Explore Careers: What does a Software Engineer do? Discussion with an Engineer at Google (2023)

Explore Careers: What does a Software Engineer do? Discussion with an Engineer at Google (1)

With all the hype around Silicon Valley and Tech, Team Learn Educate Discover , met up with a current Software Engineer Google Developers, to try and understand what an engineer’s job is all about. His name is Naresh Rapolu and we had a very informative discussion with him!

Here are our notes from our discussion with Naresh (listen to the podcast below if you prefer audio instead)

So tell me, what is your favorite perk at Google?

For me, free food is definitely the best. I’ve been struggling to cook something, which caused me to eat outside which then causes me to gain weight. So now that I get free and healthy food I don’t have to worry about any cooking. There are around 25 cafes in Mountain View, all serving different cuisines. So one can go and choose whatever they want to eat that day.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born and brought up in Hyderabad, South India. I’ve always been more interested in academics over sports. Even from high school, I’ve always been interested in maths and sciences. I started writing my first codes in classes XI­-XII onwards. I pursued my bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering. After 4 years, I decided I wanted to explore this field a little more. So I pursued a PhD in Computer Science from Purdue University where I worked on large scale storage systems. Companies like Microsoft, Google etc. collect a lot of data. They need to have data centers with thousands of computers for storing this data. Systems that are used to maintain, synchronize the data and make it accessible are fairly complex. There’s an entire science around distributed centres which is developed around this, which is what I did. After my PhD, I joined Google and I’m having a great time!

Is your profile the typical profile for a software engineer at Googler?

So while I would not say that a research background is extremely necessary, typically most software engineers would have a bachelors degree. Research is fairly optional mostly because software engineering is an extremely diverse field. Research helps if you’re developing something new. It helps you figure out what has been done, why a particular software stack behaves the way it does and how it could it be improved. So it gives you a better idea about things, but it isn’t mandatory.

(Video) Interview tips from Google Software Engineers

So could you tell us what a software engineer really does?

In the most generic sense, a software engineer writes code to make software. However, any small piece of code can be called a software making its definition extrmely vague. There is one side of software called system software, which interacts with low level hardware, such as CPUs and embedded systems. The other side is called application development, which is where most of the engineers lie. Here, there is typically a user and there are some requirements as to how a user should interact with a particular system. The software is then written which plugs in the system software into what the user wants. Even building a website is more of an application development rather than core system software. Most of the work is in engineering software. Like with any design, when you are building a software there are a number of things which need to be done well in order for the software to function well. That is where software engineering comes in.

Another aspect of software engineering is that If I leave my job and someone else comes in to take over, he/she should be able to take over from me. This is called code maintenance.

Could you describe the kind of problems you solve everyday?

Let’s say you have a web service, which is basically a software which is available online through a website, for instance -­ Google Search. Now, search has a software behind it controlling what it actually does. Such a software will have 2 major challenges.The first will be around the system side of it -­ Google search for instance will get millions of visits every minute. People therefore expect that the functionality is available at all times. The amount of data that needs to be processed to obtain a search result is also huge because of which every search request takes a lot of machines working in the back end. Therefore, there are a host of software services which need to ensure that these machines are always running. Keeping such back-­end services running is one of the most pressing issues for software engineering today.

The other kind of problems is around making life easier for consumers, in companies such as­ Uber for instance. The concept of a taxi service has existed since times immemorial. But now, with technology, this service has become accessible on a mobile phone. Similarly, Google Search makes it possible to access the entire world’s information on a website or a phone. So a software engineer in such cases tries to identify how life for humans can be improved using technology.

Can you describe the kind of activities you do on a typical day?

(Video) Working as an Application Engineer at Google

I’m currently working on the shopping search and express teams. Here, we’re trying to work on two things. One is making the shopping search results more useful for the product. If the system can understand that the person using the system is a teenager, then it can tailor the search results to those of search which is the human aspect of it. First is searching for the product among a number of products. The second is the product with the least cost. The other part of this is the shopping express team which looks at cases where a consumer buys something but the product is placed far away from where the person lives. Google Express helps in shipping that to the person’s home. Therefore, we’re trying to understand human needs and then finding ways to solve for them.

Most of the day goes into meetings, where we’re typically brainstorming on how we can improve existing software so that people find the product more useful. A large part of the day also goes in implementation of whatever we have thought of. Thirdly, we also spend a fair bit of time in ensuring that the product that we have written works and is actually helpful for users over and above existing software.

What kind of people do you work with in terms of their roles and functions?

There are two aspects to this. One is understanding people and their mindset to understand what is out there in the market, what is missing and what do people need. These people are generally called as business operations with whom we regularly keep in touch with. However, typically most of the people that we work with are software engineers. We also work with the marketing team given that finally our product needs to be sold to customers.

