The Engineering Practicum Internship Program at Google is a program meant for freshman and sophomores in college who are interested in becoming software engineers. Freshman are only expected to have taken an introductory computer science class. For sophomores they expect you to to have taken at least two computer science courses. Freshman's are given a code reading interview and a traditional technical interview; however, these question tend to be easier as they are based of only introductory computer science. Sophomore's are given two technical interview questions. Knowing how to read and write code are definitely essential to succeeding as an EP intern. However, you are not excepted to know everything. Another skill that I think is super important is not being afraid to ask for help. ASK FOR HELP. That is the whole point of an internship. Last year as an intern I was developing a new front end feature in one of Google's consumer products. I had no idea how the code was working. The other engineers are there to help you and are super friendly. I was able to even set up a one on one meeting with an engineer on my team who explained to me how to code was working and after I told him what my project was he helped me come up with a plan to build my feature. Many people are afraid to ask for help because if they do it reveals to the team that they don't know what they're doing. You're an intern; you're not supposed to.
The work an EP intern does is comparable to that of a SWE intern at Google. The biggest difference is that you will be paired with another EP intern (your "podmate"), whereas SWE interns work individually. You and your podmate will most likely work on different but related parts of the same project. The work of a SWE intern at every company is fairly straightforward: you will be writing code to implement some feature for an end user.
The scope of your work as an EP intern is almost the same as a regular software engineer ("SWE") intern. One difference is that as an EP intern, you will most likely get one or sometimes two EP intern partners, who will join you and complete the internship project together with the help from your hosts; whereas a regular SWE intern will finish their intern project most likely on their own with guidance from the host. You should expect the focus of interns, whether it's EP or SWE, is execution: you will be given a well-defined, self-contained project that is proposed by your host, who has hopefully already written a high-level proposal for the project, and your job is to learn the tools, get familiar with the code base, and finish the implementation of the project during the 12-week/14-week internship.
Former Engineering Practicum Intern at Google, Inc.
about 2 years ago
The deal with the Engineering Practicum (EP) internship is that it's the name for a type of intern in terms of level of support, not in terms of what you'll be doing. Applying for the EP internship as opposed to the standard software engineering one guarantees you some things: a match with a project (for normal Google internships, you first pass the interview stage and then you need to match with a project/team), a mentor, and a partner intern. Your partner intern will be on the same team as you, but you may work more or less closely together. My partner and I had the same project and just divided it up between the two of us, but I know people who had separate projects altogether. I am now an intern and not EP, although I'm working on a different product and doing different things than last summer, so I can speak somewhat to both.
An engineering practicum (EP for short) intern works on a project with a co-intern. The projects vary by team but they're typically similar to what a "real" software engineer might be doing. For example, my co-intern and I made a side-by-side website to compare two different UIs for content similarity.