The Funtastic4, my intern family
HEY! I’m Sahana, a soon-to-be senior in CD and HCI. I’ve been spending my summer working at Google in Mountain View as a UX intern on their Social team. I’m from the bay so I’ve been living at home in Palo Alto. I am one of 10 UX interns in Mountain View, which makes it easy to get to know all the other UX-ers from all around the campus. It has been an INCREDIBLE experience working with some of the most amazing people and I am so sad that I have to fly to Pittsburgh at the end of this week (but excited to see all my studio fam).
I joined Google in May, a month before the Google I/O Conference. That means I was able to learn about a bunch of cool Google secrets before their public launch, including the Material Design Language. On my first day I sat down with all the detailed documentation and attempted to understand it. The level of detail and thought put into every decision was so impressive. I knew every team across Google was working to revamp their products so they were unified, intuitive, and Material. But that exemplifies the open environment at Google. Almost any and every product is totally open within the company and interns are welcome to learn all about anything they want.
My first TGIF (which happens on Thursdays cuz Goog is weird)
They did make us wear this for one day. It’s more flattering than you’d expect.
My actual project ended up taking my whole summer, and it’s not done yet! I unfortunately can’t talk a ton about it, but I can tell you what I learned from it, and just from my summer:
1. I learned the importance (and fun!) of research. I was able to watch usability studies of users actually using my product, and see in real time where I had succeeded and failed. Made informing my decisions way easier.
2. I learned the importance of asking for feedback. The feedback I received from people helped me improve my work so much faster. I received specific feedback on my work, but also on how I was as a designer in the office, and how to really take advantage of my time at Google.
3. I learned the magic of reaching out. Our intern class was pretty ballsy in asking anyone and everyone for advice. It wasn’t in my nature to talk to people I looked up to, but I soon realized that they loved it. Be ballsy! Reach out! It’ll get you a long way.
Our buddy Sergey, whatever no biggie.
Our other buddy, Matias.
So then there’s the fun part: being at GOOGLE. I and the three other UX interns (we called ourselves the funtastic4) treated the campus like our own personal playground, and took advantage of every opportunity. We reached out to Googlers on other teams and asked to meet with us, and every single time they said yes. I met with people like Matias Duarte, CMU alum Noah Levin, and even had a group meeting with all the UX Interns and Sergey Brin. (It’s a long story, but basically we publically asked him out for coffee at the weekly All-Hands and he said yes.) We got career advice from people who really knew what they were talking about, and they were all genuinely happy to talk with us. I also learned a lot from my fellow interns. They were from all over the world, and I gained life-long friends. Google also does a great job of taking care of their interns. I went on an Intern Prom cruise around the bay, ate my weight in free ice cream, indulged in the BURATTA BAR at work, and genuinely had one of the best summers of my life.
Occasionally I wore Glass. It was fun
Some food I ate for breakfast
View from the SF office, which I was allowed to work from whenever I felt like it!
For anyone who is curious about what it’s like to work at a big tech company like Google, definitely hit me up! I’ve had experience now at an agency, and at Google and I think I have good insight into the pros and cons of both. See you all soon!