On 20 September, Christopher Chedeau (EPITA graduate 2012) and Pierre Bourdon (EPITA graduate 2013) talked to first and second-year students about how they went from being students at EPITA to where they are now: respectively front-end engineer at Facebook and site reliability engineer (SRE) at Google.
Using opportunities at EIPTA to develop a network
As the fall term began, EPITA organized an event for the future engineers studying in the preparatory cycle to have a chat with two young graduates. Christopher Chedeau and Pierre Bourdon were able to discuss and share their experiences with the many students who came along to listen.
"I joined Google through the many contacts I'd made during my studies, said Pierre Bourdon. When I joined EPITA, I got involved in associations such as Prologin and laboratories such as the LSE, and was active in many web-based communities. Thanks to this involvement, I demonstrated what I was capable of, gave speeches on several occasions and carried out projects alongside my studies. All this, and the many contacts I made, were obviously a bonus when I applied for the internship offered by Google Zurich."
Pierre chatted about his job as an SRE, which is about making sure Google's services run properly by optimizing and automating them, and about the different skills he needs to demonstrate to do so. "Google's engineers work in a very American way, he said. Everything is done to make them feel good: you can take part in fun activities, you don't pay for food, the workflow is free... The idea is that we need to feel comfortable to work efficiently. »
The importance of projects
These working conditions are similar to those of Christopher, who has been working for Facebook in San Francisco for a year now. "Going to work is fun, he said. IT developers and engineers are the backbone of the company. Everything is done to make them feel comfortable." This young front-end engineer first got involved with Facebook through his blog: "As a student, I often blogged about my work and projects at EPITA. The courses followed at school were applied in such a technical way that one of the engineering directors at Facebook who read my blog got in touch with me. We had several conversations over the phone so he could assess my motivation and IT knowledge, then I was flown over to California for several interviews. One week later, I was hired."
Today, he works on aspects such as the social network's photo interface: "At Facebook I notice that the skills I learnt at EPITA are as good as, and even better than, the very theoretical skills my colleagues picked up at Stanford or at MIT. Getting students to work on projects prepares them directly for the real business world."
A few tips
And if they could give the students just one tip, what would it be? "I think you have to have to take advantage of your studies to gain different experiences, Pierre replied. Associations work in a small microcosm where people get to know each other very quickly. The same applies to laboratories. Out of the ten former EPITA students who work at Google Zurich, three had worked at Prologin for instance. You have to make the most of these networks." "I think you have to talk about what you do, said Christopher. Doing so helps you exchange with others and broaden your knowledge. This form of recognition can lead to great things."