Yuqi (Holly) Zheng ‘18

Hometown: Beijing, China
Education: Brown University Class of 2022
Major/areas of study: Linguistics and Computer Science
Occupation: Software Engineer at Google

Did you complete an especially meaningful internship, work, study abroad, or service experience?
I interned with Google as a software engineer for my sophomore and junior year summers and returned to Google to work full-time after graduation. I work as a software engineer at Google on a team under YouTube. My team builds internal tools to be used by other Google engineers to monitor and improve video-playing experiences on YouTube, so, broadly, making sure videos can be played on YouTube. I’m considered a “junior engineer,” so my duties involve designing and writing code to support my team’s products.

Is there anything that surprised you about your college experience?
I didn’t intend to study computer science at all! That was a nice surprise.

Before college, I really had little knowledge of computer science, and I was somewhat intimidated by it. Thankfully, the introductory computer science courses at my college made the field very approachable for beginners, so I took those classes to give them a try. In those first computer science courses, I came to realize the power that technological advancements can have. Through getting to know the tech companies, small or big, whose products are used every day, I realized that building good software is one of the most direct ways of impacting and improving others’ lives. With this motivation, I completed a major in computer science and decided to work in the tech industry. I hope I still feel the same about the tech industry after 5/10/20 years!

Thinking back, it doesn’t surprise me too much that I studied and enjoyed linguistics and computer science. To me, the essence of both fields is thinking about “structures” and how one system (of words, grammar, or code and software) interacts with others. I have realized that I enjoy digging into these kinds of things, which motivated me to combine these two majors.