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My Path to Google

My Path to Google - Sandro León, IT Resident

Welcome to the latest installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting 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 Sandro León. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I grew up in Centerville, Ohio, with three sisters, Viviana, Sonia, and Angela. My parents, Alfredo and Emilia, both proud Mexican immigrants, made sure that I knew my heritage, and felt proud of it. Growing up, my sisters and I would help out, working at our parent’s Mexican restaurant, Las Piramides. 

Outside of school and work, I’ve always loved listening to music, messing with latest tech, and playing games with friends. My interest in tech and experiences helping family and friends with my limited computer skills, led me to study IT electives in high school. Upon arriving to college, I studied Network Engineering at Sinclair Community College before transferring to the University of Cincinnati (UC) where I completed my B.S. in Computer Engineering. 

Throughout university, I grew close to Latino/Hispanic inclusive groups like Latinos en Accion as well as engineering focused teams. Looking for a way to focus my interests even further, I worked with other motivated colleagues to rekindle our Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) chapter at UC. At Google, I work with groups like HOLA (Google’s Employee Resource Group committed to empowering the Latinx community both inside and outside of Google) and Code Next (free Google-run computer science education program that meets Black and Latinx high school students in their own communities) to continue the diversity focused STEM work that got me to where I am. This also includes going back to recruit at SHPE’s convention – the convention that made it happen.
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Sandro and Googlers prepping for the National SHPE convention.

What’s your role at Google?

I’m an IT Resident in Mountain View as part of the IT Residency Program. The program is an immersion into end-to-end IT support at Google, and provides the opportunity to jump-start your career at Google and beyond. My favorite part about the work is that I assist Googlers from all around the world, in-person and remotely, regardless of the team they’re working on. I’ve even had the chance to travel worldwide, visiting and working from the London and Sydney offices. Right now, I’m on rotation with the Google Calendar Site Reliability Team! Learning the ins and outs of keeping production running at Google-scale is amazing as well as a mind-boggling opportunity at times.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
Even though I’d thought of Google as a dream job when I first learned about the company, I never thought I’d actually get here.

My journey to Google starts and ends with SHPE. When I started studying at the University of Cincinnati, I remembered seeing informational flyers about the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. After getting involved with our local chapter, and looking for ways to get us to the National Convention, I discovered and applied for a Google Travel and Conference Scholarship. Soon after applying I got an email, letting me know Google was flying me out to the convention in Kansas City, but I knew I couldn’t go without the team that inspired the idea. So we worked with the university and sponsors and were able to acquire funding for the rest of the group to make the inaugural conference trip together! 

Part of registering for the conference was submitting a resume to SHPE, so they could share with attending organizations. I’d never applied to Google as I thought I wouldn’t make it through the tons of other resumes, and even if I did, there wouldn’t be a position for someone with my experience. This was where Google proved me wrong. I’d always romanticized the idea of working in Silicon Valley, with Google at the top of the list. I thought I might visit the Googleplex as a tourist, but didn’t have much confidence that I was employable – especially at Google as a new graduate. 

After submitting my resume to SHPE, I never expected Google to reach out, but they did. It took me almost a whole day to respond to the first email because I didn’t believe it, and almost dismissed it as spam.
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Sandro in front of the Google SHPE convention booth. 

How did the recruitment process go for you?

Google had the most helpful recruitment process I’d ever been a part of, and SHPE only helped make it even more surreal. After convincing myself that the email from Google wasn’t spam, I spoke with a recruiter. They made sure that I understood the role and answered all my questions over a phone call. Then they planned to make it possible for me to interview in-person with Googlers at the convention. Being my first SHPE convention, I was overwhelmed by the experience of seeing thousands of professional Hispanic engineers. I was definitely nervous, but having my friends there helped. 
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Sandro and Googlers on a trip. 

Complete the following: "I [choose one: code/create/design/build] for..." 

I build for representation, inclusion, and respect.

What inspires you to come in every day?
I’m inspired to come in everyday because I know the people I work with are just as passionate to help me as I am to help them. Everyday I work here is an opportunity to open the door for others who might not see themselves here, show them they’re valued by helping, and build a better place for them when they get here. From helping people communicate to reaching quantum supremacy, Google brings people together to create and inspire. I’m also especially honored to work with and support Code Next. I get to make sure that students keep learning.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I would’ve applied sooner if I’d known that the Google careers site was so comprehensive in listing every opening. I would also recommend that anyone interested in a role take a look at the specific criteria listed. They’re as specific as they can be, and depending on what you’re looking for you might have a good chance of finding something you’re interested and qualified for. Don’t dismiss yourself and always keep looking!
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Sandro in front of Google sign in Mountain View. 

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?

Google actually has tons of YouTube videos about general hiring and interviewing. For my interview for the IT Residency Program, I studied a ton of troubleshooting methodologies, and actually reviewed my notes from my classes/studies.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Googleyness is a thing! There’s lots of facets to it, but for me, the most important narrow down to respect and helping others. What was different about Google to me compared to previous workplaces is that everyone is invited to bring their whole selves to work, so make sure you’re being yourself during the interview. 

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