Working at Google with my BSc Computer Science

Working at Google with my BSc Computer Science

Eilidh obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and started working for Google right after graduating from RGU! She shares more about her course experience and how it helped her build a career within one of the most famous multinationals in the world.

Why did you decide to study BSc Computer Science at RGU?

I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to study when I finished high school. I found the idea of ‘picking a career’ a bit daunting. So I took a few years to make the decision. Before applying to university, I worked and travelled around the world first. 

All through my life I had a passion for tech. I’d make websites, 2D games and tinker with electronics. I loved computing as a subject in school so when I felt ready to pick a degree, it was the natural choice for me. 

I’m a practical person and prefer learning by doing. That’s why RGU’s industrial placement year and emphasis on application of skills was hugely appealing to me. I wanted to get some work experience as I studied, so I would be fully prepared for a job when I graduated. 

Can you tell us more about your experience on the course?

Computer Science is a broad field, and the course did a great job of covering a breadth of topics, from web development to data structures and algorithms. This helped me realise what was out there in terms of careers, and what I might like to focus on. 

Aside from attending lectures, I got very involved with the Computing Society. I helped organise social events and our annual 24-hour Hackathon, RGUHack.

How has the Computer Science degree at RGU helped you as a Software Engineer at Google?

RGU provided a lot of support for the optional industry placement year – a full year out to work (and earn money!), between second and third year. They have multiple industry links with companies in Aberdeen and beyond, and assisted in CV crafting and interview skills

I took a placement at the Science and Technology Facilities Council, a physics lab in Oxfordshire. There, I got a great taste of what a software engineering career would look like. It solidified my knowledge that I was making the right career choice.

The placement gave me the confidence and skills to apply for my first Google internship in Paris, which I managed to squeeze in before I returned to RGU in third year. Then, I did another internship at Google in Zurich before 4th year. I finally converted it into a full-time job in London when I graduated.

Can you tell us more about your role within Google?

I work with Google Health, helping to build mobile applications for clinicians to use to help treat patients more effectively. The people are incredible. They are smart, inquisitive and driven by a desire to use tech to solve big problems in the world. 

On a typical day, I’ll be writing a lot of code, writing a design for an upcoming feature, and reviewing the code of my teammates. I’m hosting an intern this summer so at the moment I’m doing a bit of management training too. The offices really are amazing so I take full advantage of the complimentary food, gym and massages!

Aside from coding, I’m involved in student outreach at Google and do talks at universities and conferences. It’s been a pleasure to represent Google at the Ada Lovelace Colloquium, an annual tech conference for women and non-binary tech students that I went to every year as a student at RGU.

Do you have any advice to prospective students who are considering studying Computer Science?

From my own experience, take advantage of the industry year and any other opportunities you can find (or create!) to volunteer and gain work experience. 

Computing is a dynamic field and it changes every year. In ten years it will look entirely different, which is personally what I find so interesting about it. Despite that, the foundational skills of programming and design haven’t changed much at all. So it pays to put in the work to give your knowledge a solid base to stand and grow on. A Computer Science degree at RGU gives you that, in addition to helping you explore all the most recent developments like machine learning, games design and data science.

Eilidh Southren 

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