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Career Possibilities [Jan. 29th, 2007|11:13 pm]
Wade
In which Wade takes the first steps towards finding a new career and new life. Oh boy!

[Warning: Self-involved post - probably kinda boring.]

Hi all,

So, having spent the last 6 months procrastinating on the job front, the past few days have been quite fun. I've learned more than I ever wanted to about supposedly effective resume and cover-letter writing technqiues for the wonderful world of industry, and have a first resume and cover letter. Although I am relatively happy with the resume, I really don't feel happy with the cover letter, but I think that is mostly because I prefer to undersell rather than oversell (a trait that the cover-letter-writing guides all state must be inhibited).

Here are the first batch of jobs I will be applying to, tomorrow.

I do have something of a dilemma though. I'm not sure what the "best" way to apply for the jobs is. One possibility is to just use the google apply online page, which allows me to provide personal, educational and employment information, along with a resume and cover letter. I can than associate up to 5 job positions to this resume/cover-letter submission. However, this poses some problems:

  • I'd prefer to customize my cover letter for each of the positions, which suggests that I should submit separately for each position. But will this end up being a source of added bureacracy (and hence irritation) for the individuals responsible for processing the resumes? Do they prefer having multiple job listings associated with a single resume, or not, I wonder?

  • The cover-letter guides all emphasize that finding out exactly who is going to be reviewing the letter and resume, and using their name in the cover-letter salutation, is important. Personally, I don't really think it matters in this situation, but hey, what do I know about industry!? Maybe the resume processor is some weenie who gets offended if people don't call them by name. No use risking it, except I'm not sure how easy it is going to be to find out who is responsible for processing resumes. I'm going to do some phoning tomorrow and see what I find out.

Here is my resume (with personal info stripped to make stalking slightly more difficult). BTW, it looks much prettier in pdf than it does here :-)

SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS

Research scientist and adjunct professor, with Ph.D. in Computing Science, specializing in software engineering and programming language implementation and optimization. Expert-level knowledge of C++ and Perl. Expert level knowledge of object-oriented design \& analysis. Significant practical experience with machine learning (AI, OCR, and data mining). Work best in a small team of passionate individuals working on truly challenging projects in which both personal initiative and significant collaboration are required.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Programming Languages
    • Proficiency \& Experience: C++ (15 years), Perl (12 years), Java (10 years), Lisp (15 years), and familiarity with many other languages (Python, Javascript, Smalltalk, Eiffel, Prolog, Cecil, Beta, Ocaml, and others). Have written applications in both C++ and Perl involving hundreds of classes.
    • Language Research My research is focused on expressivity (how to say more with less), reliability (safety, maintainability, verifiability), and efficiency (compiler and runtime optimizations). Particular focus has been placed on meta-object protocols and reflection, language interoperability, multi-method dispatch, and aspect/component-oriented programming.
    • Compilers and Virtual Machines: Have a strong background in compilers, and am an expert in virtual machine implementation and optimization. Have implemented the Java VM in C++, and taught an advanced graduate-level course on VM implementations for 6 years.
  • Software Design
    • Object-Oriented Design \& Analysis: I have 12 years of experience in program analysis, design, maintenance, and testing, including everything from many small-scale projects, and numerous medium and large-scale projects in multiple languages.
    • Teaching: My undergraduate teaching duties over the past 6 years have been focused on object-oriented design and analysis, including the theoretical and practical aspects of design patterns, UML, and various design methodologies like RUP, CRC, XP, and OMT.
  • Machine Learning
    • AI: Have explored game theory and search space algorithm optimization in numerous contexts, including the implementation of AI for various games.
    • OCR: I am the lead architect of an open-source project designed to provide a highly modular approach to optical character recognition. See http://www.corollarium.com/conjecture for details.
    • Data Mining: Have substantial practical experience in the automated processing of web-pages and the extraction of heuristically identified information, including automated form instrumentation and web-page traversal.
  • Additional Skills
    • Mathematics: I have an interest in various areas of mathematics, especially those related to quantum mechanics (as it relates to quantum computing), complexity analysis (as it relates to algorithm complexity), and statistics (monte carlo simulations, empirical analysis of optimization impacts).
    • Graphics: Have experience with OpenGL, VRML, VTK, and the Quake II rendering engine. Have also done GUI programming using Tk (for Perl) and Qt (for C++).
    • Parallel \& Distributed Programming: Have experience in the use of distributed environments, especially in relation to reducing search space execution times.
    • Linux: Have been a Unix/Linux user for 17 years, and have linux administration experience, including supporting of small LAN's of mixed platform computers.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

