Meet Shorelight Alumni: After UOPI, Tapaswini Gets Hired at Google

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By Selene Angier
Last updated on August 11, 2023

With a master’s degree in computer science from the University of the Pacific and a strong LinkedIn profile, Tapaswini was hired at Google. Based in Berkeley, California, she now works on the Google Pixel team.

TapaswiniIndiaUniversity of the Pacific

After completing her master’s degree in computer science at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, in 2021, software developer Tapaswini was hired at Google. Two things she credits with landing her dream job? LinkedIn and interview preparation. 

“I updated my LinkedIn profile, prepared a succinct resume, and prepared for both coding and managerial interviews,” she said. Knowing algorithms and programming were integral to getting hired at companies like Google, she prepared using LeetCode, a platform to practice coding skills and prepare for technical interviews.

It paid off. A tech recruiter from Raindrops — a work agency that places contractor candidates at Google — was impressed with Tapaswini’s LinkedIn profile and messaged her. After three rounds of interviews and coding exercises, she was hired by the Google Health team to work on the Fitbit product. 

Now based outside of San Francisco in Berkeley, California, Tapaswini has transitioned to the Pixel team in a hybrid role, working in an Agile environment and coding in Python. 

“I love how I work on cutting-edge technologies that transform people’s lives every day,” Tapaswini says of her work. “I love [the] Google culture. It is full of talent and everybody is easily reachable. I have a great work-life balance, too.”

Mastering Machine Learning

A native of Koraput, India, Tapaswini completed her Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science at GIET University Gunupur. After graduating, she was hired by Tata Consultancy Services, working on projects for clients such as Bank of America and Verizon, and eventually set her sights on an advanced degree. To prepare, she completed a professional certification in artificial intelligence and machine learning at the International Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad. 

She knew this was where she wanted to be. “Machine learning (ML) is doing wonders and has many societal applications,” she said. “Many universities in the US are pioneering in ML teaching and research and that’s why I applied [to Pacific] in 2019.”

Tapaswini credits the data science, probability, and algorithm courses at Pacific with being the most helpful in terms of preparation for career success. She also added to her resume experience with several research projects, including a high-performance computing (HPC) data mining study and a Medicare expenses study (both at Pacific), along with a sustainable energy artificial intelligence (AI) study at the University of California, Berkeley. 

For coding language experience, she has focused on Python, Java, C/C++, and JavaScript, along with building her skills in data research analytics, SQL database management, CIDER, PyTorch, and TensorFlow.

Picture Yourself at the University of the Pacific

Located in Stockton, California, just one and a half hours from San Francisco, the University of the Pacific is a top university in the USA — ranked #151 on the National Universities list and #87 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2023) and #96 National Universities (Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2021). 

With additional campuses in Sacramento and San Francisco, Pacific is uniquely positioned to give international students access to internships and job opportunities in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, which are headquarters to many of the world’s leading tech companies. 

Follow a day in the life of an international student at University of the Pacific

Smaller class sizes, a diverse international community, and emphasis on job success also make Pacific an ideal graduate school for computer science, engineering, and data science. A STEM-related major can also help you find career placements at top-paying US firms, and those roles tend to pay well: The University of the Pacific ranks #18 on the Wall Street Journal’s list of top private colleges for engineering salaries in the US.

Specifically developed to support international students, the UOP International team (a collaboration between University of the Pacific and Shorelight) guides you step by step through the process of studying in the USA. From the application process to visa help to graduation day, this international student program offers exclusive admissions services, ESL support, and career services, including help applying for campus jobs, internships, Curricular Practical Training (CPT), and Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Read more about UOPI students gaining CPT & OPT experience

What’s Next?

Tapaswini is approved for OPT with a two-year STEM extension that carries her approval to work in the US through January 2025. Her goal is to learn everything she can from her team at one of the world’s top tech companies.

Looking ahead, “I plan to stay with Google and [I] want to learn more about software development and corporate life,” she said. “In the next few years, I expect to gain more responsibilities at my company [and] to lead some teams and sub-products.”

Do you dream of working at a global tech company? Want to know how to get hired at Google? Tapaswini’s top pieces of advice are to create a LinkedIn profile that stands out, be well prepared for your interviews (“explain all answers in STAR — Situation, Task, Answer, Result” method, she says), apply for OPT on time, and dream big. 

“Apply to places that you would not usually expect [to] get in,” she suggested. “As one of my friends says, ‘Don’t reject yourself — it’s [an]other’s job.’ Take the leap of faith and apply to many places, including top-notch ones. There is a chance that you will get in.”

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