Friday, January 23, 2015

Verrazano Computer Science Students Visit Google In NYC

Professor Fred Johnson teaches Introduction to Computer Science for Verrazano freshmen as part of a learning community each fall.  In December, he brought his class on a special visit to the Google headquarters in New York City.  Read below for reflections by two students who participated in the class trip.

Shannon Milone, Verrazano Class of 2018
My name is Shannon Milone and I am a student in the Verrazano Honors Program class of 2018. I am currently working towards a Computer Science degree, and my classmates and I recently visited Google in New York City.  For many years I have heard stories about Google offices, but actually seeing this with my own eyes was incredible. The atmosphere is completely laid-back and creative. Employees are trusted to lounge, play video games, or eat at any time they desire. This environment does not stunt production but increases it by letting employees come up with their own ideas on their own time. The positive energy and intelligence was felt as soon as I walked into the company doors. This trip heightened my passion for computer science and really showed me that although it is hard, a job in this field is both rewarding and satisfying.

Dakota Paxton, Verrazano Class of 2018
Verrazano class at Google in NYC.
Google was beautiful. My Introduction to Computer Science class went on a trip to the Google offices in New York, and boy was it something! Even before entering the building, I was intrigued as to how monstrous it was and what could be contained inside. Upon entering, we were given visitor passes with out names on it (that we sadly had to give back at the end of the tour) and were introduced to Andrew (our guide) and his peers. They all seemed very nice and open to any and all sorts of questions we wanted to ask about Google or how to get a career there! The first “exhibit” we looked at was the donated computers that our professor most likely used in his era; they all looked amazing.
Then as we went along with the tour we passed by a game room containing multiple entertainment machines that everyone wanted to try. However, we moved along and were confronted with multiple “mini bars” that were customized with a specific theme! There was a Pac-man, subway, Lego and other themed snack bars, all of which looked amazing. The Lego area was probably my favorite place because co-workers were able to create their own pieces of art and place them on the wall, which is a unique touch to customize the office.

As we continued onward, we were finally able to meet the “cafeteria.” They had personal chefs and baristas as far as the eye could see! I got sushi, but there were so many other choices tempting me. As we sat down we were given an opportunity to speak with members of Google. I spoke with one man who worked on Google Maps who discussed his purpose and their goals; it was all very informative. I also learned about all the quirky easter eggs that are included within Maps.

After lunch, we were brought to a conference room where Andrew presented a PowerPoint to inform us what a Software Engineer does and how they function in the workplace. These were things a majority of us already knew, considering we’re planning to go into the field, but the included jokes within the presentation were nice. All in all, it was great to see where they actually conduct meetings and such.

The tour was really awesome. Our group actually got to see what goes on inside of Google! It was kind of like finally understanding a trick that the magician did that you never knew how to do before. I feel that if given the opportunity, anyone should go visit Google. Lastly, I definitely know where I want to be interning next year!

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