Google talent search in Wellington

18:58, Apr 18 2010
RELAXING GOOGLE STYLE: An employee takes time out in a nap pod, which blocks out light and sound.
RELAXING GOOGLE STYLE: An employee takes time out in a nap pod, which blocks out light and sound.

Internet search giant Google has been on the hunt for Kiwi computer science talent in Wellington.

The company is understood to have sent six employees – including three human resources staff – to a computer science conference for research students at Victoria University last week.

Google spokeswoman Annie Baxter says the company is recruiting at the moment.

It was "talking to students at the conference about Google opportunities including scholarships, internships, research grants and our Code Jam initiative.

"We're hiring in our Sydney-based engineering team right now, and there are fantastically talented computer science students in New Zealand who we'd love to see join the Google team or get more involved with Google in general."

Students at the conference were excited by the prospect of working for one of the world's biggest internet names, but were yet to be approached by the company.

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Auckland University PhD student Danver Braganza says he is contemplating a career in academia but would definitely be tempted if Google came knocking.

"I doubt there's many here who would say no."

Syed Muhammad Ali Shah, from Massey University, says his PhD in software architecture will hopefully pave the way for a career in research, for example with Mozilla – which develops free, open-source software such as the web browser Firefox and the email software Thunderbird.

"But there is a department in Google as well for research, that could definitely be an option."

Victoria University lecturer Ian Welch says it is not unheard of for big names like Google to snap up our best and brightest in information technology.

Microsoft had been quick to snaffle one of his PhD students – who specialised in online security – a few years ago, letting him work part-time while he finished his doctorate in Seattle, he says. "But I think the food is better at Google."

Google head-hunted Kiwi Craig Nevill-Manning – who has a PhD in computer science from Waikato University – about nine years ago.

In 2003 he set up Google's first engineering centre outside its California headquarters, in New York. He invented Froogle, now called Google Product Search, and led development on Google Maps, Google Finance, Google Spreadsheets and other web and search advertising features.

BusinessDay.co.nz