How I Prepared to Interview at Google

tl;dr - I read Steve Yegge’s blog post, rented the The Algorithm Design Manual, and coded questions from Career Cup without an IDE.

Two years ago I interviewed with Google, Zillow, and Facebook for a software manager role.  I went to Google and have since been singing its praises to friends and former co-workers (largely comprised of the poor souls who still remember working at pre-NYT-article Amazon).  Lots of them asked me what the interview was like and many sought out my advice as they were preparing for their own interviews.  So this is the article where I share with everyone what I did and hope it helps out a few folks.

Step one: read Steve Yegge’s blog post Steve worked at Amazon many years ago when I started there.  He wrote guides on reviewing resumes, conducting phone screens, and interviewing.  I enjoyed every one.  I immediately read this post after hearing about it in 2008 even though I had no intentions of interviewing at Google, or any where else for that matter.

When I did…

Interviewing as an Introvert

This is the follow up to my last post about education and interviewing advice.  If you haven’t read that, the short story is that I was asked for tips on interviewing for an introvert who doesn’t have a typical education.  This is the interviewing half of my response:

About interviewing: being an introvert is hard.  I'm a mild introvert and have managed many.  It requires extra energy to be outgoing and can leave you drained, but sometimes, like in job interviews, you have to just pump yourself up and throw everything at it.  One of my managers told me that my quietness was becoming an issue in meetings with executives.  I started to prep for those meetings by drinking an energy drink a few hours before and doing jumping jacks before going into the conference room.  I don't like the idea of using stimulants like that often, but I will use them strategically when I need a mood boost before a life altering event.

The other part about interviewing is to make sure you have a story t…

You Don’t Need More Education to Land a Job in Tech

I’ve worked in tech for 15 years and regularly get asked for advice on how to get a job: what should I study in school, what should I put on my resume, and how do I prepare for the interview?  Usually my answers are pretty plain and generic, but one person had a unique situation which made me think more to write a genuine answer.

Here’s an anonymized and shortened version of an email from a concerned parent asking for advice for their child:

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to read over and consider my email.  My son Morgan is 36 years old.  As you can see by his resume Morgan took college courses and obtained his Network and Internet Security Specialist Program certificate but was never actually lucky enough for find work in the field.  He continued after that schooling working in warehouse jobs and the like.  He took  out a student loan and was never able to make payments due to minimum wage jobs.  He presently has a balance over 10,000 dollars, which I would pay if I …