How to get a job at Google, Microsoft, Facebook or other leading tech firms can best be answered by people who have successfully made it to these companies and are working in top roles. We spoke to some ‘Super Mentors’ on our Free Mentor Platform to get exclusive insights on what it really takes, the preparation strategy, key areas to strengthen, and everything else there is to know.
Contrary to popular belief, bagging a dream role in any of the top companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, McKinsey, Facebook or LinkedIn is not only for students from premier institutions. With the right approach, focus on mastering fundamentals & problem-solving, it is very much possible to land the job that you’ve always dreamt of.
After extensive research and interviewing leaders in top technology companies, we have successfully collated the following step by step guide on How To Get A Job At Google and other top tech companies.
1. Become a Data Structures, Algorithms and Problem-Solving Master:
Most Google interviews are focused on Data Structures and Algorithms in addition to general coding questions. Immerse yourself in “Introduction to Algorithms” by CLRS (Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, Stein) and learn to think in terms of algorithms and complexities, when it comes to building a solution.
What most top employers look for, more than anything else is exceptional problem-solving skills, and the ability to optimise the solution. And the most important thing that they will you evaluate you on is in fact, your approach to the problem.
Thus, go ahead and start learning how to design an algorithm and have fun solving a challenging problem using that algorithm, by implementing it in a language of your choice. In order to effectively learn, you must apply each new concept to actually solving problems and understand the nitty gritty of each data structure.
“ First, solve the problem. Then, write the code. ”
– John Johnson
Some great sources(which are free) recommended by our Mentors from Google for building a rock-solid foundation in Data Structures & Algorithms: Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 1(Princeton), Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 2(Princeton) and MIT 6.006 Introduction to Algorithms, Fall 2011 on Youtube.
More Recommended Courses:
- Algorithms Specialization by Stanford(Coursera)
- Data Structures and Algorithms Specialization by UCSanDiego(Coursera)
- The Coding Interview Bootcamp: Algorithms & Data Structures(Udemy)
2. Competitive coding:
Competitive coding is crucial to train your mind to think faster and in new ways. You will find yourself learning immensely from the problems you see in contests and be able to strengthen your analytical and programming skills. While practising, regularly ask other people to review your code and make it a point to check out the best answer to assess the scope of improvement.
Additionally, a good rank or rating on leading competitive coding platforms will help you clear the resume screening process and place you on solid ground for further rounds.
To begin, start with simple yet concrete goals; solve one Div 2 Problem A in Codeforces or Div 2 250 in Top Coder, every day, for a month. Then gradually progress towards 500 pointers, 1000 pointer in Div II.
- Complete Python Bootcamp(Udemy)
- Complete Java Masterclass(Udemy)
- The Most Recommended Stanford Machine Learning Course By Andrew Ng(Coursera)
- Data Science Specialization from John Hopkins University(Coursera)
- Learning and Understanding NodeJS(Udemy)
- AngularJS The Complete Guide(Udemy)
- Machine Learning A-Z Hands-On Python & R In Data Science(Udemy)
- Deep Learning Specialization(Coursera)
- Artificial Intelligence A-Z: Learn How To Build An AI(Udemy)
- Deep Learning A-Z: Hands-On Artificial Neural Networks(Udemy)
- The Complete Web Developer Bootcamp(Udemy)
3. Craft the perfect resume and have a strong online presence:
The first step towards achieving your career goals is to ensure your resume stands out and gets you noticed by hiring managers. This is a seemingly easy but crucial task since they are known to spend only 6 seconds on an average on a resume. Many employers place resumes in keyword-searchable databases to find specific keywords that relate to their job vacancy. Thus, researching about the company and their requirement to encode your resume with key skills looked for, is of key importance.
Additionally, craft the perfect resume by emphasising results and quantifying your achievements; throw around numbers to give the recruiter some tangible proof of your abilities and demonstrate how exactly you can add value to the position applied for.
Finally, lead them to other sources of information about you by linking to your website, LinkedIn profile, GitHub profile etc..
Recruiters are increasingly using GitHub to mine through potential talent and evaluate his/her candidature. To catch a potential employer’s eye and set yourself apart from thousands of applicants, make sure you push your projects on Github, contribute genuinely to the open source community and thereby validate all the claims on your resume by including a link of your GitHub.
