Monday, November 29, 2004

The Final Act of the Career Search

I finally got word from Google today.

Unfortunately, we are not in a position to move forward at this point. I am sorry it has taken us so long to give you an answer.

Everyone enjoyed meeting you and we appreciate your interest in Google.


I've also decided that I don't want to work for Navair, so... after months of phone calls, interviews, cancelled/delayed flights, and missed classes... I'm going to be doing what I was planning on doing from the start. I'll be going to work for Boeing as a DBA. I'm wondering if it has 'been good' for me to go through all these interviews, or if I was just wasting my time. Was it worth sitting in airports and airplanes for entire days? Maybe. I just don't know. I got invaluable experience from all the interviews. And now I know how to pick a security line at the airport.

This is kind of good, because I accepted the offer from Boeing BEFORE I started all this interviewing nonsense. So, if I had gone someplace else... I would have had to explain that to my manager at Boeing.

So, I applied and interviewed for enough jobs to choke a horse. And only got ONE offer. I must suck at life (not really... just one of my favorite expressions). Anyways. Keep checking back, I guess the career search is over (for a while)... but I have a feeling a lot of crazy crap is gonna start happening after graduation (12 days away).

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Interview at Navair

I wasn't going to post today, but I got a little motivation.
After yesterday, this day seemed like perfection. I would definitely have to say that the best part of today's interview was the fact that we didn't actually have to interview. Today was just an overview of what Navair does.

The first presentation we got was from the HR department. No new information here, just stuff from the brochures and the website that I had already read. I think sleeping an extra hour would have been WAY more interesting. I almost fell asleep during this part, but that might have been rude. *shrug*

The second presentation was an overview of what goes on at the base. As this presentation unfolded, it became pretty obvious that everything they do advances the art of waging war. Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation of weapons. From the presentation, it seems like there are two different 'factions' in this company, the RDT&E people and the production people. Which is cooler? I don't know. They're all equally dweeby.

The third place we went was to this place where they can simulate battlefields. Then we went into a room with a simulator with about 120 degrees of vision in front of you. And they let us fly an F/A-18 in the simulator... it was unbelievably fun. They showed us some of the hardware they use. SGI machines everywhere. It was an impressive looking facility. Like I could play in the place for hours.

Next, for the fourth place, we went to go check out the SPIKE development. The base (Navair is part of the navy) sets aside some money every year for a competition that everyone can compete in. You can propose an idea, and if it wins, it gets funding. Well, some guy was sitting in a bar, talking with a Marine about how the people that America is fighting right now don't really have advanced transportation. They just roll around in cheap trucks. The Marines needed a weapon to take these trucks out with; they can't use the shoulder mounted rocket launchers because they cost $80,000 and $100,000 per shot... and it was way overkill. So they came up with the idea to make lighweight cheap missles for Marines to pack around. He won the competition, and ended up getting $4 million (not just from the competition, enough people higher up thought the idea was good, they gave him more funding) to go ahead with project. So, we saw these little missles they were designing. Really cool stuff.

Then lunch. A Thai buffet... I love food.

Then we went to the place where they test radars, and learned about all the simulations, and where 'in-the-loop' they can test at, what they can emulate, etc. They showed us some radar 'target injectors'. They can put targets on radar screen in the test harness... pretty sweet.

Then we went to the place where they develop software for the F/A-18. I mean, all the software for the F/A-18. The control systems, etc. They develop the software for every version of the plane, for every country that uses it (because other countries can't have our badassness). This group is at a SEI CMM Level 4, and they're going to be evaluated for the a Level 5 in a couple months. Level 5 is as high as it goes... and thats pretty impressive. (They'll be switch to the CMMI in a few months, and will likely have to climb the ladder back to the top.

And, in the end I actually got offered the job in Navair's ESDP (Engineering and Science Development Program). This is actually a really cool program. It's a 1.0-1.5 year long rotational program where you get to work on a bunch of different projects for 3 months at a time, so you can find the one you want.

There are more things to consider in my job options now. I looked up some info, and the offered salary at Navair is equal to almost $90,000 in San Jose (where Google is). And $60,000 in Seattle.

I still haven't heard from Google... and I can't seem to get my mind off of them. Since I'm back in Spokane, and visiting all my parent's friends, they've know that I'm looking for a job, so I get the same questions about "what I'm going to do" in the future. And, it sucks not being able to give them a definite answer. I guess I'm just hoping that Google will offer me a job...

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Navair Visit...

I just got to my hotel room, and today deserves to be highlighted as one of the worst days in my life.

