Kenechi Ufondu

Frontend software engineer

Since I was a kid I have always wanted to write code! My first experience with software was with Windows 95. The idea of creating things that made people’s lives easier appealed to me.

I also had an interest in building electronics and still build circuits and experiment with microcontrollers as a hobby.

At college, my freshman advisor sent out an email to the freshman computer science class about Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) program, asking if anyone was interested in applying. I decided to take a shot and just apply and I got in.

Computer Science Summer Institute

CSSI is an amazing program that focusses on diversity in computer science careers. All the students were flown out to Mountain View.

For two and half weeks, we were taught HTML/CSS and Javascript and at the end this time we got to show off our final projects to an auditorium full of Googlers.

It was awesome getting to know other computer science students from across the country, I even got to meet someone that I had never met that was from my hometown. The bonds that I formed during CSSI have followed me throughout my career.

After CSSI, the two of us from Carnegie Mellon Uni started a study group. The next summer a few of us came back to Google as interns and it was nice to have an instant set of friends. The most important and invaluable thing I got out of my CSSI experience was the network.

First job

My first full-time job was as software engineer at Microsoft on the Windows Phone team. It was a really exciting opportunity and I loved writing software for mobile phones. I spent 2.5 years at Microsoft before coming back to Google.

As a Google software engineer, I help build products that people use everyday.

Typical tasks include designing and writing code, meeting with other teammates to plan projects. At home I like to explore my other interests and that helps me keep a fresh perspective. I love music. I play two instruments in my free time; the violin and the piano.

Dealing with discrimination

When I was young I believed that people would judge my work entirely on its merit and not at all on who I was or what color my skin was. Unfortunately as I have progressed in my career, I have realized that the world is more complicated than I made it out to be as a kid.

I deal with discrimination by reminding myself not to take things personally and that for the most part people don’t intend to be harmful they have just been previously miseducated. Diversity in computer science is so important. Being different is a superpower; it allows you to solve problems in ways no one else can.

Dream big

My dream is to found and lead a Fortune 500 tech company. If I could do anything with computer science I would use it to level the world’s playing field and to fight against inequality, injustice, and lack of equal access to opportunities. My advice to young people who want to learn is to believe in your dreams and lean into what makes you unique.

Celebrate the perspective you bring to the table, the future will be built by those who are able to think differently.

Kenechi’s path in computer science

>> Went to Council Rock High School South, Pennsylvania and Technical High School

>> Did a Bachelor of Science majoring in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellonsion Program

>> Did two Software Engineering internships at Google

>> Worked as a Software Engineer, Microsoft

>> Works as a Software Engineer, Google

Meet another great Googler, Angelica Inguanzo

Kenechi Ufondu

“Believe in your dreams and lean into what makes you unique.”

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