Josip Šokčević

4 Years at Google - Googleversary

4 years ago on this day I joined Google (fun fact: I joined Google on Tuesday, while most people join on Monday). It has been a very unique, interesting experience.

I joined Chrome Operations Source team - a team that is responsiblefor providing a set of tools to work with the Chromium codebase (fetching codebase, uploading changes for review, among many other things), providing tools to browse codebase - codesearch (we heavily rely on many internal teams) and manage Chromium Gerrit.

This was a shift from my previous experiences - while I did have a fair amount of knowledge in VCS and code review systems, it was never my primary focus. Instead, I worked on distributed backend systems and SRE/DevOps like work.

My first starter project was to provide “View blame prior to this change” in Chromium Codesearch. The change applied to all Codesearch instances, not just Chromium’s. With that, I got familiar with a few internal systems, Google’s best practices, and met ICs I’d continue to work with. I also got to refresh my Typescript and Java knowledge, both languages I hadn’t used in a while. What a great starter project!

Lots of things have happened since. Two months in, the COVID-19 lockdown started and fundamentally changed everything - how we all work together and what do we focus on. There were many interesting projects and new faces. In 2022, I also had my second kid and I took 18 weeks of parental leave - this is one of the best benefits that Google gives.

Unfortunately, Google had msasive layoffs in 2023, and continues with layoffs in 2024. I believe that impacted the culture of the company, but so did work from home and return to office that followed after. I feel the culture will continue to evolve - and time will tell how that turns out.

Last 4 years were an interesting “rollercoaster ride”! What I like at Google is predictable projects, a good work-life balance, great benefits and perks, working with many talented people and seeing first hand how a big company operates. On the flip side, things are moving much slower than start-ups, as I kind of anticipated. There are a lot more people and teams involved. Being a global company, we have to deal with time zone differences.

All in all, I strongly believe joining Google was a good decision. I learned a lot of soft skills - about team leadership and how to be a good technical lead, how to communicate better (internally and externally. And I learned a ton of technical stuff too, from Git to distributed build systems. For now, I’m not going anywhere.