This engineer creates community for Indigenous Googlers
Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.
Today’s post is all about Tamina Pitt, a Google Maps Software Engineer from our Sydney office and a founding member of the Google Aboriginal and Indigenous Network chapter in Australia.
What do you work on at Google?
As a Software Engineer for the Directions Platform team, I build the directions experience on Google Maps. I code for anyone who needs help finding their way. I love working on a feature that benefits so many people every day.
I'm a Wuthathi and Meriam woman, meaning that my ancestors are Aboriginal from Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands in Australia. I was born and grew up on the ancestral lands of the Gadigal and Bidjigal people in Sydney, where I still live today. When I came to Google, I wanted to create a community for Indigenous Googlers like me to come together and build a sense of belonging at work. So I co-founded the Australian chapter of the Google Aboriginal and Indigenous Network (GAIN), an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Googlers from, or passionate about, Indigenous and Aboriginal people. I also contribute to the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), Google's commitment to empower and create equitable opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As part of this work, I run events featuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speakers to help Googlers learn more about Indigenous culture.
Why did you apply to Google?
I first applied to Google when I was a student at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. I was in my second year and still unsure about my future in engineering. I hadn't been applying for internships because I didn't think I was good enough, but my parents pushed me to apply for one at Google — and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
Tamina at her University of New South Wales graduation, wearing sashes representing the colors of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.
Describe your path to your current role.
I studied electrical engineering for a year or so, where I took a computing course that I really enjoyed. I eventually transferred to study computer engineering and discovered that I was interested in the software side.
Interning at Google helped me officially try software engineering out for size. My confidence grew once I got some hands-on experience — and now, I’ve been working at Google for two years as a full-time software engineer.
What inspires you to come in (or log in) every day?
I'm inspired by my community of Indigenous people in and outside of work, including the Indigenous activists and Elders who fought and continue to fight for our rights to be recognized. I'm also inspired by the growing interest I see in young Indigenous people and women to work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It makes me really excited for the future.
I really enjoy working on Google Maps, too. Every time I meet a new person, they share their love of Google Maps or send me feature requests. I like knowing that the product I work on is useful for so many people and that I’m part of the team that can make it even better.
Tamina at her Google orientation in Singapore.
What was your interview experience like?
I was very nervous for each interview, because I felt like I didn’t have enough coding experience. I was surprised by how friendly the interviewers were and even found myself having fun. As a new graduate, I was relieved that they didn’t expect me to perform at the same level as someone who's been working for many years.
What advice would you share with your past self?
When I was a student, I didn’t feel like I belonged — I was one of few women and the only Indigenous person in my class. Today, I know that so many people feel the same way. I would tell my past self to stay strong in my identity and feel proud of my achievements. I feel so supported by my community and I want to help other women, Indigenous people and anyone historically underrepresented in tech see their potential in this field.