The 14 Things Every Google Employee Must Do Before They Quit

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Photo: Flickr / Marcin Wichary

Even if you want to work at Google, you probably don’t want to be there forever.Well, it turns out there’s a bucket list for Googlers, too. A bunch of former Googlers listed everything you should do before you leave the company on Quora.

A lot of them are related to taking advantage of Google’s perks, but the take-away is that Google has a ton of resources that will make you a better engineer — so take advantage of them.

Without further ado…

Learn how to be a badass coder.

'Google invests a significant amount of effort in engineering education and in producing detailed codelabs with exercises that bring you up to speed on core abstractions like protocol buffers.'

Translation: Google wants you to be a better software engineer, so take advantage of the tools they are giving you. Be like Jeff Dean.

Attend talks by celebrities and tech geniuses.

'You might be able to catch Lady Gaga and President Obama when he was running for office. While I was at Google, I went to talks by Freakonomics author Steven D. Levitt, cartoonists for The Simpsons, presidential candidate Ron Paul, Java collections architect Joshua Bloch, Python language creator Guido Van Rossum, and many more.'

Translation: Google attracts some really cool people to its campus. Go see them.

Enjoy the power trip of using all of Google's resources.

'Run a MapReduce on thousands of machines. Few places offer you access to so many resources at your fingertips, and your first one feels quite empowering.'

Translation: Googlers have a huge amount of computing power and resources at their fingertips. Ride the wave.

Eat food. Lots of it.

'Try out all 20 or so different Google cafes. Though you can get your friends to invite you after you leave, you won't have the same flexibility later.'

Translation: Pretty obvious: Google has free food, so you should try all of it.

Read up on how Google was designed and how it operates.

'Read design documents for major pieces of Google infrastructure. There may be research papers on distributed storage with BigTable and incremental indexing with Percolator/Caffeine, but within Google, you have access to significantly more resources to new cutting edge designs and in-depth explanations of why things were built a certain way. Internalizing some of those design choices will help you make better design choices in the future.'

Translation: Google is a massive software giant because it was built on great principles and coding, and you have a chance to find out how it works. Take advantage of it.

Try doing something out of your comfort zone.

'Try out something you're interested in, but that might be more difficult for you to do outside (e.g., managing a team, TLing (being a tech lead), working on a platform or in a programming language you're not comfortable with, trying out a rotation with a different group, get involved with ventures or dotorg, etc.'

Translation: Try new projects and teams! Google will move its employees around so they don't get bored.

If you're in Mountain View, start riding a bike.

'Bike from San Francisco to Mountain View with the SF2G crew ('

Translation: There's a big group of Googlers that ride from San Francisco to the Google offices in Mountain View. It's a huge, exhausting trip -- but sounds totally worth it.

Find out how some of Google's more ridiculous projects work.

'If available, sign up for a tour of the ScanOps building where Google digitizes books, page by page. A long time ago there also used to be data warehouse tours, but they no longer offered them while I was there.'

Translation: Google Books is one of Google's more ridiculous projects, and you can see how it works. Check it out.

Find out what Google is working on next.

'Find out what Google's planning to launch next. Google's fairly open internally, and there's a lot of product information available on its internal wikis.'

Translation: this one is pretty self-explanatory. Google is constantly working on weird projects. Sergey Brin is actually called 'batman' around the office because of some of the projects he is leading.

Find out how Google lets its programmers check code in and out.

'Understand how the build system works. It's hard to write a good build system. When I was at Ooyala, I was able to use what I had learned at Google to write a good command-line build tool for Flash/Actionscript to replace the buggy and broken Eclipse-based build system we were using before.'

Translation: Decipher how Google makes it possible for you to build your programs and check them in and out of its code databases. You never know when you'll have to build one from scratch.

Visit an international office and, ideally, do a rotation there.

A few more things we found out: Google offers its employees the chance to do rotations at offices around the world -- including offices in New York, Mountain View and Sydney, Australia. Googlers say you should take advantage of that.

Buy some schwag.

You aren't going to get a chance to get any more Google schwag when you leave the company, so make sure you get your fill before you check out.

Ride the Google conference bike.

Self-explanatory. This thing is pure awesome.

Use one of the Japanese Toto toilets.

Also self-explanatory. These things look like they come straight out of space.

They have a sweet office, too...

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