What are your working hours like?

So the great thing about software engineering is that you only need to have your laptop to work. With video conferencing, it is also very simple to attend meetings over the laptop. ­It typically doesn’t matter where you attend the meeting from. I generally stay in office from 10AM to 5PM, after which I retain the flexibility to either stay in office or go home. A number of software engineers, especially the ones with families, tend to go home and spend only 6 ­-7 hours in office.

To learn more, you can listen to the full podcast below:




Hope you found the discussion helpful! If you have any questions for Naresh or for LED, you can email us at learneducatediscover@gmail.com or find us on Twitter Learn Educate Discover

Thanks for listening!


What does software engineers do at Google? ›

Software Engineers solve a broad range of computer science problems at Google. In EngProd, they build infrastructure, harnesses, and tooling to help improve engineering velocity and product excellence.

What is it like to work at Google as a software engineer? ›

Google is a dream company for software engineers for a ton of reasons. It offers an excellent work environment and culture, along with scores of other amazing benefits. For a software engineer, landing a job with Google is no joke. Its technical interview is one of the toughest among FAANG companies.

What skills are needed to be a software engineer at Google? ›

Experience with one or more general purpose programming languages including but not limited to: Java, C/C++, C#, Objective C, Python, JavaScript, or Go. Ability to learn other coding languages as needed. Excellent written/verbal communication skills.

What are your career goals in Software Engineering answer? ›

Here are some examples of technical career goals for software engineers: Become an expert in programming languages JavaScript and Python. Strengthen data management skills by working with DBMS systems. Work on a system that has 3 million data requests per minute to enhance data management experience.

Why do Google software engineers make so much? ›

Engineers are not only paid for their works to be done, but also for “future work” that they might need to do by “keep updating themselves”. So that's it! Three things that make software engineers highly paid: limited supply for its demand, high responsibilities, and the effort to be adaptive.

Do you need a software engineer to work at Google? ›

Do I need a computer science degree to be a Google software engineer? No, a CS degree isn't required for most of our software engineering or product manager roles.

Do software engineers use Google a lot? ›

Conclusion. We've come to a consensus that Google is an indispensable tool for programming all programmers use Google. Using Google often doesn't make you a lesser programmer and trying always solve code issues on your own without Google still doesn't make you superior to others.

How much does a software engineer make working for Google? ›

Average Google Software Engineer yearly pay in the United States is approximately $152,341, which is 42% above the national average.

What is the most important skill of a software engineer? ›

Top Software Engineer Skills for Today's Job Market
  • Computer Programming and Coding. ...
  • Software Development. ...
  • Object-Oriented Design (OOD) ...
  • Software Testing and Debugging. ...
  • Problem Solving and Logical Thinking. ...
  • Written and Verbal Communication. ...
  • Teamwork. ...
  • Find a Home for Your Software Engineering Skills.

What are the most important skills and qualities needed to work at Google? ›

Most-Desired Tech Skills at Google, Past 90 Days
  • Software Development. 451.
  • Software Engineering. 432.
  • Python. 382.
  • Product Management. 329.
  • Product Development. 276.
  • Program Management. 268.
  • Project Management. 256.
  • SQL. 253.
24 Feb 2022

How hard is it to get into Google as a software engineer? ›

Getting into Google isn't all that easy, though. Known to hire only the world's top talent, Google accepts less than 1% of applicants for software engineering positions. Getting hired by Google takes a great deal of effort, typically involving several hours of practice and preparation, powered by the right strategy.

What is the major goal of software engineering? ›

The primary objective of software engineering is to create dependable and effective software. The objective of software engineering is to produce high-quality software.

What are your career goals interview sample answers? ›

I really want to be a proactive and valuable team member.” Short-term goal: Work in marketing after graduation. Long-term goal: Be a proactive and engaged team member. Action plan: Earn more experience and knowledge in marketing and improve communication and public speaking skills.

How do you plan to achieve your career goals interview answer? ›

How to answer, "How do you plan to achieve goals in your career?"
  1. Think about your visions for the future. The first step is to discover the contributions you want to make in your career. ...
  2. Incorporate details about the job. ...
  3. Mention your qualifications. ...
  4. Describe the actions you can take. ...
  5. Emphasize your long-term goals.

What is the highest level of software engineer at Google? ›

Google Engineer Levels
  • Software Engineer II (L3 | 0-1 year of experience)
  • Software Engineer III (L4 | 2+ years of experience)
  • Senior Software Engineer (L5 | Manager I equivalent)
  • Staff Software Engineer (L6 | Manager II equivalent)
  • Senior Staff Software Engineer (L7 | Senior Manager)
  • Principal Engineer (L8 | Director)
11 Oct 2022

How much do Google first year software engineers make? ›

Google Salary FAQs

The average salary for a Software Engineer New Grad is $91,513 per year in United States, which is 57% lower than the average Google salary of $215,990 per year for this job.

