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Cracking the Tech Career: Insider Advice on Landing a Job at Google, Microsoft, Apple, or Any Top Tech Company Paperback – 17 Oct 2014

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More About the Author

Gayle Laakmann McDowell's interviewing expertise comes from vast experience on both sides of the desk. She has completed Software Engineering interviews with - and received offers from - Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Capital IQ, and a number of other firms.

Of these top companies, she has worked for Microsoft, Apple and Google, where she gained deep insight into each company's hiring practices.

Most recently, Gayle spent three years at Google as a Software Engineer and was one of the company's lead interviewers. She interviewed over 120 candidates in the U.S. and abroad, and led much of the recruiting for her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.

Additionally, she served on Google's Hiring Committee, where she reviewed each candidate's feedback and made hire / no-hire decisions.

She assessed over 700 candidates in that role, and evaluated hundreds more resumes.

In 2005, Gayle founded to bring her wealth of experience to candidates around the world. Launched first as a free forum for interview questions, CareerCup now offers a book, a video and mock interviews.

Gayle holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from The Wharton School.

Product Description

From the Back Cover

PREPARE TO SAY YES TO A CAREER AT THE WORLD’S MOST EXCITING COMPANIES Let’s be real: preparing for a career at one of the world’s most powerful companies can be incredibly challenging. But, if tech is the right place for you, it could be the most rewarding challenge of your life. In Cracking the Tech Career, Gayle Laakmann M C Dowell compiles countless insider tips on how to stand out from the hordes of applicants to land the most coveted jobs in the tech industry. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other top tech firms are at the cutting edge when it comes to employment. But with perks like free organic food and shuttles to and from work, these companies can afford to be choosy. Successful candidates have to be special. Cracking the Tech Career walks you through the whole process. This book is for any student or job seeker who ever wondered— is tech right for me? Even if you aren’t a programmer, breaking into Silicon Valley takes some planning. In Cracking the Tech Career , you’ll learn what it’s really like to work for the big names and the small startups. Get the experience that they’re looking for discover how to: Get your foot in the door with a knockout resume Nail the tricky coding, behavioral, and estimation questions Break into the exclusive world of game design Get offered the job! With job offers from over 10 tech firms, Gayle Laakmann M C Dowell knows her stuff. Read Cracking the Tech Career to find out how she did it, and learn how you can, too!

About the Author

GAYLE LAAKMANN MCDOWELL worked as a software engineer for Google, Microsoft, and Apple, and has received offers from ten other top tech firms. She was one of Google’s most active interviewers and served on Google’s hiring committee. As the founder/CEO of, she now consults with tech companies on their hiring process and coaches candidates through the process.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Not so useful book 26 Sept. 2014
By Kunal N. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book does not really give a clear picture of what it takes to get into one of the top companies. I worked at one of the companies mentioned by Gayle and I must say that the interview process has changed a lot in the last few years.
I would expect Gayle to get into touch with interviewers at the big companies and get first hand details from them. Most of the answers to the questions by readers are superficial. I would like people to read online blogs on getting your dream job and prepare using the questions posted at :)
Otherwise this book would give you false hopes.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Highly recommended 10 Nov. 2014
By Ed C. - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Your career is one of the most important aspects of your life. For the tech world, there are few books and resources which give you an insider's view of how the whole process works. Fortunately this book does. It covers both resume and interview preparation, as well as tech culture, handling and negotiating offers, and even career planning once you're in.

What I like most about this book is its frankness and readability. The offers and opportunities you get are strongly related to how others perceive you, and having the knowledge in this book will give you insight into the other side of the table. That translates to confidence and better offers. I can't think of a better investment of $10 and a few hours, for getting your first offer or improving your career.

If there's any shortcoming to this book, it's that it could be longer. Fortunately the author is on the website Quora and goes into detail on many specific questions.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Must read for anyone applying to their 1st job in tech 19 Nov. 2014
By Jay Tova - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Appreciate Gayle's thorough approach. Definitely recommend for new college grads and those who never worked in tech and are looking for their 1st job in this space. This book is a beast and for me was best used by skipping around to relevant materials. Some of the sections such as resumes, etc. might be common sense but could be useful for others. I work at a top tech company and can say that Gayle is spot on with some of her insights. Found the interview section very useful. Would have appreciated a less dry approach ala Ramit Sethi. But wish it came from the author as she obviously is an expert in this job category.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A solid book, packed with practical advice. 21 Sept. 2014
By Graeme Shimmin - Published on
Format: Paperback
I only know Gayle from reading her answers on Quora, and I'm not easily impressed by people's reputations, but having looked through this book it's very clear that she knows exactly what she is talking about.

I used to work in the technology industry and had a successful career - successful enough that I retired aged 35. Gayle's advice is the kind of information I would have liked to have known when I started, rather than learning by trial and error.

The book is perhaps particularly useful if you are just starting your career (or even still in education - there's a a useful section on 'Advanced Positioning and Preparation')

As you might expect, the bulk of the book is about actually getting that dream job, i.e.:

- Resumes.
- Cover Letters.
- References.
- Interview Prep.
- Refining your personal brand/pitch.
- Behavioural Questions.
- Problem Solving.
- Interviews.

There are also sections on specific 'dream' employers (Google, Apple, start ups, gaming companies, etc)

I'm not really qualified to comment on the chapter on Women in Tech, but as Gayle says, it's not only women who suffer from the “imposter syndrome” that holds many talented people back from the success they deserve, and it certainly seemed like practical advice.

Finally there are a couple of chapters on managing your career and leveraging your current position to work your way up.

The book is written in a clear and engaging style with lots of bullet points, action items and short examples. There are useful real world questions and answers at the end of each chapter, that help to tie the theory and practice together. What it isn't, thankfully, is padded with 'humorous' cartoons, digressions and war stories.

Cracking the Tech Career won't guarantee you that dream job, no book of career advice can, that's your responsibility, but all my life I've found that learning from other people's mistakes and cutting out the schoolboy errors puts me ahead of 90% of people. Who doesn't want to jump straight into the top 10%?

Overall, a solid book, packed with practical advice. I recommend it, particularly to those just starting their career.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This was pretty much worthless 30 Nov. 2014
By Kevin Burke - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was pretty much worthless. Having been on both sides of the hiring desk in my 25+ years as a software development professional I found the content of this book to be light on actual value.

There are a lot of superior books on this topic. Save your money and pass on this one.
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