Ask Gayle: I am a low-level programmer. Can I get a job at Google?

Hi Gayle, I am desperate about getting a software engineer job in only Google. My dilemma is that I have worked only in RTOS (e.g. WinCE) System Software Domain in all of my 6+ yrs of overall work experience in big semiconductor companies e.g. Qualcomm, Marvell, and I have no experience in web companies.   Do you think there might be any chance for me to get a job in Google?

Thanks Avi

Google does occasionally look specifically for low-level programmers.  Scour the job openings and see if you can find something that fits your background.  However, most job openings at Google are just general "software engineering" positions, which leads to two questions:

1. Can you get an interview?

2. If you get an interview, can you get an offer?

As far as the first one, quite possibly.  You have some big name companies on your resume, and that gives you a lot of credibility.  The only drawback is that you may not have much object oriented experience.  You could try your luck applying as-is (it'll help if you can find an employee to refer you), or you could do something to boost this experience.  Is there an open source project (preferably one with Java) that interests you - one that would give you the much needed object oriented design experience?

With respect to the second question, it's really about how much you prepare for your interviews.  Read up on design patterns - the formal names aren't important, but it might be useful for you to see different ways of designing things.  Practice interview questions using object oriented design, and preferably Java.  Be aggressive about writing very clean code and designing classes and structs to hold the necessary data.

Google is desperate to hire great people, so with a bit of preparation, you can get a job there.  Good luck!