The Women Engineers Program, offered by TalentSprint and supported by Google, is a prestigious 2-year mentorship program for female engineering students aspiring for a career in tech. Previously known as the Google Women Techmakers Engineering Fellowship, the program provides first-years the opportunity, resources and mentorship to grow into competent software engineers.
The experiential program comprises live programming bootcamps, coupled with professional development sessions, mentorship and more.
In this article, I’ll detail the workings of the program, the application process, my experiences and some suggestions that you can use if you’re looking to apply for the program.✨
All students who wish to build a successful career in tech and meet the following eligibility criteria can apply:
- Female students currently in first year of engineering,
- Pursuing Degrees → B.E, B. Tech
- In the Streams: CS, IT, ECE, EEE or equivalent
- Having grades over 70% in both class 10 and 12
The WE Program is open for students belonging to India. Although, there's a sister program that has been newly launched for students in the US called TechWise at the time of writing.
Being part of the Women Engineers Program brings many unparalleled benefits.
- You get to attend live bootcamps and sessions to build technical proficiency with the help of brilliant mentors.
- You develop the most needed skills to become an adept software engineer.
- You will be surrounded by an amazing, supportive and high-achieving community of women across the country, with diverse backgrounds and talents.
- You will receive mentorship from seasoned engineers at Google.
- You also refine your soft skills to become a better software professional.
- You get to build yourself a stellar profile that bags you opportunities at top companies.
The program also provides the chance to attend physical bootcamps at Hyderabad, and even a visit to the Google campus there. These have been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of the students.
During the first two cohorts, all scholars were given 100% scholarship into the program along with a stipend of 2,00,000 INR. This, however, changed with our cohort (Cohort 3), so as to accommodate a larger number of female aspirants. The scholarship was extended to the top 500 of those who appeared for the final round.
The total fee for the program is 3,00,000 INR out of which the scholarships were offered as follows:
- Top 50 → 100% scholarship
- Top 200 (51-200) → 50% scholarship
- Top 500 (201-500) → 25% scholarship
There were EMI options to pay installments as well, for those who received 50% and 25% scholarships.
The process to apply for the WE program looks roughly like this:
- Online Application Phase
- Online Aptitude Assessment
- Online Coding Assessment
- Selection List Notification & Program Enrollment
This was the process followed during my cohort selection (Cohort 3). It could be slightly different from the upcoming cohorts, but this should be the overall procedure.
The online application phase begins when the Selection Process for the next cohort is announced. Students can head to the official website to apply. The application window generally lasts for a couple of weeks. Participants who meet the eligibility criteria will be invited to take the Online Aptitude and Quantitative Reasoning Test.
You will be required to take a proctored online assessment which tests your reasoning mathematically, analytically and visually. The duration of the test was about 60 minutes.
The top scorers in the Aptitude Round will be shortlisted for the Final Round. This is a coding round, where your technical skills will be put to the test. It’s no doubt the most significant part of your application. You will be given a 2-week period before the final round for preparation. The WE program team will organize several masterclasses and practice sessions during this 2-week period for you to learn programming. You will be provided with several mock tests, doubt clearing sessions and resources to prepare.
In my cohort’s selection process, we were given the choice to select either of C++, Python or Java for the final coding assessment. You can prepare using any of these languages in the 2-week period in order to attempt the final test.
Meanwhile, you will also be invited to attempt an English Test. It is usually 50-60 minutes long and assesses your English proficiency in terms of speaking, reading, writing and level of comprehension. We attempted the test sometime before the final technical assessment.
At the end of 2 weeks, you will take your Final Technical Test. Make sure to have a comfortable and stable computer setup when you take the test. We could take the test as per our convenience within the allotted date range. Once you start the test, you will have a 3-hour window within which we were supposed to attempt a set of coding challenges and a set of multiple-choice questions.
I recall we had choice among the coding challenges, but all the questions in the MCQ section were mandatory. The questions asked during our cohort selection were easy-to-medium level for beginner programmers.
Once the final test is done, the results are declared via email and/or phone. I recall that the members from the WE Team called me up to declare the results. It was a Zoom call of about 15-30 minutes, where we had an interview of sorts.
During the call, I was asked about my career aspirations, my test performance and some behavioral questions about careers and the WE program itself. I found it fun because I really enjoy discussing about tech and what I aspire for. Although I feel it could’ve been tricky if you are nervous or not too resolute about career yet (which is totally cool, you shouldn’t feel pressurized to get fixated in the first year). The key here, I believe, is to be composed, confident, and honest when you tackle the questions.