I woke up at 6:46 this morning so I could drive to Spokane Airport to get on my flight to Salt Lake City. This was fine, everything went just fine. I had a layover in SLC for 2 hours. Then we left for Los Angeles. Just as the plane started to board, I looked over, and saw a really tall man getting on the plane. Here is what went through my mind: "Is that...?? no, it couldn't be.." I got on the plane, and sure enough, it was Phil Jackson. Wow. That was pretty cool. We got off the plane in LAX, and I had a 3.5 hour layover. So, I found a seat where I could read (but also "people watch", because I like looking at people). Airports might be the most uncomfortable places on earth... there is never a seat worth of sitting in. They're worse than the old wood school desks. I'm hanging out in my chair, reading Angels & Demons, and a couple of people come over and sit right in the chairs next to me. I keep reading, and kind of listen to what they're saying. Apparently they've hit some sort of snafu in the watertight airport security system, and they're waiting for something. Finally I look over, and get a decent look at who it is, and its Queen Latifah. Two celebrities in one day... WOOHOO.

Now is where things hit the downhill slope.

They tell us to come through the gate, and get ready to board. Which meant they were putting us in an outdoor coral, and it was pretty cold out (of course, I come to LA, and its like 60 degrees). We wait for 10 or so minutes, then they say we can board our plane. We board the plane and we're sitting there for a few minutes, and the captain comes on the speaker and tells us that there is 50 MPH wind at our destination (my final destination of Ridgecrest). So, we can't go.
The desk clerk gave us 3 options:

  • Wait for the 10:45PM flight, and hope the winds die down.
  • They'll get us a hotel room, and fly us in the morning (and hope the winds die down).
  • They'll drive us there (160 miles). Most people opt for this.

Little did we know, the guy driving us would be going 45-55 MPH the whole way (on a FREEWAY!!!). It took almost an hour longer than they had predicted to drive here. Luckily, the people on the shuttle were pretty cool (extremly conservative, but cool, nonetheless) and that made the drive go by faster.

So we (eventually) get to the Ridgecrest airport (actually called Inyokern), but the terminal is closed, so I can't get my rental car. So, my friends from the shuttle ride gave me a ride to the hotel.

Here I sit. Sharing with the world, my day of traveling pain.
I'm going to bed, and I'm going to leave this post "unpolished" until I get a chance to go over it. But, I thought people might want to read about this at work tomorrow.

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Anticipation is Killing Me...

I just sent a little note to Google to see if they had made a decision regarding me (because they said they'd probably get back to me Friday (today) or Monday (forever away)). So, I got a little not back, saying that they hadn't made a decision yet... and that I probably wouldn't know until after THANKSGIVING!?!?!

I thought waiting until Monday would kill me... but, now I have to wait another WEEK!?! Oh man... this could be a long week. (At least I don't have school... so thats a plus).

But, a look on the positive side: I must have done well enough to be a potential hire. Apparently I did well enough to not be an immediate "NO HIRE". I knew I didn't do as well as I could've in the interview... so, it doesn't suprise me that I'm not an obvious "HIRE".

Lets just keep our little fingers crossed. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Incompetence Undisciplined

So, I've had a few experiences with "customer service representatives" over the phone the last couple of weeks... and I'd like to tell you how I end up handling myself.

  • So, you call, and go through a few phone menus. This isn't frustrating at all... just annoying. It doesn't normally take more than about 3 minutes to get through all this.
  • Now comes the holding. This is where my mood ... "degrades". This is what the company thinks of you: "we want your money, but we don't want to actually pay anybody to take it... because we know you're a sucker, and you'll wait". This can take upwards of 30 mins. Now I'm pissed... and ready to kick some ass... and perhaps take some names.
  • Now the a-hole that is manning the phone comes on. And you're ready to just UNLOAD on him. But, they answer, and they sound SO depressed. And then it hits you... the person on the other side of the phone has the worst job in the world. You might think that maybe someone who has to clean poop up in a monkey cage has the worst job... but, at least they don't have to deal with inconsiderate people all-day. So... you're raging... and you can't let it out this poor guy, because you don't want them to go home and shoot themselves. So you have to just live with it.

So you live with it. I'm hoping I don't explode one day.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Shock & Awesome

I thought I knew what cool was... turns out I had NO IDEA!!
I don't even know where to start writing this post, so... I guess it will be chronological.

I had to call SuperShuttle to schedule a shuttle from the San Jose Airport to The Grand Hotel in Sunnyvale. I'm not sure... but the lady that was that was attempting to take my reservation was probably retarded. That was a PAIN IN THE ASS (the Google recruiter actually apologized about the Super Shuttle people today).

