One Alum’s Secret to Landing a Job at Google

By: Emily Gregor

No matter where you’re at in your career (and regardless of what industry you work in), it’s critical to think about your next step. Do you want to gain management experience? Start your own company? Develop new skills?

Current Google software engineer and Fullstack grad John Gruska found himself facing those exact questions after spending seven years running his own IT and software development firm in the New York area.

“You can be the greatest problem-solver in the world, but if you don’t know how to interact with other people and how to share what you know and how to leverage other people’s ideas, you’re not going to get very far.”
— John Gruska, 2016 Fullstack Academy alum and software engineer at Google

While he enjoyed his work, he was ready for a transition—his next step—so he started researching coding bootcamps to see what his options were.

“I really went into it knowing not a lot about the whole process. The value revealed itself as I went,” he says. “The more I interacted with people from Fullstack Academy, it became more and more evident that this decision was an obvious one for me to make.”

Focusing on Rigor and Collaboration 

For John, the number one thing that made Fullstack Academy stand out was its rigorous curriculum, and specifically, its focus on collaboration.

“Fullstack was all about collaboration, working with the teachers, the teaching assistants, and my cohort mates,” he says. “At a company like Google, they are all about collaborating. You can be the greatest problem-solver in the world, but if you don’t know how to interact with other people and how to share what you know and how to leverage other people’s ideas, you’re not going to get very far.”

“Within our core programs, the vast majority of student work is done collaboratively. Rarely is engineering work in the field done completely solo,”
— Dan Sohval, Director of Academic Product and Instruction at Fullstack Academy

Google has become a natural fit for many Fullstack students, with recruiters finding a lot of value in what they have to offer.

Since 2012, more than 32 Fullstack alumni have gone on to work for Google, including 2016 alum Clément Mihailescu, who has since gone on to found his own company. “I’ve spoken with many Fullstack graduates after getting into Google, and I’m so proud and happy to share what I know internally,” John says. “It’s nice to see that there’s more and more of us.”

The Fullstack Method

The Fullstack Method of curriculum heavily features pair programming and relies on students to collaborate to be better and more effective developers.

Dan Sohval, Fullstack’s Director of Academic Product and Instruction, agrees. “Within our core programs, the vast majority of student work is done collaboratively. Rarely is engineering work in the field done completely solo,” he says. “By integrating pair programming as a core component of our curriculum, students regularly engage with a number of skills they will need on the job, including technical communication, version control, and Agile project management.”

Beyond the project-based curriculum, Fullstack’s software immersive program prepared John to take leadership opportunities and mentor others in the field. 

“It all started with Fullstack Academy,” he says. “I’ve gone from a successful, albeit loner, coder who’s just doing his own thing in the corner to being completely immersed in the tech world.” 

If you’re stuck trying to figure out your next step, explore more student and alum stories to see if software development could be the right career for you. 


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