  • Professor (1999-2006), University of Western Ontario, London, ON. Research areas include programming language implementation and optimization, advanced object-oriented programming language features (reflection, aspects, components, multi-method dispatch, language interoperability), and virtual machine design, implementation and optimization. Teaching duties centered on object-oriented design, analysis and architecture (C++, UML, design patterns, design methodologies) and virtual machine implementation and optimization. Service duties included acting as the Outreach chair (liaison to undergraduate \& prospective students, organization of ACM programming contests, promoting computing science to the community, etc.), and the organization of an annual career fair for 3000 students and 100 companies.
  • Sessional Lecturer (1993), University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. Taught an introductory computing course to 400 students in both fall and winter terms.
  • Parallel Programming, Myrias Computer Technologies, Edmonton, AB, Summer 1994 (during B.Sc.). GUI development to monitor parallel processes.
  • Research Assistant (1989-1993) for Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer and Dr. David Laughton, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. Parallel programming, unix system administration and numerical methods programming in C to solve third-order PDE's.
  • Quality Assurance, Myrias Research Corporation, Edmonton, AB, Canada, Summer 1990 (during B.Sc.). Performed quality assurance of software design for a massively parallel hardware architecture.

EDUCATION

  • Ph.D, Computing Science, 1999. University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Canada. GPA: 3.9. \\ Notes: 4 peer-reviewed publications and book chapter during degree.
  • B.Sc., Applied Mathematics, 1994. University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Canada. GPA: 3.7. \\ Notes: Sessional Lecturer in Computing Science during this degree.
  • M.Sc., Computing Science, 1993. University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Canada. GPA: 3.7. \\ Notes: TA for various courses, and an RA for Dr. David Laughton during this degree.
  • B.Sc. (Honors), Computing Science, 1991. University of Alberta, Edmonton AB. GPA: 3.5. Notes: Deans list, won local and regional ACM programming contests, placed 16/36 at the 1989 international ACM programming contest.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

... snipped so stalkers have a little more work to do ...

And here is my cover letter.

Greetings. I am writing to apply for a Software Engineering position at Google. I have heard excellent things about Google from numerous colleagues who've interacted with Google in a research capacity, from interactions at OOPSLA conferences, and from various other respected sources. I am consistently impressed with the quality of the services Google provides, from its search engine to its world-wide maps to its excellent mail environment. I like the idea of working for a company whose products I sincerely respect.

My skills and personality are, all modesty aside, perfectly suited to what you are looking for. I have a Ph.D. in computing science, and 15 years of software development experience in C++ and numerous other object-oriented languages including Java and Perl.

I am a natural born problem solver, and the design and implementation of programs to solve complex problems is, quite literally, what I live for. I do not program because I have to, I program because I love to. The design and implementation of programs is a ubiquitous part of my life; I automate and optimize and generalize whereever possible because I am driven to do so, both because I am very good at it, and because it is deeply satisfying to create something that makes human lives more efficient and productive. And although the final product is important, the process of creating the solution is itself a source of real satisfication for me.

I am efficient, creative, intelligent, personable and work best under pressure in situations where I am truly challenged. I have worked in Unix/Linux and C++ my entire adult life, and have experience, to one extent or another, in distributed systems (worked at two companies specializing in hardware and software parallelism respectively), machine learning (search space algorithms, OCR), information retrieval (automated web-form instrumentation and web-page acquisition), network programming (standard client/server applications), and the development of software systems with hundreds of interacting classes.

I have provided a resume with relevant details, and would love the opportunity to discuss my qualifications, and the details of specific positions, in an interview. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to consider my application, and look forward to further correspondence.