My flight was leaving Spokane at 12:30PM, so I decided that I should probably skip class on Thursday (Great decision on my part (Sorry Bruce :)). The really cool part about today was that while I was sitting in the terminal in Spokane, I got a call from Apple. I applied to be a student blogger about a month ago... but it turns out that it was only for Apple Campus Representatives... but she liked my writing enough to think that I should write for them anyways. That was a good little morale booster. I got to San Jose and had to deal with SuperShuttle again... not pleasant, but I'll spare you.
I met a couple pretty cool guys on the SuperShuttle on the way over to the hotel that were interviewing at Google too. Then at 7PM we had a 'BBQ reception'. Decent food, lots of really cool, intensly smart people. It was definitely intimidating. I was literally in a room full of people from: MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Cornell, and ME from University of Idaho. BUT I learned that the name of you school speaks almost nothing of your intelligence. I definitely feel like I was as smart or smarter than most people here (OH, there were about 60 people intervewing).
I tried to get to sleep at like 11PM, because I was really tired. I was WAY too excited to sleep.. so I didn't fall asleep until about 3AM.
Oh, and I almost forgot about a few important perks of coming to this interview: I checked in, and they gave me a $50 traveler's cheque... JUST FOR COMING TO THE INTERVIEW!. I get into my room... and I can't even see the other side of the room. My hotel room is as big as my apartment at school, and the bathroom is as big as my room at home. I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but in hotel rooms, the fan in the bathroom always turns on when you turn on the lights. Not this place... it was too nice for that. This definitly let me know that Google has a few buck to toss around. There was also a nice little gift bag in my room with: a pen, a hat, and a few other random things.

A bus picked us up at the hotel at 9:15AM-ish. We get a short little introduction, then I started my interviews.
Interview #1
This one started off by asking me how to find the depth of a tree. I gave a good enough explanation that he didn't have me code it up. Then he asked me to find the nth node in an in-order search of a tree. I had to code this one up. The coding for this had a few little gotchas in it. It was my first interview for the day, so I was still a little jittery. I still think I did pretty good. We started talking about how to represent an integer in a float. We didn't get to finish the question, but apparently I got the jist of what they were trying to get.
Interview #2
This interview was actually pretty good. It started off with a good, pretty simple question. Find the intersection of 2 sorted integer arrays. Then you expand on that: what if one of them is huge? what if one of them is so huge, it can't fit in memory, how do you minimize the number of disk seeks?
Interview #3
This guy noticed that I did DBA work this summer, so he asked me how I'd represnt a directed graph in a relational table. Then he asked me how I'd do it for an undirected graph (making sure there were no duplicates). Then he asked me to give an algorithm to reverse a character array in place, but... keeping the words spelled forward (i.e. "I AM TEXT" would go to: "TEXT AM I"). And this went decently well too.
The Rest of the Day
We went to lunch, and the cafe they have is actually pretty good. After that we had a tour of the campus... and I actually think this was kind of lame. I understand they're trying to sell the google workplace to us... but, at that point, I didn't care. I just wanted to get back to my hotel room, and recoup a little bit. But, they redeemed themselves. I got a massage. After that, they brought in an engineer and had a Q&A session. Then we headed back to the hotel.

Now, I'm in the hotel room, blogging the occurances of the day. I'm suppose to hear back within 2 weeks, but my recruiter said that I'd probably hear by Friday the 19th.

Bad news: I heard from the Deloitte recruiter today, and I didn't get that job. So far, I'm 0 for 2 in my final round interviews. Hopefully that will change after this one.

Next weekend I'm going to Navair. The job at Navair sounds like it has to do with lots of cool technology. But, A) the technology kills people, and B) its in the middle of the desert.

Ok, this post is probably long enough. sorry.

Monday, November 08, 2004

I can't even express how happy I am

I just got an email from the Google recruiter... and I'm going to be flying down to Moutainview to interview.

I'm glad I had the Expedia interview first, because now I have good practice for a technical interview.

This might officially be the busiest week ever. I've got my Graphics homework due tomorrow. My senior design group has a release tomorrow... so we've got to fix everything for that by tomorrow. I've got a Genetic Programming assignment due on Monday. And I've got very little of all this done, because I just got my SCUBA certification last weekend.

Back to work.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Just got off the phone...

I just got off the phone... and I think I did pretty well.

Here are the questions that he asked me:
Given 2 strings (as character arrays) A and B, how would you determine if the characters in B were a subset of the characters in A.

Given that there are about 4 billion pages indexed by Google, how would you keep from indexing the same page twice?

What is a cool project you've been thinking about? (something you might work on in your "20% time" at Google).

I also found out about some pretty sweet perks at Google

  • Free lunch and dinner - great for people just coming out of College
  • 20% time - 20% of your time is spent working on any project you want
  • Free Massages - I don't remember how often you can get them... but, still...
  • The whole Moutainview, CA staff goes on a ski trip to Tahoe every year in Januarary... with skiing competitions :-D

Now, lets all cross our collective fingers... and hope Adam gets his dream job at Google.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Another With Google

I've got another phone interview with Google tomorrow (Thursday). With my recent technical interview practice... I'm hoping this one goes flawlessly.

I'm a smart guy... I've gotta let it shine through! :-D