Google Summer Internship Completed / Goodbye California

This summer I had the privilege to intern at Google and spent another summer in Silicon Valley – the hub of all things tech-related. My internship lasted 10 weeks and, much like my Yahoo! internship last summer (I gave my reasons for not going back to Yahoo! this summer), I had an incredible experience.

I learned a lot at Google. I did a combination of development for the front-end (JavaScript/AJAX, CSS/HTML) as well as on the back-end (PHP, Java). Every line of code that I wrote was code reviewed by another Googler before it could be checked in. At first I thought this was an unnecessary and time-wasting procedure, but I came to understand the importance of this, even for the seemingly unimportant pieces of code. When you know someone else is going to be looking at your code, it forces you to program more clearly and concisely, and I learned better coding techniques from the code reviews. Also, by ensuring that all code at Google conforms to the same style guides, any engineer can quickly jump into someone else’s code with the smallest possible learning curve.

My software engineering internship was pretty unique and flexible because of the team that I was on, so I also had the opportunity to do a good bit of UI (user interface) work. I designed from scratch, improved existing UIs, and did research and make recommendations for better UIs. My other team members (here’s two) were very talented and I was able to learn a lot just by working along side them. Working at a company like Google is great because you are constantly surrounded by very intelligent people.

It is a great feeling to know that you’re working at a company which is providing products and services that millions of people use every day. It is an even better feeling to know that your work is directly being used and liked by real people. At Google, while doing research for one of my projects, I had an idea that would help save other Googlers time and make them more productive. Without getting into details about the project itself, after about 1,000 lines of JavaScript, I had created something that a lot of Googlers started using, talking about, and sharing with others. It wasn’t a world changing application that is being launched externally any time soon, but it was useful enough that we could actually see it spreading virally throughout the company, and I got over 100 thank you emails within a few days. I can only imagine the great feeling it would have been to create an external product (like GMail), that millions of people love and use daily.

Another great part of the summer was the opportunities for networking. I was able to visit Meebo for another great lunch2.0, visited the offices of Facebook a couple times, met the creator of Mint (which I think is my favorite web2.0 app of the year), attended WordCamp, and attended the Techcrunch Party 9 at August Capital. It was also great seeing, meeting, and hanging out with a lot of other young people working in the web space – other Google interns, friends at Yahoo! and eBay, those doing startups, others working in the Bay Area, and friends who flew out to visit.

Overall, I’d give the summer a thumbs up. For now, I’m back in Gainesville studying Computer Engineering at UF, where the weather is significantly hotter. A lot of people have asked me about next summer and what I want to do when I graduate. I still do not know. I could definitely see myself at a company like Google, but for now I am just looking forward to a new semester at school and am not making any definite plans yet.

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  1. Dimitry said,

    August 30, 2007 @ 8:58 pm

    Nice man! Sounds like an amazing time :) Congratulations on another successful summer. You’ve got the whole world in front of you with open doors, so I’m sure the future holds good things for you and you deserve it.

    Good luck at school!

  2. Justin Davis said,

    September 13, 2007 @ 12:42 am

    Very cool Phil. It sounds like you had a great learning experience.

    Sorry I missed you before you left California. Next time you are out we will meet up for sure. Have a great semester and good luck!

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