If anyone has any constructive criticm, especially about the cover letter, I would be most happy to hear about it. The cover letter just doesn't feel right somehow.

EDIT: Based on feedback from aneyah and iisz, I've made Cover Letter, Take 2.


Now, having provided some boring factual information, some introspection is in order. I have been toggling back and forth between optimism and pessimism wrt employment at Google.

On the optimism side, there are the following points:

  • What I say in my cover letter is totally accurate - I really do think I am an absolutely perfect match for what google is looking for. In particular this page lists the core requirements of all the software engineering positions (the five positions I list above are specific specialized positions within software engineering). Here are the requirements they enumerate, and some commentary.
    • BS or MS in Computer Science or equivalent (PhD a plus). Well, my PhD is apparently a plus.

    • Several years of software development experience. I have 15 years of sofware development experience. Oh, and I happen to be really really good at it.

    • Extensive experience programming in C++ and/or Java. I've lived in C++ for 15 years. I've taught undergraduate course on it for 6 years. My research is all about programming languages (giving me a deep theoretical understanding to compliment my practical experience). Although I haven't done as much Java programming, I know the language from the inside out, having implemented a virtual machine for it and having taught an advanced graduate-level course in Java virtual machine implementation and optimization for 5 years.

    • Enthusiasm for solving interesting problems. As my cover letter says, I really do live to solve complex computational problems. I'm not just enthusiastic about it, I'm passionate about it.

    • Experience with Unix/Linux or Windows environments, C++ development, distributed systems, machine learning, information retrieval, network programming and/or developing large software systems a plus. Again, as my cover letter and resume state, I have experience in all of these except Windows (I detest Windows with a burning passion).

  • I first looked at google positions about a year ago. And every single one of the positions I'm interested in (and, as far as I can tell, all of the 82 engineering positions listed) have remained open. Although this could be interpreted to mean that Google is being hyper selective about filling these positions, I suspect that it implies something else instead. In particular,

  • I know a colleague who started at McGill at the same time I started at Western. A few years ago he decided to leave academia, and instead went to Google. We have very similar research areas, and although I know he is a brilliant person, I don't think he shares my passion for design and programming in general. It would seem that if he was hired, chances are good that I will be too.

However, competing against this optimism are the following reasons for pessism:

  • Google apparently gets 1300 resumes per day. Although this sounds like a very large number, there are also an amazing number of positions being offered by Google across the world. I estimate that there are more than a 1300 jobs supposedly currently open. There are 306 engineering positions available in Mountain View alone, never mind the numerous other non-engineering positions there and across the US and the world. One resume per job per day isn't nearly as pessimism-inducing :-)

  • Everyone and their cat wants to work at Google. The counter argument to this, however, is that I'm pretty sure I'm better qualified than everyone. And I'm definitely better qualified than any cat!

  • 99% of all resumes are rejected without even contacting the applicant. I suspect most of those are due to people sending out hail-mary resumes in the blind hope of acceptance. I will be totally amazed if I don't at least get an interview. Frankly, I'll be amazed if I don't get my choice of jobs. But maybe that's just my innate arrogance talking. We'll see how things proceed.

Mom phoned me last night to give me some encouragement (aka do some passive-aggressive chastisement). Not too surprising, she has been much more stressed about my slackassedness wrt looking for a career than I have. Then again, she doesn't have a Big Five personality test Anxiety score of 0.

Anyways, she had recently seen on Oprah that google was the number one best place on earth to work. She had also heard about the 1300+ resumes per day. Since I was already feeling somewhat depressed last night, this information wasn't designed to help lighten my mood.

However, during my resume writing today, I'm been quite optimistic about things - I really am perfect for so many of the jobs. And yet, recent events in my personal life have demonstated that I am just as prone to self-delusion as anyone, so maybe I'm totally out to lunch about my chances. I'll know more in a week or so, I suspect. There are many other possibilities for careers (I'll be posting additional jobs as I apply to them over the next few days and weeks), but Google really does have a lot going for it. I've realized over the past 5 years that where I work is just as important as what I do, and the San Francisco area seems like a wonderfully positive, poly-friendly environment. Other than Vancouver, there aren't too many other places that have both the career and personal benefits that Google provides.

