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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On Leaving Google

Someone who claims to have worked as a software engineer for the Google AdWords Report Center wrote a blog post detailing why he quit Google. The post mentions a great many benefits and joys of working at Google, but then also goes into problems like agile start-up mentality vs big company settings. Digital Hobbit also writes about the problems of perhaps being assigned to a task you’re not excited about, and then having to learn to understand Google’s programming framework (I split the single paragraph into two):

[I]t is unlikely to initially be able to work in an area that one is passionate about. Many of the Google products are exciting, but unfortunately I was unable to be passionate about my particular product area. That is not to say that there weren’t any interesting aspects about it, and I do have a lot of respect for the team I worked with. Overall this is less of a problem later, as it is generally encouraged to switch projects every 1-2 years, but this first year makes a big difference, particularly for experienced engineers that have a good understanding of what kind of things they enjoy working on (or perhaps more importantly, don’t enjoy working on) or what kind of environments are a good match. I feel that the hiring process should be improved to better take this into consideration, although this is admittedly a difficult logistical problem at Google’s scale.

Another scale-related problem: Due to the sheer size of the code base and the vast number of Google-specific tools and frameworks, it also takes a very long time to learn how to actually become productive at Google, which can be frustrating at times.

[Via Reddit.]


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