University Alumni Spotlight:
Jason Prodonovich ‘08
Major While at Mount Union: Computer Science and Philosophy
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Current Job Title: Technology Manager
I work on a team that supports Google Shopping and many of the merchants that submit their online product listing advertisements to Google. Our clients include large retailers such as Walmart, Target, Sears and Home Depot. When you do a search for something you intend to buy, Google presents shopping results that link you directly to online retailers where you can buy those items. Our team’s job is to make that process easy to manage from the merchants’ perspective and to help ensure that only the highest quality, reputable results are shown to Google users. There are hundreds of employees working on the technology and processes that support the products you see when you search for something like “running shoes” on Google.
MY EXCEPTIONAL STORY
Landing a Great Gig
For me, getting hired by Google had to be one of the most significant professional milestones I’ve been fortunate enough to achieve. Google submits all of its candidates through a rigorous interview process and hires incredibly talented individuals from all over the world. I’m still not exactly sure how I snuck through Google’s doors, but I feel incredibly blessed to have been given this chance to work around and learn from the greatest minds in software engineering.
Liberal Arts Value
I’m continually reminded of the value of my Mount Union education. The strong emphasis on writing and critical reasoning skills has helped me be an effective communicator. In any field, the ability to communicate directly and effectively across any medium is invaluable. Mount Union’s emphasis on a broad liberal arts curriculum helps develop strong, well-rounded individuals capable of interfacing with people from all backgrounds and skillsets. As a software engineer, that means being able to talk effectively with salespeople who may not have the same level of technical understanding. Having been exposed to multiple disciplines outside of technology has aided me in being able to bridge that communication gap throughout my career.
Favorite Part of Job
Google does a tremendous job of taking care of its employees and providing us with a creative and exciting work environment. Our cafeteria serves chef-prepared gourmet food for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it is free to all employees. We also have a free full-service coffee shop. By far though, my favorite part of the job is working around the amazing people in the company and seeing the incredible things that Google is building to help organize the world’s data and make information easier to access and use. I am continually amazed by the wealth of knowledge and experience possessed by my coworkers.
Mount Union provided me with a strong technical background and the tools necessary to learn and adapt to new technologies and processes. The ability to be flexible and to succeed in constantly changing environments has been vital as I've advanced in my career. The small class sizes at Mount Union gave me opportunities to ask questions and feel confient in the knowledge I was acquiring. When I was confused, Mount's terrific faculty were always there to walk me through the fog into understanding.
I am forever grateful for the time and energy that all of the Mount Union faculty I encountered showed me in my time there. There is no way I could pick just one. I love all of the computer science faculty members. Dr. Weber, Dr. Kirchmeyer, Dr. Klayder and professor Cindric are terrific teachers who I had multiple classes with. They inspired and brought out the best in me and I owe them a great debt. As a philosophy major, most of my classes were taught by Dr. Tidman or Dr. Gravlee. They challenged me to think and write critically and helped me explore my interests outside of technology. I loved the lively discussions around deep and difficult questions in their classrooms.
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