Edit: Just making a link to a related thread.

index interests guestbook random
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: aneyah
2007-01-30 04:46 am (UTC)

the editor in me...

Your resume looks good, although as you said, the formatting is crappy here. A few details on the cover letter:

"Greetings. I am writing to apply for a interested in the Software Engineering position at Google. I have heard excellent things about Google from numerous colleagues who've who have interacted with Google in a research capacity, from interactions at OOPSLA conferences, and from various other respected sources. I am consistently impressed with the quality of the services Google provides, from its search engine to its world-wide maps to its excellent mail environment. I like the idea of working for a company whose products I sincerely respect."

"My skills and personality are, all modesty aside, perfectly suited to what you are looking for."

Remove bolded words.

"I am a natural born problem solver, and the design and implementation of programs to solve complex problems is, quite literally, what I live for."

"The design and implementation of programs is a ubiquitous part of my life; I automate and optimize and generalize whereever possible because I am driven to do so, both because I am very good at it, and because it is deeply satisfying to create something that makes human lives more efficient and productive."

Wha?? This is all fine information, but crap... can you trim it down or break it into different sentences or something? Oh... the bold word... spelled wrong. :)

"And although the final product is of crucially important, the process of creating the solution is itself a source of real satisfication for me."

"I am efficient, creative, intelligent, and personable. and I work best under pressure in situations where I am truly feel challenged. I have worked in Unix/Linux and C++ my entire adult life., and have experience, to one extent or another, in This includes the following: distributed systems (worked at two companies specializing in hardware and software parallelism respectively), machine learning (search space algorithms, and OCR), information retrieval (automated web-form instrumentation and web-page acquisition), network programming (standard client/server applications), and the development of software systems with hundreds of interacting classes."

ok, one more paragraph...

"I have provided a resume with relevant details, and would love the opportunity to discuss my qualifications, and the details of specific positions, in an interview. To facilitate this, I am including a resume detailing my prior experience. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to consider my application, and I look forward to further correspondence."

ok, in general, the bold's are things to add in unless otherwise explained. But this would be my "first glance edit". Take a look at my recommendations, then either make changes or scrap it and write it like you really do want to work there. I will happily re-edit for you, but let me know and I'll give you my email address - editing on here sucked and I *know* I didn't catch all of my formatting errors.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-01-30 05:02 am (UTC)

Re: the editor in me...

aneyah, I very much appreciate your comments! I totally know how editing all of that would have been a real pain in the ass - very kind of you.

I do have one question though. Your comment "... or scrap it and write it like you really do want to work there" would seem to suggest that I am not conveying a sincere desire to work there? How am I not doing so?

I will make your edits so that subsequent kind editors will have a cleaner copy. Again, thank you very much!

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-01-30 06:13 am (UTC)

Re: the editor in me...

Here's my second attempt:

I am interested in the Software Engineering position at Google. I have heard excellent things about Google from numerous colleagues who have interacted with Google in a research capacity, and from various other respected sources. I am consistently impressed with the quality of the services Google provides, from its search engine and world-wide maps to its excellent mail environment. I am enthused by the possibility of working for a company whose products I respect.

Based solely on relevant expertise, I am perfect for this position. I have a Ph.D. in Computing Science. I have been developing software for 17 years, and have extensive practical and theoretical knowledge related to object-oriented design and analysis, including design patterns and numerous design methodologies. I have lived in C++ for 15 years. I have taught undergraduate courses on it every term for the past 6 years. My research focuses on programming languages, giving me a deep theoretical understanding to compliment my practical experience. I know Java from the inside out, having implemented a virtual machine for it and having taught an advanced graduate-level course in Java virtual machine implementation and optimization for 5 years. I have worked within Unix/Linux my entire adult life. I have experience in distributed systems (both hardware and software parallelism), machine learning (search space algorithms, and OCR), information retrieval (automated web-form instrumentation, web-page acquisition and content extraction), network programming (standard client/server applications), and the development of software systems with hundreds of interacting classes.

