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Tamina Pitt

Working on some challenging problems can feel like a puzzle to solve. I'm always learning and growing through my work. 

What's your job about?

I am a Software Engineer on the Google Maps team. My team is working on adding support in Maps for routes that use multiple different modes of transport. For example, people that cycle to the train station to catch the train for their daily commute. We're seeing more complex routes like this today and want to add support for the increasingly complex ways people get around. My daily work revolves around writing code, whether it be to add new features, fixing bugs or cleaning up the code. I need to collaborate with my team on our objectives and to make design decisions so my work also involves reading and writing technical documentation. I love that as a software engineer I can use my knowledge of computer science to solve problems creatively.

Google Australia

What's your background?

I've grown up and lived in Sydney for my whole life. I'm a proud descendent of the Meriam people from the Torres Strait Islands and the Wuthathi people from Cape York, Queensland. I studied engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. I started off studying electrical engineering but when I had to do a computing course as part of my studies, I loved it so much that I made the switch to computer engineering shortly after! During my studies I interned at Google during the summer three times. I didn't feel very confident early in my studies but after gaining experience and meeting great people around the office I became excited about being a software engineer. After graduating from university this year, I joined Google as a full time engineer.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

I find that my education in computer engineering has been really important for me to be able to do my job. My engineering studies and computer science background have been vital for me and inform how I approach my work. Skills such as understanding computer science concepts, design, writing code and communicating ideas are essential. You'd need to have these skills to be a software engineer and usually a tertiary qualification in computer science or engineering is a great way to learn.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

My favourite thing about my job is that we can impact and be useful to so many people! With Google Maps, users can navigate and learn about the world with the information in their own hands. That's really cool. I also really enjoy software engineering. Working on some challenging problems can feel like a puzzle to solve. I'm always learning and growing through my work. 

What are the limitations of your job?

Working in a big company means that people become very specialised in what they do. There are so many moving parts to our work. As a software engineer, our job becomes very focused on writing code. I think we are limited in that we don't always get to see our project as a whole and the impact it has had on our users, although the number of users that we actually get to impact through the work we do definitely makes up for it!

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Don't be so afraid of getting things wrong. Making mistakes is part of the learning process and people will understand. 

  2. Take as many opportunities as you can to get experience and learn. For me it was completing internships and participating in projects outside of university that really added value to what I learned in the lecture hall and inspired me. 

  3. Always remember what motivates you. It can be really hard work to achieve your goals. For me it was struggling through learning statistics because it was compulsory and saying no to hanging out with friends. Think about why you've set yourself that goal and use that to get through the tough times!