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The Northerner

Google school’s students on tricks of the trade

Emily Osterholz, Reporter

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NKU students were able to learn about working at Google and how to impress professionals with their new found tech skills at a seminar held in Griffin Hall.

Returning to his former college, Mike Helmick connected with the Norse Nation about job and internship opportunities, and how Google builds large scale software.

Helmick, who has been a Google senior software engineer for 15 years, gave a workshop on the technical interview process and advice for building a flawless tech resume.  

He designs and builds large scale computing systems, while trying to make the internet a better place.

“Before you reach the resumes, interviews and designing you have to get past the fear,” Helmick said.

He had just gotten out of one of the first meetings at Google headquarters when the feelings set in. ‘What do I do? That other guy is smarter than me.’ ‘I’ve never actually published anything.’

Those doubts are known as Imposter Syndrome, which is the feeling of not be qualified or competent for what you’re doing.

“Every demographic could be affected by it,” Helmick said. “It’s not like you walk around every day with it. I’ve experienced numerous times where I didn’t feel good enough for my job, but recognizing this condition is the first step to getting past it.”  

Helmick said it’s really important to help others and talk out any insecurities with one another.

“Taking people off of pedestals is very important. Making everyone feel equal in a work environment would really help with the overall energy,” Helmick said.

He said once you move on from Imposter Syndrome and that initial fear then you can focus on building skills and technique.

Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve the chances of landing an internship or dream job. Helmick thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to show skill.

“The number one thing I can tell you about resumes is make sure there are no grammar mistakes and it’s easy to read,” Helmick said. “Administrators associate typos and errors with laziness.”

Several of the tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple have very similar application processes. Students got familiar with the process of filling them out correctly.

Student ambassador for google for three years, Nathaniel Hudson said, “These students are going to have a better idea of what the hiring process is like for these other big companies. It’s like an exposure and being able to say ‘I have this option’ and it makes you more comfortable.”

A junior majoring in computer science, Hudson’s job is to serve as the liaison between Google and NKU. He tries to be the main person for anything involving Google on campus.

“When I was a freshman, I was able to help Google gets its own tech recruiter. We have a recruiter who’s on Norse recruiting and google is now on Norse recruiting, as well. Hopefully with all this initiative it builds the relationship,” Hudson said.

With his senior year quickly approaching, Hudson hopes to the pass the torch on and show another student the ropes. Because there’s a new rule that only allows one ambassador to be at a university, he wants to find a student willing to take on his role.

“Since it’s by invite only, my personal goal is to find a person or a group of people where I can talk to google and say ‘here, you need to invite these people to apply because they’d be a great fit,” Hudson said. “This event is an awesome way to find potential in someone.”

Google has to personally know a student, before inviting them to become a student ambassador or an employee.

Hudson was accepted into a summer program at google headquarters called the Computer Science Summer Institute after his senior year of high school. He was there for three weeks, required to finish a web application before the end of the program.

“It gave me a relationship with the people that work in university programs at google,” he said.  “From there I was invited to apply and I just had a lot of enthusiasm for Google because it sounded so fun. I just did it, and it kind of just happened.”

Google’s internship applications and recruiting season is in the fall, so this is the perfect time for students to start building networks.

Kirby Owens, junior majoring in computer science, attended the last talk with Helmick. Attending both sessions has helped her develop relationships, get an idea of how to apply for these jobs and practice interviewing.

“These have really helped me feel more comfortable and confident talking to the managers. Mike’s advice and tips are amazing,” she said. “I understand more about the process of getting these types of jobs and hope to get one with google.”

Hudson says that was the goal from the beginning.

“Hopefully people will want to interview for positions and possibly get an internship, which would be awesome,” he said. “But whether you get the job or not it’s important to keep your eyes open and connect.”

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Google school’s students on tricks of the trade