My suitability for the position extends beyond my expertise however. I am a natural born problem solver, and the design and implementation of programs to solve complex problems is my raison d'etre. I do not program because it is a job, I program because I love both the process of creating the solution, and the benefits provided by the final product. I program because I am driven to do so; and I am very good at it. I am not just enthusiastic about problems that catch my interest, I am deeply passionate about them.

I am creative, intelligent, efficient, and personable. I work best under pressure in situations where I feel challenged. I am most productive in environments that allow for both individual initiative and colloborative interactions with skilled colleagues.

I would love the opportunity to discuss my qualifications, and the details of specific positions, in an interview. To facilitate this, I am including a resume detailing my experience. I appreciate you taking the time to consider my application, and look forward to further correspondence.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: so_mercurial
2007-01-30 05:34 am (UTC)
k, self-delusion? mmmmm, no. you are so smart that you make my brain hurt. you've got the skills, put 'em out there. i sincerely hope you get what you want.

p.s. smart men are sex-ay. *bites your neck* ;)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-01-30 06:25 am (UTC)

Hah. Being smart doesn't preclude self-delusion, unfortunately. My interactions with the recent girl have shown that in a number of ways. But thanks for the good wishes!

A pity more people don't have that attitude about smart = sex-ay. I know, I know, lots of girls *say* they like smart boys. But the muscle-bound goons of the world seem to catch more than their fair share of sex-ay. Understandable though - muscles are prettier to look at than brains are.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: aneyah
2007-01-30 06:25 am (UTC)
I gotta agree. Smart men ARE sexy. I hate when I feel the need to use the phrase, "Don't talk. Just look pretty," on some poor idiot.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: danaeris
2007-01-30 12:35 pm (UTC)
A few thoughts.
(1) Your cover letter, especially the edited version, looks like the sort I would have written. Except, when I went for career counseling with blackorchid1, she told me that it was all wrong. She said that cover letters are NOT where you sell yourself, and that HR people want you to give them a formulaic cover letter that tells them very specific things. Dunno if she was right or not, but my experience so far is that both types of cover letter have worked for me. *shrug* If you're interested in seeing the model of cover letter she recommended, toss me your email address.
(2) Getting a sense of what constitutes a good match during a job search isn't a question of delusion... it's a question of experience. After job searching for over a year, I feel that my sense of what is and is not a match has been improving substantially. Hopefully, you won't be stuck job searching for nearly as long.
(3) In terms of self confidence... you ARE highly qualified. You have the kind of resume that gets the attention of a company regardless of the specific position for which you are being hired. So don't worry about it. Just send it in.
(4) In terms of applying through their website versus via other methods (and the tailoring of cover letters)... The online job advice is designed for mooks like the rest of us, not the kind of people large corporations will recruit. You have the kind of resume where if there isn't an existent job for you, and they decide they want you, they'll CREATE a job for you. A smaller company might be different, but with Google, this is my suspicion. I think it would be reasonable to make a single cover letter about why Google would want to hire you (in general) and use the website.
(5) I just warn you that the poly community in SFBA is not all it's cracked up to be. I'd take the Boston poly community ANY day. It will be easier for you because you'll have a car, but just be warned that getting connected and making close friends can be tough. After 2.5 years I had a large network of fantastic friends and acquaintances... but no friends who were close enough to spend one on one time with me. It was very lonely. Also, SFBA people are LAZY. Be prepared to do all the traveling if you want to make connections with people.
(6) Re: the smart people are sexy thread... I had no idea how accomplished you are. It's hard for people to be all sapiosexual at you if they don't know about your background. Just sayin', don't be shy about tootin' your own bell.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-01-30 02:12 pm (UTC)
Hello Danae! I'm hoping to get into Toronto this coming Monday for a poly social and some visit-the-cats time. I very much appreciate your comments.
  1. Hmmm. I suppose what HR people want to see can differ with the kind of job. And it does make sense that HR people don't want to see expressions of individuality unless they are on topic. Maybe the advice about not selling oneself applies to this kind of thing? Either way, I suspect that Google does not want formulaic cover letters. I am curious about what blackorchid1 thinks companies want though. My profile provides a yahoo address.

