How one engineer went from startups to Google

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 Avital Zipori, a software engineer at our Tel Aviv office. Always lured by the startup world, she first turned down an offer from Google. After filling her startup fix, she now brings the skills she learned at small companies to Google. 

What’s your role at Google?

I’m a senior software engineer and tech lead for Google Research. My team focuses on building engaging, conversational experiences. A cool new feature we recently released is aimed at teaching children more about animals. Try it yourself by saying “Animal of the Day” to Google Assistant.

How did you first get interested in technology?

I grew up in Netanya, Israel. I got my first taste of programming in high school and then again in my analyst role in the army, and couldn’t get enough of it. It’s what eventually led me to study Computer Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

I’m a co-founder of Extend, an organization focused on opening the tech industry to diverse engineers, and a co-founder of Baot, Israel’s largest community of senior female software engineers.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

Actually, I never thought I would work at Google. I knew it was considered the best place to work but that it was extremely difficult to get in, so it didn’t even cross my mind that it would be an option. 

I’d been working at a mid-sized startup since I was a student, and after a few years I decided it was time to look for my next challenge. I had my mind set on joining a new startup. When a Google recruiter reached out to me, I decided to interview for the practice. I figured that there was no chance I would pass, but I expected the interviews would be hard and would prepare me well for other interviews.

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