Google Technical Program Manager

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The role of a Google Technical Program Manager

A Technical Program Manager(TPM) plays a critical role in helping drive company strategy, aligning teams, collaborating with cross-functional stakeholders, and delivering on multiple complex projects for the company. Given the rapid expansion of companies in the digital space, it has become imperative for companies, especially ones with a large digital footprint, to hire TPMs.

Google is a technology giant with products across the hardware and software domain. Google needs TPMs who can lead and manage technical projects and help achieve its product development and growth targets

Role

Google TPMs put on different hats depending upon the teams/programs they are assigned to. Some of the different teams at Google where TPMs have to lend their services are:

  • Apps Services
  • Google Cloud
  • Cloud Capacity Planning
  • Business Application Platform
  • Cloud Engineering Productivity
  • Enterprise Legal Matters
  • Unified Fulfillment Optimisation
  • Network Engineering Deployment 

Here's a generic description of the roles and responsibilities of a TPM at Google

  • Provide the required hands-on software development and project management, cross-functional coordination, and inter/intra team communications to deliver outstanding program outcomes.
  • Work closely with software engineers, QA, product managers and other engineering teams to get high-quality products and features through the software project lifecycle (build, test and release on time).
  • Manage project schedules, identify possible issues and clearly communicate them to project stakeholders.
  • Take responsibility for release schedules and milestones, keeping up a high velocity in a fast-paced environment.
  •  Lead several technical programs for the Google Cloud Business, setting priorities for products and engineering, leading cross-functional teams to take products to market, ensuring success metrics are informing future efforts, and quickly fine tuning the program as needed.

Skills/Qualifications required

  • Bachelor’s degree in a technical field or equivalent practical experience.
  • Experience in software program management and/or engineering management.
  • Experience in Software Engineering, Software Infrastructure Engineering, Security, Big Data and Analytics, or Cloud Networking.
  • Experience in problem solving within fast-paced and constantly changing environments.
  • Experience working cross-functionally in a highly integrated team composed of both technical and non-technical members.
  • Experience in communicating technical concepts to non-technical audiences.
  • Strong spoken and written communication skills.

Google Technical Program Manager(TPM) salary

  • Entry level salary :USD 165,000.
  • Senior positions   :USD 376,000. 
  • Median salary      :USD 233,000 with base component being USD 143,000, stock component being USD 64,000 and bonus being USD 25,000.

Interview Guide

The interview process for the Google Technical Program Manager role consists of 3 stages as under:

  • Initial Screen(30 minutes)
  • Phone Screen(about 1 hour)
  • Onsite round(5-6 hours)

Here's a detailed look at the entire interview process, starting with the initial screen

Initial Screen

Overview

The initial screen is a 30-minute telephonic interview with the recruiter. This interview call is aimed at assessing your cultural and experiential fit for the role at the company. The interviewer is likely to ask questions regarding your background and previous work experience in the relevant domain, and may also discuss previous projects you have handled. If you are a fresher, be thoroughly prepared with your CV. Keep a crisp and convincing answer ready for questions such as "why do you think you are best for the role?" or "why should we hire you?" Since Google TPM has many roles/teams, the recruiter screen also tries to match you with the best teams/roles based on your skill sets and experience.

Phone Screen

Overview

The next round is the phone screen which is a telephonic interview with the company's hiring manager. This interview is roughly 1 hour duration and consists of 3 sections of 20 minutes each.

The first section is a test of your program management skills. By asking questions related to your background and previous work experience, the interviewer tries to assess your program management expertise. 

In the second section of your phone screen, the interviewer asks technical questions to assess your ability as a TPM. Candidates have often reported to have been asked questions on system design and architecture design. So, prepare these topics well. Also, brush up on your coding.

The third section is the behavioural interview.

The behavioural interview will be a test of the behavioural aspects of your personality. There may be some questions related to motivation for the job and some situational questions. While you're prepping to become a technical program manager, it is important to prepare for these behavioural questions.

Tips

  • Practice a lot of system design/architecture design questions.
  • Be confident in your answers.
  • Ask clarifying questions when in doubt.

Interview Questions

Most asked interview questions in the Phone Screen

Program Sense Section

  • Tell us briefly how you go about executing a project.
  • Have you handled multiple teams within a program?
  • Can you share an experience where you worked on improving a system without being asked by the customer?
  • There is an internal customer/consumer of your service who is not benefiting from your service improvements. How will you convince them to use your service?

Technical Section

  • Define a complex system and it's system design.
  • What is a hypervisor?
  • Design Uber frontend
  • What is Java construct?
  • What is a field in Java?
  • You are trying to make music content available to customers for the first time. How would you go about it?
  • How would you design a database schema for a certain configuration manager?
  • What is your favorite app and how would you improve it?
  • Customer requirement is to "display an ebook after 60 seconds from purchase"- What you should do in order to support that requirement?

Behavioural Interview Section

  • What is the toughest decision you faced and how did you overcome it?
  • Tell us about a time when you disagreed with the entire team and why?
  • How did you manage when a project deadline was missed?

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Onsite Round

Overview

The on-site interview is a full day event. It comprises 5-6 interviews each lasting about 1 hour.  The on-site can essentially be perceived to be an extended version of the phone interview. The interview panel consists of Google employees currently working there in various capacities such as Product Manager, Technical Program manager, Software Developer, Software development manager, a bar raiser, and the hiring manager. 

Each of these interview scores is going to be counted to assess your overall performance  (except the bar raiser). A bar raiser is an interviewer from a different business unit. The interviewer of the bar raiser round will be a more senior executive than the level you are applying for and holds the final call regarding your selection. Bar raisers make sure that candidates who get selected are at least better than 50% of the current employees of the company.

Interview Questions

Most asked questions in the onsite round

  • What was the most complex design project you've worked on?
  • Say you’re working on a project and it comes to your notice that the company has changed its goals, how do you adapt?
  • Design the front end of a travel booking platform.
  • When pursuing a project goal, how do you deal with failure?

The onsite round is the most complex of all the rounds and you can expect questions that are technical, such as systems design interview questions and coding questions, some program.management questions, and also some behavioural questions. The behavioural section is particularly important, and you must be thorough with Amazon's 14 leadership principles for this round.

Practice for the onsite round with a Google TPM expert

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many stages are there in the Google TPM interview?

There are 3 stages in the Google TPM Guide, namely Initial Screen, Phone Screen, and the Onsite Round

What is the difficulty level of the interview?

The interview can be moderately difficult, but if you are well prepared, you have no reasons to worry.