  2. I'll be rather unhappy, and rather destitute, if I'm job searching for a year. It really is rather stupid how long I've procrastinated. I decided to leave academia 1.5 years ago, and did so 6 months ago, and in all that time I didn't bother to apply for any other jobs.

  3. This is really the reason I have procrastinated. I know I am very good at what I do, and in general my interviewing process will be more about me interviewing them to see if they are right for me than the other way around. Google has the upper hand though - noone seems to be expressing any negative opinion about how wonderful it is to work there, so I don't have much leverage for a "what can you do for me?" attitude :-) Any other place though? Damn right they'd better impress me. I should be getting the resumes from companies ;-)

  4. Ah, I appreciate some feedback on this point, because I'm torn about it. The thing is, I can make substantially different cover letters for 4 of the 5 jobs I'm interested in at Mountain View. For the Research Scientist - Mountain View position, I can put more focus placed on my academic inclinations and research. For the Software Engineer, Compilers - Mountain View position, I can discuss the fact that I have implemented a Java VM and that my primary research project for the past 4 years is a meta-compiler that unifies all object-oriented languages. The same is true of the Software Engineer - Engineering Tools - Mountain View position, which in some ways is the most interesting one. Finally, the Optical Character Recognition Engineer - Mountain View position obviously suggests that I emphasize the work I did during the summer, where I spent a month and a half in focused mode creating a framework for modular open-source OCR development (http://www.corollarium.com/conjecture). The problem is, I'm sooooo very lazy about this kind of thing. If it isn't intellectually stimulating, I always have a great deal of difficulty motivating myself to do it, and resume/cover-letter writing has already exceeded its stimulation quotient and is entering the realm of boring :-) However, Google does indeed sound like a wonderful work environment, so some slogging is worth it. I guess I had better start working on custom letters right now.

  5. I remember you cautioning me about the poly community in SFBA long ago, and I have indeed kept that in mind. And I'm not entirely sure I will have a car - I really quite like the idea of living someplace where I don't need one. Your insight is very useful - appreciate it.
  6. Hah. I've always operating under the mantra that it is better to be under-estimated than to be over-estimated. And I'm not nearly as accomplished as I could be - my profound laziness has made for a life of coasting really. In fact, that's one reason I needed to get away from academia - I would have continued to coast in such a low-key environment. As for tootin' my own horn, we'll see. I know I'm damn good at what I do, and for those that it impacts, the truth will out sometime or other. Then again, if tootin' lets me find girls who like smart boys, maybe I should reconsider my "better to be under-estimated than over-estimated" philosophy :-)
Again, thanks for the responses.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: danaeris
2007-01-30 02:18 pm (UTC)
And I'm not entirely sure I will have a car - I really quite like the idea of living someplace where I don't need one. Your insight is very useful - appreciate it.

If you're working at Google, you will want a car. The Bay Area, unless you live AND work in San Francisco proper, or Berkeley proper, is not a no-car friendly zone. Mountain View has virtually no local transit, and the closest area with good transit, SF, is over an hour commute on Caltrain, the commuter rail. I STRONGLY recommend getting a car if you end up at Google. I know that even living in SF, not having a car was a severe handicap for me. Many people refuse to drive into the city because they are not willing to look for parking/find driving into the city to be scary, and getting to where they are on transit can easily be 1-3 hours on transit.

BTW, would you like to put something out on my friends list to see if anyone I know is working at Google right now/has gone through the interview process with them?
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[User Picture]From: cortneyofeden
2007-01-30 03:52 pm (UTC)
From some questions posted on danaeris:

The biggest issue I've heard about Google is that they like to hire folks as contractors before they hire them as full-time employees. This, of course, sounds like a fabulous business plan, so I totally understand why they do it. It just sucks for the folks who move out here as a contractor, and then don't get hired. Sometimes it's because they suck, and for some reason or another aren't worthy of the job. Other times, it's just because of hiring foo, and doesn't make sense.

