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December 17, 2019

From hosted to host: The internship experience at Waymo

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Throughout my education, I interned at software companies of varying sizes -- from large, and well-established to small startups; then in 2017, I joined Waymo as part of its first intern class. In many ways, Waymo was the best of both worlds. I found the same energy, enthusiasm, and drive of a start-up, coupled with the stability and resources of a well-established company.

Internships provide students with skills and experiences that are hard to acquire in a school setting, enabling them to learn about themselves, explore career paths, and connect with incredible folks. Waymo is unique in the self-driving space, as it designs both its hardware and software in-house. This meant I had the opportunity to work on a cross-functional team where I could learn a lot about hardware and software and how they interact with each other.

Each Waymo intern is paired with a dedicated Waymonaut -- their "host" -- who provides them guidance during their 12 to 15 week stay. My host, Khaled, really helped me learn the ropes, providing technical and career guidance that is still useful to me today. This summer, I had the privilege to share this experience by hosting my own software engineering intern, William.

Alisha during her internship in 2017
William designed and developed deep learning models for our Driver. His models were deemed so useful that project managers kept asking me when they would be ready to test on the Driver itself. From my experience, the key to a good internship is working on something that matters. At Waymo, interns aren’t just grabbing coffee (unless it’s for themselves); they work on real projects that have an impact on Waymo’s technology and business.

Waymo also promotes personal development throughout the summer with company-wide events, including mixers for our interns to get to know our full-time employees, lunches with executives to learn about various facets of the company, and fun outings to connect with other interns working across different parts of the company.

Interns are important to Waymo because they bring their creativity, fresh perspectives, and new ideas to the company, encouraging learning and growth. We can't wait to welcome our next class of summer interns--check out our careers site for 2020 internship opportunities!