At only 23, this young computer engineer was hired as product manager for Google. Born in Majadahonda (Madrid) in 1992, he graduated from the Carlos III University and his potential did not go unnoticed by Google. He lives in Silicon Valley and has achieved what many young developers dream of. He speaks with us about his experience in the heart of the technology ecosystem.
We have all dreamed of working for Google. How did you manage to become Firebase’s Product Manager at such a young age?
Google’s program to attract young talent involved the product manager area called APM. It centers on engineering and looks for recent graduates to train when they show potential to become good product managers.
I exploited this opportunity a bit. I had interned at Google a couple of times, at Facebook… While I was studying, I interned in several companies. This got their attention and got me the job.
What would you say to a student who wishes to work as a developer in one of the large technology firms such as Google?
I went on an exchange program in the USA and one of the main differences between students in Spain and students in the USA is that U.S. students all start working on personal projects and completing internships from their very first year at university. Everyone looks for a company where they can work during the summer, even if they are not paid, or they set up their own project… A lot of companies look into all this and, when you finish your degree, if you have no hands-on experience, you need an extraordinary academic record to be considered for a job.
Can you describe a normal day at Google?
A normal day at Google starts early but there is no set time of arrival. One of the characteristics of Google and this type of company in Silicon Valley is that we get breakfast, lunch and dinner. We go to three or four meetings during the day, like any other company, and work in between meetings.
What is special about Google is that after having lunch, we can stop, have a break and play table tennis, table soccer… And each week there is a fun event you can join. In reality, as a Product Manager I have a lot of work and I prefer to spend most of my time in the office actually working, and to have fun outside working hours.
What has earned Silicon Valley its status as the world’s pinnacle of entrepreneurship and development?
There is currently nowhere else in the world where you can find the same number of talented technology specialists who wish to work on their own enterprises; many of the most innovative companies in the world are here, and there is a wealth of capital for startups. For all of these reasons, it’s easiest place to set up a new company, and get funding and talent to develop it.
I’m just not sure how Silicon Valley got to this point. Some theories say that there are very good universities (Berkeley and Stanford); that the first technology companies (HP, Intel, Apple…) were formed around here and that this led to a network effect… Another important factor is the open culture of the San Francisco Bay area.
How does Firebase Authentication work?
These tools help developers implement the entire user account and login system as well as details of their own application without having to worry about security, user experience etcetera…for everything to be very easy.
We support different kinds of login credentials such as email address and password as well as federated login with Facebook, Google, Twitter and Github.
The product can be integrated in two different ways: you can use our service only – your mobile or web applications call Firebase and tell Firebase to create a user or log a user in, and we take care of all the details behind the scenes.
Alternatively, there is a higher-level integration with our open-source “FirebaseUI” components; they implement all screens for creating an account, resetting your password, integrating with Facebook and Google SDKs… When you use these open-source components, you can assemble your entire system with about 10 code lines and about 5 minutes of work.
What makes Firebase different from other authentication tools?
Firstly, I would mention the integration with other services such as the database (Firebase Realtime Database) and file storage (Firebase Storage)… When you use Firebase’s authentication, it’s easier to use these services: you need to write less code to check the user’s information against the database before they can access the resource.
Additionally, we have tried to make this product as easy to use as possible; with these optional components, you can have a fully assembled system in 5 minutes, something which is not as simple to accomplish with other tools.
Also, Firebase Authentication is free of charge at the moment.
In your opinion, which development tools can you not do without?
I don’t like spending a lot of time learning new tools; for this reason, I tend to avoid more complex tools and focus on tools that are easy to learn and are beneficial from the very first moment, such as modern text editors like Github’s Atom or tools that make it easier to develop an app or program your own server without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.
What is the most critical step when developing an application?
The most critical step is after launch. You need to listen to the user’s feedback and react quickly to solve any issues that didn’t go as well as you thought they would. The most important thing is to use the initial momentum and build a better product.
You have been chairman of Imagineware. Why do you think we need an association such as this?
Imagineware is a Carlos III association that helps school and university students learn new things about programming that are not taught at school/university, for example, creating their own applications, games, etc.
The goal is to change how IT is regarded and show its fun side, show the opportunities and doors it can open.
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