Living in the Bay Area has great whether when great weather is defined as sunny and warm most of the time. Great for outdoors hobbies (mountains, ocean, flatlands, we've got it all). It's spread out, so you're likely to do a lot more driving around to have a social life than you're used to. Good, and bad. Can be done with transit, but as I said elsewhere, there are loopholes. Social situations abound for just about whatever it is you'd be looking for. The trick is finding them, and finding the people that work for you (socially in general, as well as for poly relationships). Some are really out there, some you'll be delighted to find are more like you. It's just different out here.

You mentioned below (very briefly scanned) that you're thinking about ditching your car and perhaps getting a hybrid. I'd recommend this, but then again, I have one and love it. Google even offers incentives, so double-bonus. I think, though, that they've run out of the alloted commuter stickers. ::hugs the sticker::

Mountain View is lovely, but quite expensive. Light rail heads south from there and is great as long as you want to go that direction. North, you need Caltrain.

Salaries from Google usually reflect the cost of living, but I'm not sure if they do that well at all salary levels. Most likely. They pay well, and maintain what's by all accounts a fabulous working environment. Of course, they're not super shy about explaining that the reason they do it is that they get more hours out of their folks. If there's free dinner waiting, folks won't go out to get it. It's not unheard of to have folks who daily stay until 9 or 10 or...
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[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-01-30 04:22 pm (UTC)
Hi C! Welcome to my LJ! I always ask people when they first post how they prefer to be referred to. Do you like C, or your first name, or cortneyofeden or late-for-dinner or something else entirely?

Well, you've done a great job of making me all the more enthused about MV. I really just want to send off my applications, but I better wait for a bit and read through the commentary of people in Danae's post.

If I get a job offer, I will most definitely be looking for more commentary on MV and the SFBA from you! Did you grow up there, or move there?

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[User Picture]From: vsbooklady
2007-01-30 05:42 pm (UTC)
hi Wade - If you check on my friends list you'll find postings by enf, who currently works for google. He's very self-effacing but would probably be willing to talk about it. Very cool guy.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-01-30 06:33 pm (UTC)

Hello vsbooklady! I very much appreciate the reference, and have posted an entry in one of his recent google-related entries.

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[User Picture]From: enf
2007-01-30 07:10 pm (UTC)
OK, first to answer your questions from http://danaeris.livejournal.com/1115772.html

1. I don't know who in particular would be reviewing your resume. Probably any random one of a whole bunch of people.

2. I don't know of any externally posted list of things interviewees should do to prepare. I can tell you to be prepared to write lots of small programs on a whiteboard, and that people asking you "how would you do this?" questions are probably looking for answers that involve lots of parallelism

3. No idea. I got hired here through recommendation, not by external submission, so I don't know what the right approach is.

4. I feel like I am being paid very well. Even at that, though, the outrageous cost of housing is still problematic.

5. Most of the downside of Google is that it is in an isolated office park miles from any civilization. Some of the things that are positives for some people (all the fancy food, different every day) are negatives if you prefer a simpler, more predictable life. The company no longer fits in a single building so if you are across the street, it is easy to feel distant from the mainstream.

6. The weather is nice and mild almost all the time. The city of San Francisco itself is tremendously walkable and full of life. BART works very well if the places that you want to go are the places that it goes. Negatives: BART closes at midnight, and there are lots of places that it doesn't go, so if you have reason to be in those places or out late, you will spend an eternity in traffic. Most of the Bay Area is endless soulless suburbia.


And to danaeris's question 3:

There are shuttles to Google from the city and lots of people use them. They do take an hour each way, even when everything goes right, and they are subject to traffic so sometimes it's longer. To have an active social life without a car requires choosing your housing very carefully, and working in Mountain View greatly complicates that.


Other things:

Don't worry too much about the company liking to hire contractors. There are certain departments where that is true, but software engineering is, I'm pretty sure, almost all standard salaried positions.
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[User Picture]From: metawade
2007-01-30 11:04 pm (UTC)

Hi Eric. I very much appreciate your response - very useful.

Small programs sound like fun. Useful to know that they may be expecting parallelism-related answers - it has been awhile since I've worked with parallel and distributed things, so it will be nice to refresh my memory.

Cost of living is already a problem. My needs are rather modest, so I'll just stay with a small place. Also useful to know that Google is off the beaten path - I will have to adjust my assumptions somewhat.

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