Google speakers praise creative coops, hosts ‘tech talk’

Working for Google is a lot like going to school – you get to work your own hours and it doesn’t matter what time you get into the office as long as the work gets done.

That was the message last week when representatives from Google came to campus for a pair of presentations regarding the company and employment possibilities.

The event was sponsored by Northeastern University’s Association for Computing Machinery (NUACM). The presentations were part of a series of speeches given by guest speakers. Other speakers have included representatives from Microsoft.

The first event, a question and answer session held in West Village H Oct. 19, featured three representatives from the company that answered student questions.

Valerie Blecker, a software engineer at the Google offices in New York, and Katelyn Mann and Daria Antonova, software engineers at the California Google offices conducted the hour-long session.

A lot of the questions revolved around the work environment and the work values at Google. The three major values are “creativity, independence and teamwork,” Antonova said. “You get to work with smart, creative people. When I started, I thought it would be a constrained atmosphere, but it’s very relaxed.”

Students asked about Google’s “20 percent project,” which Google created to allow all employees to spend 20 percent of their work time on developing anything they want. Blecker said she is working on new features for Gmail, the company’s popular e-mail service. Antonova and Mann were reluctant to share their 20 percent project as it is “not released yet,” Mann said.

For students wanting to test the waters, Google can be an option for co-op.

Google offers many internships, said Matthew Soleyn, public relations officer for NUACM. “Google is one of the companies that works directly with Northeastern and the co-op program.”

Soleyn said there are many Northeastern alumni who have started their careers at Google, and one of this year’s seniors has already been offered a job from there.

The second part of the event was a “tech talk” called “The Joy of Google,” presented by Eric Flatt, a Northeastern alumnus, held in West Village F the same evening.

The presentation had a more technical focus, concentrating on how Google actually operates. Flatt spoke about how Google functions, those not majoring in computer-science found his descriptions difficult to understand. He also went into detail on how Google works to find the appropriate websites for the word or phrase typed into the search engine.

Flatt said he was very excited to be back on campus, as he has “only visited a few times” since he graduated in 1992.

“I love coming back to Northeastern,” Flatt said.

Soleyn said NUACM plans to bring more speakers to campus to talk about emerging technologies.

“[The speakers] are usually catered for the College of Computer Science but many times they appeal to the entire campus, like the Google and Microsoft speakers did,” Soleyn said.

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