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A Day in the Life of a CAST Alum: Clint Riley, Information Technology

Clint Riley '11, at work in the YouTube office .

Clint Riley '11, at work in the YouTube office

The College of Applied Science and Technology’s “A Day in the Life of a CAST Alum” series is designed to shed some light on how CAST alumni spend their days. As with many careers, our alumni will tell you that every day is different, but this series aims to provide a peek into an alum’s world.

Clint Riley ‘11 is a software engineer for Google. His current project is YouTube Kids, an app available on Android and iOS that provides a kid-friendly experience of YouTube. He mostly focuses on back-end work that is common to both flavors of the app, but occasionally pitches in on the iOS version.

6:25 a.m.—Get into the office and read/respond to any emails that have accumulated since yesterday. We work with a couple of teams in Zurich, Switzerland, so the email flows at all hours.

6:45 a.m.—Take advantage of the still-quiet office and work on a couple of changes for an upcoming search feature in the YouTube Kids app. Most of today’s work is in Python, with a sprinkle of C++.  Testing this is turning out to be painful, so I’ll need to come back to this.

8:30 a.m.—Head over to the adjacent building and grab breakfast. Today is maple bacon day!

9 a.m.—Finish up the coding and testing work from this morning and send the changes out for review. File a bug requesting a remedy for the issue that made testing the feature much more difficult than it should have been.

10 a.m.—Our user experience researchers and product managers are discussing another new feature for the app at their weekly meeting, and I’ve been invited to assess a portion of the engineering scope/feasibility of the feature. We all agree that we’ll need to explore this in more depth before we decide whether it’s worth pursuing or not.

11 a.m.—Start preparing for an 11:30 interview with a new grad candidate. This one happens to be a shadow interview (a new interviewer will accompany and observe me), so I send an IM to her and discuss the questions I’m going to ask and talk about what sorts of answers we can expect.

11:30 a.m.—Interview. I introduce myself and the shadow interviewer and break the ice with some discussion about the one of the candidate’s school projects. We then jump into the real questions. The candidate breezes through the first question and makes substantial progress on the second question as well. Great performance. The next interviewer arrives just in time to take the candidate to lunch.

12:15 p.m.—Grab one of the many gbikes on campus and ride over to Backyard (our  barbecue cafe) for lunch with an intern I hosted last summer. We talk about his school year and what he is working on this summer as a returning intern. I try to inspire him to look into joining the YouTube Kids team if and when he joins as a full-time employee, but alas, he is interested in working out of the New York office.

1:15 p.m.—Collect my notes from the interview earlier today and write feedback for the recruiters and hiring committees to review. After I’ve submitted the feedback, I message the shadow interviewer and we compare our feedback. She mostly has the same thoughts and reasoning, so it’s a pretty quick conversation.

2 p.m.—Sift through the avalanche of email I’ve received over the past few hours. A couple of these are code reviews (before an engineer can submit any code, it must be reviewed and approved by at least one other engineer). I take a look at these right away. The first one is a quick two-line change, so it’s an easy approval. The second is significantly larger and much more complex, so I go over it carefully and leave a few suggestions and questions for the author to respond to.

3 p.m.—My changes from this morning have been reviewed and approved. I fix up a few minor issues and submit.

3:15 p.m.—I start to put together a doc that scopes the engineering work for the feature we discussed in the 10 a.m. meeting.  It’s mostly an outline at this point and there are a bunch of unanswered questions. I add in a few other engineers to collaborate on the doc in hopes of fleshing it out by the end of the week.

3:45 p.m.—One last pass through email. I make a few notes to myself for things to look into tomorrow, but there’s nothing too pressing, so I begin to wrap things up for the day.

4 p.m.—Head home to play with the kids and dog!

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