Why do software engineers make more than other engineers? ›

Software engineers make much more than most jobs is because they have leverage. 1 software engineer have the power to change millions of lives. That is why they get much more than the average job.

How can I prepare myself to be a software engineer at Google? ›

That's it! Here's a quick recap:
  1. Step 1: Learn to code.
  2. Step 2: Work on a few personal projects.
  3. Step 3: Get your first programming job or internship.
  4. Step 4: Learn data structures and algorithms.
  5. Step 5: Prepare for coding interviews.
  6. Step 6: Apply, apply, and apply again :)
9 Jul 2018

How many software engineers work at Google? ›

Although there is a direct answer to the question “How many software engineers does Google have?” There are many variables involved. Studies reveal according to Google's reports that across all departments globally, it has 27,169 software engineers on the rolls.

What coding do you need to know to work at Google? ›

It turns out most Googlers are all about Python, Javascript, C++ and Java.

Who is the best software engineer in the world? ›

Top 10 best computer programmers in the world
  • James Gosling.
  • Linus Torvalds.
  • Anders Hejlsberg.
  • Tim Berners-Lee.
  • Brian Kernighan.
  • Ken Thompson.
  • Guido van Rossum.
  • Donald Knuth.
22 Mar 2022

Which company has the best software engineers? ›

For software engineers that want to move to the US.
RankCompanySoftware engineers in the US
1Google (Alphabet)38000
46 more rows

Which place is best for software engineer in the world? ›

San Francisco, New York, Seattle — home to some of the biggest names in the tech world — are often the first cities that come to mind when you think of where to kickstart your software engineering career. However, they're also some of the most expensive cities to live in in the United States and worldwide.

Do software engineers at Google work long hours? ›

Typical Google Working Hours

Work time varies, but 44% of Googlers work 10+ hours on average. The good news is that 70% of Googlers report being satisfied with work-life balance, even though their hours may be longer than a typical 40-hour work week.

How many hours does a Google software engineer work a day? ›

8 hours a day.

How long do Google software engineers work? ›

Do Google engineers have long work hours? Most engineers work about 45 hours a week most of the time. If your team is way behind you might work more for a couple months. If there is an incident you might work a lot of hours for a day or two, and then take a bit of time to recover.

What are the duties of a Software Engineer? ›

Software engineers focus on applying the principles of engineering to software development. Their role includes analyzing and modifying existing software as well as designing, constructing and testing end-user applications that meet user needs — all through software programming languages.

How much do Google support engineers make? ›

The average Google IT Support Engineer earns an estimated $107,436 annually, which includes an estimated base salary of $102,103 with a $5,333 bonus. Google's IT Support Engineer compensation is $28,212 more than the US average for a IT Support Engineer.

What does a Software Engineer do on a daily basis? ›

Software engineers spend their day solving problems in web applications and programs, writing code, attending meetings, and collaborating with their peers. They usually work on several projects at once.

What is most important part of software engineering? ›

Software engineering almost always includes a vast amount of teamwork. Designers, writers, coders, testers, various team members, and the entire IT team need to understand the code. Software engineers should understand how to work with several common computer languages, including Visual Basic, Python, Java, C, and C++.

What qualities are important for a software engineer? ›

What Makes a Great Software Engineer?
  • Quality #1: Experience and Intuition.
  • Quality #2: Attention to Detail.
  • {Quality #3} Quick Self-Learning, Flexibility, and Adaptability.
  • {Quality #4} Productivity, Planning and Time Management.
  • {Quality #5} Curiosity and Love of Learning.
  • {Quality #6} Business Sense.
19 Aug 2021

What would you say are your greatest strengths in software engineering? ›

5 Qualities of High-Performing Software Engineers
  1. Knowledge of the full stack.
  2. Ability to learn, adapt and grow.
  3. Business acumen.
  4. Time management.
  5. Interpersonal skills.
8 Jul 2020

What do you think are the three qualities to work at Google? ›

10 Skills You Need to Have to Get Job at Google
  • Google is the promised land when it comes to career opportunities. ...
  • Googleyness. ...
  • Being comfortable with ambiguity. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Problem-solving ability. ...
  • Your tech skills are up to scratch. ...
  • Persistence and passion. ...
  • Smart creative.
8 Aug 2019

What 3 skills will you bring to this role? ›

What Skills Can You Bring to the Job?
  • Technical skills.
  • Soft skills.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Transferrable skills.
  • Management skills.
  • Communication skills.