The interviewer was really happy with my responses. They then revealed the result saying that I bagged the scholarship! It was an amazing feeling - watching a dream come true! :)
As mentioned, the aptitude round contained questions related to visual, analytical and mathematical reasoning. It’d be a good idea to go through with the typical topics and concepts that are asked in aptitude exams. Personally, I just brushed up those concepts from aptitude textbooks/guides I owned for Olympiads, NTSE, and other competitive exams. How deeply you’d want to prepare for this depends on how familiar you are with solving aptitude and mental ability questions with speed.
The English test is easy in terms of difficulty, but you have to be paying close attention to the audio at all times. Some folks may find the accents distracting, so it's important to have full focus during the test. Make sure your environment is quiet for the entire duration. Try to speak naturally without pauses or filler words during the speaking tasks. Ensure that the volume at which you speak is not too loud or too soft. A quick Google search will be useful if you'd like to understand the test format and get more tips to prep.
For the technical assessment, I believe it is sufficient if you thoroughly utilize the material, live classes and resources the WE Team provides in the 2 weeks of learning. Even if you are completely new to programming. Don’t hesitate to get your doubts cleared by them. (Tip: Learn to ask good, quality questions. If googling can tell you the answer, google it first. This will help you not only during the selections, but also in any technical/professional community as well.)
You can also make use of online tutorials and platforms to practice easy to medium level questions. Build confidence in your fundamentals and you’re good to go!
Adopt a calm, patient mindset focused on making the most out of those 2 weeks. Yes, it’s tempting to wonder about getting selected😄, but just try to tune those voices out and focus on the learning. Trust me, regardless of whether you make it into the program, I’m sure that if you fully internalize the principles and techniques you’re being taught, you’ll be setting your coding journey on the right track.
During my cohort's selection, we did not have an interview round that had weightage on our selections. It was simply a conversational interview we had right before the team announced our selection in the call. Although, it appears that previous cohorts and the upcoming ones have had an interview round whose result was considered during the selections.
Should you have such a round, know that it's a good idea to step into this round with some preparation. Don't wait till the last minute or think of winging the interview. Nervousness can cause you to forget or fail to articulate what you want to convey. I'm sure you'd want to put your best foot forward.
The round will comprise of behavioral type questions. You will be asked about yourself, your interest in tech, and why you aspire for a career in tech. You may be asked about why you're interested in the WE program and what you hope to achieve via the same as well. You can expect other similar questions along these lines.
Technical questions may not be asked - but it's still fair game. Hence, expect any technical questions from the final coding test or similar. Nothing beyond your capacity will be asked, so there's no need to worry. Brush up on the fundamentals beforehand if you're new to programming.
As for the behavioral questions, think about what drives you to be a part of the tech industry and the WE Program. Ideally, you should be able to express your passion for technology clearly. Try to talk about what long term goals you want to achieve as a tech aspirant.
Remember that there's no "correct" answer here. It's cool if you haven't figured out what you want to do as a software engineer yet. No pressure at all. The interviewers are pretty chill. They understand that you're in your first year of college. As long as you show that you take active measures to learn and have some idea/direction about your career, that's enough!
Stay relaxed. Show confidence. Give genuine responses. They can tell if you are being honest or not, so make sure you're able to back up everything you say. Finally, make sure your setup is working properly. Double check your video, audio, internet and computer before the interview.
If you do clear all the rounds, congrats, you’re now a Women Engineers Program Scholar!
This is the start of a wonderful journey in your student life!
Do remember to keep up the passion and drive throughout the program. You will be expected to maintain active participation in the bootcamps, assignments and tests. This is the time you start working even harder towards your dreams!
I absolutely enjoy every minute I get to spend as a part of the WE Program. The community and support from the Program’s team and my buddies makes me feel so blessed.
The program helped me reorient myself away from rat races and focus on what’s truly important to become a software engineer. The guidance and mentorship drives me to work on myself and enjoy building every day. It’s amazing to look back on my growth both professionally and skill-wise in the last set of months. It makes me excited about what’s in store in the next half of the journey.
My cohort buddies are all super brilliant, bringing in multitudes of talent. The passion that we all share towards coding and software engineering is energizing. It continues to inspire me to work harder and grow. :)
And that’s the end, folks! I hope this detailed guide helped you gain more insight into the program. Feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn or Discord if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to help! Good luck!✨