Husky Hired: Alex King


Alex King

It's hard to find an area of HFS where Alex King wasn't involved during his time as an HFS student employee. "I interacted with a number of different groups ranging from Residential Life, IT, Food Services, Marketing, Financial Services, Student Services, Husky Card, Facilities, Conference Services, and more," he says. "It was fascinating to see the dynamics between all of those groups, how they interact and come together to run a business."
 
From the vantage point of the IT Helpdesk, Alex became heavily involved in the design, procurement, installation and user training of HFS Cafés digital signage. He helped to provide more reliable bandwidth connections in the residence halls. For Husky Card, he worked on upgrades of software for the unit’s complex payment and tracking systems. And he participated in planning the technology needs of the new West Campus buildings.
 
During his junior year and two summers, Alex served as a Resident Adviser (RA) and was co-responsible for a floor of 120 first-year students. That meant a lot of event planning, mentoring, and helping students deal with adjusting to college life and the occasional roommate conflict.
 
As a Residential Freshman Interest Groups (FIG) Leader his senior year, Alex took on a different kind of responsibility. In addition to mentoring and advising freshmen who were living and taking several classes together,
 
Alex taught two sections of the “University Community” two-credit course designed to assist freshmen in navigating and understanding the UW universe.
 
In addition to earning a paycheck, Alex says he had the chance to build a number of skills that he uses every day in his professional life:
 
• Project Management: “I had the opportunity to manage several projects from end to end, doing everything from planning to budgeting to managing timeline and resources to communicating with stakeholders.”
 
• Problem Solving: “Unexpected things will always come up. It’s important to be able to think on your feet and address issues in a timely manner. Or figuring out if there's a more efficient way to do things.
 
• Communication: “While I was an RA, I built a lot more confidence in my communication skills, whether it was talking with a resident one-to-one, addressing large groups, or leading prospective students and parents on tours.” In his IT role, Alex gained experience in taking technical concepts and breaking them down into more easily digestible components that people without an IT background could understand.
 
• Teamwork/Collaboration: “Different people have different working styles and it's important to figure out how to meet each other in the middle so that you can work effectively together.”
 
After graduation, Alex was offered a full time position by HFS IT as an IT Project Manager. He continued to manage technology projects ranging from the Windows 7/Office 2010 rollout to integrating café menus into the UW mobile app. “I was in that role for a year before accepting an offer from Google,” he says, where he started as a Technical Specialist. Alex worked in Google’s Ads business to resolve complex issue for advertisers and with engineering teams to improve product. From there, he moved to Google Fiber where he was the Product Specialist for Internet/Wi-Fi, with the goal to create a better Internet/Wi-Fi experience for customers. He is currently a Program Manager at Google X working on Glass (Sorry, he can't disclose what he does).
 
Looking back at his HFS experiences, Alex offers this advice to student employees:
 
• Look for opportunities to push yourself or learn new skills.
 
• Don't be afraid to ask questions.
 
• Try to find a role where you can apply things you learn in class. (Alex took a project management class and was able to apply the concepts learned in class to real life.)
 
• Build a strong relationship with your manager and don't be afraid to ask for areas where you can grow. (Alex still considers IT’s Ethan Owens a mentor and keeps in touch with him today.)
 
“At the end of the day, everything is about people,” says Alex, “whether it's a customer or co-worker. When you're interacting with other people, you have a choice on how to perceive and react to every situation. And with every interaction you have a chance to make that person's day a little better.”

Then:

  • IT Helpdesk 2 (2007 - 2010)
  • Residential FIG Leader (Academic Year 2009 - 2010)   
  • RA (Summer 2008, Academic Year 2008 - 2009, Summer 2010)  
 Now: 
  • Program Manager at Google X 

UW Degree:

  • B.S. in Informatics, with a concentration on HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) and minors in Architecture and Political Science