56% of all hiring managers are more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other personal branding tool. Yet, a measly 7% of job seekers actually have it. Having a personal website can be a great tool for you to showcase your abilities and provide a snapshot of your work and interests. It gives recruiters an opportunity to understand more about your skills and personality, in ways that are not possible through your resume.
Research shows that about 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source for candidates. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially a more visual alternative to the traditional resume, with credible references. Thus, use it to your advantage by summarizing your story well, including common keywords to optimise your profile for LinkedIn and Google search engines, engaging in groups as well as discussions and being active and expanding your network(the broader your network, the higher you will rank in other’s search results).
“Make sure your LinkedIn profile has a targeted headline. Not only should the headline clearly state your career focus, it’s also the most important place to add a keyword or two, because this influences how you appear in search results”
― Melanie Pinola
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4. Internships and projects of your own:
You need to substantiate the claims on your resume with relevant internships and projects. It should be clear from your projects that you genuinely enjoy building things; prove your worth by building projects around ideas you care about, whether for startups, apps for your college and student organisations, or contributing to open source libraries.
You can apply to startups through AngelList and easily find projects as an Intern. Other platforms where you can find interesting internships and projects with good payouts are Internshala, Twenty19, LetsIntern etc. Also apply directly through company websites, LinkedIn and look for referrals. The idea is to intern at a company first, learn extensively, excel there, and consequently get some great written recommendations.
Further, to do some research projects you can contact college professors.
As for open source projects, getting involved in one, will not only strengthen your development skills and allow you to get some hands-on experience working on teams and projects, but also let you network with other developers.
5. Nifty tips for cracking the Google interview:
Further your skills beyond your university curriculum to address the needs of the job market with MOOCs. The best part is they are usually free, although some have a reasonable fee for grading and course completion certificates. The most recommended websites for MOOCs are Coursera, Udemy, Edx, Udacity Lynda, MIT Open Courseware, Open University.
Alongside, get your hands on the what is often called the bible of preparing for tech interviews; Cracking the Coding interview.
Dive into real interview questions with CareerCup, Glassdoor, LeetCode, InterviewBit and GeekforGeeks, as they have a continuous stream of fresh questions that are mostly from real interviews. However, don’t just prepare, focus on actual learning. Instead of simply going through specific coding, design questions, start really understanding them.
Once you’re confident and have practised enough, get used to coding on a whiteboard. While it may sound simple, it is anything but that once you try it and interviewing with companies like Google and Amazon will require you to be locked in a meeting room and write solid code on a whiteboard during multiple rounds of evaluation.
Start practising thinking out loud while working on a solution, since the interviewer will want to hear your thought process. To him, your approach to the problem is as important, as finding a solution.
Specifically for Google, check out the excellent guide provided by them on how to develop your technical skills through self-paced, hands-on learning- Guide to Technical Development. You may also want to bookmark videos that have been prepared by Google recruiters themselves on Technical interview tips and Non-technical interview tips.
6. Find a Mentor IN Google(or other target companies):
There is a serious knowledge deficit that exists between college education and industry needs. What is often needed is someone who has already been where you are, and reigned supreme, to guide you with insider insights and perspective. Thus, connect to real people working in your dream companies to learn what it takes to get there. Not all answers can be found one Google; one call with a Mentor in your dream role and company can truly change your life.
You may find Mentors from top colleges and companies on the WisTree’s Free Mentor Platform.Get Mentored By People IN Your Dream Colleges & Companies(Free)
7. How To Get A Job At Google: The Final Step- Applying
The final step is to put your skills to test by taking a leap of faith and applying to your dream companies.
- There are many ways to land an interview call, you could start by applying directly through Google Careers portal(Likewise for other companies)
- Apply via the APAC exam which is held four times and a year.
- Score and interview through the Google Summer of Code
- Get referred by a senior, or simply have a friend who gets contacted by Google recruiters, recommend you when the recruiter solicits contacts that may be good fits.
- While in college, leverage the Google Student Ambassador(GSA) program to meet a recruiter and request for an interview.
- Use LinkedIn(also have a stellar Github profile) to attract employer’s attention and actively search and apply for jobs through it.
- Attend internship fairs organised at universities they recruit at.
- Keep networking, e-mailing, building your profile and hustling!
So get started right away! Applying to Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook etc. is absolutely free. If you think you even have a small chance of making it, why hesitate?
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Liked this article? Check out the exclusive video on becoming a successful Software Engineer by top techie Anurag Kapur: