It has been eight months since I joined Google. Honestly, I have never, ever been this happy in my entire career. Google is a great place, for many reasons. The free food and the perks are nice indeed, but it is not what makes Google such a special place.
What matters to me is that I’m enjoying what I’m doing. Did I say “enjoying”? I love what I’m doing. I work on development tools, all Eclipse-based. This is what I asked to work on when I joined. For me, development tools is one of the most interesting domains in Software Engineering. I could go on and on explaining why, but let’s just say that I feel I’m developing for myself: I am part of the target audience of the software I write. I spend most of the time in Eclipse, and I like to build stuff that makes my experience better.
I was lucky enough to land in the Engineering Tools organization. My team is just great: super nice, talented and humble folks. Our job is to make Eclipse able to handle Google’s massive code base and to build support for Google-specific tools and languages. The following are the projects I’m currently working on:
- CDT integration with static code analysis tools (which BTW it is the topic for my talk at EclipseCon Europe 2011)
- protobuf-dt, an editor for Protocol Buffers (released as an open source project in August)
- support for our build language (described in our official blog)
- help organize “EclipseDay at Googleplex” with Ian Skerrett
I’ve also been visiting other Google offices (Zurich, New York, Seattle and Kirkland) co-presenting a tech talk. We gave this presentation the first time at Google’s headquarters. It was our Director that not only suggested us to take the tech talk outside of Mountain View, he actually encouraged us to do so. Needless to say, it was an awesome, mind-opener experience.
I will never forget how protobuf-dt became one of my main projects. It started as a toy I worked on for a few nights, on my own spare time (it was not even a 20% project.) I was so excited about the progress I made in such short period of time that I showed it to my Director during a 1:1.
His response was the following:
“Alex, this is great but I don’t want you to work on this at home anymore. When you are home, you enjoy your time with you family. From now on you work on this here, at the office.”
At the end of the conversation he added:
“I want you to work on what you like. I want you to be happy. When you are happy, you will be successful. Just let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”
I was completely shocked. I have never heard anything like that before. From that point on, I knew I was at the right place.
Probably you heard many stories about why working at Google is great. I just wanted to share mine :)