Interviewing at Google – Part 2

If you hadn’t read part 1, check it out here: Interviewing at Google – Part 1

It took a couple of weeks for the hiring committee to make its decision, but my recruiter informed me that they were extending an offer. Offer in hand, I had a hard decision in front of me… and my wife. Accepting it would mean leaving Denver and moving to California. My wife and I looked into what it would be like to live there. Housing is insane–we knew it would be expensive. For our money we were expecting “nice but small” not “small and also a shit-hole.”

Looking at photos of houses on Zillow, there was a house with 2 bedrooms, trash strewn about on the floor, dirty bathrooms, stains everywhere on the carpet. I think this house was inhabited by feral children or a lady that owned 600 cats. It was disgusting. It was also— over half a million dollars. Anything that didn’t look like a complete dump was at least an hour away from Google.

I mulled it over for 2 weeks. Each day, I would change my mind on what I wanted to do. On one hand, working at Google represents the symbolic pinnacle of achievement in my industry. On the other hand… working at Qualys is comfortable and relatively easy. Eventually, with the help of my wife, we made the decision. 

I told Google “no”.

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Interviewing at Google – Part 1

First Contact

I was contacted by a Google recruiter on my birthday, June 24th, and asked to interview with Google for an opportunity on the SRE team. A few days later I had a phone screen.

The interviewer asked me to rate myself in various languages, linux concepts, and a few other technical aspects between 1-10. A “10” being you wrote a book on the subject… or actually invented the technology. Needless to say, I actually didn’t rate myself higher than a 6 on anything. I honestly didn’t know quite how to rate myself in “Java”. I know a lot about parts of Java, and little about other parts.

The self-rating was to guide the interviewer on what questions to ask next– which I honestly didn’t do that well on. She asked a question— something like how to count the number of 1’s in a binary number— which is a problem straight out of the must-read book I will mention later on. I fumbled my way through it, but it was far from optimal. Also, I should have memorized my powers of 2.

Somehow, I managed to move on to the technical phone interview (wait, this wasn’t technical???). Google has a reputation for having a very difficult interview process. After this slightly shaky phone screen, I was worried about what I was getting into.

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After a many year hiatus, I’m back

I stopped writing in my blog a few years ago. No one really reads it, but I always found it enjoyable to write in. I have accumulated many many post ideas that I figured I would start writing again. I hope that if you find this blog then perhaps you will find some of the posts helpful or entertaining. At the very least its fun for me to look back on the archive of my thoughts and ideas of yore.

My original plan was to devote the blog entirely to programming related posts, but I would really like to write about other things now as well :-P. Some upcoming topics I am working on:

  • My interviews at Google
  • Building a Quad-copter from scratch. Everything you need to know to build one cheaply. (everything I wish I had known)
  • Hazeltask
  • Jackson HOCON dataformat
  • Dropwizardry – hocon, guice, jersey improvements
  • RabbitMQ
  • Introducing Tribbles – small library sugar built on top of Guava for doing useful things
  • Tachyon
  • Introduction to Scalability
  • and more!

A blog… Finally!

I have been wanting to write a blog for quite a long time… it can’t be that hard right!?

My blog will be primarily focused on technical subjects revolving around web development and design.  Currently, I am working heavily with Java, MySQL, and ExtJS so my posts will mostly revolve around those subjects.  I am going to try and stay away from the beginner tutorial type things and stick with more advanced topics.  There is enough of that out there already.

Take a look at the “About Me” page so you can get a better idea of… well… yes… me.  (Sorry, I am really not that interesting)