beginning of each year. At the end of the year they give the second part - a bonus, which depends on how much a person has surpassed himself.

Finally, the third part is the stock. Shares are given when signing an offer, but you can only sell them according to a certain scheme: for example, in the first year of operation you cannot sell at all, in the second you can sell 25%, in the third still 25%, and so on. For each of the following years, you are given a new package of shares with a similar cashing scheme. Of course, this is done in order to keep the employee, and often people cannot get off this hook, because in large companies, stocks are growing every year.

- What bonuses are there in addition to salary?

- I don’t cost almost anything medical services, because Google pays for its employees and all their family members general medical insurance, as well as separate dental and ophthalmological insurance. On average, in California, where Silicon Valley is located, I think these health insurance services could cost several thousand dollars per person. Also, I almost don’t spend money on food, because there is a lot of cafes in the office, where there is a free breakfast, lunch and dinner. For Google employees, there are many other nice "buns" - decent discounts on various goods and services, a cool office with a free gym and pool, and massage in the office.

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- The question that HR interviews like to ask very much: how do you see yourself in 5 years?

- I have no very specific goals. But I, for one, do not want to go into management; most likely I want to remain an engineer and receive a growing area of ​​responsibility in this area.

In Google, historically, the levels of developers begin with 3. When they took me to work, they gave me the 3 level (relatively speaking, Junior), because I had neither experience as a programmer, nor a PhD degree. Then I moved up to level 4, and recently up to 5. This level is already called “Senior”. From my Russian friends, I know that in Russia promotion sometimes happens faster. Many who in the Russian companies had the level of Senior receive Middle.

Google has quite a few levels - there is room to grow, but with each new level it is becoming more and more difficult. For the entire company, there is only one or two level 11 developers.

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