Seminole Success Stories: Denia Del Cid
Major: Computer Engineering, Class of 2015
Internship Experience: Google
Describe some of the steps you took to obtain your internship.
It all started with me joining the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). They have an annual national conference that is held every fall in a different city in the United States. The first time I attended the conference, I did not receive any internship offers, but it was a great learning experience. I learned a lot about the different types of companies and what they were looking for. I used this experience to prepare for the following year. I got my resume reviewed at least three times by Melissa Forges from The Career Center at the College of Engineering, I got a job at FSU Information Technology Services (ITS) as a Computer Repair Technician, and I continued to get help from the FSU SHPE chapter.
When the next fall came, I registered for SHPE conference. A few weeks later, I received an email (that was sent to every SHPE national member) encouraging me to apply to a Google Travel Grant, which would cover the travel, housing, and registration costs of the SHPE conference. To be honest, I originally was not planning on applying, but a couple of my friends from SHPE encouraged me to apply; and I am glad I did. A couple weeks before the conference, I received an email from a SHPE national representative saying I got the scholarship. This email was later followed by one from a Google recruiter asking for my most up-to-date resume and transcripts. From this point I was offered two interviews with Google at the conference.
How far in advance did you prepare?
I would say that it was a process of about a year in order to obtain the skills and experience needed to meet the position requirements. For the interview itself, roughly a week.
If you used any Career Center services or events to obtain the internship, what were they? How did these help you in landing the internship?
In order to obtain the internship itself, I did not use the Career Center services. Previous to that, I did use The Career Center to get my resume reviewed, which was a great help. During the conference I was told by a couple of recruiters that my resume was one of the best they had seen.
What was a typical day like?
A usual day for me at Google starts by checking my emails on the one hour “Gbus” ride from San Francisco to Google's headquarters in Mountain View. I like to get there around an hour early to grab some breakfast and then head to actual work. I’m a part of the IT Intern program where I help with internal user support, either in-person or remotely, work on a corporate engineering project, and participate in skills-based training.
As a member of Google’s Information Technology team, I am a go-to person for Googlers' computer hardware and software needs, providing front line user support for all of Google's internal tools and technologies. I troubleshoot, respond to inquiries, and find solutions to technical challenges. When I am not assisting Googlers, I am working on one of my projects where the goal is to improve the Googler user experience by contributing to longer term projects and documentation efforts.
Projects are different for everyone; I actually have two projects. One of them requires improving the UI (user interface) of an internal site that will be used by thousands of Googlers worldwide. The second project is slightly more complicated where my team and I are building an auditing system which will be used worldwide throughout Google’s offices.
When you work at Google you are always surrounded by very smart, knowledgeable, inspiring, diverse, and interesting people; definitely the best perk of working here! I have one host and a mentor, who are the ones I work with the most. They are the ones who (mainly) provide me with the necessary guidance and advice on where to find resources and answers to my questions and are super awesome to work with. After my work day is over, I head to grab dinner with other interns; this is usually followed by an activity such as volleyball, a ping pong match, bowling, Dance Dance Revolution, etc.
What are some major takeaways from your experience? How will these help prepare you for the next step after graduation?
Three of the most important skills that I learned during my time at Google was to stay curious, take ownership of your work, and to do what you love.
By asking questions and constantly seeking for better answers and solutions (rather than point out the problems), more progress and innovation can arise. Start by asking general questions. When your questions have been answered, review your task and ask even more in depth questions. Doing this helps get a better understanding of the subject and helps you grow intellectually.
Taking ownership of your work means to go that extra mile aside from your established duties. For example, if you work in customer service and you help somebody, follow up to make sure that your client is satisfied. If you are an engineer, do your job, but if you run into any troubles or your work has any issues, own them; tell your supervisor about them and ask for help. Never be scared to ask for help, but try not to ask the same question twice. This approach leads to more satisfied customers and better products.
Similarly, if you do what you love, work will feel more like hobby than work, and your happiness will be displayed on your work. These are skills that are useful anywhere, but for me personally as an engineer, are essential to stay current in a field that is constantly changing. They also can be applied to new projects and products that could become the next breakthrough.