Read about Anna Emmerson
Google site reliability engineer Anna wasn’t one of those kids who was always playing around with computers. Instead, it was her love of maths and puzzles that led her to take a CS subject in high school, where she discovered coding. “I didn’t know a lot about computers, but I found that coding was a way of thinking that I was familiar with and good at – and, most of all, that I enjoyed,” she says.
During her arts/engineering degree at university, Anna applied for the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. She was a finalist, but couldn’t make it to the finalists’ retreat and didn’t win. Two years later, Google sent her an email to say they were recruiting, and she landed a software engineering role.
An “engineer at heart”, Anna eventually became a site reliability engineer in Sydney, responsible for the effortless performance of products like Google Photos. “It’s a pretty incredible engineering challenge – to store the photos of hundreds of millions of people, each of whom may have tens of thousands of photos, and allow them to be accessed anytime and anywhere, really fast,” she says.
Anna says that anyone studying maths or science should try coding – not just because it’s useful but because “you might just fall in love with it”. If you’re planning to study CS at university, Anna says to go where the most challenging problems are, and keep pushing yourself. “It’s the tough things that ultimately turn out to be the most interesting and valuable!” – Laura Boness