At Google, the staff (Googlers) solve complex problems every day in a mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible. What is it like to work for an organisation like Google and what kind of jobs do they actually do? We caught up with Heather Traher, Senior User Experience Researcher who works in the San Francisco office to find out more about her job and what it’s like to work for Google.
What do you actually do?
My job involves researching how people use technology, and looking for opportunities to make it easier and more helpful for Google’s tools to fit into their lives. Sometimes this means just interviewing people, or going out in the field and observing how they work or do things at home. Other times it’s testing out new ideas and prototypes in a research lab before they are turned into real products for the general public. There’s also surveys and other research tools that feed into how Google thinks about product development. I focus on qualitative research, which is the “why” side of things that complements the “what” that we can see in user logs.
How has your career taken shape between leaving school and now?
After school I did a degree in fine arts. From there I started working in interactive design firms, and was exposed to user research from a colleague practising in the field a few years out of uni. I was really inspired, and was mentored on the job to transition my career into doing research full time.
What attracted you to a career in technology?
It wasn’t something I pictured myself doing when I was applying for university, but during my time studying new media I started coding HTML and doing other things like that to complete my art projects. I became really interested in how people use technology, and how design can make people’s lives better.
What would you say to encourage girls and young women to think about a career in technology?
Girls can do a lot to help other girls – look for a professional mentor who can help answer your questions. Don’t be afraid to build things based on your own ideas! Google is a great workplace for women. Google empowers women to succeed by providing academic scholarships to future leaders in technology and supporting employee resource groups like Women@Google.
If someone had an ambition to work for Google where can they find out about careers?
Google has over 70 offices in more than 40 countries and is always hiring somewhere! Current positions are online at www.google.com/careers. In the UK there are offices in Manchester and London. The company also runs a robust internship program that students can apply for while studying for a degree, masters or PHD courses. If you fancy being a Googler and working for one of the coolest organisations in the world, check out our website and learn about our teams https://www.google.co.uk/about/careers/teams/
People have taken all kinds of paths to get a job with Google. You can start right here in Ayrshire by enrolling on one of our computing courses http://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/courses/all-courses/business-and-computing/?duration=Full_Time