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Combining technology and art as a Developer Advocate

November 25th, 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns, and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Priyanka Vergadia, who followed her curiosity and stumbled upon a role that combines her technical and artistic skills: creating technical learning content for Google Cloud developers as a Developer Advocate.

What’s the best thing about being a Developer Advocate at Google? 

This role challenges me with new technologies every day and allows me to think creatively about learning novel concepts and explaining them to a wide range of people. I get to interact with the developer community and create content that can help them learn about Google Cloud. I create tutorials for the Google Cloud Youtube channel, write blogs, codelabs, and sample code, and speak at conferences.

Currently I’m working on the concept of visual learning. I created the GCP Sketchnotes series, in which I explain the Google Cloud tools in the form of a sketch. The idea is to be able to print the sketchnote or use it as a desktop or phone wallpaper to learn quickly. You can check them out at the cloudgirl.dev.

Example from the GCP Sketchnotes series created by Priyanka. At the top of the cartoon-style page is the title "Where should I run my stuff?...it depends" followed by comparisons of the pros and cons of the different options, which are: Compute Engine, Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Run, App Engine and Cloud Function.
An example from the GCP Sketchnotes series.

What first sparked your interest in technology? 

I am from Indore, a city in central India. My parents are my role models: My dad is an engineer and his work inspired me to be an engineer, and my mom is an artist and her creativity and confidence continues to inspire me in everything I do.

I studied electronics and telecommunication with a bit of programming during my undergraduate course work. Due to my growing interest in coding, I decided to pursue a master’s from the University of Pennsylvania in computers and information science. After graduating, I had my eye on becoming a software engineer.

What eventually led you to become a Developer Advocate?

My first job was as a quality engineer, which allowed me to explore the industry a bit more. Customer engineering caught my eye. I took a risk and decided to change course, working with customers, and applying my technical skills to solving real business problems.

That was a turning point for me because I had stumbled on something that I really loved. I was able to combine my creative skills to create compelling presentations, demos, and code samples that would help developers learn specific products better. That love of solving problems with technology led me to explore the Developer Advocate role, and I am absolutely loving it!

Priyanka in her work-from-home studio, which includes a lighting and camera setup, desk and display shelf of potted plants.
Priyanka’s work-from-home studio, where she records YouTube videos for the Google Cloud Platform channel.

What was it like to apply to Google?

I applied right after school and did not make it past the phone interview. After that experience, I had imposter syndrome. Then about 4.5 years later a recruiter from Google reached out to me. I was not really looking for a new job at the time. But I went into the process with an open mind because I found that this time the role was right for me and the skills I had acquired over the years aligned perfectly with the position. After the first phone interview, my hopes started to grow because I really liked the role.

What’s one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying?

I wish I knew that Google is not just looking for coding gurus. The search is for people who can think analytically and solve problems. The interview questions are more focused on getting to know your thought process and how you get to a solution. Knowing this would have made me worry much less.

What inspires you to come in (or log on) every day? 

I am inspired by the people I get to collaborate with and the impact I get to make by working on products that touch millions of lives.