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Meet the people of Google Cloud: Priyanka Vergadia, bringing Google Cloud to life in illustrations

Editor’s note: Cloud computing helps people do all sorts of new things—including, for Priyanka Vergadia, becoming a best-selling author. Her book, “Visualizing Google Cloud: 101 Illustrated References for Cloud Engineers and Architects,” is based on her tremendously popular series of blog posts and videos and sold out its first printing within a month of its March 15 release. Priyanka started drawing as a way to connect to the developer community in a world shut down by COVID, and in it, discovered a new superpower. And, it’s all for a good cause. Priyanka is donating her portion of book proceeds to Akshaya Patra, an organization that provides meals to kids in schools in India.

How did you come to Google Cloud?

I was born and raised in Indore, between Mumbai and Delhi, and I moved to the U.S. for grad school.

I started my career writing code to load test for call center software, then I switched to customer-focused engineering, which opened a world of possibilities, seeing so many exciting and unique technical challenges everyday. Those experiences exposed me to the world of cloud and cloud architectures, which brought me here. I like many styles of learning, solving different problems.

What gave you the idea for this book?

I work in Developer Relations, and we connected with our community through conferences and events. COVID abruptly ended that. I thought about “advocacy without planes,” and realized there were common questions that could be explained in sketches. 

I started with Google Compute Engine, the biggest product, and the very frequent question, “Where should I run my stuff?” When we put it on the bog, it got more than 100,000 views!

That sounds like a strong signal.

I did another on data analytics pipelines, databases, a few other things. All did well, with the idea to see how much we could teach with the fewest words.

The book has 101 illustrations on 95 products. Each illustration is reviewed by stakeholders for accuracy, so there are a lot of people involved. I’ve learned an amazing amount putting this together.

These illustrations are both fun and practical. Have you always been a visual storyteller or was this a pandemic hobby?

Drawing and painting has been my hobby since childhood. I am a visual learner so growing up I always took very pretty handwritten notes with images and text. Since we were not traveling as much during the pandemic, it presented a great opportunity to explore ways to communicate with the tech community from home. I combined my note taking and sketching skills together with the Cloud knowledge and came up with ideas and layout for these sketches. Visual storytelling is definitely one of my favorite ways of communicating because it is the fastest way to learn a concept. 

Why do you think it resonates with people?

A picture is much less daunting than twenty pages of text—I find a lot of people are grateful to have something that lays it all out and isn’t 600 pages of words. It’s nice to give an alternative way to sink into Cloud and bring it to life for different audiences. 

What’s next for the book?

There’s interest to create editions in Spanish, Portuguese and Korean. I’ll take it with me as we start seeing customers, thinking about conferences again. And of course, lots of products are already changing, so I get to learn more for future editions.

Read more about the book and how it can help developers here.

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