In our interview series, we present exciting cloud jobs and the people behind them. After completing her studies, Selin decided to join our trainee program in Google Cloud Consulting and answered a few questions about herself, her journey so far and her day-to-day work at the Public Cloud Academy:
Please introduce yourself. Who are you and why did you choose PCG?
Hi, I'm Selin, I'm 26 years old and I studied applied computer science. This is now my first full-time job after graduation. To be more precise, I joined the Public Cloud Academy in May 2022 as a trainee.
Why did you decide to do a trainee program?
Like probably every graduate, towards the end of my studies I looked for suitable entry-level jobs. There are many different opportunities in the IT world, but after a few interviews I noticed that most companies are looking for employees with professional experience. Of course, I didn't fit into these profiles. Then I became aware of the trainee program and applied for it.
What interests you about the cloud sector?
Actually, before joining the program, I had limited exposure to the cloud topic and more experience in on-premises hosting. However, I had already believed that the cloud was the future even before entering the trainee program.
How is the trainee program structured?
The first 3 months were dedicated to an intensive learning phase. During this period, our mentor, Robin, introduced us to the world of Google Cloud, and as a group, we delved into various learning modules. We started right from the basics of Google Cloud and its products, essentially building our cloud knowledge from the ground up. Additionally, we covered topics like Bash scripting, learning Python, and networking.
This intensive three-month learning phase followed a teaching-like approach. It primarily involved Robin's guidance, learning, researching, asking questions, and collaborating to solve tasks.
Following these initial 3 months, we divided into different project teams. In these squad teams, we had the opportunity to work on real customer projects alongside experienced consultants.
One of the primary goals for trainees is to obtain certification as a Google Cloud Architect. I recently passed the exam for it.
What happens after the trainee program?
At the end of the trainee program, which lasts approximately 6 months, there's a seamless transition into the daily project routine as a Google Cloud Consultant. We are already actively involved in this work, so there isn't a significant adjustment. We simply take on more responsibilities gradually.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
In the first three months, we had about 8 hours a day dedicated to various learning modules, which we worked through together with our mentor, Robin. As time went on, we began solving tasks more independently to apply what we had learned in practice. These tasks were completed both individually and in groups, typically taking 2 to 4 hours, sometimes spanning a whole day. Afterward, we would meet virtually to present our solutions to each other. We would collectively review what was correct or incorrect and discuss alternative approaches. This approach led to a consistently steep learning curve.
Following the initial 3 months, as I mentioned, we started actively contributing within different squads. In each team, we have a designated point of contact who provides intensive guidance. Now, we are integrated into the regular work and project routines, but we continue to expand our knowledge in parallel. Within the team, we have a daily stand-up meeting where we each present our ongoing tasks and provide updates to the others. Subsequently, we receive assignments related to client projects, which we work on either individually or as a group.
The general workflow consists of research, execution, and testing. If we encounter obstacles, we can always rely on our team members for assistance. Additionally, once a month, we have a one-on-one session with our designated contact person, during which we discuss our personal development and receive individual feedback. This is incredibly helpful.
Do you have a project task example?
One example was when we had to set up a network architecture or create projects in Google Cloud. Initially, we did this manually in the Google Console. Then, we documented all the manual steps in Terraform. This helped me understand the role of Terraform better. When you write a Terraform file and deploy it, it essentially replicates the actions you would perform in the console. This highlights the practical approach we always have within our teams.
What was your most exciting project so far?
Perhaps the most exciting project for me was one for the Google Workspace Team. We developed a program that allows you to automatically create a Google Cloud project through a Google Form. I found that really fascinating. (More information about the project can be found in our blog post about “Automated Project Setup in Google Cloud Platform”).
What are the most important requirements that someone should have for the program?
In my opinion, having a certain level of technical understanding is important, which can come from a background in IT studies or a related field. However, specific knowledge and experience in (Google) Cloud is not necessary and was new territory for me as well. That's the advantage of a trainee program: it gives you the freedom and time to gain experience and build fundamental knowledge without needing much prior knowledge. I believe that, in addition to a basic IT understanding, a strong willingness to learn and the enjoyment of acquiring new knowledge are the most crucial prerequisites.
How is the cooperation in your team?
The working atmosphere is really great. There were 5 of us in my trainee group and I never felt alone, even though I work from my home office. It was good to know that we, as new trainees, were going through the program together and that we could talk about it. Since we all work at different locations and are spread across Germany, we all met at one location for 2 weeks at the beginning to get to know each other personally.
The exchange with the rest of the GCP team is also great. You can always talk to anyone and ask questions. Everyone is really super helpful, true to the motto: There are no stupid questions.
What should someone who is interested in the trainee program bring with them?
The program offers a steep learning curve and the opportunity to gain practical experience. So, there's no need to hesitate - whether you have limited experience so far or you're considering a career change.
What has been your biggest challenge during the program so far?
It definitely requires a significant amount of learning and covers a wide range of topics. This means a lot of independent research is necessary. I also noticed that there are topics where finding an answer isn't straightforward, and the typical Googling approach doesn't always work. Sometimes there seem to be multiple answers or no clear right or wrong. So, you have to work to find the right answer yourself and test things.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I particularly enjoy the technical aspects and the constant learning. Besides the technical side, the overall atmosphere in the company and the team is crucial for me. There's a strong sense of mutual respect and a lot of emphasis on personal relationships. This means there are regular team events and a strong sense of camaraderie.
Women are still outnumbered in the IT world: does that affect your everyday work?
I cope with it quite well. I mostly studied with men during my studies. However, it would be nice if we could welcome even more female colleagues to PCG in the future.
Do you prefer to work remotely or in the office?
I've always been the type who enjoys working from home. So, I'm glad to have that flexibility at the Public Cloud Group. However, personal contact with colleagues is still very important to me. Therefore, it's nice that there are various options here like site visits or team events. Speaking with people in person is always different.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Football has always been my hobby. While it has decreased a bit in recent months, I still occasionally go to training. During my studies, I worked a lot in web design, which I still enjoy doing in my spare time.
As a long-standing Google Cloud Premier Partner, we have assisted numerous clients in adopting and efficiently utilising Google Cloud. Since 2021, we have also become a part of Public Cloud Group (PCG).
Are you also interested in a position as a trainee in Google Cloud Consulting? You can find current job offers from PCG on our careers page.