What 3 skills do you consider the most important to be successful? ›

10 essential skills you'll need for career success
  • Communication. Communication includes listening, writing and speaking. ...
  • Problem solving. Challenges will arise in every job you have. ...
  • Teamwork. ...
  • Initiative. ...
  • Analytical, quantitative. ...
  • Professionalism, work ethic. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Detail oriented.
17 Apr 2019

Are Google interviews hard? ›

Practice with Google ex-interviewers. Google coding interviews are really challenging. The questions are difficult, specific to Google, and cover a wide range of topics. The good news is that the right preparation can make a big difference.

Why is it hard to get a job at Google? ›

It is difficult to get a job at Google because of their quality standards and the high number of applications they receive per year. For example, INC reported that Google receives 2 million job applications per year, which means it's more competitive to get into than Harvard University.

How do I pass a Google coding interview? ›

How to prepare for behavioral interviews
  1. Predict the future. You can anticipate most of the questions you will be asked. ...
  2. Plan. Write your answers down. ...
  3. Have a backup plan. Google recommends having 3 answers per question. ...
  4. Explain. ...
  5. Be data-driven. ...
  6. Clarify. ...
  7. Improve. ...
  8. Practice.
28 Oct 2021

What is software engineering in simple words? ›

Software engineering is the application of principles used in the field of engineering, which usually deals with physical systems, to the design, development, testing, deployment and management of software systems.

What are your short term goals software engineer? ›

A short-term goal could be completing a relevant development or cloud certification. A long-term goal could be running your own Dev team as the Director of Engineering or CTO.

What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers? ›

10 most common interview questions and answers
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What attracted you to our company?
  • Tell me about your strengths.
  • Tell me about your strengths.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Tell me about a time where you encountered a business challenge?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years answer example? ›

Answer for “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” “In five years, I see myself as an integral part of the company who has helped contribute to the growth and success of the organization. I would like to continue developing my skills and knowledge in order to be able to take on more responsibility within the company.

What can you do to improve your skills in achieving your career goals? ›

How to achieve your career goals
  1. Make career planning a regular habit.
  2. Set 'SMART' targets.
  3. Once you've hit a target, set another.
  4. Cultivate a positive mindset.
  5. Be persistent.
  6. Seek out constructive feedback.
  7. Explore your passions.
  8. Invest lots of time researching your options.
9 Feb 2021

What are 3 three steps you intend to take to achieve your career goals? ›

To help with this, we've outlined five steps that career-savvy professionals can take to define and begin achieving their career goals.
  • Step 1: Define your dream job. ...
  • Step 2: Write it down. ...
  • Step 3: Break it down into short-term goals. ...
  • Step 4: Make each goal measurable. ...
  • Step 5: Create an action plan.

What are your goals for the future best answer? ›

Examples of Best Answers

My long-term goals involve growing with a company where I can continue to learn, take on additional responsibilities, and contribute as much value as possible to the team. I love that your company emphasizes professional development opportunities.

Is it hard to get a job at Google as a software engineer? ›

Getting into Google isn't all that easy, though. Known to hire only the world's top talent, Google accepts less than 1% of applicants for software engineering positions. Getting hired by Google takes a great deal of effort, typically involving several hours of practice and preparation, powered by the right strategy.

Do software engineers Google alot? ›

Yes – Professional programmers use Google frequently to find answers to coding issues. A survey conducted by Stack Overflow across 57,910 professional programmers shows that about a whooping 90% consult Google when stuck with a problem. These experts have an average range of 5 – 19 years of coding experience.

How much does a software engineer make on Google? ›

The typical Google Software Engineer salary is $112,364 per year. Software Engineer salaries at Google can range from $10,510 - $258,625 per year. This estimate is based upon 342 Google Software Engineer salary report(s) provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods.

Does Google pay well for software engineers? ›

Google Software Engineer Salary | $189K-$1.1M+ | Levels. fyi.

How many hours do software engineers work Google? ›

All things considered, with the information provided here, we can safely assume that the average software engineer works between 40 hours to 60 hours a week.

What is the lowest salary in Google? ›

What is the minimum salary in Google? Minimum salary at Google depends on the role you are applying for. For Analyst the minimum salary is ₹7.6 Lakhs per year, for Data Analyst the minimum salary is ₹20.1 Lakhs per year and so on.

Is it hard to get a job at Google? ›

In fact, Google's acceptance rate is 0.2% compared with 5.2% for Harvard. Working for Google might sound like an unbelievable dream, but just because the odds are high doesn't imply they can't be ever in your favor! While hard, several thousands do get hired every year, so it is not impossible.

Which engineer is highest paid in Google? ›

Let's learn more about him. This could be why you probably never heard of Jeff Dean's name. He is an American software engineer and computer scientist. Dean is the mastermind of many behind-the-scenes products that helped Google rule the internet.


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