Fun times in a fun place: AP Computer science class takes a trip to Google headquarters

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Photo by photo used with permission of Ann Heltzel

AP Computer Science class took a field trip to the Google offices in Chicago. The class was given a tour of the building, including its rooftop.

Parul Pari, Staff Writer

The AP computer science class won a field trip to the Google offices in Chicago, on November 16, where they were given an insight into the functions of a $101.8 billion company.

“It’s not very easy to get into to to get a field trip for Google. They [give the chance mostly to] Chicago Public schools, but not so much with the suburbs, and so since I am a computer science physicals teacher, they had a drawing and I won the drawing and when I told the kids they were all over it,” Ann Heltzel, AP Computer Science teacher, said.

During the trip, the students had to complete a case study on the new Google Pixel 2, and were a tour of the actual workplace of Google employees.

“The best thing we did was the actual tour of the office. It was really interesting and the first impression that the majority of us had was that it seemed and felt more like a college campus than an actual workplace,”Alex Tang, sophomore, said.  “They had many cool features such as a game room, a massage area, and their own fitness center. The tour guide basically stressed to us how Google’s philosophy is for collaboration, so all those features have been implemented to inspire and direct collaboration.”

For Tang, he said the opportunity to visit the offices was a once in a lifetime experience and viewed it as an inspiration to work harder in school.

“There wasn’t much actual relevancy for coding and other engineering things, but seeing a big tech company like Google and the benefits of working there really does serve as motivation to continue diligently working hard to get good grades so one day we may be able to work in such a place,” Tang said.

Heltzel emphasized to explore all options because she herself did not start out wanting to go into a job related to coding.

“I wanted to be a psychiatrist when I was in high school. My math teacher talked me into taking a programming class, and then I was having a lot of fun with that and I realized that people got paid to do it. That was the start of my career,” Heltzel said. “ I went away to college for one year but I couldn’t wait to start coding, so I switched to a six month plan to become a programmer and I finished in four months and got a job.”

Heltzel believes that the chance to see the options besides coding, in a company like Google, encourages the kids to understand that there are many more options in companies with great benefits to explore.

“Google uses a lot of people, they use engineers, sales people, people in the hospitality industry,” Heltzel said.  “It was very nice that they stretched themselves. They said that don’t set your sights on Google, there are a lot of amazing companies out there with amazing benefits and so you should keep your eyes wide open.”